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Photo Poem: Doing The Dishes

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Doing The Dishes

Imagine, next time you stand at your sink,
In your air conditioned home, with your hot water heater
Delivering comfort and ease to your fingers
As you complain about doing the dishes –
Imagine a life with no running water,
Windows always open to the weather,
Your big stack of dirty dishes waiting
For you to carry them down to the well.
Hurry, your neighbor is watering his field,
He won’t complain about sharing the water
As you get advantage from the gushing machine
To scrub your dirty dishes clean
As you laugh and joke with your neighbor.

© 2014 by Aisha Abdelhamid

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Photo Poem: Leaving The Market

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Leaving The Market

Unequally yoked, but equally tied to the fate of their farming owners

A horse and donkey step together, bonded as patient companions

Leaving the market with an empty cart, empty bellies and empty handed

A pair of waterbuffalos tied to the rear, starving and shuffling side by side

Their fates to the same horse and donkey are tied and the sky is as empty as their bellies

The road is as dusty and dry as their eyes, bleak as the future and bleak as behind

From where they are coming, to where they are going, there is far too much in common

© Aisha Abdelhamid 2014

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Rooftop Gardening: Rebooting The Tomatoes

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I hit the reboot button!


I thought I’d do a roundup on the rooftop gardening, since I haven’t done that in a while. As you can see, I totally lost my patience with my ugly tomato plants. They have been suffering all this time, after being hit with a bacterial blight in the spring with the first heat wave’s arrival. Perhaps I must be grateful that the plants survived, and have churned out a pretty fair amount of tomatoes, under the circumstances! We don’t use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc. on our gardens, so dealing with bugs and diseases is fairly stressful for the plants. You can see it in the leaves, they look miserable:

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I've lost my patience with these ugly tomato plants!

The amazing thing, really, is that the plants keep producing nice, red, juicy delicious tomatoes! I’ve been steadily trying to cut out the dead foliage without making too much drastic damage while the tomatoes are ripening, but finally there comes a time when no more blossoms means time for drastic measures. When all else fails, hit the Reboot button!

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Pruning out the ugly branches is such a relief!

You know how great it feels when you get a nice new haircut? Well, I hope the plants felt that great after I pruned out all the old sorry looking stuff and left only the few ripening tomatoes and the little bit of new green growth. Personally, I felt much better after that! I love a nice, tidy garden! The really nice thing about a rooftop container garden is that there are very few weeds to deal with. First, not as much seed floats around on the wind up that high, and second, the containers have pretty limited surface, so it’s really easy to pick out a weed while I’m watering. I’m really enjoying this!

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The Egyptian Bell Peppers Are Starting To Look Good

Growing up, I was never a fan of peppers, until I ate a hotdog at a carnival once with grilled peppers and onions and mustard on it. There’s something magical about grilled or saute’d peppers and onions on a piece of egyptian wholegrain flat bread slathered with mustard! If you’ve never tried that, I definitely encourage you!

It’s so exciting to see fresh veggies ripening on the plant and these peppers are so colorful, I just love to share!

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Aren't They Pretty?!

And here’s more good news, saute’d eggplant is soon arriving on the menu! Eggplants are way more versatile than most people imagine. Peel them and slice them thin like mushroom pieces, and saute’ them exactly as mushrooms with a little of your favorite oil and some salt and pepper. Then use them in any recipe as an alternative to mushrooms and you’ll probably be surprised how much you love eggplant after that!

Purple is my favorite color – who can resist such a gorgeous flower?!

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A Sneak Preview Of The Eggplants

So here’s today’s harvest in the next two photos. Just the right amount for two grateful people who love fresh, all natural, homegrown veggies!

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Today's Harvest, Part 1

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Today's Harvest, Part 2: Squash, Okra & More Cucumbers

Here’s a quick recipe for Egyptian Okra Soup:

Fill a medium size cooking pot halfway with soup broth (or use water and boullion)
Cut the tops off of 20-30 “arns” (arabic for “horns”) of okra and discard,
Then cut the okra in 1 cm pieces and add to the soup
Then add in the following:
1 ripe tomato cut into small chunks
1 hot pepper, cut into small chunks
2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
Season with salt and fresh black pepper

Bring to a boil, and then boil on low for about 5-7 minutes. The okra won’t be mushy this way, it tastes best when it still has a light crunch to it. Enjoy!
♥♥♥
;^)

★★★★★★★★★ Guess what?!! It’s party time again!!! ★★★★★★★★

And since tonight is Ramadan Eve, insha’Allah we’ll have a Ramadan Party!!

