Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:27
 
כז וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם:
 
Transliteration: Va-yivra elohim et ha-adam b’tsalmo b’tselem elohim bara oto zakhar u-n’qevah bara otam.
Translation:    Gd created men in His image, in the Image of Gd He created him, male and female He created them.
Vocabulary in this lesson:

זָכָר
male
נְקֵבָה
female
 
Now.  In the last verse Gd said “we shall make.”  First person plural.
 
In this verse it says Gd “created,” aorist third person masculine singular.  It says b’tsalmo, third person masculine singular. 
 
Rabbi Simlai said 18 centuries ago that whenever Torah seems to support heretics, look right next to that place.  (Midrash Breshit Rabbah Parshah Chet [8] section Yod [10])  He was commenting on this exact verse.  The last verse seemingly meant that more than one individual was involved in creating humankind.  This verse contradicts that; it says Gd alone in the singular number did it.  Every time elohim is used to mean Gd, it uses a singular verb.
 
This is an issue called context.  It rules what things mean.  No single word means anything without a surrounding context.  The context rules what meaning the word has.  You’ll see this in great detail if you read postings on my Fact-Checking page.  The very first one points out that a commonly quoted part of the Bible is taken out of context and claimed to mean one thing, when in fact when restored to its context it means the opposite of the claim.  Books have been written on this subject, notably Samuel Levine’s You Take Jesus, I’ll Take Gd, which points out that every statement used by a missionary is a) taken out of context; and b) means the opposite of what the missionary claims when restored to its context.
 
There’s even a whole fallacy named after this tactic, quoting out of context, and it has been used to misrepresent all kinds of material for thousands of years.  A court case was lost a hundred years ago partly because material taken out of context by the prosecution was challenged by the defense and shown to be inaccurately interpreted.
 
In fact anytime somebody gives you a quote, you have every right to challenge them for the source, then to find that source and the context of the quote.  You will usually prove that they are wrong about the meaning of the quote. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden -- quiet time

No, I mean it.  I picked what will probably be my last zucchini.
I'm about to start picking tomatoes, even if they are green.
Several things you can do with green tomatoes.
Make picallilli, green tomato relish.
Make chow chow, cauliflower and green tomato relish, almost a chutney.  I put onions and mustard in mine.  Lots of recipes on the web.
Put them in a paper bag with an apple and put in a dark cool place.
As the apple rots, it gives off a chemical that makes the tomatoes ripen.
And of course the ever famous fried green tomatoes.
That's a thing.
You can use either cornmeal or matzo meal for the batter.
Great side for fish.
In Victorian times they also made green tomato catsup.

It's also time to dig carrots.

Like I said, quiet.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Outdoors -- still green

More odd July.  The grass is still green.
Not because I have a septic tank (old book title, google it).
Because we're still having regular rain.
So tomorrow on yet another day with comfortable temperatures and humidity (another weirdness for July and August) I'll have to mow the lawn.
The pokeweed berries aren't ripening either.  I guess I'm going to have to put out raisins or something and see if the mockingbirds and catbirds will eat them.
Otherwise they can't finish raising their chicks for this season.
Not that I'm complaining.  You can exercise and sleep in this weather and I still have at least 20 pounds I need to lose.  You need sleep and exercise to lose weight.
Contrary to what the stupid miracle food or miracle pill ads tell you.
Those are frauds by the way.
So it's a good year, if a little weird.


© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 28, 2014

Knitting -- pullover/jumper

Once you finish the neck, you look at the armholes.  Not good enough.
Two fixes.
Find your local sewing store or go online and find some knit fabric, then make your own seam binding.  Since you're kind of a newbie, this probably scares you to death.
Use your short-tether needles and pick up stitches around the armhole.  There should be 150-160 stitches, 70 for each side and the 12 of the underarm.
Now do knit-2/purl-2 rib for 12 rows.
Bind off in rib like you did for the neck.
Fold it over the edge and sew down on the inside.
That makes your own binding.

