Desert People

life in Turkmen sahara, Iran
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Chi-chan gave birth 2


Chi-chan gave birth to four babies at last. The second one was unfortunately stillborn  but it was born feet first so we couldn't help it. Khalil told me that in some cases of wild cats, when it's born feet first, both mother and child could die. So I'm very happy that our nephew helped. At that same time, I was unendurable to think about those wild cats which died that way.
Romeo, by the way. I believed he didn't attain maturity yet but in fact he was matured enough to make children already. Two yellowish ones are Romeo's children and there's another black tiger. I know it's father. It's a big black tiger who came to our garden that time. Romeo tried to fight with him but he just shivered with fear. But there's no problem if they're from any father. If all three grow safely, I'm happy. When I saw the black tiger, I instantly thought its name will be "Gaushan".



Chi-chan and Romeo became a real couple now. I'm very curious to know how Romeo react to the kittens. It seems to me he's giving up his food for Chi-chan theses days. I'll see.
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Chi-chan gave birth 1
Chi-chan gave birth at last.
Today, from the morning, Chi-chan tried to ride on Khalil's belly or on my knee and meowed repeatedly. I recognized that she was in labour when Khalil said, "She must have pain".



She has been eating a lot and sleeping a lot these days. As she has a small head and a slender figure, her belly looked much much bigger. When she's gone into labour, she meowed even more as if she's asking me help. She went inside a box that was prepared in a corner of a corridor but moved to the one in the bathroom later on.





She settled in the box that Khalil prepared with some hay powder. So I was watching her beside with Romeo on my knee. Sometimes she made a sound like "currr curr", rising her body. Again, she meowed at me but I couldn't do anything to help her but told her, "Try to do your best" in a low voice. I wondered what Romeo was thinking but he stayed beside Chi-chan, too. I was surprised to see later on that Romeo was riding on Chi-chan when I quickly came back from the kitchen, when I heard Romeo meowing. "Hey! She's in labor, what are you doing?" Did he want to make love? Or was he supporting Chi-chan? I tried to take Romeo away from her back but Chi-chan seemed unconcerned.
Just before she gave the first birth, she hurried to the toilet which was placed in another bathroom. As usual, she pushed the sand away and started pushing. Did she believe that she would empty her bowel? Then a head of a small animal came out and she panicked. She tried to reach her face to the animal that came out but because she couldn't reach it, she turned around and around, hanging half of the animal on her back. "Chi-chan calm down, calm down." I said in a low voice again but actually I did not know what to do. After a while, the first body came out somehow. It had a long tail and was rather like a mouse than a cat. Chi-chan has eaten up the placenta and tried to lick the baby up but it started crying probably because the floor was cold. Khalil told me to move the baby to a warm bed so I covered it with a towel and brought it to the box. Chi-chan tried to make the baby warm by hunching her back and hiding it inside.
I wanted to watch the whole scene but as I also had to prepare lunch, I went back to the kitchen to work. Why was I frying croquettes on such a busy day?  I was putting flour, egg and then panko around potato dumplings when I heard Chi-chan behind. She came to the kitchen to ask help. I watched carefully and found out that the second baby was hanging out from her. But I could see that it was already dead. Its leggs and tail were out but was not moving. The head was still inside Chi-chan.
I tried to pull it out but failed and Chi-chan just went around meowing. I was in a hurry because I thought that we could lose Chi-chan too, so I went outside to ask help from Khalil. He was making joke afterwards that I asked for ambulance. Anyway, he and a nephew came to help and the nephew pulled out the second body out of Chi-chan. It was dead as I saw, but Chi-chan was still licking it. Khalil has quickly taken it away and buried so I hope Chi-chan forgot about it by now. I went back to work in the kitchen again and when the meal was ready, Chi-chan had already gave birth to the third one.



