Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Jul 10, 2017

Goin' Bananas!

Yep, we're goin' bananas in the miserable pre-Monsoon heat and humidity here in Nepal! Time for an update on my garden, HIMself, and what we did for Eid-Al-Fitr.  And here's a stunning foot-long banana blossom in my garden to prove it!

Bananas are the weirdest plants. This photo is of a different type of banana than the top photo. This entire stalk dangling with the baby bananas and the bottom blossom is about 5 feet long. Bananas are the type of plant that you want to grow way, waaay, waaaaaay away from your home. Bananas are actually considered to be  perennial herbs! A banana plant takes about 9 months to grow up and produce a bunch of bananas. Then the mother plant dies. But around the base of it pop up baby banana plants from the main corm. They attract bugs a'plenty and continuously drop debris. Ants, bees, wasps, hornets, lizards, beetles, spiders, snakes, fruit flies, -you name it and banana trees attract them in multitudes. If they aren't dropping their huge leaves they're shedding sap, dead blossoms, and those purplish maroon bracts you see on the buds. Nepalis make pickles and a sort of stir fry out of the purple blossoms. I've not tasted the pickle but the stir fried blossom and it kind of reminded me of artichoke hearts, bamboo shoots, and hearts of palm. 

I planted Mexican sunflowers again from seed I gathered in my garden last Summer. I love their satiny orange blooms! They've done much better this year. 

Here's our gardener Khashi watering the tomatoes alongside the border of Mexican sunflowers. Khashi is about 5'5" so you can see the Mexican sunflowers are about 6 foot tall. This is the south side of the house so both tomatoes and sunflowers get maximum hours of sunlight daily. As long as you keep rigorously deadheading (removing spent flowers) those multi-stemmed Mexican sunflowers keeping putting out more buds. The stems range from 10 inches to about 4 inches on the Mexican sunflowers and they make great cut flowers.

We have tomatoes! This is the second crop of tomatoes this year. I have no idea why I planted tomatoes as they're dirt cheap in the market this time of year. I wanted to grow something! I'm curious to see it they'll make it through the Monsoon without rotting. They're planted beneath the overhang of the house with the aforementioned southerly exposure. We're going to be eating a lot of tomato chutney!

This has been the buggiest Spring and Summer. Yes, this is the 'tropics' but the insects this year are out of control. Caterpillars, giant land snails, some sort of cicada looking things, ants, mosquitoes, beetles, scale, aphids, wasps, dragonflies, june bugs, crickets, giant cockroaches, - you name it we've had it this year. The above weirdness was some sort of caterpillar infesting the mint plant. I have never seen a caterpillar on a mint plant. I have no idea what those silk/wooly egg looking things are. The different varieties of caterpillars in Asia is amazing. Caterpillars are heavily parasitized here. It's not unusual to find caterpillars mummified by weird fungal infections or being eaten alive by wasp larvae hatched from eggs on their backs.

A lone moonflower open in the shade of a western wall. All the morning glories I planted this year were eaten by snails. I planted a red morning glory called Scarlett O'Hara. All the seeds rotted. Even the good old reliable Grandpa Ott's fell pray to snails or fungus. The moonflowers have the front trellis all to themselves.

If you're wondering what that red stuff is it's chili powder. This was an organic attempt to keep snails and mealy bugs from eating my chili plants. I don't spray or put poison out because we have animals and we eat the veg from our garden (duh). The Sheikh (my husband) says we can't use stale beer and rotten fruit in a strategically placed saucer to lure snails to a drunken doom because it's not halal. So I read on an organic gardening blog that chili powder will burn snails' tummies. It works. But only if you place fresh chili powder out daily and rain doesn't wash it away. I still lost 12 of my 20 chili plants to snails. Boo!

The chenille plant (Acalypha hispida) is covered with sixteen inch cerise pink catkins. I've pruned it into a six foot by six foot hedge blocking the view of the compost heap. Chenille plants are also known by the interesting common name of Phillipine Medusa. Like poinsettias they are members of the Euphorbia family and all parts of the plant are poisonous. Despite being toxic the chenille plant is a little universe of all sorts of critters from lizards to bugs. It dies down to the ground every Winter but quickly comes back when the weather warms up.

