Qurna Homestead Update. April 2015.

Its been quite a while since I posted here and quite a lot has happened, even though it still feels as though nothing has! Much of the change has been on subtle levels, creating change within the house, so that for people looking in from the outside, it still looks the same. But every little shift here is important. People are so stuck in their old ways of doing things that it takes much healing to bring any change at all.

DSCN9923We are still looking after our animals, a bull, a cow, a pregnant ewe, a ewe and lamb, lots of ducks, turkeys, geese and chickens. Some of the chickens we now have were incubated by Ruby Tuesday on the East Bank, which was a godsend as all of our other chickens were wiped out by a particularly nasty cholera outbreak. Normally we lose a lot but never all of them. We were lucky that we managed to save the young Muscovy ducks and geese. Our Pekin ducks seem to be impervious to it! Even our turkeys managed to avoid it, once we used the right anti-biotics. Pretty miraculous really, as nearly everyone around us lost everything. We try to keep the place disinfected, but it is so difficult when all of the birds and animals share the same space.

It has been a very trying few months. Last November I finally thought we could escape Luxor. A British woman, converted to Islam, advertised for a job on her farm in Alexandria. We lasted a month before returning to Luxor. Lovely place, but terrible working environment, and completely lacking in integrity. But I did do much personal healing while we were there and so it was  not wasted. All we did waste was a lot of time, energy and money! It was a very emotionally challenging month. DSCN9659

When we returned, we found that our animals, who were supposed to be looked after by Omar’s brothers, were as thin as rakes. Even the bull looked more like a calf again. MIL had taken over the hen house, even though I had given the care of the birds to one of the other women, and it was in a state. We quickly put it back into shape and fed the poor birds. None of them were laying because nobody fed them properly. I bought a large bag of feed and within two weeks they were all laying.

Omar sold two of our sheep and bought a new ewe with her twin lambs. Within a month they both had died. We had no idea why, until the second one was dying. They were riddled with fleas, which were just sucking the life out of them. We tried to save the second one but it succumbed. We had to dip all of the remaining sheep and spray the pen. Then Ginger, my sheep with the lovely wool, gave birth to Paschal, on Easter Sunday. He is the spitting image of his mum, and the first ‘boy’ that we’ve had since we got the sheep.

2015-04-05 14.53.56But then we noticed that he was scratching. More de-flea-ing, but we had to be so careful as he was less than a week old. We got rid of those and three days later he had even more. So all of the animals had to come out, while we turned the place out and burned everything. Then we discovered the bull going nuts, scratching! Lice! Once again we had to race to the vet to get an injection. Omar had sold the cow, bought a bull, changed his mind and bought another cow instead. She brought lice with her; just as the two lambs had brought the fleas! It was getting a little crazy! All of the chickens had already died, plus one of my young geese; then the Muscovy ducks were ill and one of those died. Next it was the turkey’s turn. Having treated them for Cholera they developed a Vit. B deficiency! It was one thing after another! Then we discovered, that although the other young goose had managed to survive the cholera, she was blind! So she has to be taken more care of and we have to make sure that she gets enough food and water.

However, in the midst of all this chaos, our Muscovy hen hatched lots of eggs, so we ended up with more Muscovy and, Pekin  ducklings, plus 5 chicks. 2015-03-03 12.48.45They are all huge now and our first new chick from the latest hatching is now in the brooder. The Muscovy hen started laying again, but after two days we had to stop her being with the drake, as he tore her back to shreds. We put one hen’s egg underneath her, not thinking anything would come of it, but it hatched two days ago. In a few days hopefully we will get a few more ducklings to keep it company. It spends a lot of time sitting (put an ‘h’ in there and it would be more appropriate”) on my lap for now!!!

We have brought in the wheat harvest, which Omar’s brother planted, but harvested too early, and the onions have now been pulled. Omar is definitely the best one for the job. His wheat and onions were brilliant compared to this year. But his older brother thought he could do better; he has now changed his mind! But Omar has influenced the way that they think. They planted wheat in the sugarcane field too, so now even with the Gov., wheat shortages, we have enough wheat for the year.

We have stopped everyone from going into the garden as they kept taking all the tiny, pea-sized lemons from the tree. Everything is nabbed before it even ripens on the branches. So this year we are taking care of it and no-one has the key to the garden anymore. Everyone will get their fair share and no-one will go without. Plus, I am slowly convincing everyone that duck eggs are actually delicious! Two of them now eat them regularly! Small successes!!!

Although Omar did get bitten by a snake, while planting Okra in the dark, but that’s another story…

Chicken Cholera

Our flock of chickens, ranging from between two months old to 6 months have contracted Chicken Cholera, again! This morning we lost 7 birds, including one point-of-lay pullet. We had been losing at least one a day for the past few days, but because these were mother’s chickens which had been badly fed since the beginning, and which is why she wanted us to take care of them, we thought it was just down to bad health. However, once a healthy pullet was stricken, I knew it was more serious.

DSCN9593I keep our pullets separate from the others, but as one has succumbed I’m not sure if the others will survive. This disease seems to be seasonal and can wipe out a whole flock with a couple of weeks. I hoped that only the weaker ones would die but when Prince, our lovely cockerel, was ill this morning, I knew it could potentially kill any of them.

Last week, while doing some healing on myself, I had an image pop into my head of a black crow cawing into the animal pen. I knew it meant death, but didn’t know of what! Now I know!

When we were able to keep the chickens in the garden, only a couple of them died. But now we have to keep them in the animal pen as the men don’t want the birds in the garden. For me it is the healthiest place for them, and with a little care it could be managed so that the hens didn’t eat new seeds or young plants. But, things don’t work like that here. Common sense is rare here!

So far, it is only our birds dying, none of mother’s or Eman’s. I don’t know why ours were susceptible and none of the others. Hopefully theirs will be OK. We feed ours better, take better care of them, but yet they are ill. Two of the brothers have bought new young rams recently, which are now in with ours, and they might have been around other birds in their previous home. All the chickens run around the animals so if an animal is carrying anything on their feet, they then bring it into our pen. Its the only different thing that has happened recently!

But I decided that if none of the birds survive then I will not replace them until we have our own place and I can build them a house with a concrete, cleanable floor and proper outdoor runs. I will also see if they can be vaccinated. DSCN9563

The only good thing about this situation is that the women will not want to keep their birds with mine if it looks like they are just as susceptible there. That would save me a fortune and a whole lot of hassle!

In the meantime I will enjoy every egg that the hens produce and will eat it with immense gratitude. The sickness does not seem to have effected the ducks so hopefully they will be alright!

Here’s hoping…

“Let Yourselves Go and Enjoy Life to the Full”

 

timthumb.php“Cease being concerned whether you are growing spiritually or whether you are
 on the right path, or in the right place, or doing the right thing. Cease being self-concerned and simply open your hearts and think of those around you, give to
 those around you, let yourselves go and enjoy life to the full – life in all its
 abundance – all its wonder and glory. Give and give all the time, with never a
 thought of what you can get out of life, for the more you give the more you will
 receive.”

This is guidance which Eileen Caddy (One of the founders of Findhorn) received while living in a caravan in Findhorn, Scotland. It is one of those beliefs that I believed in wholeheartedly while living in the UK and Ireland! Here in Egypt, however, I struggle to enjoy anything. I don’t worry about whether I am on the right path, I know I am, and I don’t worry about whether I am growing spiritually, I am doing that too! I just wish I could FEEL something, other than – nothing! Well – nothing happy, or excited anyway.

2014-10-18 07.25.10This week, after raising our hens from chicks, we finally got our first eggs. A joyful occasion I would normally be over the moon about. But I feel absolutely nothing! I’ve been thinking about why I feel nothing and I think its because there are so many people waiting for these eggs, and coveting them, that I don’t want to feel happy about them. As soon as I feel anything good here about the animals, or the garden, some bugger comes along and kills it!

All of the women here have been debating when the chickens should be laying. We are looking after 1 point-of-lay pullet for Fatma, four for Kalsoum, and three of ours. The other woman, Eman, has her own hens, which are a little while off laying yet, but that doesn’t stop her coming into the enclosure and pointing out that they should be laying by now, hoping that I will give her some too! She’ll be lucky! This is the same woman we have given three ducks to, and still screams after her daughter, when Omar wants her to keep an eye on the sheep as they graze the grass out front, that she is not a slave to look after anyone’s sheep! Her daughter then has to come indoors.  No matter how much we give to that woman she never gives a bean back, but demands her ‘rights’ all the time. So she can say goodbye to any eggs from our hens. DSCN9665

Because children here are brought up with few boundaries, they are brought up to steal and to lie, as if that were a perfectly normal way to live. So they will sneak into the animal pen to look for eggs, while we are upstairs. I have put the hens into the henhouse to make sure they steal nothing. I think that’s the problem. Its very hard to enjoy anything here when you are constantly having to protect it from other people’s lack of morals and covetousness. It takes all the joy out of everything.