Oh, wait, there's a third option!  You could add sleeves!
That will be next time.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 27, 2014

DIY -- the time has arrived

Snack makers keep sneaking down the size of their packages.
Now they know we're onto them so they're just raising the price.
The time has arrived that I knew was coming, when it's cheaper to make my own cheese crackers than buy them.
You will pay $9 for a 30 ounce box of Goldfish.
You will pay $8 for 32 ounces of homemade cheese crackers.
And once again, you avoid all the preservatives and other chemicals.
The recipe I use for cheese crackers is out there on the net. 
You can change the seasonings for a bigger kick on the tongue, for a chili-like flavor, for a Szechuan type flavor, and so on.
You can use whole wheat flour instead of white.
You can experiment with what kind of cheese you use: Parmesan, American, and cheddar work best as far as I can tell.
I spend a little more than you do because I use kosher cheese which has to be made with vegetable rennet.
And I used this recipe ahead of a hurricane once to cook up some American cheese in case the power went out, so I wouldn't have to throw it out.  Worked perfectly.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Exodus 23:13


Your assignment was to read Exodus 23:13. 
This verse is the fundamental reason why there are 613 commandments in Jewish law and why Mishnah and Gemara had to exist.
All that I said to you you shall keep and you shall not commemorate the names of other gods, it shall not be heard in your mouth.
If you have ever been in court in any way shape or form, or if you even watch TV or movies with court cases in them, you’ve probably seen witnesses take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Up until about 1850 CE, witnesses had to swear by the scripture of the established faith of the country where the trial was taking place.  In the U.S. there was no established faith, and people had to be allowed to swear without using scripture, but Quakers objected to that and had to be allowed not to swear at all.
Now pretend you live three or four thousand years ago and you have been treated unfairly – remember, fairness is a trait of all primate societies – and you know that if you retaliate with physical violence, you’ll probably get flogged or even executed.  How can you swear in a court by a god you don’t believe in?  If the judge knows you don’t believe in his god that he’s going to make you swear by, he might not believe your testimony anyway.
Society cannot operate peacefully when unfairness is left without consequences.  Society requires some way of testing whether people will tell the truth in court, and the oath has been that way for time out of mind.  But people can only swear an oath by something they accept as worthy of reverence. 
Jews could not revere any gods but Gd and they could not take oaths in pagan courts.  They had to have to have their own courts.  Those courts operated according to Jewish law with its requirements for eligibility of witnesses, gradations of punishment for multiple offenses, warning, and so on.  Things that are crimes (with capital punishment) in Judaism were not crimes in pagan cultures; things that constitute fraud in Jewish law may not have constituted fraud in other cultures.
Neither can Jews administer oaths in a Jewish court to non-Jews.  Knowing that they don’t believe in Gd, the Jewish court cannot accept testimony from such people.
This is the basis for rules in Mishnah and Gemara against doing business with non-Jews.  It’s a rule of history that some business deals go sour.  When that happened, the Jew could not get redress if he was the one on the losing end of the deal.  A Jewish court could not trust the non-Jew on the other end of the deal because the non-Jew couldn’t swear by the Jewish Gd, not honestly, and the Jew could not swear in the non-Jewish court by the god it invoked. 
It is an urban legend based on ignorance of Jewish law – and the Bible – that refusing to have business dealings with non-Jews is an issue of hatred by Jews.  It has nothing to do with emotions in either direction.  Instead, it’s the only way to make sure that an unfair business deal gets fixed.
For next time, remember Exodus 22:10, and read Deuteronomy 23:22-24 and Numbers 30:2-17.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:26

Genesis 1:26
 
כו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל־הָאָרֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶמֶשׂ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל־הָאָרֶץ:
 
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim naaseh adam b’tsalmenu, ki-d’mutenu, v’yirdu vi-d’gat hayam u-v’of ha-shamaim u-va-b’hemah u-v’khal- ha-arets u-v’khal ha-remes ha-romes al-ha-arets.
Translation:    Gd said we shall make man in our image, according to our likeness, and they shall subjugate the fish of the sea and the flyer of the sky and the domestic animal and all the eart and all the creepers that creep on the earth.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
נַעֲשֶׂה
We shall make
אָדָם
Man, people
צֶלֶם
Image, form
דְמוּת
Likeness, similitude
יִרְדּוּ
They shall subjugate
דָג
fish
 
This verse has an irregular form.  While dag looks like a masculine noun, d’gat hayam shows that the construct state of dag is d’gat. 
 
