Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Juicy fresh figs

An attractive plant we found just up the bank near the beginning of valley road, had managed to sprout out of relatively freshly overturned earth. Looks like a kind of borage, like a white forget-me-not with slightly larger blooms.

Range today 18.5-~27 degrees C. When we headed out- about 23 degrees and falling, humidity ~75% and rising, wind 9-12kt and westerly.

We decided to head over north ridge to the vale on the other side as I expected we could get some ripe figs from the trees over there. Timing was good, there were enough ripe figs for dessert for all the family. Mmm! Nothing is quite as rapturous in the mouth as fresh sweet figs from the tree. We said the blessing 'borei pri ha-etz' ( blessed be-who created the fruit of the tree) and 'shehechianu.. (blessed be.. who has sustained us to this day) ' for the first fruit of that kind of the season tasted.

There were some almond trees there too, their green fuzzy outer pods bursting and the nuts almost falling out. The many olive trees were loaded with fruit, still apparently developing. Quite a few of the figs were already split and would be attacked by flies or birds pretty much immediately.

One gazelle noticed- looked like full grown female and heading up the hill, big one, wondered if she was pregnant, though this time of year? Several piles of fresh gazelle dropping various parts of the hill, and two fox bolts over on the north east slopes, one surprisingly narrow, but typical in appearance.

As far as birds were concerned: quite a few larks heard and seen on the hill top there, probably crested lark (Galerida cristata) , hoopoes about, quite a few bee-eaters scattered over their favourite hunting grounds there though no coherent swarms today. (Lots of ants active today we noticed, gathering grass seed heads, the bee-eaters could be after these) , stone curlews vocal especially around dusk. Blackbirds (alarm, not song) and graceful warblers heard, collared dove about. Some hooded crows foraging on the field. Scattered foraging Eurasian jays.

Garden and street: house sparrows, sunbird (in Bauhinia, very vocal early afternoon), lots of laughing doves at their feeding station, feral pigeons.

Plenty grasshoppers active also, Moshe kept finding them!

No need to leave the house to find wildlife! This beauty almost ran onto my hand as I took a pillowcase from the shelf in the boys' room. Looks like one of the wolf spiders and is just about 5 cm in span.

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