Last Tuesday we went to the souk at 6am. I wanted to buy my own veges, now that it is cooler. We had a look at all the sheep for sale and Omar found one that his brother had been looking for, for weeks. He bought the sheep, a lovely little white ram with brown spots. I suggested that Omar build a separate pen for the young rams as the older females eat everything, head-butting the babies out of the way.

It turns out that the older brother was actually buying the ram for the middle brother. The same brother that we had tried to help with sheep twice before and who twice before spent all of his money on rubbish and then had nothing left with which to buy anything. I don’t help him anymore. He sabotages everything.  Apart from that he doesn’t speak to me anymore anyway, since I shouted at him to get out of my flat after Omar and I had rescued his wife when he was beating the lard out of her! That was weeks ago, and he still doesn’t speak to me! 2014-09-02 08.33.17

Omar’s older brother told him that the ram was for the other brother and then we heard from Mother, that the two brothers had been discussing our new ram’s pen. They thought that we had built it to keep the brother’s ram away from ours so that we wouldn’t have to feed it! Yeah…and that’s why we put our ram in with him, because we wanted to starve it to death! Idiots! I couldn’t figure out why they kept coming to check and why the middle brother kept turning his nose up at it when Omar proudly tried to show him what he’d done.

Mother told Omar later what had been happening, as he was quite disappointed that his brothers were not more impressed with his handiwork. It was only when they saw that we were actually feeding the rams very well that they had to eat their words. But they said nothing to Omar! Its a constant battle, so Eileen’s guidance about give, give and give again doesn’t actually work here very well! 2014-09-19 10.14.55

When you give generously here it creates a situation of envy wherein the person you are giving to then feels envious, because you have something to give in the first place! Then they start to try to undermine your efforts or make nasty comments or steal what they want. If you give everything here you end up with nothing! So I think that Eileen’s guidance might have worked well in Scotland, but it sure doesn’t work here.

To give you an example of how people think here, Omar came home from the  field where he grows sweet-corn, last week. For three days he seemed to be ignoring me, but I couldn’t figure out why. I always know when he is avoiding being around me as it feels very different to when he is just busy ‘away’.

On this occasion he was spending all of his time in the field or downstairs with his family. It is as if he feels more aligned with his family than he does with me on those occasions. But I did not understand what was going on, as everything was normal here with us.

When I asked him what was going on with him he finally told me that he had overheard a guy in the adjoining field, talking to his neighbour. He was commenting on why Omar was working like a donkey in the field when he was the richest man of all of them! (I wish). There is a belief here that if you are married to a European woman then you are rich, because all of us European women are rich, right? DSCN9441

However, other people thinking Omar is rich because of me, makes him push me away. Maybe he suddenly thought that he should be with a Rich European woman and that farming was a fool’s game? Or maybe is scared of people thinking that he is rich? Here, if you are a ‘normal’ person, i.e. not from a rich family, you have to hide any money you have so that people do not know that you have it! Otherwise they will try to ‘relieve’ you of it!

Even Mother has to hide little bits of fruit, or a few pounds, as her grandchildren, steal everything she has. Very frustrating. I gave her one of my suitcases to lock her stuff away in so that the kids could not get into it. It didn’t stop them throwing it around, however! Little sods!

So, back to Eileen, I think altruism has to be reconsidered here, taking into account cultural beliefs about generosity and wealth. Its a constant battle trying to maintain boundaries here, and I think that that issue is probably one of the most undermining. If people were taught about how to have boundaries, and how to live honest lives, it wouldn’t be so hard!

Where the hell is Moses when you need him?

Home-grown Wheat.

 

I finally learned how to prepare our own wheat for making into flour. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Listening to Omar it sounded like quite a production but it took a half an hour to clean and a few hours to dry! 2014-09-25 09.36.56

This was the wheat which we grew last year and which the family ended up with most of, as usual! I wanted my own grain as we had paid for it and produced it. I was tired of having to be a beggar when we provide it all! Ludicrous. So we brought a large bag upstairs to the flat and I washed enough to keep us going in bread for a couple of months.

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This entailed rinsing the wheat through a large sieve to get the soil out. Omar told me to wash it all in our plastic laundry bin but this didn’t remove the soil so I used our sieve instead. It took longer but was much more efficient.

