Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quotidian Fall

What has kept me from posting on my blog these past weeks? I'm not sure. Some autumnal puttering, maybe. I've adjusted to the subtle cadence of fall in Mafraq; until yesterday the temperatures remained summer-like, leaving only the changing afternoon sunlight to remind us that fall and then quickly, winter would be here.

We had a nice cloudburst last week, a brief deluge of precipitation strong enough to wash layers of summer dust from the leaves. Though it has been too warm to be out in the garden doing the fall work of planting and clean-up, I've admired the fresh greenery from the windows. It's funny, I hardly even notice the iron bars on my windows until I take a picture of them. I've a view of a lemon tree from one kitchen window, and and two olive trees from the other.

From my bedroom window, I enjoy a view of the pomegranate tree, preparing to drop its leaves, lemon trees, a few remaining flowers. The top of the tall pines which guard the garden wall provide refuge to many birds whose songs reveal their presence even as they hide themselves from sight in the amongst the needles and branches. The weather is cooling this weekend, so I plan to get all my fall bulbs in this week. Olives harvest will begin as well.

A plant nerd, I delight in discovering the botanical name of my garden plants. This is not always easy as garden plants sold in Jordan are not marked. I've had this plant in my garden for several years and always referred to it as a bee balm, as it looked like other bee balms I has seen in family Lamiaceae (mint family). Thanks to an Amman garden shop whose Facebook page I recently discovered, I now know that this drought resistant plant, native to South Africa and southern Africa, is  Leonotis leonurus, also know as Lion's Tail and Wild Dagga. Its orange blooms provide a bit of fall color, such as I am used to.

 Leonotis leonurus, Lion's Tail 

Tulbaghia violacea
My "lillies" are still blooming and it turns out that they are actually in in family Alliaceae, which explains why their leaves smell like garlic when I handle them. I've discovered that I can use them in salads, perhaps like chives, though I've not yet tried them.

Tayta's face continues to heal (11 weeks post-op here). The swelling is still subsiding, though at a slower pace than before. We hope to schedule her revision surgery this summer.

Lavender Nursery
Along with the bulbs I hope to plant a few more lavender bushes in my garden, and another Russian sage bush.

Dear Husband has been having knee problems this fall and had to give up his/our morning running routine. He purchased this new step machine in Amman last week as a substitute and we've all been trying out it. It seems effective and we hope it will be a good substitute for running, at least for the time being. Dear Husband moves it to the sun room, facing out into the garden, when he uses it so that he can at least have the sensation of being outside while he exercises. I joked with him that if we were in the States, we could probably buy something like this at a garage sale for a song as so many people sell exercise equipment at garage sales. (I noticed my reflection in the mirror in this image--not quite as artistic a portrayal of the artist as in van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, and completely unintended.) At least it is compact, only taking up about 1.5 square feet of floor space.

In the kitchen, we're enjoying  a new fall soup, Red Lentil Coconut Soup, and I've finally mastered the basic sourdough bread recipe, using a San Francisco Sourdough starter gifted to me by a friend. Sourdough bread from San Francisco is a fond food memory from my childhood and I have a particular association of sourdough bread and visits to Fisherman's Wharf. 

No comments: