The Second Lamb.

img_1378-2Our second lamb was born this afternoon. All of our previous lambs were born in the early hours of the morning but these two decided to come in the evening and afternoon! Which is rather nice for us.This one is a little male, so now we have two males, which is fine. And he is going to have the same wool as his mother, which is even better! img_1439-2This sheep is my favourite as she is very affectionate for an Egyptian sheep. Even as a lamb she was different and will often come up and say hello and want her neck scratched. None of the others do that. img_1451Her male lamb is bigger and stronger than the little white female, born yesterday evening, but she is now up and running all over the place. img_1467

She is a friendly little thing and quite lively now that she has found her feet and the milk! Needless to say, they are born and live amidst plastic bags and empty crisp packets; running around underneath the washing lines. Thank God they are not goats!img_1408

But I’m glad that they were both born before we left for Sahl Hasheesh at the end of the month, as now the flock is established and they can manage on their own. So long as they don’t sell any when I’m gone, which is what happened to the last few rams we had, then they should be fine!

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New Addition to the Flock.

Last night Mother shouted up at the window for Omar, who had gone out 20 minutes earlier to visit a friend in hospital, who had had a motorcycle accident. Omar never usually goes out at night but we needed chicken feed too, so he decided to kill two birds with one stone (what a horrible saying!).

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Photo taken in the dark on a mobile phone so not the best!

Anyway, she shouted up for him and I told her that he was ‘outside’, and she shouted something about the ewe! Then she scuttled off into the dark. Chris, who is here on holiday for two weeks, and I, ran downstairs thinking that the ewe was in labour.

When we got downstairs Mother appeared from the sheep’s pen with a small white lamb in her hands. And I mean small…and scrawny! She must only just have been born as she was still trying to make it to her feet, with her mother’s head-nudging help.

Needless to say, everyone wanted to see her, so Mother and Baby were surrounded by an audience of 11 children and associated parents! All making a lot of noise and deciding on the sex of the lamb! PLUS, we now had to celebrate the birth so that meant we had to buy something for everybody! Poor Chris got nabbed for that one, so off Omar went to the shop for a box of crisps!

img_20161006_202610Eventually, the poor ewe was put in the chicken house, to allow the lamb to find the milk, away from the other sheep, one of which is due any day too; my favourite sheep with the lovely wool! So now we have a flock of 7 females and  1 male and we have shown the value of having females, rather that raising two males and then selling them for very little profit! We’ will hang on to the male for a couple of years and hopefully, next year will double the flock.

It has taken 5 years to get to this point, but now it is on the way! Worth all the struggle and pain, I can tell you! Oh, and this little one is another female, and we have called her Sika. Mainly because she reminded me of a baby Sika deer! Hopefully, my favourite ewe’s lamb will be female too! Her last lamb is the only ram we have and he has the wool of his mother, so we might have a wool flock yet!

 

Fresh Milk and a New Calf.

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Last Thursday our first calf was born. First time in twenty years that a calf has been born in the home. Needless to say, it was a huge deal. We all watched as the calf struggled to stand, landing on his head more often than not. Once on his feet he then searched for his mother, thinking that the pillar might be her. No. Maybe it’s this other large cow-shaped object over there? NO. Eventually, with a little help, he found his mother again and then searched for the teats. Mother wasn’t too impressed initially, kicking him out of the way, but he persisted and found the milk.

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Happy as Larry!

 

That was that. No confusion anymore. Mother is the one with the milk. Sorted! We have called him Khameece, the Arabic word for Thursday, because he was born on…Thursday! I know – very imaginative. Although, to be fair, they never called the animals anything before I arrived! So I suppose that it is a step in the right direction!

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The first milk. This is about as close as I can get to framing it!

 

This morning Omar went downstairs to see if he could get some milk from her. A little early, but he wanted Potatoes au gratin and he needed milk. And she has to be trained, after all. At least that was his excuse! So down he went and he came back not ten minutes later with around a litre of fresh milk. What a miracle! Not that it was a miracle that she allowed him to milk her in the first place but that after so many years we finally had a milking cow!

I felt immensely grateful to this cow for the gift of her milk. We have been working towards this for nearly five years, fighting through the morass of Egyptian thinking around how to raise cattle, how, and when, to take them to the bull, etc. Omar sold two ‘unsuccessful’ females before this one was successful. But it wasn’t their fault! The men here are impatient to get the females to reproduce, women as well as animals! And if she can’t then she is obviously ‘no good’ and they replace her. But in each case, it wasn’t the fault of the cow but of the men who didn’t time it right and then expected her to be fertilised with one trip to the bull. Cos, we all know that works, right? (Unless the cow is a Catholic!).

