In case you don't know what a frost hollow is, this is a place where cold air drains and pools up, usually experiencing temperatures which are several degress lower than the surrounding area.
We thought we might be in one because we're down in the valley and we have a wall at the end of the garden which prevents the cold air from draining away, and today we found out! Last night was beautiful with brillianr, clear moonlight and lots of stars. Needless to say our temperatures dropped to about -4C and we awoke to a thick heavy frost over the whole garden. The frost stayed all day. It never melted in spite of it being a lovely clear sunny day. The problem is that the sun doesn't get into our garden. It's so low in the sky that it never shines over the hill. It was quite warm in the village when I went to the market, but as I came down the drive I was amazed at the temperature gradient.
I don't think we'll be seeing the sun down here till February at the earliest!!!! Don't get me wrong. It's lovely and bright down here, and we can see the sun shining on the hills. The trees are glowing with colour, too. There's just no direct sunlight. Even if we were on the flat land, there wouldn't be much at this time of year. The sun rises about 8 and goes down before 4. But we'll make up for it with lovely long days in the summer.
On the bird front, we seem to be having a bit of a lull right now. We've had a few waves of tits come by, but the large numbers we were seeing before we went away are a thing of the past. We also seem to have lost one of our male pheasants. I think they've started to set up territories, so one of the males has claimed our garden and taken over the three females now. They seem to stick together more now and every afternoon they work over our lawn and patio for whatever they can glean. The male seems to like something that's stuck to our french windows as we've heared him pecking away at them a couple of times!
Our good news is that we both passed the theory and hazard perception parts of our driving tests this week. We got full marks on the theory and I did better than John on the hazard part - tee, hee!!!!!
John is just getting over the cold he got on the plane back from Israel and I think I'm coming down with it now. Since we also expect to have quite a few visitors over the next couple of weeks, it might be a few days till I post again. Please bear with us and keep checking back.
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Sunday, November 13, 2005
And you didn't even know we'd gone, did you?
Well, we've just got back from an 11 day trip to Israel. It was nice to get away from all the rain for a while. In Israel the weather was smashing, with temperatures in the low 70s during the day. Add lots of sunshine to that and you can see that it was a real treat.
It was great to see my twin aunties - Suzy and Louise. They seem very fit and well and took great care of us. We stayed in their appartment in downtown Tel Aviv. My two cousins are also well. Hagai chauffered us around and Becky came to visit from Haifa. Last Wednesday, while John gave a lecture at Tel Aviv University, I went to Haifa on the train along with the twins and Hagai's wife, Chantal. We met up with Becky and had a girls day out which included a wonderful lunch at a fish restaurant and a brief visit to the new gardens at the Ba'hai Temple. These are amazing - covering the side of Mount Carmel with both formal and informal plantings.
I had prepared a CD with old family photos and was able to give one each to my cousins - they were quite a hit! It started up some discussions about family history and I was able to get some information for my Turkish family tree. I doubt if I'll be able to get any more, the records are a bit hazy beyond my great-grandparents.
While we walked a lot in Tel Aviv, we weren't realy terribly touristy this time. We spent a lot of time visiting with relatives and friends, and we did manage a bit of bird-watching. Took most of a day to bird along the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv, and also took a trip to the Dead Sea with Hagai. While there we had a short walk in the Ein Gedi reserve and have decided we have to go back and do it more thoroughly. I took only a few pictures and they're quite disappointing, so I won't be including any in this post.
Here's our trip list - 42 species in total.
DUCKS, SWANS, GEESE
HERONS, EGRETS AND BITTERNS
IBIS AND SPOONBILLS
FALCONS AND CARACARAS
RAILS AND COOTS
PLOVERS AND LAPWINGS
PIGEONS AND DOVES
CROWS AND JAYS
OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS
CISTICOLAS AND ALLIES
OLD WORLD WARBLERS
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
WAGTAILS AND PIPITS
SISKINS, CROSSBILLS AND ALLIES
Let me know if you're reading this - I'm not sure who my audience is!!