Saturday, July 19, 2008


The birds nesting in the bird birdhouse right outside our Garden Room window totally delight and fascinate me. When I sit at my computer table inside, my eyes naturally look up and out the windows of our Garden Room, right into their nesting place. These little birds are in and out and fluttering about all day long.... inspiring a poem or two and many pleasant thoughts.

I can't gaze out into our backyard gardens very well from where I work on my computer, although the Garden Room's wallpaper is full of flowers which make a nice backdrop.

The Garden Gate

When looking for ideas- inspiration- and strength- I like to arrange (and rearrange) little eye catchers to entertain and entice as I try to write; pretty things- nice things where my eyes can pause as I think and dream... Heavens there is too much horror in the world, too much ugliness, crime, cruelty, corruption and temptation, so in my own home and yard I like reminders of the good and the gracious... positive symbols.... inspiring symbols.

The gardens (and the bird feeders and bird baths) are the central view from our kitchen windows and the window view I actually see most as I am often in our kitchen cooking something or washing dishes or doing bills or sitting with a friend at our kitchen table or whatever. Much of our garden is designed to attract birds and butterflies and yes even bees who help pollinate everything.

We have the terrace right outside kitchen window where we can sit to enjoy the day and the gardens outside. I also like to wander all around to see what might be tucked where.

Blue eyed dog by the Bachelor Buttons

Our first homegrown fully ripe red tomato of the year just picked !

Summer is in full swing, and now that the Larkspur (which was quite profuse) has finished blooming we have big bare spots on the upper hillside garden that needed something. Yesterday we went to the garden center and bought some flowers to plant up there. We wanted perennials in hopes they will pop up again next year, and we wanted a late summer bloom.

It was far too hot yesterday to plant them so we planted them this morning. I really should say HE planted them this morning as my husband, Jaffar, did most all the hard work with me mainly stalking him with my little pocket camera. I have some lovely shots of the sweat dripping off his nose... which I won't post : )My husband was careful to replant the daffodil bulbs unearthed by his digging so they will be back next spring.

Hopefully the new plants we brought will help bring bloom to that upper garden, with the slope and the clay soil and hot summer sun we need drought resistant things up there, no matter how much mulch we put in. My husband has lidded compost bins where he makes a rich mulch with leaves. It doesn't take long for its contents to go from green leaves to brown earth...
My husband likes to hover and play with his brew of new earth, sinking his hands in to feel its warmth and carefully stirring it. However it always scares me to open the lid and reach in there to bring him some mulch. I never know what I might find in there. Today it is was a stalk from an old pumpkin or squash that looked like a monster's foot. It really startled me!

As the morning wore on I hid in the shade of the dogwood tree while my husband worked in the hot sun. I'd venture out as a helpmate to take him things he needed- like the hose, or mulch, but I wither and grow weak and dizzy and useless in full sun, whereas he stays strong and able. When we finished planting we cooled down with some tall glasses of iced lemonade spiced with mint leaves from our herb garden. Wish we could grow lemons here too.. and oranges...
I noticed this week that the new 2009 Colors of Palestine Calender is now available...

View all calendar's images

2009 Yom El-Ard


I very much enjoy being able to go online to pursue all the inspiring artwork and ideas out there... and I have a special fondness for positive depictions and memories of Palestine. This year's calender has a wonderful mix of art, very well chosen.

One of my favorite artists this year is the prolific and talented Fayeq Oweis:
Fayeq Oweis, Ph.D
الدكتور فائق عويس

Fayeq Oweis is an Arab American artist, educator, and a community activist. Read more .....

Implementation Front Entrance
Front Entrance
Rendering with Design
Front Entrance Design

Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum is the first museum in the world devoted to Arab American history and culture. The Museum brings to light the shared experiences of immigrants and ethnic groups, paying tribute to the diversity of our nation.

for more information about the Museum, visit the museum's web site at

I like how he has many different projects, and much of what he does is all about reaching out in public ways, to help educate and inspire others...

Actual Design of the Arab Cultural Mural 54 feet by 30 feet at the Islamic Society of San Francisco - Market & 7th Street>Designed by: Fayeq Oweis, Khalil BenDib, Said Nuseibeh

Awda Keys

I know that many speak about divisions and fragmentations and frictions... but if you step back and really look you will see a splendid diversity that is of and for Palestine everywhere- world wide.

So very many people for Palestine, thinking and dreaming and remembering or learning about Palestine- and each in their own way doing what they can to help others and to help make this world a better, more beautiful place....
That rock up on the upper hillside is my husband, a talented gardener, hard at work.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mid East Market

Earlier this week we were delighted to see in our local newspaper a feature story on a new shop just opened not far from where we live (in Central Pennsylvania.) We dashed out to see what delectables it might have, for it is hard to find many of the ingredients for recipes that we like, and even basic good bread.

What a pleasure this new shop is, run by a very pleasant man named Fares who likes to laugh and welcome all his customers in, carefully listening to what they might want him to carry.

His is careful not to offend. He wants ambiance, not political and/or religious arguments, and he wants to do well by his customers. I do hope his shop does well, and stays in business for a long long time to come.

Meanwhile, our garden is flourishing.

Every day offers up a different bloom and I am intrigued by them all.

And our 16 year old son finished making his custom made electric guitar this week... he did a amazing job, doing all the research, measuring, drilling, cutting, sanding and painting and most all the other work himself. He was wise enough to ask his father for help when he needed it, like with the wiring. And now all our youngest son wants to do is play play play his guitar!

