Old Market Photos: Apples, Walnuts and Spices in Mahane Yehuda

Mahane Yehuda apples
In December 2017 we visited the old market (known in Hebrew as a shuk) in Jerusalem called Mahane Yehuda. On a Friday the market is bustling: you can buy fruit, chocolate, wine, baked goods, fish, spices, meat and more! On a Saturday night the place converts into little bars and places to eat. We also visited on Saturday night, but because of the crowds and a broken oven in one restaurant, we ended eating a meal back on Emek Refaim Street, near where we were staying.

walnuts in Mahane Yehuda
My husband bought some wine and some nuts for our hosts that were visiting on Shabbat. My daughter bought some chocolate in a bag. Each little chocolate candy said: “Hatan v’ Kalah” – Groom and Bride. This was because our excuse for visiting Israel was the wedding of a relative. She gave the candies to her class members upon return to the U.S.

spices in Mahane Yehuda
I did not explore the spices carefully, but I am sure I would find some that are unfamiliar. The sign on the left by the rose spices says: “Please do not touch with your hands!!! Thank you!”

Have you ever visited an old market? What did you buy? What did you see?

Thursday Challenge: Sound

Canada Day band in Montreal
Can you hear the band playing? This band was marching in the parade down Rue Ste. Catherine in Montreal on Canada Day. We had a great time watching the parade, although we left when it started to pour. Hope to post more pictures soon of the parade.

Thursday Challenge theme is: Sound (Noise, Music, Singing, Birds, Insects, Vehicles,…).

May Blooms: Lilac, Dogwood, Azalea

lilac in bloom in Highland Park, New Jersey
It’s a lovely time of year in Highland Park, New Jersey. Lots of trees, bushes and flowers are in bloom, such as this lavender lilac. Did you grow up smelling lilacs in May? I remember them as a child growing up in Newton, Massachusetts; I would walk down the street and smell this lovely scent.

pink dogwood in Highland Park, New Jersey
This elegant dogwood is in my neighbor’s backyard. Several years back I painted a watercolor of this dogwood in bloom. My dogwood photo from 2008 seems to get a lot of pins on Pinterest.

azalea in Highland Park, New Jersey backyard
Azalea bushes are quite popular in Highland Park. This one is in my backyard. Give a few weeks and the blooms will be full and red. Others are pink or white. Azaleas like acidic soil – Highland Park, New Jersey soil cooperates. Tomatoes also do well. I’ve planted marigolds in my front yard – those have germinated. I’ve also seen the nasturtium seeds germinate (I planted those, too; the seeds look like shriveled chickpeas). My chamomile seeds were started in a little box – I’ve got those germinating as well. My hydrangea is still alive – it started to grow green leaves. Will it get munched right down by a deer like what happened last year? Or will I be rewarded with hydrangea blooms?

dogwood in front of lilac
Here are dogwood blooms in front of lilac blooms.

What’s in your backyard?

For more nature notes:
Nature Notes

Northern Cardinal Name

cardinal male red in tree
Which came first: the Catholic leader or the bird? What do you think? Answer at the bottom of this post.

In terms of location, cardinals live on the eastern side of North America. It seems if you feed them like I do (I give them black oil sunflower seeds), they came back to visit often.
male cardinal in tree
I don’t know how I got so close to this particular cardinal to take his photo.

cardinal turns his head
Note the fluffiness of the feathers. If you want to see a female cardinal, you can visit this old post.

cardinal male fluffy and red
A few years ago I did a cardinal watercolor painting.

Now for the source of the Northern cardinal name: the Catholic leader came first. From Wikipedia:

Cardinal, 1125, “one of the ecclesiastical princes who constitute the sacred college,” from L. cardinalis “principal, chief, essential,” from cardo (gen. cardinis) “that on which something turns or depends,” originally “door hinge.” Ecclesiastical use began for the presbyters of the chief (cardinal) churches of Rome.

The N.Amer. songbird (Cardinalis virginianus) is attested from 1678, so named for its resemblance to the red robes of the cardinals.

Here is a funny response: How the Cardinal Got Its Name, in which he says “Catholic cardinals wear red to hide spaghetti sauce stains.”

Read: How did the Northern Cardinal get its name? – In 1758 the Cardinal was one of the many species originally described by Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature, in the genus Loxia cardinalis. Loxia is derived the Greek loxos which means crosswise. Based on appearance, Linnaeus thought the Cardinal was related to the Red Crossbill. However taxonomists found the two species were not closely related. Subsequently in 1838, it was changed to the genus Cardinalis and given the scientific name Cardinalis virginianus, which means “Virginia Cardinal” because there were a lot of Cardinals in Virginia. Then in 1918, the scientific name was changed to Richmondena cardinalis to honor Charles Wallace Richmond, an American ornithologist. But in 1983 that was changed again, to Cardinalis cardinalis and the common name was also changed to “Northern Cardinal.” There are actually several bird species in the world with the name Cardinal. The term “Northern” in the common name refers to its range, as it is the only cardinal found in the Northern Hemisphere. And the “Cardinal” name was derived from the vivid red plumage of the male, which resembles the robes of the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church.

Finally, lots of good information on cardinals in general: What you should know about Cardinal – Northern birds

Early settlers were said to have named this bird after the Cardinal of the Catholic Church because the red of the bird reminded them of the color of the Cardinal’s robes. Since 1886, the Cardinal has considerably expanded its territory from being rarely seen north of the Ohio River to thriving over much of North America. The Northern Cardinal is quite similar to the Pyrrhuloxia, which is a southwestern species that is mostly gray with a crest tipped in red.

Thanks to Lorri (follow the link for hatching cardinal babies) for helping me find informational links.

Raspberry Watercolor, Raspberry Photo

raspberry watercolor by Leora Wenger, 2014
raspberry watercolor by Leora Wenger, 2014

Here it is mid-September, and yes, we still have raspberries! I started this patch at least ten years ago from three little shoots. Now I have to cut them back and make sure they don’t take over our entire backyard.

I did the watercolor as a response to an exercise to paint something you observe in nature in the One Watercolor a Day book. The last time I posted a watercolor was my Sage Watercolor way back in April. I guess I’ve gotten distracted by both spring and summer gardening! More attractive to dig in the dirt than take out the paints, observe and record? Seems to be gardening won out this year.

raspberry photo garden
The raspberries are not as sweet as the strawberries we get in the spring. But their season is longer. We get a few ones on the old cane in July; in August we start getting the bunches of raspberries on the new cane. Have you ever eaten raspberries fresh from the garden?

If you live in Highland Park or Edison, I can dig up a plant or two to give to you.

Historical Windows of Asbury, Shawangunks and Ocean Grove

house near visitor center Sam's Point Shawangunks
This old white house of wood was next to the visitor center on our hike in the Shawangunk Mountains. It looks like it might have once been a farmhouse. One hundred years ago this area was known for its berry pickers – hard to believe berry picking was once someone’s job. But I suppose in other parts of the world it still is.

Asbury Park, Paramount Theatre
If you visit Asbury Park, a prominent building is the Paramount Theatre. It is right on the beach, and a promenade boardwalk leads you from the theater to the old casino building. Lots of shops and restaurants have newly opened along the boardwalk. The theater (you can read its history here) was built back in 1927. Two years ago I posted Asbury Park: Pictorial History in Brief).

Ocean Grove, New Jersey
Finally, here’s a beach house with historical windows in Ocean Grove, New Jersey (I’m guessing that the original windows were replaced – these looks simpler than how I imagine windows once used to be). Ocean Grove is next to Asbury Park. It has a rather different history. It started out as a Methodist town – here is some history. My husband remembers when you were not allowed to ride your car in Ocean Grove on a Sunday. He would ride his bike to work at his job, and when he got to Ocean Grove he would get off his bike and walk it.

I’m linking to I Wish I Were a Photographer on Toby’s blog. As she says, I wish Israel were no longer at war – I read via Facebook of my cousins and my friends too often needing to go to their shelters to protect themselves from the missiles. Last week, a four-year-old boy was killed.

Want to participate? See Whimsical Windows and Delirious Doors.
whimsical windows delirious doors

Thursday Challenge: Raritan River

Raritan River near Donaldson Park
Raritan River near Donaldson Park, photo 2014 by Leora Wenger

Thursday Challenge theme is WATER (Swimming, Boating, Fishing, Lake, Ocean, River,…)
The Raritan River surrounds Highland Park. The river winds around our little borough. In one area we have Johnson Park bordering the river. To the south of us we have Donaldson Park. Both are big county parks with ball fields, geese and playgrounds. Donaldson Park, which is next to where I took this photo, also has a dog park and a boat launch area.

Just for the fun of it, I added this wet photo of Donaldson Park:
wet Donaldson Park

Flowers of Comfort

It was a very difficult week for the Jewish people – some say Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar came early this year. This is not a political blog; I could send you elsewhere to read some important posts, such as this one or this one. And here’s one that is quite thorough on a recent topic.

I will just mention the word nechama – comfort. What do you do or say or post when you need comfort? I’m posting flowers from my garden. Above are the columbines of spring – now gone, except for the seeds. You can sprinkle the seeds from the spring columbines in a different place in your yard, and if conditions are right, you get more columbines!

Mexican poppies
I grow these Mexican poppies instead of grass on my front lawn. Unfortunately, they are only in bloom for a short time in the spring. I have to be careful not to pull them up when the flowers are done – it is easy to mistake them later for weeds. Some of the poppies’ leaves are now turning a brilliant red.

summer rudbeckia
Rudbeckia or black-eyed susan: one of my favorite flowers! These I grow all over my yard, front and back. They seem to be happy here.

summer lilies
Finally, here are some bright summer lilies. My neighbor was admiring these, and I told her I grew them by mistake! I probably pulled a lily in a different spot by accident and threw it by the fence. It took hold right behind a pink rose bush. I think the two look a bit silly together, but whatever.

Do you have favorite flowers? Do flowers bring you comfort?

Recipe: Salad in a Jar

salad in a jar with beans, cucumbers, lettuce
Summer approaches: more opportunities to take food on the go. What do you eat when you travel? Have you ever made salad in a jar?

Last week I drove to U. of Maryland and back to pick up my son. I made my salad in a jar the day before. The only “rules” are put the green leafy vegetables like lettuce on the top, and have the dressing on the bottom. Then, when you are ready to eat, tip over the jar so the dressing runs all through the ingredients. Make sure to bring a fork and plate. It is difficult to eat salad in a jar if you don’t have a desk or table handy. Next time I travel maybe I will try a plastic bowl for the salad (not for storing it, just for eating it).

First, I will list the ingredients in my salad in a jar. Then I will make a list of all sorts of ideas of what one can put in the jar. Feel free to add your own food ideas in the comments.

Ingredients for One Version of Salad in a Jar

  • romaine lettuce – torn into pieces
  • raw kale – torn into pieces
  • bits of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts
  • bean salad – I had a leftover bean salad I had made for Shabbat. It already had a light, garlicky dressing and bits of red onion and fresh oregano.
  • cucumber – chopped into pieces
  • dressing – olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar (add a few spices and salt/pepper to taste)
  • glass jar with wide top
  • fork and plate or bowl for eating

Make the Salad

Find a jar with a wide top. Locate all your ingredients and assemble them. If you don’t have enough ingredients, go to the store, walk through the produce section, and pick out some vegetables! Fruit might work, too. In my case, I chopped up cucumbers and a few red onions. I washed romaine lettuce and kale. I had already made a bean salad the day before.

My first layer is the dressing. I used only cold pressed olive oil and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. But in retrospect, a few spices might have been nice (salt, pepper, garlic powder, turmeric are possibilities). Then I added the chopped cucumbers. It is best to add heavy vegetables such as cucumbers, steamed cauliflower, or steamed brussel sprouts – something substantial that the rest of the salad can “sit” upon.
cucumbers chopped salad red onion
Then I sprinkled my chopped red onion. The bean salad went on top of that, followed by the kale and on top the romaine lettuce. I sprinkled some sunflower seeds and nuts on the top. I did have a hard boiled egg that I took on the side.

When you get to your destination, it is best to have a table or desk upon which to eat the salad. Be sure to take a fork! Turn the jar upside down so the dressing runs all over the lettuce. Put the salad on the plate, and enjoy. You may find this more than you can eat – it would be nice to share with a friend.

Comparison to a sandwich: it is much easier to eat a sandwich on the go. However, I much prefer the taste of this salad in a jar. And my body prefers it as well.

Long List of Ideas for Salad in a Jar

  • Lettuces: romaine, red leafy, green leafy, all kinds of leafy!
  • Greens: kale, spinach, watercress – it would be interesting to try some lightly cooked greens in the middle (you may not want it to touch the lettuces until serving time).
  • Hard boiled eggs (I stored mine separately)./li>
  • Hard cheese
  • Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, chia seeds
  • Nuts – you may want to be careful about nuts because of the chocking hazard. Even an adult can choke – don’t move around when you eat.
  • Cucumbers
  • Beets – cooked, uncooked and sliced, fermented – but be aware you may end up with pink salad.
  • Turnips, Parsnips, chopped, shredded carrots
  • Cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli – I would want them lightly-steamed
  • Chopped citrus fruits – oranges, grapefruit, clementine, tangerine
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Chopped apple or pear
  • Sweet, chopped onion: red or vidalia
  • Herbs: chopped basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, fermented garlic or beets
  • Cooked beans
  • Zucchini, cooked or uncooked
  • Pasta
  • Cooked grains: rice, millet, quinoa (probably easiest if you have leftovers already)
  • Croutons
  • Chicken, chopped (or other meats)
  • Tuna
  • Pickles? – maybe put it in between layers of hard vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

Supposedly, a salad in a jar will last in the refrigerator for a week, so one could possibly make several in advance, and bring on to work each day.

Your Ideas, Please

If you were going to make a salad in a jar, what would you include?

Review with Female Cardinal

female cardinal
This female cardinal in my backyard was the first photograph I took in 2014. Note she is duller than her brightly colored male mate – she has one streak of red feathers to display. What was your first 2014 photograph?

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