There is an important culture capsule from the verb “we shall make” that I will discuss in the next lesson.
 
For now, what does “in our image, according to our likeness” mean?
 
Well, it can’t mean physical likeness.  The way people look, all the colors of hair and eyes and skin that we have, the differences in height and shape, mean that it would be illogical to claim that all people physically resemble Gd.
 
The similarity is in one thing, according to Jewish teachings.  We are like Gd in that we have free will.  We can do anything we want, regardless of the commandments.  I’ll discuss this more in the story of Qain and Hevel.
 
Who we are not like are angels.  It’s not just that we do wrong.  Angels do no wrong because they don’t have the concept of wrong and right, good and evil.  They come into existence for one reason, to accomplish some task assigned by Gd.  When they have accomplished that task, they disappear.  They never question the task, they simply carry it out.  This is one reason why the angel who wrestled with Yaaqov asked why Yaaqov wanted to know his name.  His name was irrelevant; he had accomplished his task and was about to disappear forever.  The idea of calling on an angel’s name for help is irrelevant because no angel can help anybody except Gd.  They do not serve mortals.  The only Being Who can help mortals, other than themselves, is Gd. 

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tourism

If you want to come see the museums in DC, try to make this happen.
If your kids have a lot of time off at Thanksgiving, at the end of the year, or in the spring
THAT'S when you come to see the  museums.
I had that hammered into me yesterday, and it wasn't even one of our hottest days this year,
let alone ever.  Last summer was "ever."
Also use the Metro.
Now, you can't eat or drink on Metro or in the museums,
But DC is pretty much restaurant heaven plus there are lots of food trucks.
Not roach coaches like the ones that you see at construction sites.
Upscale, vegetarian, pastry, all kinds of things.
We got off at Chinatown and had dim sum.
There was a pho bar across the street.
There were pizza and gelato and Carmine's which won awards in a foodie town.
Fuddrucker's and McDonald's and Panera.
People selling bottled water and things from little booths and out of coolers.
There's even some shade down by the FTC near the National Gallery of Art where we went.
If you come any time of the year except summer, the food will still be there.
So will the museums and other sights.
You'll just avoid feeling like you're going to melt on the sidewalk.


© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Outdoors -- now he speaks!

Flicker-jee, my catbird, has been unheard of for weeks now.
This morning he picks to speak up.
At 5:30.
Half an hour before I'm supposed to get up.
I don't know why he's been quiet, I can't remember if that means he's been raising a chick.
The goldfinches have been taking his place in a way.
Two of them had an argument over my sunflowers this past weekend.
It's been quiet since so I guess they settled it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden -- nearly August

Simple stuff to do. 
Keep things watered.
Order next year's seeds.
Hunt for a zucchini once in a while.
Watch for carrot tops to poke through the top of the compost.
The morning glories are starting up.
But I had to paint my fence and of course some of that got on the morning glories.
We'll see how tough they are.


© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 20, 2014

DIY -- detergents

This isn't really about DIY, although you can find websites out there that will give you soap formulas.
Why didn't I DIY soap?
Because it isn't soap without lye in it, and lye is caustic, and I didn't feel like having it shipped to me.
YMMV.
What I did do is buy some Castile soap which is made of vegetable oils and lye.  I bought something with no fragrance.
You can spend less buying a no-scent/no-dye detergent.
You are probably thinking "ew, phosphates."
Google it.  At least one major manufacturer is cutting phosphates from its entire detergent line.
But you've still got propylene glycol (also used in radiator coolant), polyvinyl acetate, xyloglucanase (whatever that is), and so on.
You can use castile soap for anything.  Pets, dishes, teeth, carpet steaming -- the web will tell you what to mix it with for all these things. I used diluted Castile soap to wash my hair when I got paint in it.  THEN I used my herbal cleaners. 
(Yes, I've gone no-poo as an experiment.  Will report when I use up what I bought.)
There is one caveat: Castile soap will react with your water and deposit salts on surfaces, leaving a feel as if there's a film on them.
What you do about that is give your things a vinegar or lemon juice wipedown.
One site warns not to try to get this result with one swipe.  That would mean mixing the castile soap and the vinegar, and the soap will stop working the way soap is meant to.  (For the curious, soap is a base and vinegar is an acid and they neutralize each other.)
Now I still like bleach-based products for my bathroom and for my kitchen floor.
But think how many bottles you would get rid of if you could switch to just one thing.  And every single one of those bottles is made with petroleum based plastic.
Plus detergents are more or less a hazard to your pets (propylene glycol).  Castile soap may give them the runs for a little while, but unless you bought something with a fragrance, that's all it will do.

