Earlier Today in the Backyard

Black Iris

After the shower overnight and before the rain this afternoon, there was a glorious, sunny window of opportunity to head out and enjoy the wildflowers that are blooming all over the country.

Following last week’s tumultuous climb out of Nahal Tavor, where the lupines were starting to bloom (my knees haven’t yet recovered from the 300 meter, 45-60Ā° grade incline), hubby and I decided to take it a bit easier this week and head just north of us to the Iris Reserve on Netanya’s sandy dunes near the sea. The reserve is an oasis smack in the middle of what is fast-becoming another high-rise, residential neighborhood and while not currently in danger of being taken over, it was in the past. The Reserve is home to one of Israel’s most beautiful and rare wildflowers, the Black Iris or Iris Ha’argaman in Hebrew, as well as many other annuals. The perfume in the air was delicious!

The camera was misbehaving a bit because in many photos the focus was on the background rather than what I was pointing at and it was difficult to see the LCD screen in the sunlight to check (not to mention being down on my knees at ground-level for a number of shots). If there is anything I do miss about my old Oly, it’s the viewfinder!

Season’s Greetings!

Tinseltown

Feels a bit odd being out of the holiday loop with Hanukkah (Channukah, whatever) having been so early this year and the civil New Year not really observed by the majority of people here. Meaning, it’s been difficult to get into the “holiday spirit”. Our visit to the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem over the weekend helped a bit. No blaring Xmas music (thank goodness) but lots of decorations. We saw many groups of overseas pilgrims visiting, which is a nice change from a couple of years ago when our friends from the States were visiting at Christmastime and the streets in the Old City were nearly empty. I hope the shopkeepers are at least benefiting from the renewed traffic.

Yes, that is snow on the ground in Jerusalem, which 10 days ago got socked with around 40-50cm of the white stuff and came to a standstill for nearly 5 days. We saw many, many trees and branches that had snapped because of the cold and weight of the snow. No power in some homes for 3-4 days. Heads rolled at the electric company. Will we be prepared for the next time this happens (which is once in a decade or so)? Probably not. It even snowed in Cairo for the first time in a century!

Warm wishes for joyous festivities and a happy, healthy New Year!