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Once I had washed enough I laid it all out on a sheet on our bedroom floor, under the fan, to dry. Omar came in and said it needed to be in the sun. I didn’t agree. My father owned a corn factory when I was a child and he used drying machines to dry it. I was pretty sure that if I left the warm air coming in through the window to be circulated with the overhead fan, that it would dry well enough for the mill! It did! Omar took it later that evening to the local mill and picked it up the following day. 2014-09-25 11.29.23

When he came back he was thrilled. He said that the miller had commented that the woman who prepared this wheat did a brilliant job, that it was exactly as it should be. The flour was fine and good enough for cakes. The removed wheat bran/germ was also as it was supposed to be. The miller was also a little surprised as the wheat they normally got from our house was way too dry. Here, the women wash it and put it in the hot sun to dry, which leaves it hard, dry and brittle. The bran that is removed is then used for a base to place the rising dough on so that it doesn’t stick. They don’t actually eat it!Needless to say Omar didn’t mention that his wife had done it. He takes the credit for all my work! God forbid a woman should be smarter or more successful. Egyptian men!

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Omar was so pleased with the flour that he took some down to his mother for approval/competition. Never a good move. I knew it was only a matter of time before there would be consequences for bragging!

That came yesterday. It is the big feast in a couple of days and the women all traditionally make Fiteer. a thin flat bread baked in the oven. It is Fiteer when it is thin and crispy, but Grus when slightly thicker, and layered with oil! However, they had stored their flour badly and beetles had gotten into it, so they wanted some of mine! Every time they are careless with their food and they know I have some, they will just ask me, or rather Omar, who then gives it to them. I was not happy. Normally, when their flour has beetles they sieve them out, so what was different about today? The difference was they knew I had good flour!

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Like a ‘good wife’ I gave them a week’s worth of flour, and told them how to store it so that it didn’t get ants or beetles in it. Why am I, an Irish woman, telling Egyptian women how to store flour they have been storing for  years – badly? Don’t they know this stuff already?

Later on Omar told me that the wife in question had complained that the flour I had given them was not enough so they mixed it with the other flour, which they sieved to get the beetles out, as they normally do! I told Omar that never again is he going to brag about anything that I produce because these women are just downright ungrateful for everything!

I am glad though that I learned how to prepare our own wheat, because when we do have our own place I will know how to do this stuff. However, now we have to keep everything quiet when we do something well, or get anything new.  If we don’t, they demand it all and then ‘send me to Coventry’ if they don’t get it. Personally I’d rather be in Coventry. Its a lot more peaceful there, but it does make me feel sad that they take us so much for granted. These dynamics can make it a pretty lonely place to be.

Crazymakers.

2014-04-03 17.22.35Yesterday we got back our sack of freshly ground wheat, which I had cleaned the day before for the mill. It was lovely and fine and the miller was impressed with how clean it was. (I’ll write that process up in another blog). I should have felt overjoyed, after all Omar grew the wheat, harvested it by hand, and brought back more bags than all of his neighbours. But I felt completely flat! I had no sense of achievement, or pleasure in eating something baked by flour we had grown and processed ourselves.

Back in England, after spending a full day in the garden growing veges, with my friend Chris, I would go to bed at night feeling absolutely and completely satisfied. The feeling came from the knowledge that we were taking care of some of our nutritional needs, rather than depending on the supermarkets. Growing food gives me a feeling which no other activity on earth gives me. It is completely satisfying and nourishing to my soul. DSC_1674The fact that the work in the garden went hand in hand with the knowledge that we were creating an energy-space made a huge difference too. Every plant had its purpose, and was important to the over-all energy.

Here, I never get that feeling. The men grow things, not the women. The men will grow stuff for the women, but they can choose to remove it if they want to grow something else, and the women have no choice about it.

But that is only half of the problem. I spent all night, and most of this morning, thinking about why I feel so dead inside, when we have produced our own food. Some of it is because I personally have not grown it, and have no real part in it, except for financial, and doing the energywork in the field. I have not had the pleasure of planting the seed and nurturing it to maturity, then of the harvest. Omar does everything himself.

The biggest part of it though, I realised, the part that is really important, is that it is not safe to enjoy, or take pride, in anything here. My time here has shown me, that to achieve anything good means to incur the jealousy and envy of everyone. People here are afraid to be proud of themselves, to pat themselves on the back, or to enjoy anything, because they are constantly having to protect what they have created from other people’s bad eyes, or atrocious behaviour! People with money lie about it, and pretend to be poor, because to show you have money means there is someone who is willing to take it away from you, by force if necessary!

