Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yesterday, Mugheera's mother and I cleaned the backyard that was replete with garbage of every kind. When I first saw it, I thought that it was such a pity that there was underutilized space that the children could have played in, had it been cleaned. I knew it wasn't my place to offer to clean it, as that may be an insulting proposition, so I just observed the situation and didn't bring it up. Surprisingly, yesterday, my friend and I were standing in the doorway as the kids ran in circles around us playing tag and we decided that it was high time to clean the yard for the kids!

With limited to no tools to use to clean up old wires, glass, dressers, clothes, wood, weeds and squished apricots, Aseel and I tackled the backyard with fury. When the little boys saw that we were cleaning, they immediately wanted to assist, but it really was a dirty job and we were worried that they would get hurt. After about an hour of cleaning, the backyard looked substantially better. I couldn't believe how great it looked and the kids were thrilled. I promised Mugheera that in the coming days, he and I would harvest some of the apricots. He seemed excited to do so, but didn't realize that his chance would come so soon!

Aseel grinned when I told her it was time to get apricots because I have been known for my covert operations with fruit trees in close proximity to our grumpy neighbors and successfully retrieved a few kilograms of pomegranates last year. Teta and I turned the pomegranates into juice and it was delicious! I guess victory is sweet. :)

Mugheera and I grabbed a large pot and the house squeegee and headed to the backyard. The apricot tree branches were quite high and just out of my reach, so we had to get innovative and adventurous. The day before, Mugheera had climbed up the side of the wall and perched on the wall between us and a vacant lot and was unseen by any of the neighbors. Naturally, anything Mugheera can do, I can do too, so I climbed the wall and made my way into the branches of the apricot tree. I was so worried that the neighbors upstairs would see me through the window, since I was situated RIGHT next to the window. Mugheera handed me the squeegee and I jostled the branches just enough to free the apricots. Mugheera screamed in delight which startled me and provoked a warning call from his dad to be quiet because of the neighbors. As the apricots hit the ground, the ripe ones split open and bruised on the rock hard ground, but many were salvageable. Since they were falling so quickly when I jostled a branch, Mugheera stood up and held the pot over his head trying to catch the apricots. I'm not sure why, but I think he only managed to catch one. After a while of poking and prodding around in the treetop, Mugheera told me that we had enough apricots and that I needed to come down and help him gather.

As we gathered, I would put five in the pot and he would take three of them back out. It was funny to watch how particular he was with the apricots. Since his mom had asked me to save the seeds for the apricots, at first he thought he was supposed to tear open the apricots and JUST retrieve the pits. Aseel told me that after cracking the outer shell of the pits, they have a sweet and soft nut that many people like to eat. I had never heard of this before, but I followed her instructions and told Mugheera that we in fact did want to eat the fruits in addition to the seeds.
We filled the entire pot in addition to a black grocery bag and carried them inside to process. Aseel and I washed the fruit and I took a small portion home with me.

At the end of the day, we made crepes and whipped cream After completing the crepes around 12AM, we sat on the rooftop in the dark and ate the delicious crepes. She and the little boys loved them. While I was gone, she had made apricot jelly for the first time and gave me a small container of it. I would definitely say that the day was a success.