Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All Tied up

Just before Ramadan started, about a month ago, I had to have surgery on my right shoulder because encroaching arthritis had produced some sharp bone that had severed a tendon in the shoulder. The hassle of surgery aside, this has meant living with my right arm tied up next to my body and absolutely no way to use both hands. I'm now slipping free of the bindings and have two hands for my keyboard as long as I don't move my shoulder.

So this young donkey reminded me of my predicament with its traditional village binding of the legs just above the knees and hocks and the stitched together ear tips. The villagers believe that if they don't do this the legs will grow crooked and the ears will flop, which is, of course, utter rubbish. When our George was born my staff at the time wanted to do this and I laughed at them pointing out that we never do this to foals. George has lovely straight ears and legs despite being deprived of his bindings.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Oh Canada!

Each year the Canadian embassy celebrates our national day, which is July 1, with a gathering at the ambassador's residence. This lovely Art Deco apartment overlooks the garden.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Things Tourists Do!

I took a rider out a year ago on a trek around the desert. She was on a long trek herself and had been given a small stuffed animal to take pictures of in various places. In honor of her ride, she put the duck (I believe) into Wadi's bridle. I love photos of people doing random things.

Apologies for not posting for a while but I was being a tourist myself and visiting family in the US.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Egyptian Jacks

If all these photos look a bit random, that's because they are, at least as far as my understanding of them. We were working on one of our vet clinics near a mosque in a village by Abu Sir and there was a very intent knot of young girls sitting together all facing inward on the terrace of the mosque. I noticed them but it wasn't until we had finished with most of our patients (donkeys, buffalo, cows, goats, and so on) that I got a chance to see what they were doing. One of the girls had three flat round stones and three flat angular stones. She would toss them on the tiles and then toss one stone up into the air and collect the stones on the tiles in various combinations. It reminded me of a game we played when I was a child in California with a ball and a set of spikey metal objects called Jacks.  In Egypt it is called "Al".

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sheep Branding

The village Bedouin in this area graze their flocks of sheep on the fields after harvest, which adds some organic fertilizer to the soil and reduces the stubble. With perhaps a dozen families wandering around the tracks, it's not a bad idea to identify the sheep in some way. These have been marked with a dot of henna on the face or back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Killing Farm Land

The news has stories of thousands of acres being sold to Arabs, but out here near Abu Sir, they are building warehouses by the hundred on good cultivation land. This would look to be a factory. How can our government be so stupid and shortsighted? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Eating My Garden

Today was Sham el Nessim, one of my favorite holidays because it is utterly unrelated to any religion or military victory.  On this day Egyptian families head out to some green spot for a picnic, which for some families today was my farm. I spent the day supervising children and puppies, winnowing our quinoa crop, and chatting with old and new friends. By the time everyone left, I was starving and really wanted some greens. After my post about khobeyza, I decided to try out its cousin hollyhock leaves. I cut some off my many hollyhock plants, washed and chopped them and then a autéed them in olive oil with onions, garlic, fresh coriander and dill, and a chopped peeled tomato. I layered a bit of rice, some chopped roast chicken and then the hollyhock greens. Delicious. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bounty In The Trees

In April we are surrounded by red/black and white mulberry trees full of ripe fruit. In the old days, the cities were also filled with mulberry trees along the streets, but as the ripe fruit does gather flies, people are cutting down the trees. It's heaven to go for a leisurely ride on horseback and stop to pick a few every few meters.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Study In Pink

Wrought iron bars are often placed on the ground floor windows of homes for security. Obviously this young lady felt that they were there for another purpose. It's a great look out for a small one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Egyptian Superfood For Free

This plant (weed actually) is known in Egypt as Khobeyza or in English as Mallow. It's a relation to Molokheya, another mallow plant, and hollyhocks which are yet another one. Egyptians eat it as a soup either with meat or without. The recipe from My Egyptian Grandmother's Kitchen calls for 1 kg mallow, 2 large bunches swiss chard, 1 onion, 2 Tbsp ghee, 2 cups of tomato juice (or tomato pureed in a blender...fresh is always better), 1/2 kg cubed meat (we usually skip the meat but it's good), 1 bunch each fresh dill and fresh coriander, 1/2 cup of rice, 4 cloves of garlic minced.

Boil the picked, washed chard and mallow leaves in a small amount of salted water and then run it through a blender or processor. Chop the onion and saute in 1 Tbsp ghee until golden and then add meat. Add the tomato juice and half the chopped dill and coriander and all of the mallow/chard to the pot with salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer until the meat is almost done. Add the rice to the pot and finish cooking. This should take about 30 minutes. Saute the garlic and remaining dill and coriander in 1 Tbsp ghee and toss into the pot of mallow. Serve.

I personally like a lot of garlic so the amount of garlic is definitely expandable and this is a recipe that will put anyone with anemia right in no time. Mallow can be found growing all sorts of places as a weed. This particular patch was photographed at Blue Star Equiculture, a draft horse rescue in Palmer, Massachusetts. Free nutrition is always good.