And now the kicker.  You know all those anti-bacterial products that kill 99% of germs?
Where do the other 1% of germs go?
Well, they don't pack up all their stuff and hire a moving van because the environment is too toxic.
They survive and breed more just like themselves.
So pretty soon, it will be just like MRSA, the flesh-eating bacteria.  Our hospitals and the antibiotics used in them have created a deadly situation.  Norway has banned prescribing antibiotics and they don't have 19,000 deaths from MRSA every year.
So with Castile soap, at least you're not breeding super bacteria.

It's worth a thought.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Exodus 23:4, Deuteronomy 22:1-4

Your assignment was to read Exodus 23:4 and Deuteronomy 22:1-4. 
The class of unpaid bailee includes somebody who finds a lost object or animal. 
The issue of lost property is the same as the issue of stolen property in Exodus 22:8, which you read for last week.  The person who says he is the owner has to be able to identify it.  Before seeing the stolen or lost property, he has to say how he knows that property from other property.  Saying it’s a pregnant red cow doesn’t count because the cow might have given birth before the owner comes to identify it.  Saying it’s a red cow with only one horn is better.  It would help if it’s the only red cow in the region.
So Mishnah declares the hidden assumption behind this.  Some property that you find has no identifying marks.  This includes coins lying scattered by the road, shreds of leather or wool, and undyed fabric.  These things belong to the finder immediately.  A purse with gold coins in it (with the owner’s name on the purse), a dyed garment (garments were usually made to measure), glass vials (a luxury item) do not belong to the finder immediately and he has to store them for up to 14 months to claim them.
Mishnah says the finder has to take appropriate care of finds.  He has to prevent mildew of cloth or parchment.  He can use iron tools to keep them from rusting.  He can plow with an ox to pay back the cost of feeding it. 
But he can’t make use of the money in the purse because the precious metal will rub away slightly or he might lose it in a bad deal, or the glass vials because they might break.
And he doesn’t have to keep and feed a sheep; he can sell it in the market, and store the money up for the owner.
The 14 month requirement results from Jewish culture.  There were three festivals in the year when men were supposed to go to Jerusalem.  There was a special rock in Jerusalem.  The owner of lost property would go there to see if anybody was declaring finding property.  They would get together to see if the owner could give the identifying marks.  After the third festival, the finder had to wait one more month.  In a leap year, there were 13 months between one Passover and the next.  If the find occurred just after Sukkot, there were 7 months, not 6, until Passover, and then six months until Sukkot, plus one month for a total of 14.
Since the pilgrimage requirement applied only to men, women and minor children had to give found objects to the man of the house, who would know if he had to declare them and had the job of going to Jerusalem where he would declare them.
Most comments on this last commandment miss this point.  They aren’t immersed in the culture and they don’t know Jewish law.  The urban legend that this promotes peace in the house ignores fundamental issues in Jewish cultural practice.
For next time, read Exodus 23:13.  Memorize it.  Then we’ll get into the area of freedom of speech in Jewish law.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thank you!

You've all helped put up 5,000 pageviews on this blog in less than a year.

You make me feel good  :-)

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:25

Genesis 1:25
 
כה וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ לְמִינָהּ וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה לְמִינָהּ וְאֵת כָּל־רֶמֶשׂ הָאֲדָמָה לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב:
 
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim totse ha-arets nefesh chayah l’minah b’hemah varemes v’chaito-erets l’minah va-y’hi khen.
Translation:    Gd said let the earth bring out living soul of its kind, domestic animal and creeper and wild animals of the earth of its kind and it was so.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
בְּהֵמָה
Domestic animal
אֲדָמָה
Earth, dirt, land
 
I mentioned something before that I will use today’s vocabulary word for.  The gender – yes, you guessed it – is feminine.  When a feminine noun takes the construct, the heh at the end is replaced by tav.  You’ve seen that in the previous lesson – chayah  became chayat before the personal endings were added.
 
