Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Luna, the most beloved cat in the world! :-)

Monday, January 30, 2012


I planted three trees in my life. One about ten years ago in our current garden, in front of my kitchen window. I love that tree, but it is not the one I want to talk about. I was thinking of the other two, remembering them this morning. I put them deep into soil with my bare hands and many good wishes to grow and to become strong and tall. The first one about thirty years ago, not long after I came to Israel and made it my homeland. I went to Hebrew school for newcomers to learn the language and one day, at the 15th of Shvat, a trip was organized for the class to the Sea of Galilee, the Kinnereth, and all the students, who had immigrated from many places in the world, planted a tree on the slopes at the eastern lake shore, near Kibbutz Ein Gev. I do not remember what kind of tree it was and of course I can never find it and check on it, it has no name tag. I hope it is a big and healthy tree now, thirty years later. My tree, I would like to hug it!

The other one I planted five years later, at an outing with colleagues from my husbands work place, it was a family event and our little son was with us. This one was planted in a nature reserve park on the way to Jerusalem, Ya'ar Ben Shemen. Of course also this tree, which I think was an oak, I can never recognize as mine, but it gives me a good feeling, to know that it is there.

All this I am telling because it is almost Tu BiShvat again, the New Year of the trees, Chag Ha Ilanot, חג האילנות. Tu BiShvat is the 15th of the month Shvat on the Jewish calender, which this year falls on Wednesday next week, the 8th of February. There are two names for tree in Hebrew, Ez and Ilan. The earliest blooming one in the beginning of spring, is the almond tree with its exquisite honey scented flowers. All year around you will not notice that tree, it is very modest, even when bearing its fruit, but now it has its time, exploding so forcefully and marvelously into myriads of delicacies. 

Then the other fruit trees will follow closely, pink peach and apricot blooms, plum from white via pink to almost red, apple blossom, the buds pink, flourishing into cream white or pure white or pinkish flowers, all according to the individual species, sometimes brushed with a tiny little red in the middle, white pear with large petals, and the cherries at the Golan Heights with gleaming snow white flowers - all of them with their distinct sweet aroma.

Tu BiShvat is celebrated honoring the trees. All the kindergarten and small school children will get little pots with rooted twigs, to plant them where ever they want to. Older children and youth groups are taken to different locations to plant trees. And a lot of fruit and nuts are eaten. The markets and shops sell an abundance of dried fruit: dates, figs, apricot, plum, apple and pear slices, raisins. And many different nuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds. All those are growing here in the land of Israel.

This is information in a nutshell about the feast of Tu BiShvat, there is plenty more of it on the Internet, if you would like a deeper knowledge.

Here is the recipe of my favorite Tu BiShvat cake, which I bake every year at this time:

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius

3 eggs, 125 gr sugar, 125 gr self rising flour, 3 tsp cinnamon, 300 gr dried fruit, (dates, apricots, plums, raisins, figs) coarsely cut up, 200 gr different nuts, halved, (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts). 

Sprinkle the fruit with a bit of flour, so it will not stick together. Beat the eggs with the sugar until foamy, add the flour and cinnamon, then the fruit and nuts. Bake in an English cake pan with a sheet of baking paper on top for an hour, take down the paper, reduce the temperature a bit, and bake for another half hour. Slice very thinly.

So easy to do - a piece of cake! :-)

Tu BiShvat sameach!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


Last Shabatt we went to a small nature reserve called Hadasim, which is located not far from where we live, near Even Jehuda on the road to Haifa. We were looking for a rather rare shrub called Arabian Globe Cress in English. Its botanical name is Globularian Arabica - Gulanit Arav גולנית ערב in Hebrew. Its preferred habitat is rocky sand and it grows here in Israel mostly near the Dead Sea, in the Judean desert, and in the hills of the southern Negev. But there is one place in the Sharon area where it grows too, in the Hadasim reserve. The reserve actually is recovering from a previous fire and currently should not be visited. But the gate was open and we sneaked in nevertheless. 

Wow, the bushes were in full bloom! White little irises (Iris Erez Israel) were scattered between them - it was a wonderful blue sky and blue flowers morning and the world was perfect! See for yourself:

But the fun was not over. When we left the reserve a small herd of goats waited for us to be petted a bit. Some were tied and others jumped around freely. I love goats, they are pretty, lovely, naughty and funny - that is what I think of them - their owners surely will attach even more attributes to their herd!

 I felt blue for the rest of the day! :-)

Photos by Uri Eshkar.

Friday, January 20, 2012


My beautiful wooden button, the one I got as a gift, proved to be to big, it did not fit the design of the bag. This lovely square ceramic button, a present from another dear friend perfectly does. The wooden fellow will find its destination too.

Bag made entirely out of leather - it was challenging - but worth it - creating the straps was VERY time consuming - but it looks good - I cherish my first leather bag - and the best thing - it already found a new owner - yes, yes, someone fell immediately in love with it and wanted it. :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012


I found those absolutely wonderful blogs, one of them created by a Japanese woman, called Tomoko, a name with a lovely sound. I was trying to find out what her name means, and at Wikipedia was explained that depending on how the kanji characters are written, the interpretation is different. I do not know how she writes her name, but all of the meanings are very nice.
  • 友子 - "friendly child"
  • 知子 - "knowing child"
  • 智子 - "wise child"
  • 朋子 - "friendly child"
  • 皆子 - "beautiful girl"
In the second  blog "View of Japan" you will enjoy masterly taken photos of Japanese nature, landscapes, people, cities and art, all so very beautiful, presented by a variety of photographers.

In her blog "Green Tomato" Tomoko san tells us with words and pictures about her culture and her life, all so very interesting.

Check those blogs and surf around, you will be rewarded with nothing but pleasure, you will smile, you will feel calm and peaceful - I did!


P.S. - I think, her name means: friendly child, because I saw the matching characters in an e-mail she sent me, giving me permission to use her photos - thank you Tomoko!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Yesterday on my way home I stopped at a nursery to buy some herb plants for the garden. I chose chive, peppermint, parsley and basil. And as you can surely understand from the photos I could not resist the lovely colorful pansies (Stiefmuetterchen) with their sweet faces.
On the road to our little town we have on a stretch of about one kilometer, wait I have to count, two, three, yes five big Arab nurseries. And they have PLENTY of plants, and a lot more of wonderful stuff! Flowers, herbs, trees, shrubs, cacti, house plants, seeds and bulbs! They sell containers for planting, made from ceramic, wood, plastic, even concrete, huge ones and small ones. They have soil, stones, pebbles, fertilizers, fencing, ready to plant grass patches, garden gnomes, watering cans. Whatever you need and want for your garden, your home and your balcony, you can find it there! And you get a smile and a Turkish coffee too! We love to buy from them! Every tree and plant in our garden was brought from those nurseries.
I always wanted to take photos there - this time I finally did it - and I got some funny looks! Oh, never mind! :-)
Photos taken with my humble little camera - not the quality of my husbands pictures of course! :-)

And now I am going to work on that bag! I hear you all! :-)