Judean Date Palm trees from the time of Jesus re-growing:
The Judean date palm flourished throughout the Middle East for thousands of years before the Romans conquered Jerusalem around 70 AD.
The fruit of the trees — dates — served as a staple food in the region, while its leaves provided shelter and shade. A symbol of fertility, the tree was used as an aphrodisiac and cherished for its medicinal properties.
According to the Old Testament of the Bible, King David named his daughter after the Hebrew word for the tree — Tamar — and according to the New Testament, Jesus followers’ laid date palm leaves at his feet when he and his donkey came riding into Jerusalem.
Likely because the trees were so central to the Judean economy, the Romans wiped them out. By 500 AD, they were extinct.
Luckily, someone preserved a batch of the tree’s seeds in a clay jar just before they completely disappeared.
Archaeologists found the jar in the ruins of Herod the Great’s palace in the 1960s.
Carbon dating revealed the seeds to be about 2000 years old, the last living vestiges of the long lost Kingdom of Judah… yes, living.
After sitting in a dusty university drawer for decades, an archaeologist challenged a botanist to do the unthinkable — germinate them.
“You want me to do what?”desert agriculture expert Elaine Solowey said when she was first propositioned.
“I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?” she told National Geographic.
But she gave it a go.
She soaked the seeds in hot water and then in a solution of nutrients and enzymatic fertilizer. She planted them in pots in January of 2005, and sure enough, by March, one sprouted, becoming the oldest known tree seed to germinate.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Solowey said.
Today, the tree continues to grow and thrive. As of 2015, it was 10 feet tall, growing flowers and making good pollen.
Tiny houses as acts of charity.
McCreary County, KY — Down a one lane road in McCreary County, Kentucky, there’s a horse pasture with some tiny homes and a lot of hope.
McCreary is one of the nation’s poorest counties. 32 percent of the people there live under the poverty line and it has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
Crossroads Community Baptist Church Pastor Grant Hasty is building a community of tiny houses to try to help.
“When someone wants help and they don’t have a support system behind them on a regular basis to hold them accountable…that’s when they have issues of relapsing,” Hasty said.
He’s planning to build 20 tiny homes for recovering addicts.
“We’ve got 13 acres of land total and about half the land is going to be developed into tiny homes,” he said.
He wants it to be a community of support emphasizing on staying clean and incorporating job training to enable people to get back on their feet.
“It’s not a hand-out, it’s a hand-up and that’s what we need to start doing in McCreary County,” Vicki Kidd, a volunteer with the program, said.
Pastor Hasty’s plan has attracted support from churches across the country.
This week, a mission group from Augusta, Georgia is building two more tiny homes for people in recovery.
“They need some place to know that they can go and start new and that’s what this is: a new beginning,” Kidd said.
Chris Persic told KDKA-TV his wife called to tell him their car smelled like it was burning. He told her to pop the hood, and she found walnuts and grass piled over the engine. The couple took the car to a mechanic, who found half a trashcan’s worth of walnuts under the engine.
Persic said the walnuts did not cause any extensive damage, though a squirrel may have chewed through or pulled out the fuel injector hose on his new truck. The couple has gotten a quote to remove a black walnut tree from their property.
“Funny thing is I was thinking that for how massive the tree is, and how many walnuts have fallen (and how many dents our vehicle received), there really aren’t many on the ground,” Persic told KDKA.