The dwarf crepe myrtle is blooming away in brilliant fuchsia pink glory! I always wonder why crepe myrtles aren't more widely planted in South Asia. They are native to India and do beautifully here. Crepe myrtles are a common landscaping plant in my native California. With rigorous deadheading I can get 2 to 3 bloom cycles out of my dwarf crepe myrtles. They do lose their leaves in Winter but have a beautifully picturesque branching habit and interesting white bark.

I was going to show you what a nice container plant dwarf crepe myrtles are when our favorite feline photobomber showed up. Yes, that's the proud matriarch of our kitty clan- Granny Chinger. Grinning maniacally and rolling around in front of the crepe myrtle so I can't possibly get a shot without her in it. Do not underestimate Ms Chinger. (Chinger means ratty). Despite her often goofy demeanor she has the heart of a lioness. Ms Chinger battled a 4 foot rat snake who ventured into our stairwell the other day. This was not our usual, calm, 6 foot rat snake who perambulates the garden monthly. Ms Chinger puffed herself up and smacked the new snake in the face with her paws when it repeatedly tried to strike her. Amazingly she did not get bitten and the snake finally fled into the huge bougainvillea over the carport. Ms Chinger's daughter, Tikka, and Ms Dawg held back steady about 8 feet away from the battle. HIM the Baacha Khan took off running to the back of the house.

HIM the Baacha Khan peeps forlornly from inside a discarded rice bag I was collecting recycling in.
Speaking of His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan: HIMself has not been himself lately. He got into a horrific fight with an intact tomcat earlier this year which left him covered in scratches and with a badly bruised ego. We took him to the vet as he began running a high fever for some IV fluids and a jab of antibiotics. He seemed better but when we came back from our trip to Kathmandu he suffered a nasty upper respiratory infection that left him weak and dehydrated again. His respiratory situation improved but he was still spiking high fevers and not eating nor interacting with the other kitties. The vet was out of town so we put him on the usual empirical-seriously-sick kitty-regimen of IM ceftriaxone, meloxicam, and paracetamol for 5 days. The fever came down and he seems to have made a speedy recovery.

Of course HIMself's sister Tikka and mother Chinger have been giving him extra love and attention. He's definitely doing better and eating well but he's still not quite back to his old feisty self.

And we celebrated Eid-al-Fitr with lots of great food and guests. At our house it's a sort of Eid tradition that we breakfast on sweets. Above you see the date laddoos, brownie bites, and Kashmiri cardamom cookies I made for the holiday. This was after the boys tore into it.

I made a poundcake from a recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook too. This was the only shot I got of it before it was sliced up for guests. Guests started arriving at 10 AM! This poundcake required a whopping 6 eggs. It baked up beautifully despite a 20 minute lapse in electricity while in the oven. Martha promised that this recipe had the most delectable crumb. It was a bit too spongy for me. The recipe called for a single teaspoon of vanilla but I put 2 teaspoons of a posh gourmand Mexican vanilla suspension, a half teaspoon of California Meyer lemon oil, and a half teaspoon of Boyajian's almond extract. I still thought it was a bit bland and not sweet enough for my taste. I suppose it would be fine if you spooned some stewed berries or peaches over it. I prefer my grandma's 7-Up poundcake to Martha's swank version. Come to think of it, I've never been truly WOWED by any of Martha's recipes I've made. Hmmmm.....

The Sheikh made a few dishes for Eid too. The Sheikh is a very good cook. He made his famous rista which is a mutton meatball with peas and (you guessed it!) lots of Kashmiri mirch. He also made delicious tamatar chaman which is Kashmiri style paneer with tomato sauce. Above you see the results of the Sheikh's culinary exuberance. This sparked a rather unusual conversation:

Me: Do we have any turmeric left?
The Sheikh: Why? 
Me: I was just looking at the stove and wondering. I still have to make a mutton dish and a chicken dish and I'm going to need a little turmeric. 
The Sheikh: What you are saying?
Me: Oh never mind. 