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Ya-Khameece! Not yet one day old.

But when the sugar-cane harvest came in a couple of years ago, it was Omar’s turn to get the money from it and he bought a young bull calf. We reared it until it was mature and I bought a heifer. Bingo! Left to their own devices, she conceived. Another lesson for the house, and for the men! Don’t push the river! You’d think, that living beside a very large one, they would know that!

Ten months later, we have our calf, and the bull has been sold, to pay for a funeral. But, at least in a year, or so’s time, Khameece will be ready to do his job. There are now five young heifers in the home so he will be busy! All the men in Omar’s family followed our example. Jealousy is a motivating force here in Egypt, if you use it well!

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Omar’s Tagine.

 

But back to the milk. There was something nearly sacred about the fact that we had milk from the cow. I felt incredibly grateful and honouring of her. I could see clearly why the ancestors thought of the cow as Mother and why earth Goddesses were symbolised by a cow. We had called this cow Hathor so that made perfect sense!  It felt exciting, the possibilities for cheese and butter, milk and yoghurt, all from one animal. It is so different from buying milk from a shop. There is no connection between the human and the animal, no recognition that we actually get this from a cow, who has had a calf in order to give us this milk. Omar milked her by hand, no machines to sever the connection between us and her. That was significant too, and it made a difference.

It felt like the cow was something to be honoured, as the gift-giver she is. Not only do we have the potential for more calves in the future, as a result of this one cow, and the calf’s father of course, but we also have food. And that is something to be immensely grateful for.

It felt like the cow was something to be honoured, as the gift-giver she is. Not a commodity, to be bought and sold. Not only do we have the potential for more calves in the future, as a result of this one cow, and the calf’s father of course, but we also have food, which will feed the entire house.  And that is something to be immensely grateful for. And with the changes that Egypt has been going through, and that she will continue to go through for some time to come, this cow, and her calf, might yet prove to be a life-saver!

Skokran yaHathor! (Thank you Hathor).

Circumcision.

Just got called downstairs to check out a sick goose, only to hear little 1 yr old Ahmed screaming. His father calls me and there is a man with him, putting Bethadine (antiseptic fluid) on Ahmed’s little penis and testicles. The man laughs jokingly and I realise it has something to do with circumcision. I turn away, saying “Ooh,orig (15) la, (No). They find my reaction amusing. This is all happening with the entire family sitting around discussing what to do with the sick goose!!!! I cannot bear the sound of that poor baby screaming in pain. Desperately trying to hold back the tears I say to Omar. ‘please do not call me down here again!” Every time I come downstairs I see abuse; women, children or animals in some awful state, either being mistreated, not fed properly, or beaten by an adult. It’s a lot better than it was, but there are some things that still happen.

 My legs are shaking, and my stomach feels sick. I cannot bear the sound of that poor baby screaming in pain. Desperately trying to hold back the tears I say to Omar. ‘please do not call me down here again!”

We go into the animal enclosure, ostensibly to tend to the animals but really so that I can cry freely. It breaks my heart, seeing all of this. It makes me furious that man abuses children in the name of God. If ‘God’ created man in his image (as the story goes,) then what gives men the right to change that by cutting off bits of his creations, and then saying that God dictates it?? God, (really God? ) it makes me so angry. I can still hear the child screaming and it is unbearable!!! I managed to save the girls from it, but how to save the boys? At this point, Omar too is wishing that he had not called me! Apparently Ahmed was circumcised last week but this time, they are just making sure he does not get sick, tending his ‘wound’.  But that poor little mite is in agony! But why today, of all days, was I called downstairs to witness it?

library_by_vityar83-d6l7va6Lately, I have been visiting the Soul Library, where the records of everything in existence are held, including our reincarnational histories and soul purpose. I can ask for someone’s records, if the person asks me for guidance, and then I see ‘myself’ climbing a ladder in a library, and picking out the appropriate book from the many shelves that seem to endlessly line the walls. I don’t have any conscious control over this, the Library just randomly appears in my vision at some point during the day. when I have asked ‘upstairs’ for the info. Then I see myself choosing the book, then returning to read it at a table, still in the library.

A day or so later, I channel the words from the person’s guides, based on what is in their book. I cannot necessarily read their book, but I do get the overall energy and ‘trigger’ symbols from it and their guides tell me the rest. But they are speaking directly to the recipient. I am just the translator.

Yesterday, I managed to borrow, one of Jane Robert’s books from an online archive. The book is called Psychic Politics, An Aspect Psychology Book. Reading this I discover that Jane also visits a library, but she tends to get information on other subjects. I have always known that our records are held in Libraries, and I always wondered if we could get other info from them, while still in a physical body. Jane’s book says YES!  So there I am, reading away and my guides ask me ‘Do you want to visit a different part of the library?‘ Meaning other than people’s soul info. To say I was excited is an understatement, and the people that know me, know that I do not get excited over things easily, if at all. 51K-9WBzuZL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

“YES PLEASE!”

