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.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Farming Friends

I love the contrast of the facial hair adornments on these two men. They are two of the farmers who brought their animals to the Rural Wellness Initiative clinic last week.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Downtown Wash

Anywhere other than Cairo you don't expect to see a horse getting a shower on a busy road median.... But then, Cairo is Cairo. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Facing the Summer

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. 

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