Growing grapes is an excellent choice for an area like ours, where water is scarce and every drop must be conserved. A grape vine is sturdy and resistant to drought, and generally doesn't require a lot of water. Last year was Sabbatical - which means the previous residents of this house did no watering at all - and there was still an abundance of excellent grapes, which makes me wonder if we should water at all this season, and how much. I think most people in Israel don't water their grapes - even though there's generally no rain from May through October - and I've heard this method is practiced in other areas of the world as well, known as "dry farming".
The only drawback is that last season, our grapes attracted large numbers of huge, nasty wasps, who seemed to like grapes as much as we do. We were in competition with them - either we picked the grapes as soon as we could, or they sucked the juice out of the fruit, leaving empty shells. Beside the obvious damage, they look like the sort of insect you don't want to have near you. Even hanging the laundry in our back yard was an adventure; the wasps, apparently, were attracted by bright colors, so when I tried to hang out a set of yellow and orange sheets, I quickly had to dodge back inside to avoid the disgusting creatures.
I dread their return next season; we tried asking several farmers what we can do about them, but got no advice except to find their nest and destroy it, which has been unsuccessful so far - it's obviously not in our yard. If any of you had to deal with this sort of pests and has advice for us, it will be greatly appreciated.
... Everything is going on as usual here. I'm feeling particularly energetic in the last few days, so I'm taking advantage of it while I can. I did quite a bit of cleaning, washing, cooking, baking, and worked on some organizational projects and some crafts, and also repacked my hospital bag, discarded a few items and added others. We will be away for Shabbat, which means I had to prepare the house for our return - I think few things are more discouraging than coming back to a messy house after you've been gone for a couple of days. Especially if, like us, you think there's a possibility you might come back with a new baby.
We are praying for a safe, easy delivery, and healthy baby and Mom. Hope to share good news with all of you soon.