DSCN9566Every time we achieve something here that Omar is proud of, he runs to tell his mother. But in so doing he is opening us both up to her jealousy, but I think he does it on purpose too! Perhaps it is an unconscious way of proving that he is better than her, seeking her approval, and sabotaging himself, all at once. Everything is a competition!  It always makes me nervous when he wants to ‘share’ with her what we have managed to achieve as I know that within a couple of days her jealousy will make her do something mean!

So I take no pleasure in what we achieve, because the others in the house make it so difficult for us to get anywhere and I know now that it will result in pain, and not pleasure.

I noticed too, that once they started eating the ducks, which we had raised, that I cut off from them to an extent. I stopped enjoying their play in the water. I used to watch them for ages. Now I feed them and fill their bath but cannot afford to enjoy them. We started with twelve and now are down to four! We are constantly worried too that the family will take away the tiny part of the garden we have cordoned off for them to live in, because now they don’t have any ducks. They only belong to us. They have complained about everything so far and we fight to hang on to every tiny bit!

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This ‘emotional cutting off’ thing started when I was a young teenager growing up in an equally abusive environment in southern Spain in the 70’s. The Spanish people were so abusive to animals, and to each other, that as a young girl I found it impossible to understand it. I was abused too for those two years, so between the abusive boys, and the animals, my only protection was to cut off my emotionally. Every time I did open up and love an animal I lost it, which caused even more pain. The same thing applied to relationships!

Living here in Luxor is like re-living my childhood in Spain, only this time I try to change it and heal it. I knew that coming here would open up old wounds but it is difficult to heal those wounds when people are behaving the same way as they did in my youth! I still find the behaviour hard to manage emotionally, but I try to change it and fight in a way that I couldn’t when I was young. But I cannot change the beliefs of an entire society! All I can do is try to keep Omar from talking (ha!) and not ‘share’ our accomplishments, not share our birds and animals, and take more care of myself. But I want to FEEL! I don’t want to cut off from enjoying something here; there is so little to enjoy already!

artistswayLife here could be so much better if people enjoyed each other’s successes instead of trying to destroy them! Like Julia Cameron says in The Artist’s Way, don’t share your ‘art’ with people who are negative and don’t surround yourself with ‘crazymakers’, if you want to succeed.

Crazymakers: Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centres. They are often charismatic, frequently  charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And, for the creative person in their vicinity, they are enormously destructive. You know the type: charismatic but out of control, long on problems and short on solutions.
Crazymakers are the kind of people who can take over your whole life.

I think Luxor is full of them because everyday we have a dramatic storm! This house is Crazymaker central!

…time to change the weather…

The Birth of a Bread oven.

When we built the new animal enclosure last year we had to re-build the bread oven, putting it outside the new walls. This entailed dismantling the bricks and the concrete disc, a heavy pre-formed disc, which forms the heated base for the bread to sit on, beneath which lies the fire. 2013-06-21 08.48.22

Then the Bread Oven maker came and started to re-build it. He first had to make a circular brick base, about three bricks high, to lay the concrete disc on. This was all coated in mud. The opening at the bottom is the fireplace, where the fire is built and stoked. The opening in the concrete is for the hot air to reach the domed ‘cooking space.

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Once this has been mudded into place, he begins to build the dome with red-bricks, one layer at a time. He continues to build it up, one row at a time until he has his dome shape.

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He builds it up around himself until he is left standing in a hole!

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He tidies up the remaining bricks at the opening of the hole so that he can fix the four bricks that make up the vent at the top.

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Mud is then applied to the vent to complete it. The vent allows the excess air to leave after the bread is cooked, but it is ‘plugged’ while the oven is in use.

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The next step is to build another reinforcing brick wall at the bottom of the oven. This adds to the insulating ability of the oven where the fire is lit. 

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The next step is to apply more mud and finish the shaping of the bread oven opening and the air vents. He also spends time smoothing down the mud with water to give it a smooth, even finish.

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The finishing touches are to apply the decoration!

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And there you have it, a working bread oven. It took the man a few hours to build this oven and he charged a little under £15 for the making of it. The mud dries quickly in the sun so the women were able to use it within a couple of days.

Once the bread is cooked and the oven is cooling down, the women then put fava beans in a pot of water and leave the pot to sit in the hot ashes overnight. By morning they have Fuul, which they can eat for breakfast with freshly baked sun bread!

