Post 312: Chance to pick cherries in Jerusalem: TODAY,Sighting a gecko, stretching exercises before jumping rope, cheese and cheeseless recipes for Shavuot

I’d love to do this, but only if the temperature drops! Here’s a
chance to pick your own organic cherries right in Jerusalem at Kibbutz
Ramat Rachel, bus #7 to the end.:

Friday, June 3, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., for anyone from age 3 and up, NIS 25
per adult or child, and an additional NIS 20 per kilo and a half
picked in the orchards.

Cherry-picking -and a piece of history at Ramat Rachel

The kibbutz, which once protected Jerusalem’s south from Jordanian
troops, is now letting in locals to glean its organic fruit

BY JESSICA STEINBERG June 1, 2016, 1:37 pm 2

KIBBUTZ RAMAT RACHEL — The rolling hills of netting-covered cherry
trees extend for several kilometers beyond the houses and hotel of
Kibbutz Ramat Rachel. The 60 acres of black-barked trees sprout 17
different types of organic cherries, from darkly sweet, nearly black fruit to the bright crimson cultivar, tasting of warm sun and air.

The orchards butt up against the borders of the nearby Arnona
neighborhood of Jerusalem, reaching the stone walls surrounding the US Consulate complex and the fields around the neighboring Arab village of Tsur Baher.

These groves are a final remnant of the kibbutz aesthetic, said Ron
Dotan, the kibbutz member who first planted the cherry trees 14 years
ago and headed the “cherry desk” of Israel’s Growers Cooperative. Now
he’s running the kibbutz hotel.

“A kibbutz without agriculture isn’t a kibbutz,” said Dotan, a bearded
and ponytailed bear of a man who moves slowly. “We’re still a kibbutz.
We even serve three meals a day” in the kibbutz dining room where many
of the 450 kibbutz residents still eat, unlike most other surviving
kibbutz communities. “We have a capitalist approach and a socialist
mindset. You have to; socialism costs a lot of money.”

After being overheard by the former chairman of the kibbutz, who
sitting nearby in the cafe of the hotel, Dotan was mildly reprimanded
for speaking so freely, and reminded that the kibbutz pays dearly for
every business and service it provides.

The lush green lawns and pools of the Ramat Rachel Hotel overlook the
surrounding area (Courtesy Kibbutz Ramat Rachel)

“Just talk about the cherries,” advised Dotan’s colleague.

But it isn’t that simple. So Dotan continued with his history lesson.

The kibbutz, which was established in the farthest southern reaches of
the city in the 1920s, overlooking Bethlehem, has always taken its
kibbutz status seriously.

It was cut off from the rest of the city during the 1948 war and
protected Jerusalem from the invading Jordanian troops by holding the
city’s border.

Even today, a meeting room with windows around its perimeter was built
on top of the kibbutz’s 165-room hotel to show guests the kibbutz’s
location, overlooking Bethlehem and what used to be Jordanian
territory surrounding the community.

“We protected the city from the invading troops,” said Dotan, pointing
out what was formerly Jordanian territory and is now the Israeli
neighborhoods of Har Homa and Gilo.

The netting-covered organic cherry orchards of Jerusalem’s Kibbutz
Ramat Rachel will be opened to the public for paid picking on Friday,
June 3, 2016 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

In time, the kibbutz succeeded, retaining its cooperative status,
while eventually building the hotel, the connecting pool club where
many Jerusalemites pay membership, and selling off lands once used for
orange and apple orchards and now developed as high-rise neighborhoods
and a gas station complex.

Ramat Rachel, locals like to say, is one of the country’s richest
kibbutz communities.

Dotan shrugged when asked about the kibbutz’s income.

“We may have income, but we still live like kibbutznikim,” he said,
pointing at his sandals.

The Royalton cherry is grown at Ramat Rachel, the only place in Israel
where that sweet varietal can be found (Jessica Steinberg/Times of

The cherries, however, remain, with 3,000 to 4,000 tons grown each
year on the nearby hills. They are picked during May and June and sold
abroad to Singapore, Holland, Belgium, Russia, South America and even
to Britain’s Marks & Spencer.

“I had a vision that we would build an empire of cherries,” he said.
“The biggest organic cherry orchards in the country.”

It’s an expensive fruit to grow, said Dotan, given the painstaking
picking process and the organic status, which is protected by the
netting stretched overhead, as well as cultivated bees and tiny
ladybugs that provide natural fertilization.

It also requires cold air, which is why most Israeli cherries are
grown in the Golan Heights and Galilee, as well as in Gush Etzion and
the southern Hebron Hills, where cold snaps can be relied upon.

For the first time, however, the kibbutz is willing to share some of
its Royalton varietal cherries, and will open the orchards to locals
who want to pick a bushel and bake some pita this Friday.

“We want Jerusalemites to be connected to the kibbutz,” said Dotan.

Kibbutz Ramat Rachel’s organic cherry orchards are being opened to the
public for the first time this Friday, June 3 2016 (Jessica
Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Friday, June 3, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., for anyone from age 3 and up, NIS 25
per adult or child, and an additional NIS 20 per kilo and a half
picked in the orchards.

And some local Flora

Mornings can find me sit ting on a bench near the section depicted in the photograph taken in Gan Ha AztMaOt, on Rechove King George.

One day last week temperatures soared and instead of coming out to exercise at 8:30 AM I came out at 6 :00 AM to an empty park..that is of humans. I spotted two geckos, maybe looking for some relief and before I had a chance to photograph them, in their colorful regalia, they vanished into the shrub cover.