Both of her baby were yellowish tigers. They are certainly babies of Romeo. Good job, Chi-chan and Romeo! I feel like dancing for joy at their achievement.
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jam and biscuits
I haven't done any handwork these days. I just had no time doing it because I was busy with taking care of animals and cooking. Instead, boiling jam or baking became one of my pleasure. Both jam and sweets are consumed well at our home so I try not to allow them to run out. I'd like to present two of them which I think it was successful.

ORANGE-COLOURED JAM
1. Grate peeled carrots (200g) and a peeled apple.
2. Wash an orange well and slice thinly.
3. Simmer the fruits over a low heat with 150g sugar.
4. Add a spoon of lemon juice before turning off the heat.



I think carrots and oranges go well together. If you want to add some spices, cardamon would be nice. The jam goes perfectly with yoghurt cheese.

JAM BISCUIT
1. Mix 80g salad oil and 40g sugar in a bowl and add 80g jam and mix.
2. Add 200g flour and mix with a spatula.
3. Put the batter in a plastic bag and gather it and keep in fridge for a while.
4. Cut the batter in 8mm thickness and place them in oven.
5. Bake in a lower temperature.





Using kiwifruit jam, its black seeds will give an accent to the biscuit. I asked Khalil, "Guess what's in?" and he answered, "sesame" directly. No, it's a biscuit with fresh sweet taste without sesame. It was so good that we finished the plate at once. You'll put on wait, Khalil.



The above is a sernik, a Polish cheese cake, which I baked on Khalil's birthday. I used auz instead of butter, which I've kept in the freezer. Auz is the milk cows give on the first day of giving birth.



The top and the bottom biscuit is made from auz, flour, cacao powder and sugar. The inner dough is made from yoghurt cheese and auz, egg, sugar, orange skin, raisinsm lemon juice, etc. It take some work to bake this cake, such as beating the white and yellow of eggs separately or making biscuit dough so I bake just a few times a year. I like practical baking with simple ingredients by easy process. The same for handwork.
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Grazing cattle
We moved cattle to the south garden for the first time after spring has come. It's troublesome until the cattle remember the way, to move five big cows to the garden distant from the shed. Jalil and one of our nephews came to support this time but we were run off our feet because someone opened the gate when we were not prepared (It was just me who were making noise actually). Before opening the gate, we need to separate the calves which still drink milk. Otherwise when their mothers come out, they'll drink the milk and while we're caring that other cows could go wild! It happened exactly so this time and began from a stampede of cattle.



But somehow we managed to move them. It looks a bit silly four people running after five cows with five dogs around.



We passed a place where someone keeps camels on the way (above). This camel looks quite aged as she lost her hair partly. But I think camel's face and their body shape are attractive. If I'm allowed to expect too much, I'd like to have some camels and sheep at home instead of cows. Camel is for chal and sheep is for milk. Cow milk is good but sheep milk, if you boil it for drinking, it has more sweet taste than the cow milk.



The supporter was the third son of Tagan, Khalil's sister. Good-looking man? I think Iranian men have comparatively massive frame than the Japanese and they're more expressive in their look so in most cases Iranians look better. We think it's ideal if many of our nephews come to work with us. We'll see.



When we arrived at the south garden, Naser was building an enclosure. He was in a hurry to build it because Khalil decided to graze cattle unexpectedly. Jalil also helped and the enclosure was done on a place where there were only poles. They quickly finish their work by using some wood and iron bars which look like a waste to me.



During the grazing I didn't see Khalil. He probably was walking at the end of the queue. He looks completely like a big boss. But he was mowing lots of grass at the garden for calves, which were waiting in the shed.





We get on a bike like this. Helmets? Never seen anyone wearing it in Kumishtepe. I've seen car accidents many times though.
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Romeo's game
Romeo succeeded to hunt, probably for the first time. I remember he has already done it at Gurban bayram (sacrifice festival) but that time he could succeed because I supported to shut the door when a small bird came in by accident in a small room. This time, without any support, he has hunt in a garret.



