It's been a long time. Not that I don't have anything to say, but you know how it goes. Above is a shot of the newly developing olives. This year's harvest looks to be quite promising. Lots to do this time of year: getting drip irrigation system back into working order, cutting down weeds, getting the olive fly traps glued up and hanging on the trees, and the usual olive oil bottling and deliveries.
I am in the middle of a permaculture design course which meets every Friday. Permaculture is a way of designing that copies from, and strives to be in harmony with, nature. So that includes farming and gardening methods, building design, and lifestyle. I've learned a lot about permaculture along the way, especially from my good friend Jan Bang who is a real expert. But the course is helping fill in the gaps, reorganize my thinking, and giving me lots of new ideas to try. The teacher and fellow students are great people. It takes place at the Chava V'Adam Ecological Education Center in Modiin. A highly recommended place to visit and experience. Check it out.
Last week I made a long overdue trip to the Garden of Gethsemane, in the Kidron Valley between the Mount of Olives and the Old City of Jerusalem. This is the garden where Jesus and his disciples hung out, and where Jesus was arrested after the Passover seder. Guess who didn't find the afikoman!
Why am I telling you all this here? First, because the Garden of Gethsemane has about a dozen seriously old olive trees. The million dollar question is: "how old? Did Jesus really rest under these same trees?" I know, that's two questions. From what I've learned, there aren't any 2000 year old olive trees still alive. Or even 1,980 year old ones in this case. But still they are quite a beautiful site.
Secondly, the name Gethsemane in Hebrew is "Gat Shmanim", or oil press. Apparently there was an olive press, possibly in Mary's grotto next door. Notice the big round stones for crushing olives in the background in the painting that hangs on the wall there (just below Jesus' right hand):
On a final note, it's never too early to remind readers that if anyone is interested in picking olives this fall/winter, get in touch by email through this website. I'm always looking for a few good people to come stay with us at Gezer and help out.
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I'm Dani Livney, a member of Kibbutz Gezer, and the manager of the Gezer olives. I love it! I also work as a lawyer, focusing on environmental projects and promoting environmental empowerment and education.