Monthly Archives: April 2012


To the uninitiated, this looks a lot like an olive tree, but I am told it is a sidr سدر tree. This can only be the jujube.

The berry is said to be good for the hair. This berry was picked for me to show a proper berry for use.

More berries are on the ground. The flies are very busy around the bottom of this smaller tree. You can see one of the flies on a berry at the bottom of the photo. In fact, today there were flies all over, at home, in the office, in vehicles, and an extraordinary number in the supermarket. They say it is the fly season, but could it also be the jujuba-berries-falling-on-the-ground season?

As a folk remedy this berry is unsurpassed, and is credited with being good for everything from love to zits. Here’s a website that makes extraordinary claims for the honey alone; the recipes all call for mixing with cinnamon. Here’s a German site for sedr (Ziziphus spina-christi), “Christ’s thorn”, the plant said to be the one used as the crown of thorns, although the one here doesn’t seem to have any thorns. Here’s a site with more reliable sources to document medicinal properties. Finally, this source has research into historical and religious uses of the tree in the holy land for Christian and Moslem traditions.

UPDATE: Here is how the plant is used. The berries are heated with a little water for about 5 minutes, then combed into the hair with oil, usually olive oil. The hair is then allowed to dry or can be braided when wet to give the hair a wavy appearance.


Goats in trucks

Yesterday must have been the day to take your goats for a ride.

For some reason, they all seem to be looking at ME.

The guy in the background has the same expression as the goats.

Friday the 13th sandstorm video plus bonus camels

I have finally uploaded the video of the approaching sandstorm to YouTube:

sandstorm west of Riyadh

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

And I think we can now say definitively where they got the Wookie voices for Star Trek:

Saudi camels in the back of a pickup


Somewhere west of Riyadh:

A balmy afternoon in the desert.

A sandstorm on the distance.

Hey, we could all run out there with our cameras.

Oopsie. Run for the car.

Let’s get out of here.

Um, where’s the road.

Camo eggs

Here in the land of One Religion Fits All, non-Islamic religious symbols are forbidden. Got eggs?

There may or may not be commercial egg dyes available, but I’m not going out tonight, unless it’s for chocolate. I have googled up some tutorial things about how to dye eggs naturally, |here| and |here|. They’re pretty much all the same–clean out your kitchen to find stuff with interesting colors, boil your eggs with a little vinegar added to the stuff, and see what happens. Photograph the interesting stuff, eat the rest.

A tour of the kitchen yields some possibilities for organic egg dyes:

Boiling eggs in the land of One Religion Fits All:
Front: ginger
Second row: paper towel wrapped with — left to right — sage, red onion skin, tomato paste
Third row: left — lemon and grapefruit peels, right –mustard
Back: oregano

I am not impressed, but these are all eggs that have a March 5 expiration date on them, so no great loss.

The ones that didn’t turn out are tossed into a combined dye bath with some old tea bags thrown in for good measure; plus some fresh eggs are treated to various flavored baths.

The rosy light of morning reveals a space eggassey.

Front row – oregano, second row – ginger, third row – BBQ sauce. The rest in the back are the recycled past-date-code bunch.

Now, outside.

Oh, look what the bunny has brought.

Friday, somewhere in the desert near Riyadh

“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon….At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.”

Or maybe the caption should be “One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”