Romeo was playing with an alive animal in a salon when I recognized. I instantly thought it was Khalil's quail and decided to make away with the proofs and throw it out with Romeo. But when I watched it carefully, it was a bat. The bat seemed to be dead a while ago but Romeo brought it in again and played with it for a long time. He throws the bat, which is not moving, and get astonished by it as if he's seen it for the first time. Or move back to try to reach it from a distance. Cats are really an expert in playing.
I thought he would eat it after it but the poor bat was lain down on the floor so I threw it out from the window for dogs. But dogs didn't even want to eat it.
After a while Romeo caught another bat in the garret. But the bat he had in his mouth flew away once he dropped it on the floor. Romeo panicked and lost the bat which was flying around the salon (Although I could even follow). Then he hurried to climb up the stairs. On the other hand, Chi-chan, which was watching the scene, was following the traces keenly. She's watching carefully the bat perching on the ceiling, from the shadow of a curtain. Is she going to hunt with pregnant body?



Chi-chan's status as a hunter is apparently different from Romeo's. She's observing and waiting for an opportunity to catch it safely when bat perches or flies. Romeo - every time the bat flies, he must meow and run around for nothing. It's just so funny. But such a clumsiness is the charm of him anyway.
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Dogs
We took our dogs to the south garden. They say that dogs need to have some duty but our six dogs have no proper duty at the moment. So when Khalil goes out by his motorbike, they're often happy to follow him.



I've got on at the back of his bike and went to the south garden with them. Everybody were so happy that their tails were completely up. Six dogs are usually bored because they have nothing to do except for barking against the people passing by our house.



Khalil increases the speed and turned the third corner. "Piece" seems to be the winner in running. I gave the name of Piece at last because the pattern on his forehead looked like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle ("Mochi", rice cake, was also one of the possibilities).



Other than Piece (male), there are Japon (male) and Kashiko (female). Two dogs died, two stolen and those three are the ones which survived. Each of them grew and the colour of their hair are brighter now. They love playing in the water, running through the water in the fields.



Garaglok, which is a mother of eight puppies, on the other hand, stayed at home. When dogs go out, one of them always stays at home. I don't know how they communicate but there must be a sign for that. These days Garaglok is taking the duty because of her children.
Puppies were eight, finally. I'm so happy for that but putting names on them is again a problem. Or we'll probably give away some. I asked Khalil if we can avoid cutting their ears this time because I feel so sorry for cutting off their ears and tails. Khalil seems to have felt the same. But Turkmen people will equally say, "You must cut off their ears!" when they see it.


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Mowing in the south garden
We're now mixing fresh green grass with dry grass that we give to cows. Grasses are grown high everywhere, in empty spaces or in desert. But Khalil always goes to the south garden to cut them. I decided to go with him today because the weather was fine. I also wanted to see if there's any changes in the garden because I haven't been there for a long time.



The grass were grown knee-length in the site. I found some little barley as well (above). It's still difficult for me to discriminate barley from wheat so I have to ask someone all the time. I didn't find any colourful wild flowers but it's probably too early for that.



Khalil was mowing methodically from the corner, which was unlike him. The grass is cut with a sickle and packed in a huge bag and carried by his motorbike.



I didn't help him cut the grass but enjoyed playing with puppies and taking pictures. The picture below is a nice one Khalil took (Now I know a part of why people take me as a Chinese).



I found some vegetables planted by Naser at a place where we planted melons last year. The field was overgrown with weeds but I could still harvest lots of sabzi and radish.





Naser has planted some beans in a passage between a storage and a water tank. I understood that he has chosen the place to avoid the wind and protect the seedlings. Clever! He gets the best result with the least effort. Last year, when he saw us planting pumpkin seedlings at equal intervals, he said to us, "You're too serious!" Khalil became a bit angry with that but when I saw Naser's plants I must declare him winner. Because our pumpkins in the south garden resulted in total destruction later on.



A neighbor's horse against the pine trees, on the way home. A Turkmen good-luck charm were hanged on her neck.
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