March 10, 2014

A Learning Experience

Today a (a no, yet another?) simple home & garden post. I have to say that the quality of my life has significantly improved now that I no longer listen to the news. As such, I live a rather un-integrated life at the moment, but with the incredible mess in this place, 'un-integrated' suits me just fine.
4 Sisamese kittens

 It wasn’t my plan to write yet another cat post, but as it happened, our cat decided to deliver her babies in the middle of the night. We had set up a nice delivery box in the house, filled with hay, in order to emulate a ‘barn-like smell’, hoping this would entice her to have her babies in the box. However, this is a cat out of the box, and in the end she decided to go there where she spends most of her nights. Where? In my daughter’s bed, where else?
A  walk in the fields near Batroun (the weather was lovely! Where was everyone this Sunday? At the mall again?)
My daughter had a friend sleeping over, and the two girls thought the whole process was rather ‘messy’. Questions such as “is this how we came out as well?” and “how much does it cost to adopt a child?” sort of indicated that – although an excellent learning experience – the girls thought it was rather gross. They are both excellent actors as well, and wondered aloud “What kind of a mother are you to expose our innocent souls to this,” and “we will now be traumatized for life.”
They'll get over it. And so we are now the proud owner of four Siamese kittens. For now, they look like white rats. The specific Siamese coloring comes later.
Aahhh, the embarrassment of being an 'almost' teenager in the presence of your more playful cousins who are pretending to be eaten by the shark boat.
The weather has finally cooled off, after a few days of khamsin (hot desert wind), and the sand in the atmosphere has been beaten down by some good showers. Most of it seems to have ended up in my water tank, as I have been taking showers in an orange type of solution, and the drinking water (we drink government water that comes through a filter system) seems to have a rather peculiar taste as well.
But I should not complain, because it seems like I live in the only building in Beirut that has not yet had to buy water from an external source. Friends of mine have been buying since last October. Other friends discuss their suppliers; who do they buy their water from, and at what price? After all, you cannot just pump it out of a river, because ‘The waters of all perennial Lebanese Coastal rivers were found to be clearly polluted with faecal coliform indicating significant raw wastewater input,’ according to this research. ‘Faecal’ you say? Look up that word and you’ll never bathe again in anything else but Evian.
I had a project this Sunday; I had to find stones with holes in them. One day I might share with you why. The almost teenager is visibly questioning my sanity.
We were – until recently – the only Middle Eastern country that did not have any water issues, with 15 perennial rivers that are fed by aquifers and rainfall. But the lack of rainfall this winter has everyone worried how we are going to get through the dry summer. There’s are interesting articles on the predicted water shortage it the Daily Star and in al-Akhbar.
 Some good news from the environmental front however is that our new Minister of Environment, Mohammad Machnouk, means business. His time as minister may be short (2 months until the next elections) or forever (if we cannot get to a compromise between the warring parties, which seems quite likely) but he’s busy drawing our attention  to some of the fantastic natural resources we have in this place.
But she's not too big to enjoy an ice-cream in winter time. Some unusual flavors they had, such as 'ashta', and 'rose'
This entire week, all Lebanese nature reserves will be free to the public. You usually pay a small fee to enter, but this week, all the way until Sunday, he is trying to get as many Lebanese visiting these reserves. The minister himself is an avid nature photographer (just check out his facebook page), enjoys the outdoors, and is now encouraging you to do the same. And I was pleasantly surprised when I read the long list of protected areas. Some of them I don’t even know they were protected. I have posted the list as it comes from the Minister of Environment Facebook page, as your Arabic most likely is infinitely better than mine. And if you do not know Arabic, pull them through Google Translate. Especially number 12, 13 and 14 should be interesting places to visit (according to google translate).
1- محمية حرج إهدن الطبيعية (قضاء زغرتا)
محمية جزر النخل الطبيعية (الميناء/طرابلس)
محمية غابة أرز تنورين الطبيعية (قضاء البترون)
محمية مشاع شننعير الطبيعية (قضاء كسروان)
محمية بنتاعل الطبيعية (قضاء جبيل)
محمية اليمونة الطبيعية (قضاء بعلبك)
محمية أرز الشوف الطبيعية
محمية شاطي صور الطبيعية
محمية وادي الحجير الطبيعية (اقضية النبطية وبنت جبيل ومرجعيون)
محمية كرم شباط الطبيعية (قضاء عكار)
محمية رامية الطبيعية (قضاء بنت جبيل)
محمية كفرا الطبيعية (قضاء بنت جبيل)
محمية بيت ليف الطبيعية (قضاء بنت جبيل)
محمية دبل الطبيعية (قضاء بنت جبيل)

اسماء رؤساء لجان المحميات الطبيعية والمسؤولين فيها:

محمية حرج إهدن الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: رئيس البلدية المهندس توفيق معوض
مديرة المحمية: المهندسة سندرا سابا 871872-70 - 601601-70
محمية جزر النخل الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: الدكتور غسان رمضان جرادي 689840-03
محمية غابة أرز تنورين الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: نائب رئيس البلدية المحامي نعمة حرب
الدكتورنبيل نمر/الخبير العلمي 277618-03 - 819029-03
محمية مشاع شننعير الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: العميد بطرس ابي نصر 345418-03
محمية بنتاعل الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: المهندس ريمون خوري 838982-03
محمية أرز الشوف الطبيعية
رئيس اللجنة: المحامي شارل نجيم
السيد كمال أبو عاصي/منسق السياحة البيئية 308877-03 , 964496-03 , 350250-05
محمية شاطي صور الطبيعية
رئيس اللجنة: رئيس بلدية صور المهندس حسن دبوق
مدير المحمية: المهندس حسن حمزة 334600-03 - 876837-03
محمية وادي الحجير الطبيعية رئيس اللجنة: رئيس اتحاد بلديات جيل عامل السيد علي الزين 222251-03

And now that we're talking environment, this is a plant I run into every spring: the Arum dioscoridis , or spotted arum.

No comments: