Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Has it really been so long?

Logging in for the first time in a while, I notice the last blog post was...January of 2016. My, my - that was two and a half years ago. Time flies, or some such. Well, now at least I have recovered the password and can post things again. I'm not sure what direction the posts will now take - I have been, and still am, off the beaten path a bit. So this is just a "hello!" to get things operating again. Peace, G

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As if I didn't have enough to do already...

So, Green Wizards are people committed to preserving old-fashioned ways of doing things, a sort of more practical version of the Society for Creative Anacronism. While blacksmithing, et al, is a useful skill and such-like craftsmen from the SCA tradition are welcome, the Green Wizards are looking more to preserve home-making and small business skills, such as canning food, or paper ledger double entry bookkeeping. Anything that pre-dates computers and industrial-style mass production, such as type setting and paper making, for another example, or bookbinding. So 3-D printing using plastics isn't really what we're looking for, wood carving and ceramic dinnerware is. A sort of home economics (and small businessess, too) of the sort no longer taught in schools. We had our very small inagural meeting last Thursday at Common Grounds coffee house.

Anyone who would like to put us on your schedule, we will be meeting alternate Thursdays at 7pm, mostly at Common Grounds or other locally owned coffee shops. The next meeting is scheduled for January 28th. All are welcome, even if you have no such skills and are just interested in preservation or are looking to learn. See you there!

PS - The Green Wizards webpage can be found at:

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Will this be the year without a winter?

I hope not. Today is January 3rd, 2016. Surely the weather will turn colder soon. We are in a cool snap right now, with temps in the 30s, but it is supposed to go back up to near 50 later this week, so who knows?

The weather has been so odd that we still have green plants in the strawberry bed:

The raspberries still have some green leaves on them:

And the wild violets are still blooming:

And the rose bush still has green leaves on it, the kale is still lush and green, as are the scallions, and the celery is still green, too:

Even the lemon balm is still holding its own, and it's on the shady side of the house!

Out front, we have volunteer cilantro and even a spinach plant still green and healthy looking, as well as the rest of the herbs in the other box, all of which should be dormant except the sage and the rosemary. The rosemary, in fact, is blooming!

And in the side yard, we still have green leaves on the blackberries.

Needless to say, this is zone seven and everything not "evergreen" should be either deep into dormancy (perennials) or dead as a doorknob (annuals) - but they aren't. What does this mean if the weather stays mild?

One, bugs. Lots of bugs next year. So far, there has not been a sufficient sustained hard freeze to kill many of them hiding or burrowing near the surface (or eggs laid that way).

Two, damage to trees and bushes. Things that bud too early will inevitably be harmed when a real cold snap hits later. There may be little to no fruit depending on how this plays out.

Critters - they will continue to root around as long as the weather is mild, long after they should have been hibernating for the winter or migrating off to other places. And they'll be hungry.

Garden planning nightmares... What is the correct time to plant spring plants that prefer cool temps if the weather is going to jack up to the 80s in April? According to the NOAA forecasters, the next few months should remain warmer and dryer than normal:

So the next question is...when to put the rain barrels back in? Unclear. After any danger of hard freeze damage and before it rains a lot. Your guess is as good as mine right now.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Miss Gayle Catering, Lexington Community Radio - and oh yeah, the garden.

Just to let you know how the growing season went, we got loads of green beans and bell peppers to freeze, as well as herbs to dry. We dried some beans, black beans and pinto beans. We got celery and scallions, kale and butternut squash, as well as some yellow squash and zucchini. We got some carrots - and some garlic, which I braided and is hanging in our kitchen right now. I canned jam, black raspberry, mint, peach, and grape. And I made some pickled radishes. We have a pile of butternut squash still in the basement that I will probably make puree from and then can for soup or pies. We also got a nice little batch of potatoes from our one volunteer plant that grew from the compost pile. We got a few eggplants, but then something vigorously ate the leaves and the plants appeared sickly - they may have been in a spot that was too shady. The asparagus seem happy where they are. The blueberry and blackberry bushes are ok, as well as the pear trees, the peach tree, the apple trees, and the cherry tree that we planted. Right now we have some fall peas and some kale, as well as more celery, that are still hanging on. The weather has been quite mild so far.

But what I have mostly been doing is not in the garden. I have been working on a new nonprofit project called Lexington Community Radio with a dedicated group of crazy people like myself. Our fledgling program is included in the Blue Grass Community Foundation's Good Giving Guide Challenge this year. We have one station up and running, starting in September, and will have the other station online by April of 2016. If you're curious or would like to help, visit our webpage at for more information.

In addition to various administrative duties, I also write, record, and produce a one hour radio show called "Kosher Cuisine" that airs every week on Thursdays at 2pm. You can livestream our broadcast signal from the LCR webpage. This show features a Jewish holiday or a country with a historical Jewish community presence and discusses relevant recipes and music from that area, as well as teaching about kashrut, differences between Ashkenaz and Sephardi/Mizrahi practice, and food safety. I post the scripts, including all the recipes and links to the music, at under the Blog tab if you would like to check them out.

Oh, yes. Did I mention I now have a niche catering business, in addition to preparing most of the weekly shabbat kiddush meals for our congretation? :)

And, of course, my "day job" is still doing bookkeeping for local yeah, I've been a bit busy. So, how has your summer and fall been?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Good and Bad News

The good news is that we got green beans, summer squash and zucchini planted this past weekend. We also have some blackberries growing! I don't expect a lot this first year, but they certainly look nice so far:

When I planted the cilantro seeds, I wasn't expecting much to happen. The seeds had been saved over two years ago, and didn't look great in the plastic container where they were stored. So I sowed them all, thinking little would come up. I already took a half bushel basket and donated it to the Castlewood Fresh Stop for the last CSA pickup, and we still have a ton growing. I purchased a cheap clothes drying rack yesterday, and my plan is to dry some of it for seasoning, and let the rest seed so we can have more coriander. And the cabbages they were planted around also seem happy - they are beginning to make little leaf balls:

The flowering tree in our backyard (I still don't know what it is) is beginning to flower, too.

We also have half of the two-bin compost system built - the pieces for the other half are perched on top:

And now for some bad news. One morning we went out and noticed that somewhere in the neighborhood of half our garlic bulbs were missing. Somebody had stolen them! So I decided to harvest the rest. I took the little ones out back and tried replanting them there, but that isn't working out very well. I pulled them yesterday. This is the garlic harvest that we got from what was left after the theft:

The box itself is now empty except for two volunteer flowing plants that I have not yet identified. If you look carefully at the picture below, you will see near the left side of the box, toward the bottom of the picture, I have placed a small marker in the soil. That is where I have planted the last of the horseradish roots. The ones I planted in conjunction with the apple trees have not produced any greenery, and I have a feeling they won't. I don't know if this one will make it, either.

And last, but not least, I was sitting in front of the rain barrel on the back porch, filling a watering can, minding my own business, when suddenly there was a catastrophic failure of the gasket holding the spigot into the side of the barrel, and water sprayed out of the barrel at high velocity. Pete rushed over and grabbed the spigot and we stuck it back in, but it clearly was not going to stay. So I held it in place while he got a bigger bucket so we could at least try and save the water and put it on the garden plants. And then we had to change into dry clothes. :)

Now, this barrel had been damaged before. It's not new, we brought it with us from the townhouse and at one point it had fallen over and the original spigot was broken. So this was a replacement spigot. The spigot itself seems undamaged, and we have another gasket as well. I had an idea to fix it in place with some marine grade epoxy, which we had on hand somewhere... When we finally found it, Pete read the instructions on it and it says it doesn't work well with flexible plastics - which the gasket does appear to be. It is certainly flexible, and it may be rubber (hard to tell these days what is petro-chemical based and what is not, sometimes). So he is reluctant to try it. We spent some time at Lowes looking for an alternative, or perhaps some metal or rigid plastic piece that could be an intermediary. But no luck so far. I suggested Pete stop by Chevy Chase Hardware and talk to the guys there. They are usually quite helpful when I have strange hardware problems that need to be fixed, and they are much more knowledgeable than the guys at Lowes (at least in my experience). So hopefully we will be able to solve the problem soon.

If not, that means I will now have three more rain barrels on my "to do" list instead of two (the one on the far side of our garage and the one on the neighbor's garage). The nice big ones aren't cheap, either.

Oh, well. I will post soon on some of the harvesting and canning we have done so far. I also have a small chest freezer for the basement on my "to do" list. I also plan to try some dehydrating. I have a small machine a friend didn't want. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Hope everyone has a fun and safe July 4th weekend!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Making progress, slowly but surely

It seems that the work has gone painfully slow at times, but we are making progress. Here is a current pic of the pear trees, the blueberry and blackberry bushes that we had planted earlier:

We had a scare with the far tree in this pic - one day it lost almost all its leaves and I thought for sure it was a gonner. But we watered it and I said encouraging things to it, and it appears to be on the mend. The close one and all the bushes have fluffed up nicely. We even have a few blueberries and will get a quart or so of blackberries, if the bird don't get them first.

If you recall, to the right of the porch we had used some scalloped concrete dividers that the previous owners had left behind to mark out a future flower bed. I had planted bulbs in those - 4 straight lines that I hope will fluff out and take over the whole box. They seem to be doing nicely so far.

On the other side of the porch, we left the pretty flowering bush and have installed the other front rain barrel. In fact, all four corners of the house now have rain barrels, as well as the porch side of the garage. We had planted tiger lilies which came back nicely. And, I don't know if you can see them very well in this pic, but we have a patch of wild strawberries, too.

Out in the front yard, we have added to the original retaining wall block box.

As you recall, the box nearest the sidewalk has garlic in the larger section and kitchen herbs in the smaller portion. In the box that is parallel to the neighbor's driveway has asparagus in half of the taller portion, and basil in the other half of the taller section. The lower section has two varieties of eggplant. The center box has cilantro and cabbage. The peace tree, as you can see, also continues to do well.

On the other side of the front yard, we have planted two varieties of heirloom apple trees. We got these from Trees of Antiquity:

You may recall the retaining block strawberry bed we had started in front of the back porch off the garage, which is now lush and has produced a gallon size freezer bag of strawberries so far. These will be made into jam in due time.

You may also remember the baby cherry tree, which appears to be doing nicely. Behind it, along the back fence line, two boxes were added. The last of the retaining wall block was used to make a permanent bed for two concord grape vines. When they get tall enough we will attach a cover to the two standing trellises so they can grow across. A friend donated the daylilies currently occupying the center of the box. To the left of that is a cedar raised bed with three small raspberry seedlings. We don't have enough soil yet to fill the box, but we had to plant them nonetheless, as they were beginning to die in the pots.

As you can see, we have a platform for a rain barrel beside the neighbor's garage. But at this time, we don't have a barrel to put there. Also, we have not yet arranged for the new no-clog guttering I hope to get for the house and the garage. At that time, we will recycle some of the garage guttering to catch the rain off the neighbor's garage roof. (With her permission, of course.) In the meantime, both that platform and the one for the other side of our own garage stand empty. It is a little difficult to see, but it is behind the wooden plats:

That area immediately behind the garage we are clearing and leveling in order to use the plats to build a two-bay compost system. We will assemble the plats in a stylized "W" shape: |_|_| and line the interior with hardware cloth.

We have also added to the cedar boxes along the neighbor's fenceline out back.

The larger box is the original first box we built. We have harvested and eaten radishes and a few peas out of it so far, and canned 10 one cup jars of picked radishes. The smaller box is new this past week. It is planted with cucumbers for one trellis, butternut squash for the other trellis, and black beans in the middle. We have two other cedar boxes also planted, and two empty.

The two boxes on the far left are not yet planted, but I hope to take care of that tomorrow. The smaller one will have zucchini and yellow squash on the trellises which we will put up, and pinto and/or red beans in the center. The larger box will have beets and green beans inter-cropped. Of the two that are obviously occupied, the one next to the empties contains pepper plants that are up and parsnips that have not yet sprouted (and may not, I am guessing), and the one to the right of it contains mostly tomatoes, with a few carrots and other odds and ends left over from the original box.

We do not yet have a tilled area, as this requires the removal of a couple of trees that right now is simply not in the budget. We did get a small electric chainsaw, but we seem to have trouble getting the chain to stay on. I am probably going to donate it to Seedleaf. If anybody has any expertise in felling small trees, let me know!

That appears to be all we can do right now, as both finances and the advancing summer make getting anything else tilled, built, and planted seems unlikely until time for fall crops. Next up: Making Jam!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Bit of Progress

Over the intermediate days of Pesach I have been working diligently in the yard, dodging rain here and there.

This is the right-hand side of the house. Nearest to the camera are six blackberry bushes, 3 of each variety, alternating one then the other. Further toward the back are six blueberry bushes, again 3 of each variety, alternating. I got the bushes at Lowes, primarily to keep the expense down. The two trees are two varieties of pears (it also takes two to pollinate), also from Lowes. Pear trees are quite versatile in that they can be trimmed and even trained to trellises and still produce. We will keep them close to the house, so as not to annoy the neighbors. The peonies were there when we moved in. I weeded them a bit and gave them some mulch.

In the front, in place of some of the planting beds I had originally proposed for near the house, I have planted a peach tree from Lowes. It is self-pollinating. We need to cut one of the retaining wall blocks, which I hope to do on a drier day, lol. I am hoping that this tree will provide shade for the large picture window in the summer as well. That side of the house is nearly due west and in the summer the sun glares in the windows and makes it quite hot in the house. As we are trying to avoid over-using the A/C, all three of the baby trees in front I just planted, and their friend the redbud who was already there, will greatly improve the energy efficiency of the house even if they don't bear a lot of fruit.

The strawberries arrived from Territorial Seed Company, and we planted them as planned. By this time, also, the peas that my son Will and I had started in the indoor plats were getting a couple of inches tall, so it was time to buy some materials for raised beds.

This is the first one. It is made of cedar siding and pine 1x2s for the corners. There is also a strip of 1x2 reinforcing the center of the cedar slats on the inside of the box. We measured about 15" out from the neighbor's fence, to be sure we had enough room to weed whack, for the time being. Later, I will remove the sod from the areas between the boxes and put down landscape fabric and either mulch or gravel - I'm not sure yet which will be better.

Along with the peas, the box contains radish seeds, which we planted directly into the ground and have not yet sprouted. Those are in the space between the sets of peas for shelling that are nearest to the fence. Between the middle and the closest sets of peas (the closer set being snap peas for stir-fry) are celery cuttings from the kitchen. We took the bottom few inches of organic celery we bought at the store and put them in water in a windowsill to begin rooting, and they seem to be doing nicely. I also tried doing scallions the same way, but they didn't look healthy and didn't last long. The next time I buy organic scallions I will put them directly into the garden and see if that works.

And last, but not least, when I ordered the strawberries, on a whim I ordered a cherry tree as well. It was on my list of things to ponder, and it was on sale. Surrounding it are some spring bulbs that we dug up from the back part of the lot, in order to save them from whatever coming scorched earth policy is going to be utilized there to get rid of that viney sh*t. I may even resort to spraying something awful, and just plan not to have a tilled area this year. The more I look at that area, the more dismayed I am that digging up that stuff completely is doable.

Next up: Rain Barrels!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Then there's the back yard.

Just so you see what we had to work with, I wanted to post these pics:

What you are seeing here is a side porch off our detached garage. It faces west. The previous owners had that clematis growing on that rickety trellis, and had some nondescript flowers growing along the edge of the porch. As you can see, we are putting in a raised bed planter, where I intend to put strawberries. I also intend to replace the frazzled trellis with a new one.

This is looking toward the back of the house. On your right is the garage side porch. The two white protrusions in the yard are sheathing that we made from PVC pipe last fall. They are set into the ground about 18" below grade. When the weather is cooperative, we have laundry line poles that we will bring out and slide into the sheathing. Being able to dry laundry outside is something that I very much wanted to be able to do, since it was forbidden by the HOA where we used to live.

Along the fenceline is where I intend to put more raised beds. They will start out as cedar boxes, and eventually be replaced with more retaining wall blocks as they wear out. The original plan calls for four beds, 4' wide and 10' long.

Turning around to face the back property line, the fence ends at the edge of the neighbor's garage. I plan to take the length from the back property toward the house a bit in front of the flowering tree, go to a width of about 15 feet, and fence that space in for a few chickens. I doubt that will happen this year, probably next spring at the earliest. I am not sure if we will buy a pre-fab coup or build one, but it will rest against the neighbor's garage. I also intend to put up guttering and a rain barrel to supply the chickies with water to drink and maybe a little wading pool. The neighbor has been very friendly so far, but we'll see how that goes when the time comes.

On the left side of the back of the property will be a regular unraised garden area, along with the compost piles. As you can see, one sad little pile has been started already, which we will enclose as soon as all the retaining wall blocks are off the pallets. Making a garden space will entail removing the two flowering dogwood trees in the back portion of the lot, and possibly those two trees along the very back fenceline, depending on what they are. There used to be a very overgrown row of bushes there, which had been partially consumed by vines. We removed those last fall. You will notice the ground in the back area is not grass, but rather is covered by some apparently very invasive plants we call simply "that viney sh*t" because the roots run very deep and it is extremely difficult to remove. Even burning the back yard wouldn't help, we are told. And just breaking up the roots is ineffective - the stuff can spawn from tiny root pieces. We will literally have to dig it all up and remove it by hand. This makes me unsure whether any regular gardening will in fact occur this year, as this will be a huge project.

And finally, the driveway side of the house, which is a north/northeast facing bit where the back door is located.

This area is notable for one reason - the driveway is, at this point in its life, pitched slightly toward the house. This is bad, because it directs water toward the basement window, and during heavy rains, into the basement. I have therefore decided to remove two sections of the driveway. I have an estimate for this already, but we can't do it until the blocks are out of the way, obviously. This will, besides solving the water issue, enable me to plant a couple of trees - probably apple trees. The goals here are to 1) get apples, and 2) shade part of the upstairs, which gets very hot and has poor ventilation. We can then either use stepping stones to cross the divide from the back door to the gate, or perhaps install some sort of pervious paving (around the trees) that would allow water to seep into the ground naturally.

So that is the back yard. Next up: getting some plants in the ground.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grow, little plants!

Our next stop on our gardening journey is starting some seeds indoors. We got organic seeds from a variety of places. Locally, we shopped at the Good Foods Co-op, which has a nice selection of organic and heirloom seeds. I also ordered some from Territorial Seed Company. They have a very nice catalog. We also have catalogs from Nichols Garden Nursery, Seed Savers Exchange, and have some great Hadassah Flower Power certificates for Proper Plants locally. Each certificate you buy gives the Lexington Chapter of Hadassah a small percentage of the proceeds. So you can have beautiful plants and do a mitzvah, too. [Contact Vinnie Dubilier or email for more information.]

We only have a few sunny windows available in the house - this one above is in the new food prep pantry, on a dresser filled with canned goods. It faces north, so I have been rotating the plats to my office, which has the only two southwest facing windows in the house.

The pie shelf below was actually out in the garage holding gardening implements, but I dragged it into the house and placed it in my office at the sunniest window in the house. When it is past time for indoor seed starting, I will put it back in the garage.

So far, we have several garden plants started: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Peas, Peppers, and Tomatoes. I started these particular plants after receiving my weekly "personalized planting reminders" from Mother Earth News online. They have a variety of helpful tools to get your garden planned and growing, indoors, in pots and containers, or in the yard.

I also started several herb seeds. These can technically be planted anytime, and can be grown indoors as houseplants. But several varieties are perennials, which means if you plant them outdoors they will come back year after year. We are going to be putting those out front in the permanent raised beds (which aren't built yet, lol). While I was at it, I also bought several nice indoor pots for some of the herb seeds, just in case a late freeze or some other mishap kills the ones planned for outdoors. We also had herbs growing at our townhouse, in the landscaped area outside our front door.

Thyme, Oregano, Sage and Tarragon are herbs I use frequently, as well as many annuals such as Parsley and Cilantro/Coriander. We are going to plant two varieties of Thyme, English and French. I hope they will be far enough apart not to cross pollinate, but it won't be terrible if they aren't. I started several new rosemary bushes as well, to replace the dead ones. They are in pots, and I will bring them indoors in the fall. Apparently, our winters, usually mild, have since climate change included too many polar vortices (presumably, the plural of vortex though the spell-checker doesn't like it). Rosemary doesn't do well outside in sustained very cold weather.

Speaking of climate change, you can contact the Fayette County UK Ag Extension Office for the latest news on our planting dates and varieties of vegetables and fruits that do well in Central Kentucky.

If you would like help pondering what things you can grow in your space, let me know and I'll ponder with you. In the meantime, Pesach preparations continue apace. Hope you are enjoying the crazy spring weather, too - seventies one day, snow flurries the next. Ah, Kentucky.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

First Steps Toward an Urban Homesteading Odyssey

Well, well. It has been a while. As you probably do not recall, in May of last year we were in the nerve-wracking process of trying to sell our townhouse in a condo-style development run by a clique of people who have literally run the place into the ground. We didn't take a bath on our unit, as some who sold later did, but we did lose $2500 from our original sale price. That made me very unhappy, as after ten years our home should have appreciated at least $25,000 from our purchase price. But because of the bad management and the fact that realtors had all heard about the place and steered their clients elsewhere, people trying to sell were having a hard time. I hear it is no better now. There are several angry lawsuits. Essentially, we got out just before the major meltdown.

We did end up living in a hotel for 9 days, as the closing on our townhouse was on the 14th, but the closing on the new house was delayed until the 22nd. We chose a cheap place, not very clean, but conveniently located. Such is life.

So fast forward to last fall, and we're thinking about gardening. Here is the original plan of raised beds for the sunny side of our front yard:

We built the first two boxes, the continuous bed closest to the sidewalk. Those odds and ends blocks you see were holding down clear plastic sheathing, which we just removed:

The whispy things are garlic bulbs, which we planted last fall and covered. They seem to be very happy, though not all of them sprouted:

Now, I'm glad we didn't get to build the rest of the boxes before cold weather set in, because over the winter I noticed something rather important. This picture below, taken today, looks sunny. But from November to February, that part of the yard up near the house received zero sunlight. You see, this is the north-west side of the house. And the building is angled in such a way that during the mid-winter period, the scalloped edged mulched area was in darkness. The rosemary I had planted there is dead as a doorknob. I did not realize the low angle of the sun would never reach that area under the front picture window.

So now I am thinking we will not build the two boxes diagrammed to be closest to the house. I fear they will not get enough thermal mass from lack of sunlight to keep roots warm and promote good growth. So in the interest of not having any more dead herbs I am modifying the plan. The side yard area, next to the neighbors driveway, will be planted in blackberry and blueberry bushes very soon. I will post pics of them as soon as we get them in.

The other side of the front yard is the northern-most section of the property. I plan to plant trees there. I have some ideas as to what I would like to plant, but I need to do a bit more research and pondering before I decide.

Also, my DH is taking a master gardener and master composting class with Seedleaf, a local nonprofit that promotes community gardening, food security, and self-sufficiency. I encourage you to find a similar organization in your area, or to contact your local ag extension office, to learn how you can turn even the smallest yard, or no yard at all, into a productive space. Join together with members of your shul, dayschool, or other group and create a community garden - or join a CSA. Every little step is a good one. As Pesach approaches, we are encouraged to reflect on ways that we might need to free ourselves from bad health, bad habits, inactivity, and apathy. A garden can help with all of those things. It is a political, economic, social and environmental statement - as well as a step toward good health - all rolled into one. It doesn't get much better than that!

Shalom, and have fun with that pre-pesach clean-a-thon - also a good time for decluttering, I might add. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anne's Story

I am not sure what the moral of this story is, yet. One, at least, is why people are walking away from churches in droves. The younger generation, especially, can’t stomach the hypocrisy, hatred, and vindictiveness. There are several object lessons to be learned here. So sit back and read a sad tale about not one but two churches, apparently vying for the title of the Bluegrass’s own jr. Westboro Baptist Church wanna-be as they heap their “Christian love” on a Jewish widow with a developmentally disabled child – Bethel Presbyterian Church and Woodford Christian Church.

If the word "presbyterian" sounds familiar, it should. The leaders of the Presbyterian church recently instigated an anti-Israel divestment campaign in order to attempt to force Israel to give up even more land (how much more does the reservation need to shrink, exactly? apparently to nothing!).

This tale starts some years ago when a nice Jewish girl fell in love with a man whose family is Christian. Well, they profess Christianity, anyway. The future father-in-law only “found Jesus” seriously when he was caught having a 10 year affair with another woman. We can’t help but be skeptical that his new-found enthusiasm was far more rooted in an attempt to save his reputation and his marriage than any genuine repentance. But I digress. They were not amused at their son’s Jewish fiancĂ©e. They were also not amused that he did not take their backward beliefs seriously enough to marry within their faith. They were especially not amused when later, after he had been married some time, he decided to convert to Judaism.

His conversion was finalized days before their first and only child, a son, was born – in what should have been weeks before the boy came into the world. The baby’s premature entrance into their lives, and the health problems that followed, were all her fault, they whispered. She enticed him to convert, that evil Jewess. Their grandson was struck down because of their son’s conversion. Of course, I use the term “whisper” loosely. They made sure she knew their feelings. When their grandson was older, they told him confidently that his mother was going to hell.

Infidelity was not the only problem in the in-law's family, however, her husband's mother had health problems, too. Specifically, she had a hereditary heart disease that caused her to have a quadruple-bypass when she was only 38. Anne knew this, but did not know that her husband had inherited the same disorder. No one told her, her husband not wanting her to worry. When her husband died suddenly of a heart attack at a very young age, just 3 weeks past his 40th birthday when their child was only 7 years old, she was caught unprepared. Having lost his job in this bad economy some time prior, he had no life insurance. Anne was left with nothing. You would think this would be the point where the good Christian people of her in-laws church or the church who rented the house to her would show the world their quality. Well, they did alright.

