Monday, May 31, 2010

Trying to Find My Voice

As Salaamu Alaikum and Greetings of Peace:

My heart is heavy ... I have a lot going on.  Alhamdulillah, it's not as bad as some people have it.  It's merely another test, or rather a series of them, and it will be okay, Insha Allaah.

The thing about it is that it has paralyzed my writing voice.  Some people get writer's block.  I'm not blocked.  I have a lot to say.  But my friend Aaminah put a quote on her Facebook page that describes it perfectly for me:

""One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." (James Earl Jones)

In addition to my own problems, it just seems to me that the whole world has gone crazy - The BP oil catastrophe on the Gulf Coast, the Arizona immigration law ...

And the fitnah on a lot of the Muslim blogs is also depressing.  It seems like every click on my list of blog feeds, takes me to a place that gives me a grand headache.  More than once, I have started to write a comment, but canceled it.  What's the use?

But, a recent court battle won by Gisha of its Freedom of Information Act petition got me thinking (after I got over my waves of nausea), and has motivated me to write. 

You can go to the link and read for yourself and see the lists of items that the Israelis consider contraband for Gaza in the name of national security (like coriander, lol), but what REALLY caught my eye was that Israel admits the existence of a "red line" document that establishes the minimum nutritional requirements for the residents of Gaza BUT REFUSES TO REVEAL IT!  I read somewhere else that the Israeli government is trying to determine how much food a person from Gaza needs based on gender, age, etc., to prevent starvation.

Ya Allah ... Ya Rabb

How can a people who suffered the cruel atrocities of the Nazis even dream up such a plan?

And now this morning - we wake up to the news of the Israeli IDF assault on the Freedom Flotilla that was taking aid to the people in Gaza.  This flotilla was the 9th such trip of international peace activists, mainly organized by the Free Gaza Movement.  Seventy-five miles off the coast of Isreal, in international waters, the IDF attacked the flotilla of six ships, and then boarded the Turkish vessel, Mavi Marmara.  All of this is in direct violation of international law.  (And so is the blockade of Gaza, by the way ...)  Facts are hard to come by at this time, but what is known is that a number of civilians have been murdered by the IDF, and some 800+ activists are being held by the Israelis out of communication with their familes and embassies. 

Until this incident, Turkey was the only Muslim friend of Israel.

Lately, however, there have been problems and tensions have risen.

When I was in Istabul a few months ago, we were the guests of a Turkish aid organization called Yardimeli that does a lot of work in Gaza.  Shortly before we arrived, a Yardimeli group had gone to Gaza to bring aid.  When the group prepared for return to Turkey, one of its team members was not permitted by the Israeli government to come home.  For no reason.  Except to discourage people and organizations from helping the Gazans.  Alhamdulillah, on the day we left, the brother was allowed to return to Turkey.  But, the Turkish government had to get involved.  All of Yardimeli's efforts to resolve any "problem" the Israelis might of had was in vain. 

Well, the Turkish government is now pissed.  Allaah only knows where this Flotilla crime will lead.

Say dua.  Please.

Insha Allaah I will be writing a series of posts about Jewish people and Israel.  But, I leave you with this fact: not all Jewish people are Zionists.  Even some Zionists in Israel do not like what's going on with Gaza.  Please remember this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Morning of Potting Flowers

As Salaamu Alaikum
Greetings of Peace!

Over the past few years, I have always bought potted flowers and hanging plants in the Spring.

This year, I decided to buy a few trays of flowers, and make up the pots myself!  I wanted to make good use of all of those plastic pots, and various fancy ones I have:

Here is the result:


Next year, Insha Allaah, maybe I'll buy bulk flowers early, make up some pots, and vend them somewhere.  What do you think?  Good idea?

In the next picture, I made good use of the tons of cinder blocks I have in back of the garage:

Look at the huge bee!  I'd hate to get stung by one of them :(

Rose on the side of the house:

One of the hummingbird feeders I got at the Dollar Store.  I made my own nectar from water and sugar! 

Last but not least ... Buddy!
He found the Catnip patch.  I planted two of them for him.  He only found this one so far :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shaam - Jashne Aamede Rasool (Live)

I was searching on You Tube for some daff (duff) drumming to practice along with.  Came across this group and their nasheed in Urdu.

Absolutely beautiful, Masha Allah.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Garden

Anas bin Malik (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: "There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him." (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2320)

Alhamdulillah, the time has arrived! After all of the digging and roto-tilling, the time to plant for our time zone has arrived.

Our time zone claims that it is relatively safe to plant on Mother's Day. However, last year, we had a hard frost a week after Mother's Day. My garden at that time was only a space behind my garage. It was a great jihad for my husband and I to scramble to put a tarp over that area. This year, I extended my garden all the way across my property. It is now THREE times as large, Masha Allah!

During the winter (because gardeners dream of their gardens the entire year long, lol), I read a great book called "Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening" by Louise Riotte.

She also wrote another book about companion planting called "Roses Love Garlic."

In the Introduction of the book, she states "The magic and mystery of companion planting have intrigued and fascinated humans for centuries, yet it is a part of the gardening world that has never been fully explored. Even today we are just on the threshold." Ms. Riotte says that some plants "assist each other to grow well" and that other plants repel insects and even other plants.

For example, "a major enemy of the carrot is the carrot fly, whereas the leek suffers from the onion flt and leek moth. Yet when leek and carrot live together in companionship, the strong and strangely different smell of the partner plant repels the insects so much that they do not even attempt to lay their eggs on the neighbor plant. They take off speedily to get away from the smell."

So, during the winter, I mapped out a companion garden. And, with notebook in hand, my feline companion, Buddy, and I headed out to our garden.

This is what the garden looked like after roto-tilling. Some weeds have grown around the edges, and strong winds from a few weeks ago had scattered maple seeds all over.

In the background, are some mums from last year, and a sage plant that survived the winter.

I used to have chives and lemon grass back there, too, but I moved them out of the garden to another area of my yard.  In that area, I also planted two strawberry plants and a big thyme plant lives there that was also transplanted from the garden area.  (Strawberries and thyme are hidden in the background of this image.)

With tomato cages and other supplies at the ready, Buddy and I begin our work of weeding and planting.

Wait a minute!  Where did my helper, Buddy, go?  Oh no!  There he is!  Can you believe it?

After a few hours of work, the garden starts to take shape!

Look who comes strolling in now that most of the work is done!

After all the work was done, the initial layout looks like the picture below.  What looks like bare areas were actually planted with seeds, and will Insha Allaah, be filled up when I separate the seedlings after they come up.

As you can see, Buddy approves! (Those are pepper plant starters.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seen At The Supermarket This Morning ...


Spotted Dick Sponge Pudding? hee hee

Hmmm ... I was afraid to ask! Expensive stuff, too. $5.99 a can!

Anyone know what this stuff is?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Around!

Alhamdulillah! I've been too busy. More than I like.

Gardening season is upon us, and I'm taking an Adobe image editing course at our local university.

Here's a picture of one of my garden Poppies that I hope you will accept as an apology :)