Friday, August 15, 2008


John has recently completed a dining table, which was commissioned by a local family.

The table has been fashioned from timber from the African Olive.

An introduced species, the African Olive, also known as the Wild Olive, grows prolifically on this island. It bears a true olive fruit, but the berries are small and quite uninteresting to humans, and I doubt that anyone has ever seriously attempted to collect or process them.

The birds, however, do appreciate them, which is why they spring up everywhere.

The Olive is generally regarded as a pest or a weed for this reason.

I do not think that many people have ever tried to fashion furniture and larger items from the timber. One reason would be that the timber is extremely hard and dense, and therefore is more time-consuming to work with. Charles describes it as an "angry" timber. But John tells me that it is, in fact, hard to find a tree that is big and old enough to recover useful planks for tables and other larger items.

This old olive by Charles fence has been severely cut back to a stump and is now sending out new shoots.

Therein lies the irony!!

Because it is an introduced "weed". we are quite happy to bulldoze or clear large stands of wild olive in order to keep our land "clean."

There is an added incentive to cut them down, because the timber actually provides wonderful firewood, burning cleanly and with great warmth. It has also been used quite a lot for fenceposts in the past.

John thinks the tree used for the table was probably about 60 years old, judging by the growth rings, and was a valuable find.

Just look at this magnificent grain. And the rich warm colour.

We hope that Poppa, Melissa and the boys enjoy many happy family meals around their table. It is certainly destined to become an heirloom!

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