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In Ramadan, Muslims fast from early dawn till sunset every day for the whole month. Here in Egypt, early dawn for this coming first day of Ramadan is at 3:11am. We need to eat and be finished before that time, so I always allow one and a half hours for food prep and eating. Tonight I’m staying up since I have a lot to do, but usually I try to sleep for a few hours in the night, and catch a nap in the mid day. So, as long as I’m up already, let’s have a party!

The food table is all set up, see?!

I think I’m starting to improve my party throwing skills, alhamdulillah / thanks to God! Hope you enjoy the food! (You can learn more about the food by clicking the caption link)

★★★ The Seed of Light Award ★★★

On June 09, 2014 Sumaira of The Muslimah Mommy awarded me with the Seed of Light Award – Thank you once again, my dear sister! God bless you and all of your family with every success! ♥♥♥ ;^)

I hope you all will visit her blog for a great inspiration and lovely glimpse into the life of a Muslimah Mommy working hard to put her faith into practice, and sharing her efforts with us on her blog:
http://themuslimahmommy.com/2014/06/09/the-seed-of-light-award/

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Sowing this seed is easy, Here are the steps:

1) Thank the person who nominated you.

2) Nominate at least 5 blogs and provide links to their blogs.

3) Notify each on their nomination.”

As with all of the awards I present, you are all recipients, whether or not you generate another cycle of this award. Recycling is optional, but the award is yours! Display it as you like on your blog and enjoy – Congratulations!

If you do decide to recycle this award, there’s no deadline to doing so. Take your time and you can always plug it into a post you are doing anyway, just like I did, that seems to be an easier way, sometimes, than making a separate post. The point is to enjoy it, and share the appreciation and recognition so others get a chance to learn about the great bloggers you are enjoying. The more the merrier! ♥♥♥ ;^)))

Here are my awardees, Congratulations to you all! I appreciate you all and enjoy so much your wonderful writing!

Zara http://zar4h.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/limitless-love-2014/
Christy http://poeticparfait.com/2014/06/18/mythology-the-golden-apple-of-discord-poetry-who-is-the-fairest-by-christy-birmingham/
Lady of the Cakes http://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/language-learning-youve-got-to-live-it/
Traditionally Modern Food http://traditionallymodernfood.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/baked-besan-bonda-2/
Katarina http://katarinawohlfart.com/2014/06/28/going-to-porvoo-with-svenska-resebloggar-and-travelhouseporvoo-in-september/
Nicole Marie http://wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/my-grandfather-and-i/
Corrine and Jim http://www.reflectionsenroute.com/weekend-travel-inspiration-develop-sympathy/
Emily http://emilykarn.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/the-new-arenas/
iithinks http://iithinks.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/a-single-smile/
Holistic Wayfarer http://holisticwayfarer.com/2014/06/27/my-boys-love-on-the-landing/

★★★★★★★★★

I invite you all to explore the souq / bazaar at night during Ramadan – it’s enchanting!

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Shopping at night is always more fun in Ramadan!

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♥♥♥
;^)

Aisha’s Egypt: A Kiss From The World

This Photo Poem is my latest post over at Kiss From The World Travel & People Magazine. You might recognize this little shepherd boy from an earlier post, although I have repurposed it slightly to condense the text into a poem. I like the way it turned out, so I decided to post it on my new little home at Kiss From The World.

I just started writing for them about a month ago, and finally I’m taking the time to post about it! If you do not already know about it, KFTW is a really terrific website for international travel articles by interesting bloggers from all over the world. I hope you’ll take a look at their exciting array of travel related topics, I’m very sure you’ll enjoy yourself immensely! And, by the way, if you are interested in joining the lineup as a featured writer for KFTW, click on the banner image where it says, “Become our Kiss From The World Blogger.”

If you like to write about the place where you live, you might find a home writing under the topic, “Live Like A Local.” If you are an expat, like me, you might find a home writing under the topic, “Living Overseas.” If you are a seasoned traveler and enjoy blogging about the places you love to visit, Kiss From The World is stuffed with a variety of topics you can file your posts under. Writing for KFTW is easy, they allow you to post articles previously published on your blog, and it is an excellent platform with awesome internet exposure. There’s always room for more writers at KFTW, and I’d really like to see more WordPress bloggers in the lineup. We have a wonderful sense of community on WP that I’d love to see grow on KFTW. Click this link and join us!

