A couple of young women are making a video on donkey care so they have been joining the vets of the Rural Wellness Initiative for filming. During a quiet moment the crew share stories
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Cairo traffic is infamous. Crowded, slow, irritable..you name it. Motorcycles and scooters are commonplace as they can slide among the cars in a traffic jam, but his guy was carrying something extra, a stout walking stick to protect his legs or to rap an encroaching car on the hood maybe.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
It's a problem in the countryside. We live in an area where the most common surface for a road is sand or dirt. People wander in and out of homes all the time and the dust blows in from the desert. Stone or tile floors are cold and hard, and in village homes most people sit on the floor rather than on furniture. Rugs are nice but they collect sand and dust and really hard to clean, so these woven plastic mats are a great solution to the floor covering problem. They provide a bit of cushioning, a bit of warmth and the sand and dust just sift their way through the mat to the floor surface. The mats can be rolled up, the sand swept out, and you are good to go. When you want to wash them, all it takes is a hose and few minutes to let them dry in the sun. AND they are quite cheap.
Friday, October 31, 2014
It has been ages since I've posted to the blog and truly I feel bad about that. Life has a way of getting complicated and busy, especially here in Egypt where nothing is as easy as it should be, nor as easy as it was some years ago. Power failures, internet failures and no time to leave the farm due to work that we are doing here all make it hard to take photos and post.
But I had two women who wanted to go to see the Menawat Sunday market last week, and I have some lovely photos of a country market in Giza. One friend needed a donkey harness for the donkey at her farm that hauls the manure cart, while the other was a visitor who was up for anything interesting...and the Sunday market is interesting. Imagine all the goods in a large supermarket unwrapped, unpacked and then distributed along narrow dusty streets and you have roughly the idea of a village market. You will find EVERYTHING there if you have the time to look for it. One of the things that I noticed that brought a huge grin to my face was this enormous pile of wooden clothes pins. My housekeeper is a tiny woman and the washing line at the house is quite tall, so clothes pins go missing regularly. She often will just tug at a sheet and the pins separate flying in opposite directions. When I saw this, I knew that I needed a shot of this place where the missing clothes pins must go to breed.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
The joy of Cairo can be expressed in two words most days. "Cairo traffic" is stickier than duct tape, slower than molasses in January...but at least the guys in the flatbed have a nice breeze and a decent view.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
On my way to an attorney whose office is in downtown Cairo we found ourselves behind a horse cart on a major street and I had no time to whip out my phone. I had to be dropped at the law office and the driver had to go all the way to Zamalek to find a parking place. When I came out and was waiting on the Corniche to be picked up, I found this horse standing patiently by the side of the busy road where no one else could park.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I had shoulder surgery this summer and only had my left hand to use for a month or so. This is the first week I've had the approval from the doctor to ride out.
This is a flowering field of sesame. I'll bet you had no idea this is what it looked like.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
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
Monday, June 9, 2014
Apologies for not posting for a while but I was being a tourist myself and visiting family in the US.
Friday, May 2, 2014
Jacks. In Egypt it is called "Al".
Saturday, April 26, 2014
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
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
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
Monday, April 14, 2014
Sunday, April 13, 2014
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.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
When a friend of mine moved from an old apartment she gave me this palm log carving of a face. She said that it have her the creeps but I find it charming. I have no idea who the artist was or if it represents anything special but it is great with nasturtiums.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Egyptian women carry the universe on their shoulders. Not only are they working hard to care for their families, but many of them live the way I remember my mother living when I was young, without a car, having only the basic mechanical aids to help clean (we were turned loose with old socks on to polish the floors), and being pretty much solely responsible for their homes and children. So most of them walk a lot and often are carrying offspring.