Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did You Know Pomegranates Have Really Pretty Flowers?

Because I just found that out. I may live in the desert, but I gotta say when I walk in the fields I feel like I’m somewhere else entirely. Along with argan (natch), my village grows almonds, pomegranates, apricots, figs, dates, olives, and I’ve seen at least two orange trees and one plum tree. Right now people are also growing corn, just harvested the barley (or possibly wheat? I don’t know cereals – project!), and I’ve spotted somebody with a huge amount of chive in their plot. Not to mention the rather ubiquitous mint.

Let’s take a walk, shall we?

Ah, the argan. Hardy, versatile, and a pain in the ass if you want to crack open the nut (seriously – my fingers are killing me).

These are the fruits, with the nuts hidden away inside. They’ve started falling to the ground, and I’m told in August they’ll be collected in earnest for drying and storage. Suckers are everywhere.

The canopy shades too much for anything to grow beneath the trees in the fields, but in open patches you can find plenty of people taking advantage of the irrigation canals.

You can also see the difference between the irrigated portion and the soil left to its own devices. Guess which is which?

Not a blade of grass grows on the dry side. And with water like this I’m surprised it grows at all.

This water was seeping from a portion of the irrigation canal down through a retaining wall. It’s full of soap, as you can see, as many people do their laundry where the canal opens onto a terrace. Someday I’ll tell you about Tide.

Speaking of irrigation, I wondered why people sectioned off their crops into individual rectangles. It looks very cool, but I highly doubted function followed form. Yesterday as I came upon this plot I found two women I know from the co-op watering their newly sprouted corn. Turns out the rectangles are individual pools the water can be directed to through raising and razing earthen dams. So cool!

And the pomegranates…

Pretty! And really such a novelty to me. It’s a pomegranate! In a tree! Hee!

And as we exit the fields, we find some other favorite plants of mine…

I love these cacti. Town is full of prickly pear, but these grow on the extra rocky, extra arid hillsides outside the village proper. They look like coral.

And these are some of the terraces where, prior to the drought (see post below), you could actually grow things. Before doing so you would tie an onion to your belt, as was the style at the time. Ahem.

And finally, a quick shout out to the irrigation canal, without which much of this would not be possible. Dandelions grow just beyond this bend in the stream. I visit every few days to pick them for my room.

Dandelions make me happy.

Today’s Tash:
ar iyyi aitejAAbn ijdiggin – I like flowers.


Anonymous gertrudeglass said...

You've always loved dandelions! I remember you tried to rebrand them as "blonde bombshells"-but it was a losing proposition.

June 17, 2008 at 12:56 PM  

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