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25/06/10
CityTree Day 2 16/6/10

Per Tami’s request, I arrived at CityTree an hour earlier that usual to learn the ins and outs of watering the garden that surrounds the apartment. I have to admit, the anti-morning-person in me was not so happy about this situation. Regardless, I girded my loins and faced my fear of the early morn to learn more about the upkeep of the garden. CityTree did not disappoint. read on

At first glance, the garden behind Tami’s apartment looks a bit in a shambles… broken chairs sit and wait to be fixed, irrigation pipes lay exposed; a company of glass bottles seems to be holding a convention in the dirt. But as Tami walked me though, tree-by-tree, plant-by-plant, I began to see, albeit through my morning stupor, the beauty and variety of the place. Question of the moment: who knew you could grow kale in Israel?

I enjoyed seeing the irrigation system that I had helped build bubbling away, saving us the time and water. It was really crazy how many different plants were growing right in her backyard. I’ve seen so many apartment buildings with the same amount of space out back—overgrown with weeds concealing trash from the 1950’s, each a garden waiting to happen. Tomatoes, broccoli, nana, fig, papaya… all soaking up the sun smack in the center of downtown Tel Aviv.

After our stint in the garden I went out front to spruce up a slightly haggard-looking tree, using the dead leaves and branches as a mulch cover for the surrounding plants. The sun was incredibly strong; beads of sweat were dripping down my nose within minutes. Every few minutes a small group of Israeli teenagers walked by on a scavenger hunt, each group looking for various famous buildings on Bialik Street. Every “discovery” of Bialik Street was more amusing than the last.

The heat and humidity of that morning finally got to me after about an hour of manual labor. I headed inside to be welcomed by freshly chopped watermelon and roasted crushed cacao beans: delicious, nutritious, and most importantly, refreshing. I spent the rest of the day filling jars with (wonderful) techina (Tehini), and cleaning out old olive oil bottles to be refilled the next day. I also did some work on the computer, compiling information for a grant application. By 17:00, I was completely and utterly beat. Tami welcomed participants of the nights’ class on Permaculture to the salon, and I walked around video taping (literally, VHS!) snippets of the course. By 20:00, as the course began watering the garden with compost-enriched water, my fatigue got the better of me; so I hopped on a Ra’anana-bound bus, excited from the days’ adventure and content that I had woken up that extra hour early.

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