What I can point out with both these words is that when chayah became chayto, “wild animal” in the construct state, the second qamats which was under the yod turned into a shva.
 
The same is true for adamah.  The construct is not adamat, it’s admat. 
 
Similarly with ruach, there was a patach under the chet.  But the plural is ruchot, not ruachot.
 
You’re not ready to use these things in your own writing, not by a long stretch, but you have to recognize these features of feminine construct and plural nouns, and that they appear for possessives.
 
Hebrew makes a distinction between domestic and wild animals.  There’s an important legal reason for that.  Actually two.  The first one is that wild animals are always considered dangerous and anybody who doesn’t keep their wild animal locked up has to pay damages if it gets out and hurts somebody.  A behemah on the other hand is not considered dangerous unless it hurts somebody three days in a row, a different person each time, especially if one day it hurts an adult and another day it hurts a child.  Such an animal has to be put to death because it can’t live peaceably among people.  Its owner can also be executed because the second injury gave him notice to keep the animal locked up and he didn’t, so obviously he doesn’t care about the lives of others.
 
The second distinction is how one deals with the animal at death.  There are wild animals that can be eaten, like deer and gazelle.  When they are slaughtered kosher style, the blood has to be poured out of their bodies as much as possible, and covered with earth.  When you slaughter a cow or goat, however, the kashering process removes as much blood as possible, but it doesn’t have to be covered.  Then there’s the koi – but I digress.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Garden -- weird July

Normally I would be outside right now watering my veggies.
Normally, I would not be calculating what time today the grass will be dry enough to mow.
It would be dormant; temps today would be in the 90s and our last rain would be a week ago.
But we have had two or three thorough rainstorms this week and a couple last week.
Temps today will only reach the 80s.
The clouds are going to part and the humidity drop to the teens or something.

So later I will try to get some fence painting done; it's due in a week and a half.

The only normal thing is making sure to dump my bird bath at night to fight mosquitoes.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

OB -- no, that's not it

A quote from an article online (use it to google to find the article) says
"The law states that: in a good, progressive relationship, tasks must be shared 50/50. This means that you both have to earn money (because this is, aside from a practical necessity, the sole route to freedom and fulfilment) and both of you have to take care of the housework and kids (because that’s a chore that it would be deeply unfair if one person had the sole or dominant share of)."
This mistaken notion of equality, according to the author, is the source of arguments in families where one person stays home and one leaves the home and brings back money.

That's not it.

What's it is that some tasks are seen as more important because money is paid down for them.  This started a long time ago in male dominated society, not in egalitarian society.  That's an error of fact which ruins this thesis.

If you read my DIY page, you will see that work done in the house can generate money.  Selling what you DIY can generate money.  You know that you can do those things for a restaurant and bring money home.  But if it is only used to save money, the male-dominated mindset says it doesn't count.
Betty Friedan had a male-dominated mindset, poor thing.
She was taught to de-value anything that didn't actually result in money being handed over.
That's the same attitude that devalues artistic endeavor -- until it starts bringing in money -- or crucial jobs like teaching -- that only pay what the state feels like paying.

Looking at it as if equality is a mistake is false.  The truth is that if a family had to pay somebody for everything done by whoever stays home, they would need $60,000 over and above mortgage, utilities, clothing, food, and the price of using transportation.  And that's just labor.  Because as I have shown you in DIY, there's also a price for materials.
And a person who uses those materials wastefully or buys overpriced items doubles the expense on materials.  Besides bringing chemicals into the house that are useless or harmful.
So those quarrels come from a mental attitude, but not because it's an issue of equality.  It's an issue from a male-dominated society that devalues household work.

Now, don't take this as anti-feminist and show it to your SO and say, why can't you feel like this?  If you get snarled at by somebody who has been home all day, you look at your own attitude first. 
Then imagine the conversation with your boss: "Hi, I need a raise of $60,000 a year so that my SO can sit around the house all day long and think of ways to baby me."  Yeah, that's going to go well.

