The Helmonit is an elusive yellow flower that grows in the Israeli desert en masse after early winter rains.
Last week, our Israeli friends took us in their jeep in search of carpets of yellow flowers. We did not go far enough south to find them flowering like the traditional “carpets of yellow” but we did discover this one lonely flower. What I discovered in addition to the flower held far more interest to my historical leanings.
In the process of walking through pine forests in southern Israel, we came upon caves once used as dwellings, a hand-hewn stone pigeon house (quite large) and a deep stone two-level structure once used for making wine from grapes. I envisioned white-robed ancient villagers tending to the pigeons, gathering water from the well (that held rain water) and stomping barefoot on freshly picked grapes.
My post today consists of photos of our friends who took such great care to make sure we were happy and well-fed with pita and hummus, fresh peeled and sliced sabra fruit (prickly pear) and finely chopped Israeli salad. Despite the random stabbings and unrest in the area, life goes on and coffee shops are filled with fresh croissants and home baked breads.
I told my American friend that we had discovered ancient caves from hundreds of years B.C. Her response? “B.C.? You mean before cell phones?”
Till next time.
These are the remains of an ancient pigeon house, or dovecote, in Latin “columbarium.” Pigeon breeding was popular in Greek and Roman times and the pigeons were raised for religious ceremonies, fertilizer and food. A roof used to cover this house to protect the pigeons from predators and the caretakers climbed into the dovecote via a ladder. Leviticus 1, 14: “…then he shall bring his offering of turtle-doves, or of young pigeons.”
How does anyone survive in a desert like this? Yes, they saved what rain water fell. Amazing.