The Lake

Gray clouds brought the chilling rains
The orange skies, the dazzling evening.
and the sea almost advanced to touch the lake…

lake

Macaw in Maraee

Blue and Gold Macaw…
These macaws are typically found in pairs or family groups in the wild, thus making them a bit more social than other species of macaws. They tend to be even-tempered and sweet, if raised properly. They use body language as a large portion of their communication and love training and learning new things – anything that stimulates their mind and challenges them to figure out something new. They require many different types of chewable toys that they can destroy, as well as puzzle toys that challenge them to figure out how to get inside of it.

Saffron

According to Greek mythology, handsome mortal Crocos fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But alas, his favors were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower.

The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow, and it was mentioned as far back as 1500 BC in many classical writings, as well as in the Bible. Further derivations come from the Old French safran, Medieval Latin safranum, and Middle English safroun.

Saffron is harvested from the fall-flowering plant Crocus sativus, a member of the Iris family. It is native to Asia Minor, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years to be used in medicines, perfumes, dyes, and as a wonderful flavoring for foods and beverages.

The red-gold threads were also highly prized by pharoahs and kings as an aphrodisiac, yet large amounts produce fatal effects.

Saffron has been used medicinally to reduce fevers, cramps and enlarged livers, and to calm nerves. It has also been used externally to for bruises, rheumatism, and neuralgia. (Warning! Do not use medicinally without consulting your physician.)

Spain is the world’s largest exporter of saffron.

The flower below was seen in Kew Gardens. Some careless walker had tramped it down the ground which was straightened before photographing. (You can see the ‘crush’ mark in one of the petals).  The photo was enhanced but the flourescent glow was indeed surprising.

Falcon

Falconry is the upkeep of falcons. It is a very valued tradition of the desert. The two main species used for hunting in the UAE are the Saqr falcons (Falco Cherruq) which are brought from other Middle Eastern countries and the Peregrine (Falco Peregrinus) The Saqr is the most popular because it is good for desert hawking. The female Saqr (Al Hurr), which is larger and more powerful is the one which is used more than the male (Garmoush). The female Peregrine (Shahin or Bahri Shahin) is also thought to be better than the male (Shahin Tiba) for hunting purposes. 

Al Burgu is another piece that is used in this sport. It is put on the falcon’s head to cover his eyes. This is because they have very good eyes and they could see very sharply. They also need to be slowly adjusted to any new environment. Their eyes are covered as a part of the training process. Then they are taken off slowly through showing them slowly the environment around them.

Al Mukhlat is the bag in which the trainer hides wrapped up houbara wings or pigeons. These things which are in the bag are used to attract the falcon back to get them. This way of attracting the falcon back is called the tilwah. The wakir is the sitting place of the falcon. It is a long and decorated wooden stand. On top of it there is a flat padded place for the falcons sharp claws to rest on. The falconer shouts “yalla” and after a second, the falcon with all its power opens his wings and moves them very fast and powerful. Then moves quickly into the sky. As soon as it sees the animal which he is supposed to catch, he quickly chases it. This chase goes on for some time until the gets tired and slows down and at that moment, the falcon flies down quickly and pulls it to the ground.

Yasmin

Jasmine is Yasmin (meaning: a gift from God) in Arabic, which is also a popular feminine name.

Mo Li Hua (Song of Jasmine) is a popular Chinese folk song which means The Jasmine Flower. This song was composed during the period of Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. This is a traditional Chinese song with a beautifully gentle and lyrical melody.

This song was sung by a Chinese girl at the closing ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens to introduce the next site and also sang during the awarding ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.