November 02, 2014

Indian Summer

Our Indian Summer is definitely over: Fall has set in; gone are the beach days. Here in the mountains it has rained pretty much 24 hours on end. In Beirut it’s been a little drier.
Changing colors in an orchard up in the mountains
I am doing the 10K next Sunday during the Beirut Marathon, and I hope it’ll be dry by then. Aregu Sisay, my famous housekeeper, is running her very first marathon. She finds herself between a rock and a hard place on this run. She usually wins when competing in Lebanon; 5K, 10 K, 21K, she wins them all these days. The Beirut Marathon however is an international event; she cannot run as a Lebanese, and thus has to compete with the professional runners coming out of Kenya and Ethiopia. She stands little chance against these guys; these athletes run for a living, have personal trainers and do nothing but run: She only runs in the morning, before her works starts. She doesn’t know what type of food makes her run better, refuses to take the multi-vitamins that her trainer prescribed for her, and doesn’t eat breakfast before a race because it makes her vomit while running.

Shaggy Ink Cap (Apparently a very common mushroom in the mountains in fall. Edible (they say)

I had wanted to help a friend in the south with the olive harvest. “Don’t bother,” was the reply, “we had so little rain last year, that we have almost no olives. We’re not even harvesting what we have, not worth the trouble.” They don’t live off their olive groves; they happen to have them. But there are plenty of farmers who exist from their olives. I wonder how they get through this year because our Ministry of Agriculture does not provide financial aid to farmers who suffer setbacks due to seasonal conditions.

Some odd type of apple

There are few olive groves here, east of Beirut; it’s mainly apples, cherries (their harvest has passed) and persimmon (kaki).  According to certain folklore, you can predict what kind of winter is coming by cutting open the seeds of a persimmon. You see a spoon, lots of snow. A fork indicates a light winter and with a knife you’ve got a cold and icy winter coming up. I might give that a try next week. Personally, I am hoping for a long and snowy winter. Granted, that will not be very nice for the many refugees that are currently living in tent cities in the Beqaa valley. Winter in the Beqaa is much more severe than here on the coast line anyway: it’s a land climate versus a marine climate. It’s amazing what a change one mountain ridge can make on weather patterns. 

Persimmon (kaki)

Up here in the mountains, it was cold enough to light the first fire of the season. Some years ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing about things we really wanted, but couldn’t get because our husband vetoed them. For her it as was dog, for me it was a fire place in the house. So the discussion went; what’s the first thing we do after our husbands die? But then her son brought a dog into the house, and we bought a mountain house that had a fire place, which was a good thing; now we no longer had to wait.

No idea what type of mushroom this is.

So Friday night was cool enough for the first fire: The dogs and the pre-teenager in my household all curled up in front of the fireplace. 


Gray Fox said...

Good luck to Aregu Sisay!!!

Sandra Issa said...

Cool blog, lovely pics, I really enjoy reading u :-)

Elie Touma said...

As always, wonderful photography. Reminds us that Lebanon is still well and alive!!!

Sietske said...

Thank you all for your lovely compliments :) And Aregu made it to the newspapers today. She's ready for Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I thought Persimmon was kharma. If not, what the heck is the english word for kharma? This is literally a debate I've been having for years.