Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update #6 - Fall 2011 Update - An October Snowstorm...

It's the end of October. Normally, there would be a chill in the air. Yesterday, there was snow in the air; lot's of it along the I-95 corridor from Washington through the New York metro area and up into New England. Fair Lawn received 5 inches of heavy, wet snow, which clung to the trees that still had most of the leaves on them, resulting in widespread tree damage and power failures. On our property, one tree was heavily damaged with two major limbs sheared off, and several other trees had lesser damage.

I am happy to tell you that my etrog saplings survived the storm in the warmth and safety of our home. I am planting additional saplings from this year's etrog, so I have a nice variety of saplings ranging from a few inches tall to one that is almost three feet tall. (see attached picture)

I have one very nice etrog plant in my office that is about a foot tall, doing very well under a plant light I set up.

Keep those cards and letters coming folks.

Next update - hope for one early winter.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Update #5 - December 26, 2010 - East Coast Blizzard

The New York metropolitan area, along with a good portion of the Northeast, was socked with a major blizzard. In the Fair Lawn area, snow began falling on Sunday, the 26th, and lasted until Monday morning. It was hard to measure because of all the drifting, but the local paper listed our neighboring town of Paramus at 17 inches, so we will go with that as an estimate.

The esrog saplings made it through the storm in fine shape, kept warm in our family room. After the clouds broke, sun was streaming in through our south facing windows, so I set 4 of the saplings on the window ledge so that they could soak up the sun. The picture shows the saplings, with heavy drifted snow in the backyard.

Before last winter, I finally bought myself a really good snow blower, which I used three times last winter, and now to clean up after this storm. About ten years ago, the "experts" were predicting that with the advent of global warming, our winters would moderate. Now, they are saying that with the warmer atmosphere, increased moisture and the melting of the arctic ice into the oceans, we are going to have more and bigger snowstorms. In fact, 4 out of 6 of New York City's biggest storms have occurred in the past 10 years. So I think the snow blower will get some use.
I had a reader of the blog ask about what type of light I use. On sunny days, I set up the saplings on the window ledge, but during the cold nights, I take them off the ledge. When it is cloudy, I keep them under a 100 watt flourescent light, approximately 1 foot above the sapings.
The second picture shows what I saw when I first opened up my garage door immediately after the snow ended.
By the way.... if you did not know, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them. I just found that out!
Have a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Update #4 Early winter - December 2010

It's not quite winter; we still have about a week to go to the winter solstice. But we have had wintry conditions since early December - very cold temperatures and the first snow flurries and snow showers have fallen. The leaves are all down. I spent three of four Sundays blowing them and raking them into the street and most of them have been taken away by the town. Chanukah ended a few days ago, so now we can start cleaning for Pesach.

The esrog saplings are doing well. I have eight at work, and six at home. I gave away five saplings at my family's annual Chanukah party. I gave them to the married couples - my parents, my two brothers and sister in laws, my niece and spouse, and my nephew and spouse. I also gave out "care and feeding" instructions along with the saplings. Attached are two pictures. One shows my esrog "grove" at home. You will notice that one of the saplings is about a foot tall. It was the only one that grew from a seed that germinated in water. Since I put it into soil, it has been growing very fast. The other picture shows a sapling that is about three inches tall. In the planter is a small stone that comes from Jerusalem. It was brought back by my daughter, who is spending the year in Israel. She came back to visit us over Thanksgiving, and gave me the stone. She thinks that having a very small piece of Eretz Yisrael near the esrog sapling will help it grow. I agree with her.

I have booked my flight to Israel in February, for a short visit to my daughter. I will bring back some more stones, for the other saplings.

Look for the next post in about a month.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Update #3 - November 20, 2010 - an etrog grove

I am happy to report that quite a few of the etrog seeds have germinated and are taking root. Attached is a picture from my office. There are 6 sapplings in small planters, and 2 in a cup of water with Miracle Grow, soon to be trasplanted. I have set aside a small corner with a plant light, set on a timer, providing light and warmth to my "etrog grove". There is a small Israeli flag and a model of a Kfir fighter jet, with Stars of David on its wings, symbolically providing protection for my "small slice of Israel" chutz l'aretz (outside the land).

I have explained to my co-workers (mostly non Jewish) what an etrog is, and they frequently stop by to see how the sapplings are doing.

It's mid November. The weather outside is still fairly mild. There has been no snow yet, and no bitter cold temperatures. The leaves are mostly down. I probably have one more session with the leaf blower, and that should do it for this season.

My younger daughter, Alisa, who is 23 and spending the year in Israel is due back for ten days, right before Thanksgiving. She offered to bring some dirt back from the Holy Land for my etrog sapplings.

Look for my next post in early December. I will include some pictures of the sapplings at home in Fair Lawn.

Shavua Tov (Have a good week)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Update #1 - A New Esrog Tree Takes Root - Nov 2010

I tried to grow an esrog tree last year, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, using the seeds from my esrog following the end of the holiday of Succos. One seed took root, and the sapling grew to almost a foot in height. During the past summer, I had the sapling outside for a good part of the summer, which featured several periods of extreme heat. Apparently, such high temperatures (close to 105 degrees) are too extreme for a young esrog tree; the leaves withered, and the tree died.

I decided to try again this year. I planted quite a few seeds in different pots, and now have six small esrog saplings ranging from one inch to about five inches in height. I also have one nice little esrog plant growing under a plant light, with timer, of course, in my office in Secaucus, New Jersey. The picture included in this post is the esrog plant in my office.

I will try different combinations of light and heat. Hopefully, at least one of the saplings will grow to maturity, which takes about seven years to bear fruit.

It's early November, 2010. The leaves are mostly on the lawn, and winter is approaching. That means gray skies, cold winds, snow and sleet. So it's especially nice to have the esrog saplings to take care of during the winter.

Look for my next post; hopefully before Thanksgiving