February 2017
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
Blossoming Rose staff are in Israel this month overseeing projects of all kinds.  This Newsletter was prepared prior to leaving.  We will take pictures and write stories for the March issue and hopefully describe many accomplishments at the Park.  Please remember us with your prayers and contributions.
Our new website is being updated weekly as we improve the automatic processes and the information.  Please visit it at www.blossomingrose.org.  Contributions and payments for tours can be made on-line.  Please email us if you encounter any problems or if you have comments: scoxon@blossomingrose.org.
Dear DeWayne,

Thank you for your kind words, DeWayne, about my son and daughter, Alan and Beth. That “touched” my heart.  I’m appreciating receiving your newsletter. I’m glad that I am now on your list.

Perle V.
Grandville, MI
Shalom DeWayne,

Thank you for your nice personal note.  God knows us and he rewards work that is done in Israel.  You seem to be making great strides. I wish you and your family God’s blessings all through this New Year.

Lansing, MI
Dear DeWayne, Jodi, and Rob,

I just did not want to leave my home today without telling you all how wonderful it was to connect with you at Tamar Park two days ago. 
Anyway DeWayne, Nurit and I loved our time under the tree at sunset and we also appreciate the time you took telling us what is happening in the Park.  Nurit loves the Park and it is now her third time there and she will forever be your fan.
So, let’s stay in touch.  I wish you all the best and I am in Israel to help you.
Hela T.
Jerusalem, Israel
Dear DeWayne and Staff,
We very much appreciate getting your newsletters.  Also, we thank you for your work at Biblical Tamar in Israel.  We like to be kept up-to-date on the work and activities at Tamar and we are excited about the progress you and the volunteers have made in the Park.
This was another somewhat unusual year, culminating with Hanukkah starting on Christmas Eve. We note that some of our friends from United Israel and Roots of Faith may have made a trip to Israel along with your groups. We are not in a financial position to make a trip to Israel, but we would like to support your work.  We are enclosing a contribution in support of your continued work in Israel.
Sincerely yours,
Richard and Betty A.
Orlando FL.
Shalom DeWayne,
Thank you so much for you kind, sweet hand-written notes each month.  You are a blessing.  Please use the credit card number you have for our monthly giving and add another…for year- end giving. 
Blessings to you and yours,
Batyah H.
Harrison, AR 
Biblical Tamar Park is becoming the “center” for visiting groups of archaeology students and professionals for southern Israel historic sites. The W.F. Albright Institute is the premier educational and research organization in Israel and the Israel Antiquities Authority takes its students to Tamar to observe our work in excavation and restoration.
Dr. Tali Erickson, who has been working with us for many years, is pictured lecturing to the visiting archaeologists as she stands near the British building at Tamar.  Dr. Yoram Haimi and she have taken several student groups to the Park in recent years.
There is ongoing work every year to restore the ancient foundations and walls dating back over 3,000 years. Our volunteer help is crucial in these important tasks and we thank them so much for going over there to do the work required by certified staff. 

There will be twenty or more volunteers who will work and fellowship together at Biblical Tamar Park this month and next month.  Several will spend more than sixty days at the Park working on and completing numerous necessary tasks.

Food Services and Housekeeping
The tasks of preparing fifty or more beds for guests and cleaning the rooms takes a lot of time. During the months of February and March three tour groups will use every room in the Park and when the guests depart, the bathrooms must be cleaned, towels washed and the linens need to be changed on the beds.  The dining room fills up three times a day with the groups consuming hundreds of meals prepared by volunteer cooks who travel to Israel specifically to serve the guests and volunteers.

Archaeology Maintenance, Conservation, and Repairs
The Israel Antiquities Authority usually assigns one of its lead archaeologists to oversee restoration work on the tel. This year we will rent a Bobcat so that we can place sand around endangered walls while volunteers work to repair and tuck point the stones.

Building Repair 
The desert heat, rain, and sand storms continually affect the buildings that we use to house volunteers and guests at Tamar. New roofs and floors are needed. Plumbing and fixtures in twenty-five bathrooms, the kitchen, and public restrooms need constant attention with the corrosive salty water at Tamar. Cement work, such as a new dining room floor, is a present need, as we mentioned last month.

Moses Pavilion Construction
There have been two temporary roofs placed over the Moses Tabernacle that have not protected it sufficiently from the desert sun, wind, and rain. This year the Lundquist Foundation, with the help of Paul and Joyce Lagno and four volunteers from Poland, will build a permanent fiberglass and wood pavilion.  It will include wind baffles that will protect the beautiful Tabernacle model that was covered with an acrylic protection last year. This will be an excellent final step in the Moses Historic Site in the Park.
Greening the Desert
Last month, in the January Newsletter, we outlined our goals for 2017 to continue greening the desert.  We described the Plant a Tree and Adopt a Tree programs.  Hopefully there will be many who would like to participate in these programs.


One of the earliest volunteers at Tamar was a man with a huge work ethic, John Dreyer. He was educated as a Civil engineer and worked on highway projects in Illinois during his long career. Those skills were of great value in the early days of planting the first 1,000 trees at Biblical Tamar Park.  Today, the tiny trees that he planted in a perfect circle around the parameter of tel Tamar, have grown into productive olive and date trees. Included in this issue of the Newsletter is a story that witnesses to their productivity.

John passed away in January and he will be missed. In retirement, he spent six weeks of every year volunteering in Israel, hardly ever leaving the Park, where he worked from before dawn to dusk on his beloved trees. His legacy will live on for many years to come.

(permission was granted by Victoria Brodgon to 
use her writings and pictures for this story)
1. Two tarps

2. Hand rakes with various sizes of handles including a few without added handles
3. Crates
4. Bottles of water for staying hydrated during the picking
5. Gloves, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen as desired and/or  necessary 
Visually, olives are best for picking when there is a mix of colors to the olives. Do not wait until they are all black because these have less oil. In fact, olives that look green can be ready for picking. As olives ripen, they shift in color from apple green into a softer, yellower green. To test olives for readiness for harvesting, pinch a small gouge of olive flesh from an olive and squeeze the remaining olive between your fingers. A “juice” will form. If that juice has a creamy color, then the olives on that tree are ready to pick. 
Mature green olives are picked for curing before they begin to turn to yellowish pink because these are the least bitter. If you want some table olives, pick the largest and most blemish-free, ripe green olives. Curing involves cutting a slit in the olive skin and soaking the olives in water that is changed daily. After a period of about seven days the olives are then cured and stored in a brine solution. Obtain a good recipe for curing olives. Olives can be cured in small batches as you wait for the olives on the trees to get ready for processing into oil because olives on a tree ripen at different rates.

1. Before laying down the two tarps, rake any dropped olives away from the tree. Hand sort those olives to find the ones that are still soft and not completely dried out by the sun and dry air. These olives will be pressed as well. Be sure not to add any rocks or sticks and leaves to the crate.
2. Lay down the two tarps, overlapping them and placing them close to the trunk of the tree.
3. Hand pick or rake down the olives on the tree, being careful not to step on them as you walk around looking up. Occasionally use the tarp to gather the olives into a pile to be cleaned of leaves and twigs and placed in the crates.
1. Try to get as many helpers as possible (about ten people) because the olives will begin to dry out and turn bitter if they sit in the crates longer than three days before processing into oil. In addition, many flies will lay eggs and maggots can hatch in the bottoms of the crates.
2. It is important NOT to include any rocks, branches, twigs or leaves with the olives in the crates because at the olive press facility the olives are weighed before being cleaned and you pay for the total weight. If there are stray leaves and twigs, however, they will be blown out of the olives as they move up the conveyor belt.
3. Pick ALL of the olives, including the remaining unripe olives, and take them to the olive press at one time.
4. It is easy to miss olives on the “insides” of the drooping branches close to the ground. Pick while searching from the inside of the tree as well as the outside looking in.
5. Start picking olives as early in the morning as possible so that you can work during the cooler part of the day.
Harvesting olives can be a time to learn about your fellow pickers and enjoy their company. It can also be a time to meditate and pray by yourself or with each other.
      Make peace with me, surrender to me. Then every one of you can eat from his vine and fig tree and drink the water in his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land with grain and wine, a land with bread and vineyards, a land with olive trees and honey; so that you can live and not die. 2 Kings 18:31-32 CJB
The olive press is located in Hura, or Houra, a Bedouin village in the Southern District of Israel. Hura is northeast of Beersheba and was located by our neighbor, Mohammed. It’s important to arrive at the press as early in the morning as possible to get at the beginning of the line or you will spend a lot of time sightseeing in Beersheba which isn’t all that bad! It took about 5 hours to process our olives through the press with so many people in front of us.
Our large tote was filled with 237 kilograms of olives – that is 520 pounds! We paid 300 NIS (New Israeli Shekels) or about $78. This many olives produced about 7 gallons of unfiltered olive oil. It is deliciously fresh tasting and, at a cost of $11 per gallon, is well worth the hard labor in harvesting the olives. The oil is used in the Tamar kitchen for cooking, less an amount given to Mohammed for his services.
The caterpillar of the rustic sphinx moth, called a hornworm, defoliates olive trees. One larvae can quickly denude a 2-year old tree.
Upcoming  2017 Tours

February 19 - 28 ~ Madsen/Ernst

March 3 - 14 ~ Tabor/Nichols

March 19 – 30 ~ Pennington/Alewine

May 1 – 14 ~ Long/GBC

October 22 - November 3 ~ Young/Clayton

November 8 - 18 ~ Father Dan Viertel/DeGroot

November 12 - 21 ~ Torluemke/Shahan/Johnson

2018 Tours

March 8 - 17 ~ St. Norbet Abbey/Pichler             


(One hundred percent of the gross proceeds will be used to bless Israel)

This attractive 54 page coloring book is on-sale for $3 each plus $2 shipping. For 4 - 10 copies, total shipping is $4.  

If you wish to place an order, please email us directly at dcoxon@blossomingrose.org. 

Designed by Historical Site sponsor, Leona Benson.
Blossoming Rose, P.O. Box X, Cedar Springs, MI  49319
   616-696-3435 | 616-696-8280