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Rooftop Gardening: Flowering Vegetables

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If I was Tinkerbell, or some other dainty little fairy flitting here and there in a forest, I’d like my dress to be made from this frilly white flower. We have no idea what this plant is called, Mohamed received the seeds from a good friend who owns a greenhouse operation nearby. He told me it makes a gourd that people like to eat the seeds from as a snack. It’s supposed to be a quick growing vine that will cover our grape arbor and give us shade and relief from the hot summer sun up on our rooftop garden.
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We planted a seed in every barrel around the roof, and they are taking off like crazy, producing many vines and slowly climbing up the arbor. One or two have actually reached the top of the arbor already and I’m guiding them carefully in the right directions.

The pretty flowers are quite a bonus, in my opinion! Two nights ago we were up on the roof working and it was about time to stop. At sunset the mosquitoes come out, and I don’t like to be their dinner.

But this time, a little earlier than the mosquitoes, a really interesting insect came visiting these frilly white flowers. Too bad I didn’t have my camera up there at the time, it looked like the strangest cross between a small hummingbird and a large butterfly, with gorgeous orange colored spots on its wings. Just like a hummingbird, I couldn’t really see the wings, just the spots, as it was hovering over the flower and inserting it’s needle-like beak for a sip of something sweet, then it flitted off to the next flower!

Insha’Allah, God willing, I’ll have my camera ready next time!

This next shot is one of the barrels filled with the vines of this mystery gourd. The bougainvillea planted in a chicken feeder beside the barrel is also flowering nicely, adding some pretty color to the roof!

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Rooftop Gardening: Our First Tomato!

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Our First Tomato!

I’ve been so busy with this blog, posting away like the OCD introverted nerd that I am, that anyone would think I have nothing better to do up on the roof! But they would be wrong – lol – I figured out having a blog is like having a baby. All of a sudden you become so much more productive, getting all the chores done right away to make time for that new baby…  or, in my case, new blog!

Our 2014 rooftop garden is in full swing already, thanks to God for a very mild winter. I am aware that everyone else on earth froze their fannies off this year, and I really appreciate how horrible that must have been. But I don’t mind telling you that I didn’t miss the usual suffering through winter in a house with no heating, no insulation in the walls, and hand built windows that are more cosmetic than functional.  They do a pretty good job of keeping the bugs out, but the weather? Not so much! It’s usually a steady 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter here, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that 45 degrees is the temperature inside your refrigerator. It’s really hard to handle life in a refrigerator for eight weeks! Maybe I’m just a wimp, but I really am thankful for not living in the refrigerator all this last winter!

So, with all the great weather we’ve had, it’s actually been fun tending to the rooftop gardening. First, I went on a treasure hunt in our storage room, collecting chicken feeders. You might have noticed that five story chicken farm next door. Back when it was only three floors, Mohamed was running it himself but then his ticket to Canada popped up and saved him from all that headache. He rented the farm out and put all his equipment in the storage room, waiting patiently for his new packrat wife from America to come figure out what to do with it all! They looked like perfect planters to me, so I hauled them all up to the roof and spread them out in rows:

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Chicken Feeders Lined Up All Around The Rooftop


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Photo Poem: “Oh Cairo2,” Photo 9 of 10

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Photo 9 of 10, "Oh Cairo, Chapter 2" Photo Poem

“..Men and women and water buffalo
Patiently trod the dirt road
In the footsteps of our eldest forefathers
In the never ending ebb and flow
From home to work, from work to home
From hot to cold, from young to old
From babe in the belly, to our place in the grave…”

This photo is my view to the north, looking out my verandah windows at the dirt road that passes to the east between our house and our neighbor. The little dirt road leading to the north follows the bank of the irrigation canal, and is lined with huge eucalyptus trees. It is very early in the morning, and the man is leading his waterbuffalo to his plot of farmland, where he will work in his field all day. They have just crossed over the bridge spanning the irrigation canal which is fed from the Nile River about a half kilometer to the west of us.

This waterbuffalo is very young, you can tell by her pink skin that she has never spent time outside of her barn. She will be walked daily back and forth by this patient farmer, her skin growing darker from the sunshine, as she learns to eat fresh greens from the field and provide milk for her family. Maybe this is her first journey away from the safety of her barn and mama. Something scared her, apparently, causing her to balk at continuing, and her owner is coaxing her gently, tugging the rope to encourage her. I love the curiosity of our neighbor’s dog, too. He has climbed up onto the back of the trailer he was sleeping in to get a better look!
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