Our oldest son is busy with his first real job, and has worked every day for seven straight days. In a month he will be off to college.

It's been a busy summer- and a good summer for us all. I like seeing our kids grow up. I like who they have turned out to be.

Again, I should be thinking of a way to tie this into Palestine....

One thing I am very grateful for is our freedom here in America to believe in what we want to believe in, and our relative freedom to speak out: As a citizen of this country I am free to remember Palestine and to believe in Palestine. No one can force me to idolize "Israel"- and no one can force me to collaborate and collude with Zionism.

I am free to explore the calls for Boycott and, with compassion, create my own personal boycott of all things Zionist.

Boycott committee launches comprehensive website : Announcement, Palestinian BDS National Committee, 9 July 2008

And I am free to think and dream whatever I want... to quote a flower pot I recently saw in a catalogue:

"Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground"

People might think I am crazy for believing in Palestine- but I do anyway. Against all odds and a great deal of harassment and pressure to simply move on and forget, the people of historic Palestine have remembered their homeland and the huge injustice that is "Israel" today.

And one thing I have noticed about the Middle East- the people there really really really like families and children. It's a cultural thing: Mothers are honored and respected and children are enjoyed... and so are gardens.

I want blue back

I will never forgive Israel
for taking blue
my favorite color-
taking it as if they own it

I want blue back

I want blue to be every thing ethereal

I want blue to be of heaven
not the hell
Zionists have made
of "the Holy Land"

I want blue to be free

to be every mood and any meaning
it might want to be

& I want blue
to be of Palestine

To be known as natural beauty
and hope

to be cherished as one of many noble

that bring each other out
in the best ways

to be a lover's eyes to happily drown in
as his glance lingers reaching into me
to be beloved and loving

to be both background and fore

to be a kindred spirit
sparking response

For Palestine inspires....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Garden Center

We went to the Garden Center late this summer's morning. It's a very pleasant way to spend time- so much beauty and grace and potential all in one place. One can wander in and not buy anything, simply enjoy a garden and all that might be in our own back yard.

I adore fountains. Right now we have birdbaths in our garden, but not a formal flowing fountain. I want the perfect one and have found simply searching for what might work a pleasant exercise. No need to rush. Every year new fountains appear, some quite pleasing.

The Garden Center's courtyard has many different fountains- most filled and splashing so you feel like you are walking by a busy brook. Each fountain has its own sounds depending on its substance and construction... many different voices all of water all around. And one day one will be in my garden. One perfect fountain. If I ever find it...

The Garden Center was a wonderful escape. A journey into a thousand and one fantasies. A blend and blur of what has been with what might be. A field trip. Follies and foolishness or sensible tools, there is a bit of everything for everyone. Seeing all the intriguing flowers and plants we decided what the heck, our garden is getting crowded but there is always room for another plant... another whim- another dream to dream. Another herb.

My husband found some Perfect Mint (for tea) and I found some Lemon Verbena which we planted in the herb garden by our front door so I can rub my fingers into it and carry the fragrance inside.

The point of going today was we needed beetle traps. We found those... one went in beside my fairy garden

But the biggest whim we bought is a brilliant Fuchsia. We put it on the back terrace on a plant stand so I can see it from the kitchen windows and hopefully remember to water it.

Early this morning not long after dawn, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed my husband already busy at work, carefully creating a trellis system out of string for the morning glories to climb. He really is a very clever guy!

My husband designed and built our vegetable garden step by step- year by year, every year making it a little better.

Closeup the vegetable garden looks like a jungle. Although that garden is actually carefully controlled chaos- all our gardens are to a certain extent - but the vegetable garden gets the most attention, including a fence to keep rabbits and dogs and day dreaming poets out.

Our strawberry season is over but the cucumbers have bloomed with bright yellow star flowers hailing the start of the cucumber season- so now they are our garden snack. We do grow vegetables for specifically dinner and favorite recipes. But we also like to casually nibble out in the garden itself as the birds sing and the butterflies flit and the bees buzz and the sun shines.

Lemonade on a hot summers day on our back terrace with all the kids a few days ago (a garden party celebrating my mothers 76th birthday)

The Rose of Sharon is blooming now, alongside the vegetable garden.

One of my favorite 'wild flowers" is the larkspur up in our hillside garden. The first year it came in I had no idea what it was. We had planted many different seeds and out of that these tall slender things took over - until they bloomed and I knew their flower I called them "The Alien". We sometimes still call them that.

This week we have a borrowed dog, a playful terrier that likes that we dig...


James patiently working on his custom made guitar, having sanded his guitar earlier today he is now taping it, prepping it so he can paint it

Bursting with bloom

From the upper garden one can look down into my fairy garden. Our neighbors next door on that side had a baby three weeks ago. A little girl. When she gets old enough to stand on tippy toes she will be able to peer out her bedroom window to see our fairy garden.

The Bachelor Buttons began to bloom this week too, another summer flower coming into its own. It was the Bachelor Buttons that first brought the Gold Finches into our yard. They feed upside down and we now have a feeder filled with thistle seeds for them.

With all the rain we have had this year, plus the time we have been able to garden, our garden is utterly amazing right now.

I know that right now in blogging this I should be looking for ways to tie this into Palestine- looking for links and such to bundle it up into one pretty PR package. But for now I really do not want to. There are many valiant efforts out there - many amazing people working tirelessly to try to do right by Palestine- and for Palestine.

For Palestine inspires....