Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Visiting the farm...

While visiting the farm, we discovered our host grew many other crops. One was this small fruit about the size of a golfball. It looked like an apple and tasted like a cross between an apple and a pear. He is currently doing experiments in hybrid breeding. My days of learning Booker T. Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's hybrid breeding of crops were long behind me, but the gist of it is our host grafted the fruit onto another kind of tree and what we were looking at was the result.

Here we are in the orchard. We weren't actually discussing fruit at the time. My sleeve got caught on the many thorns of the bush next to me and we had just managed to get me released without tearing up my brand-new shirt. Notice I am not wearing the abaya. Within the compounds and on private property, women do not have to be traditionally covered or veiled.

Our friend is one of the few people who have dogs and cats. Dogs are becoming very popular here, but the people do not have a lot of experience working with them. The little white Schipperke (pronounced Skipper-key) is named Ali Baba, but is called "Bob." The full-blooded German Shepherd is named "Bobby." One of Bobby's littermates now belongs to one of the Princes of Saudi Arabia. Our host gave the puppy to the Prince as a gift. Bobby was suspicious and barked at everyone. We were with a young lady who had no experience with animals and Bobby scared her. I walked up to him and showed her that the dogs were very friendly, but he had a very deep, resounding bark that was a little intimidating!

As a former dog-handler and with two dogs of my own, I enjoyed being around the dogs. If there'd been a way to do it, I would have enjoyed working with our friend's dogs to teach them basic commands and manners.

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