The law mentioned in the quote is not meant in the sense of a statute written by government.  What the author really means is a societal expectation.  But he would have to do an awful lot more work to convince me that he has really delved into the society he's criticizing and has statistics to back up his claim.  I think he's just generating polemic, not reporting on a study.  The website may like what he said, but that doesn't mean he's right.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY -- jelly and jam

It's time.  The berries are ripe.  You can find a pick-it-yourself place or buy at a farmer's market.
Jam works best with strawberries and blueberries which are ripe RIGHT NOW.
Jelly works best with blackberries, which are ripe RIGHT NOW, and red raspberries which will be ripe in August.
This is going to sound way too easy, but it's just as easy as it sounds.  The only thing you have to be fussy about is your timing, and there are ways of dealing with bad timing at the end of the post.

First, buy some 4 ounce jars with lids.  There are websites which will sell you cases of 24.  That may seem like a lot, but you can also use them for herbal infusions -- more on that in some other post.
You probably need 3 jars per pound of raw fruit.
Second, decide on your storage method.  For now I'm going to recommend that you make sure you have room in the freezer for your jelly and jam.  I'll explain that in another post too.
Third, buy a couple of bags of sugar or BIG jars of honey.

You need a strainer for jelly.  Use a juice strainer.  Most colanders have holes either too big or too small to get the seeds out without losing a lot of jelly.
You don't need to strain your jam.  The seeds of strawberries and blueberries are small enough that they won't grit your teeth.
You need a saucepan and a timer, which can be your phone or tablet or laptop.

Take the green tops off the strawberries.  The others might have stems; remove those.
Mash the berries.
Measure the mash and dump it in the saucepan.
Measure out the exact same amount of sugar and dump it in the saucepan.  If you use honey, use 2/3 as much honey as fruit.
Stir together thoroughly.
Turn the stove on to about 5 or 6.
When the fruit starts boiling, set your timer for 5 minutes and let it go, just keeping an eye on it because it can foam up and boil over.
At 5 minutes, turn the heat down to 2 1/2 or 3 and cook 15 minutes.
At 15 minutes, take the saucepan off the heat and set it aside. 
Let the jelly or jam cool at least halfway. 

Strain the seeds out of blackberry or raspberry jelly.  Put the strainer on a saucepan, put jelly in the strainer, and use a spoon or fork to push the jelly through the strainer, leaving the seeds behind.

Divide up among jars.  The fruit probably cooked down by 25% and that's why you probably need 3 jars per pound.
Screw the lids on.

One day later, uncap each jar and see if the contents are semi-solid.  If they're very solid, reheat slightly with 6 TBSP water, then boil again, stirring constantly, and put back in the jar.
If they're pretty much liquid, reheat to a boil and cook another 15 minutes, then put back in the jar.
If it still doesn't work, the solid stuff can be used as a meat glaze and the soft stuff can be used as syrup for pancakes, waffles or French toast.

I admit it.  You won't save any money on this, unless you grow your own, and I won't talk about that until I try it, but lots of people do.  But you do avoid tons of chemicals.
I asked a young relative whether the homemade or the store-bought was better.  "Homemade."

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Outdoors -- the poor parents

Usually birds lay a bunch of eggs, but they only raise one chick of each brood to maturity.
Still, they usually have at least two broods in a season.
And they breed for 5-10 seasons.
Many years ago I did happen to see a pair of mockingbirds with two chicks out of the nest at the same time, but that was an exception.
Except maybe for mockingbirds.
Because my mockingbirds have hatched their second brood of the season.
And they are raising two chicks this time around!
I thought I heard two chicks calling, sometimes one from each side of the house.
I thought it was two mated pairs, each with one chick.
Friday I saw both chicks sitting on my back fence at the same time.
The same parent was feeding both of them.
For us, the plus is that it takes so many bugs to feed one chick, and twice as many for two.
So our yards are going to be almost bug free.
And nobody can complain about that!
Except the poor exhausted parents who have to feed those eating machines!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fact-Checking the Torah: Exodus 22:6-11, 13-14

Your assignment for this week was to read Exodus 22:6-11, 13-14. 
A crucial issue in any legal system is, who owns property and who has custody of it?  Often the two are the same, but for thousands of years an owner could grant temporary custody to another person.  Then if the property is damaged, lost, stolen, or destroyed, the owner ought to get restitution, right?
Torah describes four classes of custodians who don’t own the property, and each has different responsibilities toward the owner.  Here’s a table summarizing who owes what.