It began at the funeral, which had two officiants, one being the pastor of the in-laws church, at their insistence. The other was a dearly beloved community Rabbi of a Lexington synagogue. The Rabbi's words were kind, compassionate, and endearing. He reached out to the family and offered hope, healing, and peace.

The pastor of the in-laws church, not so much. He basically said that the deceased Jewish man was in hell, and if the rest of the attendees didn’t want to end up there, too, they had better give money to his church. Not to the widow and the disabled child, mind you. They were not offered anything. To the church. They took up a collection. For the church. At the funeral. Anne became physically ill listening to this garbage and was then berated by these good church people for throwing up in the hallway. After all, it was all her fault, you know. As ill-bred and tacky as all that is to the rest of us, it gets worse.

The in-laws, afterward, apparently with the encouragement of their church, continued to heap psychological abuse on the child, trying to shame him into hating his mother and Judaism, and telling him hell awaited all Jews. The child, confused and frightened, regressed in his therapy and did not do well in school. Though Anne does not now have health insurance, she did not take her son out of his essential therapy, either. The bills are piling up. As you can guess, the in-laws were certainly not interested in helping to pay the treatment costs for a therapist trying to undo their perverted mental warfare against the child.

When it became clear that their proselytizing efforts were not going to cause the Jewish lady to suddenly convert to their heartless and hateful church, the Presbyterians decided to evict the widow and her child from the home they had been renting, which was owned by the church. Anne was asked when she and her husband first rented whether or not she was a "Jew for Jesus." That probably should have set off some alarm bells. Fast forward to after the funeral, now claiming they had never agreed to wait each month until her social security death benefits arrived, they said she had not paid her rent on time and ordered her and her child out with no recourse. They wanted another month's rent from her as well, even though she was being evicted, but of course she had to use her limited available funds to put a deposit and pay the first month's rent on a new place. They are now claiming she owes them over $1000 dollars for a month's rent on a home she was forced out of and could not occupy during that time.

So, the widow and her son packed up, and moving day was stressful and traumatic, especially for a developmentally disabled child. Worse, the child’s pet kitten escaped during the move, ran out of the house and could not be located. Though the child was upset, at last they had to leave without the kitten. They simply didn’t have hours to continue looking for it. The church had demanded they leave, and the move had to go on schedule.

Then, the church appeared to relent somewhat of their vindictive and hateful behavior, and said the widow’s sister-in-law, the daughter of her in-laws, “fine” Christian people (but not Presbyterian), could finish out the lease. As she was moving in, however, they changed their minds and ordered her out, also, and sent a notice to the widow indicating their intent to sue her for “damages” to the property. You will notice from the pictures below, there is no “damage” to speak of, other than perhaps normal wear and tear of living there for 5 years.

The church, of course, did not maintain their property in any significant way during that time. An outside outlet that caught fire due to their failure to repair it in a timely manner was removed only after Anne was forced out, since they apparently did not want any new tenants to realize how lackadaisical their stewardship actually is. Here are pictures of a missing smoke detector, a missing outlet, and an electric box which failed inspection that the Presbyterian church refused to repair from the time Anne and her husband first moved in, as well as accumulated water damage along a roofline that they were apparently not sufficiently concerned about to fix.

Nonetheless, Anne spackled the nail holes in the walls to prepare the place to be painted for the new tenants and cleaned everything thoroughly as they prepared to move. (Hoping to buy the home from the church at some point in the future, Anne and her husband had actually installed some beautiful tilework and put in a patio at their own expense before he died, too. It was actually in nicer shape when she left it than when they arrived, except for the church's own deferred maintenance issues.) In an apparent attempt to extort even more money from the widow, they are suing anyway.

And for good measure they called and filed a complaint with Animal Control, claiming the widow and child had “abandoned” the kitten on the property and left it in a shed.

So now the Jewish widow has hastily decamped to a rental home that is far away from the school where the special needs child was receiving remedial services and therapy, thanks to these wonderful Christian people whose hatred of Jews and Judaism, whose spite-filled hearts and corrupt spirits, give decent people a bad vibe, to say the least. And they wonder why she didn’t want to join their church!