A garden update and the traffic stopping rose

The garden is only just now on the cusp of becoming productive. I had a few setbacks. They were major setbacks. Last fall, after all the double digging, spider-eeking, and sweat, I did what I have never done before — I created the Mel’s mix (of square foot gardening fame) for the big salad raised bed. I mixed in vermiculite, peat moss, soil, and compost in the correct proportions. Unfortunately, because I’d only just started our own composting at my Ema’s place, I bought compost in bags from the garden store ($30 of the stuff!!), and even more unfortunately, the compost turned out to be a serious plant killer. It wasn’t cured. It was supposed to be cured but what we got was literally hundreds of (non-edible) mushrooms sprouting and anything planted either turned yellow and died soon after sprouting or just sat there if transplanted like it lived in munchkin land. The only exceptions were on the side where I’d run out of the compost and that was only a few squares of this big square foot garden.

I’ve now replaced almost all of the squares containing that expensive mix with, well, still expensive miracle gro soil, but at least things are growing.

I designed two raised beds, one with a trellis, that are just getting going.

More pics to come of the garden today.

this blog is about to undergo a change — I just haven’t decided how

The blog is no longer a haven for me to spit out whatever is on my mind, anything that might be worrying me, my feelings about pretty much anything or pretty much almost anything else. I regularly sit down to compose a blog post and, as the needed self-censorship kicks in, I realize that there really isn’t much I can say about much of anything –certainly not anything that really matters to me. You’ve probably noticed the lack of updates if, because of the lack of updates, you still bother to check this blog.

I’ve considered the options. I could go all politics all the time and just rant about the, it seems, multi-daily insults, underminings, and machinations that present an existential threat to my country. I could start blogging only in Hebrew or only in German (yes, my German is still better than my Hebrew but more to the point uses the same keyboard I have available). I could just restrict it to how the borrowed garden grows. I’ve not decided yet but do plan to put up a post on the garden later today.

Pesach sameach everyone

Wishing everyone a good holiday and a good Easter too for those who celebrate that holiday. This is the first time in 31 years that I will not be doing a seder. I’d forgotten that you have to reserve a spot months in advance in the U.S. at one of the synagogues and we simply aren’t set up for having one at home this year. Next year in Jerusalem, indeed.

Yes! Yesh! Go Likud!

I’ve been hanging on every update with the elections and exit polls show Likud and Z.U. either tied 27-27 or with Likud 28-27. It wouldn’t matter if Zionist Union had come out ahead 27 to 23 or 24, Bibi is the next PM as he is the only one who is going to be able to put together a coalition with enough seats.

The new United Arab list did just as predicted, pulling in 12 seats (what you would get if you added in the seat power of the 5 or 6 previously separate Arab parties together). NGOs may have bused in Arab voters (something totally unnecessary in Israel as if your polling station is far afield you get free bus and train travel to it, it is a national holiday and the polls are open until 10 pm) but they perhaps forgot that a significant portion of Arab-Israelis vote for “Zionist” parties ranging from the far right parties to the far left and not for the Arab parties. Personally, I think the more citizens who vote the better and I don’t care if they are green martians who worship a water woo woo. I would, of course, prefer if they voted with a bit of sense.

Oops I wrote this like 2 hours ago and forgot to hit publish (I had to run and roll out the bread dough for hamburger buns or we’ll never eat tonight), but things look even better than when I last checked. Bibi has just made history!

Now this is the home I know

From reading the newspapers from over here, I have been trying to figure out how it seems like the country has gone insane in just 6 months. Every other article and poll seems to be proclaiming that the country has suddenly radically swung left of center in the blink of an eye. Well, this is the reception of the chameleon leaders of the new leftie movement that I would have expected in a normal world: Seems my countrymen have not gone totally nuts after all

Latest projects

In addition to the garden and taking care of a horde of cats, I’m doing a web developer certificate programme. It is a year full of courses, finishing up next January. This semester is just 3 courses and in the fall there are six more to take (you’d think they could have divided them up a bit more evenly but the ones in the fall all require knowledge from these base three). Two of the courses are very interesting and useful. One focuses on coding javascript and the other teaches you how to use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web design programs.

Unfortunately all the classes assume you are using windows 7/xp and a lot of the programs we are using simply don’t function with any iteration so far of windows 8 –and you can’t even buy a computer that doesn’t run windows 8 any longer. The 7 vs 8 software issues are causing no end of of problems for those of us who would like to work on their class projects at home rather than in the lab on campus –it does not have user friendly hours.

I’m learning quite a lot though and am hoping to use the skills to good end in developing the D.A.R.A. site. I’ve gotten the sanctuary registered as a business (first step), gotten a tax id number for it (second step), registered it as a non-profit in Texas (3rd step) and am now slogging through the paperwork (seriously like 40 pages of stuff to fill out with innumerable addendums to write up and attach) to get IRS kosher non-profit status (4th step) at which point I have to fill out paperwork confirming to the state that the temporary non-profit status they’ve given should be converted over to real non-profit status (5th step). I’ve already got tax filings to do for it even though we aren’t off the ground yet because the state gave us non-profit status like 2 days before January 1st and the taxes are way more involved than individuals face (and the U.S. tax system is seriously messed up compared to the Israeli system for individuals). As soon as all that is done, I’ve got to start on the Israeli side of it. But it is all coming along, more slowly than I’d like, but getting there.

In another post I’ll talk about what I’m planning and hoping to do with DARA both in the U.S. and back home.

An absolutely gorgeous day

Although rain had been predicted for today, it has been beautifully sunny and unseasonably (that is to say in a lovely way) warm. 18 of the 22 lettuce seeds have sprouted in this great weather, along with 7 of the 8 tomato seeds. All of the lettuce is a kind of bibb-like variety called Buttercrunch and it is just about the most delicious lettuce I’ve ever had. It takes nearly 3 months to mature (longer than the seed packet claims) but it is very worth the wait.

I’ve got heirloom tomatoes started and so far we’ve got one Yellow Gooseberry candidate and two Italian D’Inverno up (both cherry in size, the latter a red that is supposed to produce until the first frost at which point you can cut the limbs still holding tomatoes and hang them up and pick fresh tomatoes from them through the winter months). Of the larger slicing size, two Break O’ Day red tomao sprouts are up and two Golden Jubilee. I know we’ve got room for 8 plants around and about the yard and am hoping to find places for a full 12. You simply cannot have too many tomatoes unless they are the expensive and completely tasteless things you can get at the grocery store here.

This morning I also planted 15 more arugula seeds and two kinds of heirloom bell pappers; 3 Albino Bullnose and 3 Charleston Belles. I’ve got to wait until next week when I get some more medim-sized starter pots to round that up to a total of 10 bell pepper plants and to plant the two kinds of heirloom aubergine seeds (5 plants of each).

I just got back from the vet with Batya who neeeded her steroid shot for the gingivitis. Little Whisper is out for the first time today from her quarantined convalesence. We very nearly lost her and more than $2000 in, we’ve still no idea what this mystery illness is. I’ll try to get a post in about what all we’ve been through with her on Friday.

I’ve got to go collect the 20 bags of litter we ordered and then work on school projects. More updates to come as soon as I get some breathing space :) Love and hugs, been missing you all!!


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