Bettaw

Bettaw is a traditional, Egyptian sourdough cornbread, but one that you do not see made so often today. It is one of those traditional breads, which seems to be dying out as more people eat wheat bread, especially the nice soft white rolls that you can buy from the local bread-makers.

2014-09-03 08.28.04My mother-in-law was once famous for making Bettaw. When she baked it in the clay oven, where the women here all make their bread once weekly, it could be smelled for miles around and all of the neighbours would beg for just one round! One old neighbour was given three loaves and he ate it a little at a time, everyday. When he died, his daughter was cleaning his room and found a cardboard box beneath his sofa-bed. In it was his last remaining, hidden,Bettaw loaf, as hard as a rock.

Now that we have found the last remaining corn grinding mill in Luxor and we are growing our own corn, Mother was happy to be able to make it again. However, after two tries she gave up in frustration. It just wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do, the oven was too hot…she felt dizzy etc. She became depressed and took to her bed, the oven was working against her…It has been six years since she made it last. To her it was a disaster, to me it tasted delicious; the second batch being better than the first. There was far too much emphasis on how it looked rather than on how it tasted.2014-09-06 10.55.33

I decided to do some research online to find out how to make sourdough cornbread, as trying to decipher Mother’s rather secretive info on how to make it was risky at best. I mainly found recipes, which also included a commercial yeast and white flour; but this Bettaw was basic stuff, with nothing fancy in it. Basically, Mother took some cornmeal and added water to it; she let it sit for a few hours, then she added it to a large pan of corn and water mix with a little salt and left it to prove. When it had begun to crack on top, she took a large wooden spoon and made medium-sized loaves with it, putting some cornmeal on the bottom to stop them sticking to the oven floor. It cooked pretty much as you’d expect cornmeal to cook, hard and dry. I really couldn’t see what they were all going on about! But, it was a dying tradition so I wanted to see if I could figure it out!

First, I needed to understand the whole sourdough thing, so I made up a batch as Mother had made it. I also made a white flour batch. The following morning I inspected it, the white flour starter had lovely big orange spots of bad bacteria on the top, and smelled foul, so out that went. I started again with a jar, instead of a stainless steel bowl. I threw away the cornmeal starter because it too smelled ‘ill’ and started another one in another jar. This time I let them both sit on the counter in my hot kitchen for a few hours but then put them both in the fridge after a few hours of bubbling fermentation.

The following morning I checked them and they were still fermenting, probably because of all the power cuts we have been having thanks to this countries wonderful inefficiency! Everything else was going off in my fridge but it was perfect for my sourdough starters! I fed them both, left them out for a few hours again, and then popped them back in the fridge.2014-09-06 10.58.15

This morning I mixed up my cornmeal, salt and water and added the cornmeal starter, then left it for six hours to do its thing, whatever that was supposed to be! After six hours it had risen and was smelling sour; the top had begun to crack and I had heard Mother saying that that was when you knew it was ready. I decided to try it two ways. I put half of the mix gently in a loaf tin, and spooned loaves with the other half.

Still experimenting, I had no idea how hot the oven was supposed to be but my oven is a Chinese joke and it has taken me the three years I have been here to master it so…I just did what I normally do when making Irish soda bread. I have to be really careful as everything burns in the metal trays and loaf tins if I have it too high, so I have to keep it low, and I can’t have it so low that the bread doesn’t cook at all. A tricky business. 2014-09-06 14.59.08

But they cooked. They look nothing like the traditional Bettaw but they do taste rather delicious with butter and honey, and are not dry. They also have a lovely sourdough taste I have my starter on the go so I will try letting them prove in my muffin tin next time to see how it makes a difference. I’ll also try it with less water and see if I can get it the same as mother’s, then it will look like Real Bettaw! Getting the natural yeasts to work is going to take some practice but I’ll get there. This bread is far more nutritious than the wheat flour bread, as all of the germ and bran is removed from the wheat, but it is left in the cornmeal, and we get two crops of corn a year, which also feeds the animals so a win-win for sure. I’m going to get some Hopi blue corn seeds and grow them here and see how we get on with those.

Hmmm – Blue Bettaw. Sounds interesting, and if the man who owns the corn mill decides to give it up We’ll buy it from him. It is far too valuable to lose! I’ll have to get Omar to take some photos of it next time…or I might just go with him­­ – .