So they ask me to choose my subject, and I initially think, Jesus, I want to know about Jesus, and what really happened. But, no Seth has shared that already and it didn’t feel terribly important to know. Then I thought, Moses and his relationship to Nefertiti and Akhenaten, if it existed at all (I have a theory…). I was told to ‘pick my thread’. I had no idea what that meant; the thread of the subject, a finer point? What?

I went to sleep, and then this morning witnessed little Ahmed, and I was so angry I said to my guides. “Male circumcision. I want to know, who the hell, came up with that crazy, abusive idea?”

Half an hour later, they told me. You can read it here. That was a surprisingly  quick response, so they obviously had set it up for me. Witnessing poor little Ahmed’s agony was all I needed, and it was obviously brewing because I can vaguely remember them telling me during the night, a few nights ago, about something to do with Abraham, but I couldn’t remember what! Another doctrine that needs to be changed, removed, rejigged. An abusive practice that should not be allowed, that along with FGM, which is another subject for another day.

As it turned out, I had not yet visited the other library yet, but did a few weeks later! Picking my ‘thread’ also made sense when I visited this other part of the library. I have posted this on my Gaia Method blog.

Talking Cats.

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One of the next-door kittens asleep in a pile of fabric on the roof.

I’ve been back in Luxor for three months now and spending most of that time in my flat, weaving and downloading. I have detached myself from the goings-on downstairs as I knew that I would be relocating and didn’t want to get involved with the dynamics here. I have done what I could and now it is time for a change.

But there have been good changes here. All of the women now have their own bird-houses and they keep pigeons, rabbits, ducks and chickens, so they can make money and feed themselves. They are more independent. There are now four cows, with ours being due to calve in two months,  and we still have our four sheep, some of which are hopefully pregnant. Fatma, Mohammed’s wife, sold her wedding-gold and bought herself a cow! Smart woman!

The men have turned our small field by the Nile into a banana crop, with Berseem (Clover) beneath it, so that the animals can be fed. The big field is still sugarcane, but they will use the money from the bananas to grow more banana trees in two years, so all is going in a good direction!

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Mother of the wild kittens.

Because it is so hot, I spend most days in my flat, psychologically preparing to move back into a completely different lifestyle, but a lifestyle I am familiar with. I tend to wake up at the early hours and take photos from the balcony, and I am aware of ‘winding down’.

One of the things I have been doing is taking photos of the wild cats here. I am not particularly a cat-person, but I do feed them my scraps. I have always had cats, but they were usually because my daughters convinced me to rescue them from some perceived harsh treatment. They knew me too well!!

I realised, after a week of photo-taking, that there might be something I was missing. The Messages! This became clearer after last night…

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Mother of three kittens in the mudbrick makers yard, next door.

Last night we went over to Najat’s house (Omar’s big sister) and we brought around a gift of a chicken and a few kilos of veges for the Eid Celebrations. I went into her mudbrick, open-to-the-sky kitchen, to wash my hands and discovered that she had another kitten! It was tied, by fabric around its neck, to the ladder which leads upstairs. Her other kitten is just 3 months old. She untied the new kitten at my request, but oh how rough she was! That little creature was pulled and jerked and man-handled, as Najat untied the rag. The kitten has not been weaned and had an eye infection! She was tiny. Najat told me that Omar’s brother Taher gave it to her. I remembered then that his cat with the beautiful blue eyes had had kittens a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t believe that Taher had given away such a young kitten, but I don’t know why I should be so surprised!

Once she had untied it I picked it up and sat with it, stroking it giving it some healing just to soothe it and make it feel more nurtured. In order to stop the kitten needing milk Najat told me that she rubs green chile on her nose and lips, and proceeded to demonstrate! No wonder the kitten has a bad eye. Najat thought that that was a perfectly normal  thing to do. I was horrified!

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Next-door kittens playing.

While Najat was sitting chatting to Omar and I held the kitten on my lap Najat made a comment that the kitten never sat on people, she always ran away. I answered that if I was treated as harshly as the kitten was treated I would run away too! Najat laughed. She didn’t take offence.

“Wallahi Sah, that’s the truth,” she said turning to Omar, ” You see? She is teaching me how to be better.”

Eventually, the kitten got down and started running after the other kitten. They both disappeared under the wooden couch that Mahmoud, Najat’s husband, was lying on watching TV.  Then, a few minutes later they reappeared and the older one, still a kitten herself, lay down on the clay floor and the baby kitten tried to feed from her.