 
Responsible for *
Adjudication
Party**
Breakage / Destruction / Theft / Loss
Oath    / Compensation
Borrower
      Y               N                 N        Y
  N                  Y
Renter
      Y               N                 Y        Y
  Breakage      Theft/Loss
Paid bailee
      Y               N                 Y        Y
  Breakage      Theft/Loss
Unpaid bailee
      N               N                 Y        Y
  Y                  N

 
* Exodus 22:9 / Exodus 22:9 / Exodus 22:6, 10-11 / Exodus 22:8
** Exodus 22:13-14; Exodus 22:14; Exodus 22:9-11; Exodus 22:6-8 
 
One thing Torah doesn’t state, and Mishnah does, is a hidden assumption.  Every kind of property has customary usages; you wouldn’t plow with a goat and you wouldn’t shave an ox for fleece.  Every kind of customary usage has certain auxiliary equipment and might take place under varying circumstances.  Somebody who borrows an ox might not have his own plow and harness, or the ox he borrows might be smaller than his own ox which might be laid up lame.  If he borrows the equipment from the owner of the ox, he’s responsible for what happens to the equipment as well as to the ox.  
The classic statement in Mishnah is that the borrower, B, said he was going to plow his lowlands.  But he plowed his highlands and the plow broke against the rocks; he’s liable for that breakage and has to pay for repairs or a new plow.  Or he says he’s going to plow in the highlands, but he plowed in the lowlands and the ox got heat stroke and died.  He’s responsible for that and has to compensate the owner A who now needs a new ox.
A bailee is somebody who agrees to take custody of property.  He might be paid for it, like if you hire space for your horse in a stable.  You should be smart enough to choose a stable that is well-cared for so you don’t risk your horse getting hurt; that includes making sure the person running the stable has adequate feed and bedding.  But the owner of the stable is responsible for protecting your horse so it doesn’t get stolen or just wander off.  He has to pay damages in this case, but if the horse gets sick or hurt he only has to take an oath that it wasn’t his fault.
For next week, read Exodus 23:4 and Deuteronomy22:1-4.  We’ll talk about a special kind of unpaid bailee and then get to the important issue I mentioned above. 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bit at a time Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:24

Genesis 1:24
 
כד וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה לְמִינָהּ בְּהֵמָה וָרֶמֶשׂ וְחַיְתוֹ־אֶרֶץ לְמִינָהּ וַיְהִי־כֵן:
 
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim totse ha-arets nefesh chayah l’minah b’hemah varemes v’chaito-erets l’minah va-y’hi khen.
Translation:    Gd said let the earth bring out living soul of its kind, domestic animal and creeper and wild animals of the earth of its kind and it was so.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
רֶמֶשׂ
creeper
 
I might as well do possessives here.  There are two ways to do possessives.
 
One is with the preposition l, and personal endings. 
Singular
Plural
Person/gender
לִי
לָנוּ
First
לָךָ
לָכֶם
Second/masculine
לָךְ
לָכֶן
Second/feminine
לוֹ
לָהֶם
Third/masculine
לָהּ
לָהֶן
Third/feminine
 
Look at the second person singular feminine form.  There is a shva for the last consonant and instead of being underneath, it’s on the left.  The same thing happens with a qamats after a nun in a second or third person plural feminine form.  The kaph and nun have sofit forms that go below the line of the writing, so their vowels go to the left.
 
Now for the other version of the possessive.
Singular
Plural
Person/gender
חָיְתִי
חָיְתֵנוּ
First
חָיתְךָ
חָיתְכֶם
Second/masculine
חָיתֵךְ
חָיתְכֶן
Second/feminine
חָיְתוֹ
חָיתְהֶם
Third/masculine
חָיְתהּ
חָיתְהֶן
Third/feminine
 
Here I want you to notice that there is a shva under the yod EXCEPT where there is an ending which forces a shva under the tav.  
 
What happened here is that chayah, a feminine noun, is converted to its construct state and then the personal endings go on. 
Finally, notice that the heh at the end of the third person singular feminine takes dagesh, and this is always the marker of this form.
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved