Nature Notes: This Week’s Basket


I explained last week that I recently joined a csa. The distribution was yesterday instead of today because of Bastille Day which is a national holiday in France.

Each week, two members of the group arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of the distribution, set up the tables, crates and scales so that everything is ready when the other people get there.

Yesterday was my turn and I had printed a recipe which included 3 of the ingredients in this week’s basket. Apart from the health and economical benefits from such an arrangement, I appreciate how it makes me more aware of what is growing in our area.

This week’s basket:
– 1 kg of red potatoes
– 600 gr of carrots
– 1 beet
– 1 cucumber or one big zucchini
– 2 different sorts of lettuce
– 2 garlic heads
– 300 gr of French beans
– 6 eggs

For more Nature Notes:


Remembering Through Little Things


Being in a job where a lot of paper is used – books, handouts, lesson preparations, photocopies – I often felt that too much of it was wasted.

Some colleagues suggested having a special waste basket for paper so that it coud be recycled. For years this was deemed impossible since it would mean more work for the school cleaners. Then the school got guidelines from the Ministry of Education and had to comply.

It still seemed that a lot of the paper going into the waste had hardly been used and it bothered me, until I came across this website. I visited this site for a reason that had nothing to do with environmental issues – I had just finished a book by Blu Greenberg – but I read a eulogy and a memory page that helped me with this issue.

J.J. was a man who loved life. He showed constant reverence for life. He was a vegetarian, at his own initiative, since the age of 14. He was a Machmir (very strict observer) of the command bal tashchit – “not to waste.” He was a friendly but relentless recycler. Under his watchful eye at Jewish Life Network, not a single piece of paper went into a wastebin without being used on both sides.

I now make sure to write on both sides of a paper, I keep unused photocopies and give them to the students for scrap paper and encourage them to do the same. It is not a big deed but I feel that every little thing helps.

In Judaism we believe that we live on after our death in the good works that we have done and in the good name we have made for ourselves. I hope that J.J. Greenberg’s relatives and friends find comfort in the fact that J.J. still inspires people – even strangers – in their commitments and everyday life.

More Think(ing) Green Posts at Ramblingwoodsgreen.


Attempts at Being Greener


I have just discovered this new meme and thought I would give it a go. I am certainmy not a very “green” person but I am trying to change a few habits. One of my top concerns being what we eat and the repercussions on our health.

I happened to go shopping yesterday, like most Wednesdays or Thursdays. For once I had made a rather exhaustive list of what I needed, which included fruit and vegetables. As I had little time I had planned to do all my shopping at the local supermarket rather than go there and to the small greengrocer’s where I often shop.

Once in the green section, I thought I would have a look at the organic products. One of the reasons was that after the summer season it is more difficult to find local products unless you want apples, cabbage or potatoes. Thus a lot of fruit and vegetables are imported from Spain. The problem with Spanish products is that they contain pesticide residues which pose potential health hazards.

Therefore I decided to buy organic potatoes, carrots, zucchini and bananas. Unfortunately since the range is still rather small it was necessary to add some non-organic vegetables, including a Dutch red pepper (most certainly grown in a greenhouse).

What most surprised me was that the total wasn’t too expensive, maybe because of the list which prevented me from buying useless products.

More Think(ing) Green Posts at Ramblingwoodsgreen.


Nature Notes: Ethymology In My Garden




With a little help from Wikipedia.

This week I had too little time to venture to the park or canal for real Nature photos, so I went back to my garden and spotted what had changed in two weeks.

The first photo shows a forsythia, named after William Forsyth (1737 – 1804) a Scottish botanist. He was a royal head gardener and a founding member of the Royal Horticultural Society. A genus of flowering plants, Forsythia, is named in his honor.

The second shot features primula. The word primula is the Latin feminine diminutive of primus, meaning first (prime), applied to flowers that are among the first to open in spring.

In the last picture one can see pulmonaria or lungworts. The scientific name Pulmonaria is derived from Latin pulmo (the lung). In the times of sympathetic magic, the spotted oval leaves of P. officinalis were thought to symbolize diseased, ulcerated lungs, and so were used to treat pulmonary infections. The common name in many languages also refers to lungs, as in English “lungwort” and German “Lungenkraut”.
Michelle of Rambling Woods started a new meme called “Nature Notes.” This is my firs contribution. Have a look at her blog for more “Nature Notes”.


Nature Notes: By The Canal




A favorite Sunday walk in my area is along a canal which joins two rivers: the Somme and the Scheldt. As the weather was bright and sunny last week, we went walking there and I took a few photos.

Has your area changed? How do you feel the awakening of spring?

Michelle of Rambling Woods started a new meme called “Nature Notes.” This is my firs contribution. Have a look at her blog for more “Nature Notes”.


Nature Notes: Festival of Spring


The festival of Pesach, the Jewish word for Passover, has five different names. One of them is Chag Ha-Aviv, that is to say the Festival of Spring.

The choice of the season is found in the Torah: “Observe the month of Spring and keep the Passover unto the L-rd your G-d, for in the month of Spring the L-rd your G-d brought you out of Egypt by night” (Devarim 16:1).

What spring is to Nature, the Exodus is to the Jewish people. In spring, we witness the awakening of Nature to new life after the long and dark winter months. Similarly, Exodus marks the awakening of the children of Israel to new life after long and dark years in slavery.

The awakening of Nature is already quite tangible in my part of the world with new tender green buds and flowers (narcissi and daffodils) in my garden. Even the quality of the light seems to have changed. I hope that the photo above captures all this.

Has your area changed? How do you feel the awakening of spring?

Michelle of Rambling Woods started a new meme called “Nature Notes.” This is my firs contribution. Have a look at her blog for more “Nature Notes”.