We live in a tourist area named “The City of the Gold Coast”, which is about 1000km north of Sydney along the Pacific shore, in the state of QLD.Like most Australians, we have a private home with a garden around it.

Prior to development the area was a ‘fill’ area, for unwanted building materials and other wastes, which made it an ideal home for crows.

Although urbanized for years already, the crows are still here and we still wake up each morning to the sad sound of their good morning greetings.

Our crows are black as black can be, and fairly large; more like ravens I suppose. In contrast to European crows, they don’t jump, but walk, and they love eating fruit.

We have some passionfruit vines on the side fence, in an area that is separated from the back lawn by a corrugated metal fence. From time to time, empty passionfruit shells appear on that lawn with only a single piercing on them.

For months we wondered how come they are there, and who is the culprit. We thought, may be it’s the large fruit bats we have who eat the lycee off our tree; so we hung some old CDs on the vines to twinkle in the night with the street lights to keep them away; but with no results. The empty shells continued to turn up on the back lawn!

One day we caught them. The crows, I mean. Here they were, sneaking very very quietly, picking the fruit off the vine, and taking it to the back lawn, poking them with their beaks, and sucking the juicy fruit out!

What are we to do? We had no idea, so we succumbed. We decided that nature is getting its way, and all we have to do is to be quicker than the crows in getting the fruit onto our dining table.

In Israel, we are staying in an area, which is also a tourist area. Here, along the Mediterranean Sea, they have the most beautiful promenade you can imagine.

And here, the local crows make sure to spoil the promenade with their most unhygienic eating habits.

Every morning, when we are out for our morning walk, we see them emptying the cover-less rubbish bins from all their previous night leftovers, feasting to their heart content and leaving an unbelievable mess around.

These crows are very different in looks and in behaviour. They are not just black. Their wing, tail and head are black but their body is faun to light brown. Some of them have also a black bib in the front.

They also do not just walk or just hop.They do both; walking and hoping. They walk when they have time to enjoy their surrounds, hop when they are in a hurry, and before a flight lift off.You can see them walk, then, start hoping, then, comes the lift off.

Crows have, for some reason, got an eerie attitude developed towards them throughout the ages. I think it is because of their sad crying type of voice. However, when you bother to look at them and observe them, they are a very beautiful bird with a deep and rich colour and a lovely shape.


Artist, poet & the Author of

From the Promised Land to the Lucky Country



The Dead Sea Works

Hi, Sorry to be so tardy this time, but I have been busy uploaded some poems into my web site, which you may like to read as well. You'll find the address at the bottom of this posting. Also, the material I wanted to share with you was not easy to put together. It's very involved, very informative and there is a lot about it and in it. So I had to ensure it's not too long and not too confusing. So lets go,

I have seen an interesting documentary about the ‘The Dead Sea Works’ and I thought to share it with you.

As you well know the Dead Sea, which in Hebrew is called ‘The Salt Sea’ and is not dead at all, is the lowest point on earth (400 meters below sea level). It is nourished by the Jordan River and by sweet water springs that are at its bottom.

With the area being so rich with minerals, the weather so very hot and water evaporation extreme, a high concentration of minerals in the water increases.

(When you go in to bathe, you cannot drown because the water will lift you. you can even lie there and read a book I you so desire. However, I will not recommend it; this high mineral concentration will burn your skin mercilessly.)

In the 1911 the Zionist mining engineer Moshe Novomeysky, who was an expert in salt mining, visited the area and saw its great salts mining potential.

During the ensuing years, Novomeysky made several tests and examination; and with the land coming under British Mandate rule in 1917, he sought and fought hard for a concession to extract those minerals salts.

In May 22, 1929, and against all odds, after the Land of Israel was divided in 1922 with the east of the Jordan River, which was 79% of the total area, becoming Trans-Jordan, the man received his concession.

