Hebrew and Hens

Hebrew Secret Code, Chickens and Tulips

I struggle to learn things out of context or anything to do with numbers—so learning the Hebrew alphabet has been a challenge. (I console myself with the knowledge that this is predominantly a ‘right-side’ of the brain activity, and the right side of my brain got chopped up during surgery—but to be honest, I never knew the English alphabet either, and that was before surgery!)

However, just to make things even trickier, the Hebrew alphabet is also linked to numbers. The first ten letters represent the numbers (1-10, not surprisingly). Then the eleventh number is 20, the twelfth letter is 30, and so on up to 100. Then the letters jump in hundreds up to 400.

א1   בּגּדּ4   הוזחטי10

כּ20  ל30 מ40  נ50  ס60  ע70  פ80 צ90 

ק100   ר200   שׁ300   ת400 

This makes it perfect for use as a secret code. In fact, if you remember, I gave Husband a gift of the Israeli series that was the fore-runner of the Homeland series. In Homeland, one character sends messages by taping the morse-code. But in the original series, the characters communicate by tapping their fingers and each number of taps corresponds to a letter, a wrap of the knuckles represents numbers 10 to 90, and so on. This would actually make a fairly simple code to use and learn. I have always loved secret codes, and many hours as a child trying to devise ones for my friends (which were always much to complicated to ever be used). But now I have the Hebrew version, I’m thinking we might use it. Think what fun it will be to be on a crowded train, and to be able to discuss the person sitting opposite us, simply by moving our fingers a number of times.

At the moment, Husband is proving resistant to learning the Hebrew alphabet so we can send secret messages to each other (such a shame my children all grew up and left home). Am thinking of with-holding treats until he can ask for them in code. . .

I have also enjoyed the garden this week. In the autumn, Husband cleared one of the flower beds and ordered hundreds of tulip bulbs (not sure exactly how many—a lot) which he duly planted. When the weather turned warmer, all the spring flowers came up, but the bed of tulips remained bare. I didn’t tease him at all about this. Then, one exciting day, a couple of tulips could be seen pushing up from the soil. Within a couple of weeks, the bed was a mass of tulip sprouts. . . and one hyacinth. (I did not plant the hyacinth, I promise, though if I had thought of it, it would have been a funny thing to do.) The hyacinth was duly transplanted to a different flower bed. The chickens are still imprisoned due to bird-flu so all looks promising for a pretty display very soon.

I’m not sure what is happening with the ducks. There are three hens and two nests. They seem to be sharing. I don’t think there’s a very high chance of any ducklings from them because they sit for a while and then get bored and go back to the pond. I might do what I did last year, and give them all to a chicken to hatch.

The incubator is whirring away, and the eggs I have stolen should hatch soon. I smuggled in a couple of chicken eggs, as my brown hens are fairly old, and I’d like to keep the line going. If I hatch hens (always more males hatch, so I’ll be lucky) then potentially they could have green eggs, as they’ll be hybrids of my blue-egg birds and my brown-egg hens. But realistically, they’ll probably be cockerels and simply cause trouble. Very little in life is easy.

Anne E. Thompson
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