Yesterday I returned and was prepared with my camera. One gecko is barely visible.


wp-1464714540868.jpegRight in the middle is the gecko.

My telephone photo of the gecko is quite clear. Here he is barely discernible hovering over an orange seed.

Maybe this is a different gheko and there is a colony in the shrub. The one that I sited last week was orange and turquoise.

What are my moves in the AM?

I will be practicing these movements from Prevention magazine:

8 Essential Toning Moves For Women Over 40


Losing weight after 40 is not as hard as you think. Although strength-training is key, research shows that how you train can make a difference between so-so results and a metabolism that stays in high gear, burning fat and showing off lean muscle. The secret is targeting a specific type of muscle fiber called type II, or fast-twitch, that’s responsible for bursts of speed and power. This type of muscle, like the name implies, is faster as well as denser, a combo that may yield quicker results.

These essential fibers, however, are the first to go as you get older (even if you’re active) because most workouts don’t target them. If you don’t use them, you lose them. Fortunately, there’s an easy antidote: speed. Research from salisbury University in Maryland found that lifting weights faster recruits more muscle and increases calorie burn by about 32%. That’s 72 extra calories per workout—the amount you’d burn walking a mile! The best part: you may feel stronger after just one workout. Combine the moves below with your regular cardio routine and healthy eating plan—and get ready to firm up your toughest trouble zones for good.

What you’ll need: One 6-foot flat exercise band (or two shorter ones tied together), medium resistance.

3 days a week: Perform 3 sets of 8 reps of each exercise in the order listed, resting 30 seconds between sets, then repeat the entire routine one more time.

תוצאות חיפוש

      1. You can try this oneתוצאת תמונה עבור ‪sling shot squat photo‬‏

Slingshot Squat (firms hips and      legs)

      slingshot squat

תוצאות חיפוש

Stand on band with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold ends at shoulder height, palms forward. Bend hips and knees and sit back, keeping knees behind toes. This is the start position. Quickly (1 count) stand up, then slowly (3 counts) lower.
MORE: Tone Your Lower Ans Without Doing A Single Squat Or Lunge. You can also perform this move by swinging your band around a piece of playground equipment.

2. Crunch & Press (firms triceps and abs)

Loop band around a sturdy object near the ground. Lie with band behind you, knees bent, feet flat. Hold each end of band and bend arms so elbows point up with hands above shoulders. Quickly curl head and shoulders off ground, then rapidly extend arms so they are straight out from shoulders. Slowly return to start position.
3. Triangle Press (firms shoulders)
triangle press

Place right foot on center of band, holding ends in each hand. Step left foot about 3 feet to left, turn foot out, and bend knee into side lunge, keeping right leg straight. Rest left forearm on left thigh, and bend right arm so hand is by right shoulder. Quickly press right arm overhead on a diagonal. Slowly lower. Complete a full set, then switch sides.

4. Half Curl (firms biceps)
half curl

Stand on band with feet a few inches apart. Hold ends with arms bent 90 degrees, elbows at sides, palms up (A). Quickly bend elbows, raising hands toward shoulders (B). Slowly lower to start.

5. Bench Press (firms chest)
bench press

Loop band underneath a bench or aerobic step and grasp one end of band in each hand. Lie back with knees bent, feet flat, and hands by chest, elbows pointing slightly down and out. Quickly straighten arms toward sky without locking elbows. Slowly lower.

MORE: The 10-Minute Stair Workout You Can Do At Home

6. Seated Row (firms back)
seated row

Sit with knees bent slightly and feet flexed, heels resting on ground. Loop band around feet and grasp an end in each hand. Keeping back straight, quickly bend arms and pull hands toward rib cage, elbows pointing behind you. Slowly extend arms.

7. Leg Press (firms butt and thighs)
leg press

Lie on back with legs bent in toward chest. Loop band around bottom of left foot, with sole facing up, and grasp ends of band. Quickly straighten left leg, without locking knee. Slowly return to start position. Complete a full set, then switch legs.

8. Lat Pull-Down (firms back)
lat pull down

Loop band overhead. (to attach in a door, put a knot in center of band, drape knot over door so loose ends are on side by you, close door, and check that band is secure.) Kneel facing band, arms extended overhead, hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Quickly pull hands down, squeezing shoulder blades together, until hands are around chest height. Slowly release.

Baked Tofu Cheese Cake (Amanda Wright)


1/2 C rolled oats

1/2 C ground sunflower seeds

1/2 C ground almonds

3 T  coconut oil

1/2 C boiling water

sea salt


Combine all the dry ingredients and mix with oil and boiling water to a dough.

Let it rest for an hour

Roll out the pastry and line a greased flan dish with it

Blind Bake it at 170 deg celsius for about 1/2 hour


500 g hard tofu

3 T tahini

3 T rice malt

rind and juice of 1/2 lemon

vanilla essence

1/4 C raisins

Put tofu in the food processor and mix with tahini, rice malt, lemon rind,

juice, vanilla essence and raisins.

Put mixture into the pastry case and bake at 160 deg celsius for about 1/2 hour

Strawberry Sauce

1 punnet strawberries

1 T apple juice

2 T rice malt

Puree strawberries, apple juice and rice malt

Bring to boil, let it cool down and serve with cake


It is close to impossible to achieve long term weight loss, a happy thyroid,  keep checking my quick easy recipes for staying fit on the run.



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