This concession granted him an area of just four square kilometers of land at the northwestern end of the Dead Sea. Here he started his project, employing Jews and Arabs alike in complete harmony.

Later in the piece, an added concession was received for a plant at the southern part of the Dead Sea.

In 1939 Kibbutz Beit HaArava was found next to the northern plant not far from the Jordan River. Its members not only worked in the plant, but also made their home there. They built, already in those days, ecological friendly buildings, and washed the clay land off its salt with water from the Jordan River; to plant trees and grow the best and the most tasty vegetables ever.

I had the privilege of visiting this place in my early teens. It was an oasis in the wilderness populated with people of great vision and foresight and courage.

With Jordan conquering the area in Israel’s War of Independence together with what is called to day the ‘West Bank’, the northern works and the kibbutz were vacated. Within few days the whole area was plundered & destroyed by the Arabs, including the mining plant and all the kibbutz’s achievements. The southern plant, which is situated where the Biblical city of Sdom (Sodom & Gomorra) used to be, continued its work.

In 1955 the Dead Sea Works, backed by the Israeli government, expended along the Dead Sea and in the Negev, and is today the world leader in the production of various minerals.


Artist, poet & the Author of

From the Promised Land to the Lucky Country



A day in the kitchen

You would not believe it, but it’s 8am and I have decided to cook.

My husband, who stands not far from me, has already a knowing smile on his face.

I say, ‘what’s so funny?’

He says, ‘ Did I say anything?’

I say, ‘no, but your face says it all. So what’s so wrong with me wanting to cook?’

He says nothing. He just looks at me and grins.

You see, I cannot cook, nor do I like cooking. My mother was no example. She hated cooking and it showed.

When I went to the army at the age of 17, I thought the food was terrific! It’s only few years ago, and I am now 76 years old, that I learnt one must loath army food…

Well, I need stay just 5 minutes in the kitchen not eating, and he comments, ‘What are you doing? Spoiling the food?’

So here I am:I bought a couple of eggplants and some mincemeat and decided to make something like the Greeks do – something like moussaka.

I took some millet and some buckwheat. Cooked them in water together with some linseed and some condiments I found in the cupboard, which I though will be nice.

I cut some onion and garlic, fresh basil and parsley, all organic mind you, and cut the eggplant in thin slices.

I layered it all nicely with the mince I mixed with some organic tomato paste and then –

I have a convection/micro oven combination, even though we do not use the micro at all; and the oven very seldom. Why? Because the oven speaks only French, and we do not.

Luckily, it has some icons on it with marking that show what they are for, and we know what poule viande and poisson mean.

I set the temperature to 180c degrees and wait for the oven to heat up. It does.

It beeps and I know I got that one right.

I also know that when it beeps, I need to open the door and put the food in. I do that. Then…? Um…. What do I do next?

I try one setting after the other, and another, and I think I got it right. I wait an hour - but nothing happens.

I raise the setting to 200c, and try some settings I didn’t try before, and it works. Hallelujah.

I wait another hour. The oven beeps again. The food is hot, the mince is cooked; the eggplant is not.

My husband says, ‘ how about giving up on the oven and transfer the food into a saucepan?’

He says, ‘ Make sure it stays the shape it is in.’

I tip the content over into the pen and it keeps its shape, but I am not happy with it, so I pock it and flatten it to fit the whole area. Now it looks good.

I say, ‘I’ll cook it on a low flame. I think it will cook the eggplant better that way.’

He says, ‘Good idea.’

It cooks for another hour and the time is 8pm.

Now it’s ready, but it’s too late and it's too hot to eat. We have about 36c and humidity of 70% and we think,

Watermelon will be nice...

Renate Artist, poet & the Author of

From the Promised Land to the Lucky Country


Bicurim feast in the kibbutz highschool
Hi Walter and Annette, Thanks for the feedback. Pleased you enjoyed reading it. What happened to the boat, comes in a period after the book ends and maybe a part of the next book...