I watched this tiny pair, the baby trying to find a teat to feed from, and ‘weaving’ on the body of the older one, who was patiently allowing her to, even though it obviously made her feel physically uncomfortable. She mewed a few times in discomfort but never stopped the baby. There was this lovely silent communication between myself and the older kitten, a communication which was both energetic, and ‘cat-language’ with our eyes; something I learned when I was in my late teens. I felt her instinctual caring for this baby, and even though it was uncomfortable she knew it gave the baby something it needed, so she tolerated it, without fighting or complaining.

Najat stood up abruptly to get something  and the pair ran off to hide.

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Watching her siblings playing…

It was only this morning, watching this tabby mother with her three identical kittens, that I suddenly thought of why I was feeling so cat-ish lately! I was being shown something of importance. Something about motherhood, and foster-motherhood, and the sacrifice of motherhood, and how it is when there is no mother. It also brings up older issues about my own children and our personal family history.

Najat offered me the small kitten but I am moving to a place where cats are not allowed, so I had to say no. But if I hadn’t been moving, I would have taken her. It was hard work watching her being so mistreated by Najat, who is generally a loving, compassionate woman, but this does not extend to her animals. They were never taught to love animals, they barely love each other! But these kittens this morning, frolicking in the shade, made me realise how important it is for animals to stay with the parents for as long as possible, and Upper Egyptians do not think like that. Sadly!

Perhaps it is another thing to change…

Qurna update. December 2015.

We had some good news this morning! Our turkeys are finally hatching! We are so excited as this is our first experience of turkeys and their offspring! We also have a goose sitting on her eggs so hopefully soon we will have little goslings running around too!!!

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There are more eggs ‘pipping’ too, so hopefully we will have around 9 or 10. The turkey mother is also sitting on chicken’s eggs and a couple of Pekin duck eggs and we were also give a few ‘ready to hatch’ Muscovy’ eggs by Nagat, Omar’s older sister, who is lovely!! They all hatched last week and are now under the lamp in a box in the hatching room. Omar built a couple of Hassan Fathy-style ‘sitting-quarters’- for the birds, so that they can lay, and hatch, in safety. They love them!!! There’s even room on top for another storey! So, in good Egyptian fashion, 2015-11-23 08.46.39we will have multi-storied turkey housing! 

The first egg was laid around a month ago, followed, pretty much every day by another and then another, until she had quite a number in her nest. Naturally a few duck eggs and hen’s eggs were added for good measure. We have two turkey hens and both were laying at the same time, in the same place! But one was finished laying so she decided to sit on them.

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Turkey eggs are narrower at one end and quite speckled and usually take around 28 days from the start of sitting to hatching.

We originally bought 4 turkey poults from the guy who comes every week on his truck. He sells lots of different types of birds, but they are not always in the best shape! Out of the four only one was male and he was the first one to die. We don’t know of what, but Turkey’s tend to be quite sensitive birds and get infections easily. Then there were three! Omar bought another male at the souk but it was too young so he bought another one for 200LE. A lot of money!!! He was an adult male and managed to fertilise a few eggs before he too ‘bought it’! The young male was now mature enough, and judging by his offspring was certainly up to the job!!! 2015-12-07 08.13.27

Omar went to check on the eggs and the little ducklings which hatched from Nagat’s eggs, and which Omar had put under the turkey a few days before they were due to hatch, were communicating with the unhatched turkey chicks! The ducks are in a separate box under a lamp! Omar had left them for a day with the Turkey, but didn’t want the turkey to think that she could get off the remaining eggs, so we decided to put them in a box beside the turkey’s nest so that they could still hear them.

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We want to leave the turkey chicks with the mother but Omar is going to keep his eye on them, as there are still eggs underneath her. They may end up in the box with the ducklings, so that the ducklings can teach the chicks how to eat. But we want them to gain the immunity from disease that staying with their mother gives them, so hopefully they will be OK. The ducklings are also allowed out into the house so that they to are exposed to bacteria and when the eggs have all hatched they can hopefully run with the turkey chicks. That’s the plan anyway!!!

Winter is usually the best month for turkeys here as it is not too hot for them, so hopefully by the end of the season we will have more turkeys than we know what to do with, although I think a couple of them will go to Nagat!!! I do love the turkeys and their noises but they are very bossy birds and tend to pus2015-10-31 10.08.01h all of the other birds out of the way when it comes to feeding time, so Omar now feeds them all in different locations. They also sell for a lot of money, so if we can get them past the danger point, which is usually about three months old, then we can sell them.

All of our birds live together, geese, chickens, turkeys and ducks and seem to manage well enough. Shame the people of different races can’t manage to do it as well as they do!

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…