Good morning, dear reader!
Our desert olive groves and grapevines are growing and thriving, but their greatest enemies are thorns and weeds.
No enemy has sown these, but they have appeared. “But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared” (the parable of the weeds, Matthew 13:25–26).
Unfortunately, especially following the rainy season, wild herbs, nettles and all sorts of things we have not planted, sprout from the sandy soil, depriving our olive trees and grapevines of much needed nutrients and energy.
At least once a month someone from Israel Today travels to the south to inspect the young trees and vines. On such trips they meet with Oren, our project’s agriculturalist, and his associates at our desert plantation, and discuss everything regarding the care of the olive trees and grapevines. We also take photos and produce videos to be sent to our group “Greening the Desert” on Telegram, and every time we visit our project in the heat and sand of the south, we are once again reminded of how exhausting the work actually is.
Once we were able to master the growing workload by adding workers and expanding the work hours, but we now find that this simply is no longer possible. The olive grove has grown to 7,000 trees. By the way, next week 1,200 new olive trees will be planted.
This summer we were faced with the decision of either hiring more workers or looking for a four-wheel drive tractor. This was not an easy decision, but only such a tractor is suitable, because it will not get stuck in the sand. We have now found the right tractor for both weeding and fertilizing. It is four years old and has 3,200 working hours. And you know where we found it? At the northern tip of Israel, at the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights at Moshav Neve Ativ. This week we are planning to transport the tractor all the way from the far north of the country, down to the Egyptian border, to our plantation.
This reminds me of a math problem: a tractor is driven 255 miles south from Neve Ativ to our plantation in the Negev, leaving at seven o’clock in the morning. It is driven at an average speed of 25 miles per hour and takes a 45-minute break when it reaches Beersheva. Oren, our plantation manager, leaves our plantation at Nitzana at 2 p.m., traveling north at 62 miles per hour. Where do they meet?
The tractor, including the weeding machine and fertilizer spreader, costs about $47,000. We already have half that amount but still need the other half. If any of you would like to contribute, you are more than welcome to do so. Please click here. We appreciate your support because the purchase of this tractor is more needed than we initially thought. And as soon as the sky over Israel is opened again and you are allowed to enter the Land, you are welcome to come and see how green the desert has become thanks to your help. Greener, but without weeds, because of our new blue tractor.