Saturday, March 30, 2013


So many different wildflowers are blooming right now everywhere. I could fill several posts with my husbands photos of flowers all over Israel. The colors have jumped from the wheel, the basic ones, red, blue, yellow in their shades and hues, and pink and purple, light and transparent, dark and opaque. And white, oh yes, bridal white everywhere. Most of the year the colors here are more of the dry kind, brown, beige etc - the hills and valleys are green only in spring for a relatively short period, then the heat starts to burn everything up and there will be no rain at all for many months.

The Galilee and the Golan Heights too are fully dressed in spring outfits, and yesterday we went for an inspection. Because it is Passover week, the children are on vacation and many parents took leave of work, so families are going for outings in the thousands. Israelis love nature hikes and walks, and barbeques under the sky. To avoid the big crowd we started out with the early morning sun - seven o.clock saw us already on the highway. It takes us about two and a half hours from central Israel, where we live, to reach the far north - well, if we drive through, what we never do, because there are always stops to admire and photograph the many different flowers, views and vistas, and of course for a picnic on the way.

After having been greeted by these lovely fellows during a short walk, we arrived at the foot of the Hermon at midday. This time the most outstanding scene was presented by the celebration of the blue/white veronica syriaca, ורוניקה סורית, the Syrian Speedwell. It covered endless grounds. What a sight! It was just unbelievably beautiful - a whole blue valley, the Man Valley (עמק מאן) primed with millions of sweet faced little flowers!

The land which gave this flower its name is only a few kilometers away. In the following picture we look over fruit tree orchards and a compound of the UN to Syrian villages on the horizon. I wish there would be peace...

Please zoom in... 
All photographs by Uri Eshkar.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Here we are still in the week of Passover - it is hot and sunny! :-)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013



This is Friko, I mean, this is her blog, Friko's World, but it is also she, Friko is her blogger name.

Her blog is a marvel and a treasure, one of the most interesting and versatile blogs I have on my list. Friko is a German woman, living for decades in Britain. Now she resides at Valleys End in the most beautiful Shropshire county near the border to Wales, an area with hills and valleys and woodland, farms and fields, and marvelous wild life, the Shropshire hills. The view from the windows of her home passes over her magnificent garden to the picturesque ruins of a castle. 


She has a Beloved in her life, no, not Toni Morrison's ghostly one, it is how she calls her husband, Beloved.

Friko is a woman of many interests with a vivid personality. Her garden is a cultivated, noteworthy, ornamental refuge, a piece of art, which she manages to keep beautiful with the help of Mister Gardener. Her knowledge of all her plants, flowers, shrubs and trees is very fundamental, her love for them deep.


Her taste of the literary and performing arts is highly developed. She is a big fan of poetry, concerts and theater. Shakespeare might be her favorite playwright.

Dogs are a cherished part of her and her husbands life, and currently it is Millie, the black "labradollie" which brings them joy and the needed exercise. I am sure she will agree with Kundera who said: "Dogs are our link to paradise, they don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring, it was peace."


One of her favorite pastimes is writing. I very much admire her stylish, superb and perfect English. To say with Colonel Pickering: "Henry, Jawohl! Her English is too good! Which clearly indicates that she is foreign..."
She tells many stories about herself, they are fun to read and give a true glimpse into a life full of riches and sorrows, happiness and disappointment, and of satisfying getting along. Her blog includes stories of childhood in Germany, of adolescence after the war in Britain, of her adult and current life. Friko is full of humor, sarcastic at times, critical too, honest to the bone, not deprived of emotion, never boring.
She, (like myself), stays away from essays and opinions on politics and religion.

Reading books is a big part of her personality, "Books, I’ve loved them all my life", she says.
This is one of her blog posts about books, she has many more.

If you are interested in a very intellectual blog of good writing, wonderful photos, true stories, and of telling about life, gardening, human behavior of all sorts, of kindness and unkindness and in between, of the arts, of culture, nature, dogs and much more, you will be rewarded by having a look into Friko's World.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


1. A small piece of food.
2. A tasty delicacy; a tidbit.
3. A small amount; a little piece
4. One that is delightful and extremely pleasing. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013


חג פסח שמח

Passover is a time of reflection and joy, it is a commemoration of the escape and freedom of the Hebrews from the tyranny and cruelty of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. 
Today is Passover Eve and Jews all over the world will celebrate it with a good and festive meal, and the reading of the Hagada, which tells the story and regulates the Seder.

Happy blessed peaceful and joyful Passover to all and especially to everyone dear to me!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


We went for a day trip to the Dead Sea this morning. It was actually a cool spring day - we started with drizzling rain and the sun was hiding behind the clouds most of the time. Driving through Jerusalem after an hour it rained, and the car thermometer showed 11 degrees outside. 40 minutes later arriving down down down we had clear sky, bright sun, and wonderful warm 26 degrees!

In the Judean desert, in the Dead Sea Valley, and near the barren shores of the Dead Sea, date palm trees grow wild where they can find springs or water close to the surface.

But domesticated date palms are grown there too, in quite a lot of plantations, and of course for the wonderful tasty and healthy fruit. The date palm can reach a height of 10 to 20 meters and the thickness of the trunk stays the same during its lifetime, with the width it had when it started to grow. The trees have evergreen leaves up to four, five meters long and they bloom in March/April. The female trees will bear fruit about six years after planting and will continue to do so for more than 10 years economically, the mature trees donating easily 80 or 100 kg of fruit in each season, which will be harvested here twice or three times in autumn, from August to December. 
The dates can be consumed in several stages of ripeness, from yellow and crunchy, to deep brown and soft and sweet. Dates are rich in iron, vitamin B and potassium, and an excellent source of fiber, low on sodium and cholesterol free!

The trees are flowering right now, and we saw today that the bunches are currently tied together. Later they will be cut loose, and when the fruits appear paper or plastic bags will be put over them to protect them from harsh weather conditions, like strong wind, and from birds pecking at them.

Those palm gardens are a wonderful sight, with the high straight trunks (in between the blue sea can be seen), the wide crowns of long dark green feathery leaves, the bushels of the fruit, which are most beautiful later, when they reach their sun yellow color.

We had a marvelous day and our picnic included sweet delicious dates, which have been sun dried and are called here tamar, tmarim in plural. Next week at Passover we will eat date sirup with ground nuts, called charoset.

Photos by this one and his helper:

 Uri Eshkar and Dafi.

Friday, March 22, 2013


The usual color range (which is very beautiful in itself and not dull at all) in the hills, plains and wadis of the Negev desert, of the rocks, stones, sand, dry earth, and of the antic dwellings and ruins as well, is of all the shades of beige, ocher, brown, rust, bisque, grey, sienna - broken with an occasional dark green tamarisk tree, an acacia, or a pistacia tree in the higher regions, and various kinds of low shrubs and other arid area trees. There is the blue of the sky, the white of the clouds, the hot yellow light of the sun, and the dark cold black of the night. Plant life of pink, purple, red, yellow, blue, white and all the hues in between are not the usual colors of the desert.

BUT if we are blessed with plenty of rain during the winter season, like we have been this year, the desert is blooming. It is amazing and sometimes unbelievable what sleeps in the ground of the dry, stony and sandy earth and awakes even after years of drought and no rain at all.

All the colors suddenly appear! Forms and textures dance with the colors and create little paradise gardens.

Doesn't this one look like a little yellow bird?

All photographs by Uri Eshkar. Zoom in to enjoy the details.