And here's our littlest guest on Eid! Ms Sita stopped by with her grandmother to enjoy some treats. If you are wondering what that black dot is over Ms Sita's eye is it's a purposefully placed dab of kajal to ward off the evil eye. Ms Sita isn't quite up to chewing yet but she did enjoy slobbering on some biscuits and petting the kitties.

And last but not least an unwanted visitor! Lurking on a window screen in the house was one of those !@#%^!! Asian hornets I had a run-in with last year. It is breeding season and there must be a nest nearby. I blasted this hornet with a can of bug spray from a distance of about 7 feet. If I injured this critter in a way that it was still living it would signal it's comrades to attack by chemotaxis. I shall be on the lookout for any of their soccer ball sized nests outside. 

So anyway, I missed last week's post as lightning knocked out my internet service for a week. Hopefully that won't happen again but it is the Monsoon here in Nepal and thunderstorms are weekly events during this season. Hope all is well with you & yours!


Jun 19, 2017

Beautiful Bandipur!

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

On a recent road trip to Kathmandu we stopped off at the gorgeous hilltop town of Bandipur, Nepal. Time seems to have stood still in Bandipur's winding lanes of beautifully preserved 18th century Newari houses. Despite its proximity to the epicenter of the 2015 earthquakes, Bandipur escaped with only minor damage and is a glimpse of living history.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

As mentioned in a previous post my husband and I were traveling on the East-West Prithvi Highway to Kathmandu when we heard the road was to be closed for four hours due to landslides. We decided to take a side excursion to Bandipur to have lunch and kill the time. Bandipur is located at the end of a steep and narrow but well paved 8km/5mile access road from the highway stop of Dumre.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,
One of the newly restored temples with authentically painted decor. 
Bandipur has an interesting history. Originally part of the Magar kingdom of Tanahun, Bandipur was ruled from nearby Palpa. When Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the Kathmandu valley in 1786 Newari traders began rushing to Bandipur. They took advantage of its malaria-free hill top location to develop it into a bustling hub along the lucrative India-Tibet trade route. The Newaris of the Kathmandu valley brought their culture and unique architecture to Bandipur where it has basically remained unchanged to this day. Bandipur is very much a mini-Kathmandu!

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,
Another beautiful temple.

Trading in Bandipur steeply declined in the 70's when the construction of the East-West Prithvi Highway bypassed the town. For technical reasons the highway was built through the Marsyangdi valley. No longer a vital trading post, ancient Bandipur was left isolated on top of a mountain. As a result of this poor accessibility, Bandipur lost it's importance as the Tanahun district government headquarters too. The tradesmen of Bandipur were forced to move down to the roadside bazaar of Dumre and the lowlands of the Terai. Slowly, Bandipur turned into a ghost town. The population declined considerably. The muddy track of a road to the town was only improved in 1998.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,
Back of the library in the town square.
Above you see the sun-filled and cheery town square dotted with temples, traditional Newari homes, and a tiny library. With impetus and substantial help from the owners of the adventure company Himalayan Encounters and the Bandipur Social Development Committee the derelict homes and shops have been reborn as cafes and lodges. Temples and civic buildings have been pulled back from the edge of ruin and lovingly restored. All the original structures bear plaques stating their name, purpose, and date of restoration. It was an amazingly lovely day as you can see by the clear blue sky in the photos. Each building is adorned with pots and bowers of beautifully blooming flowers. Motorized vehicles have been banned from the area and the bazaars are filled with restaurant tables donning bright umbrellas. Except for the traditional Newari architectural motifs you'd think you're in an pristine alpine Swiss village!

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,
The fantastically restored library in the main square with it's hand-carved doors and windows of the native hardwood saal
Bandipur is absolutely immaculate.  If you look closely you can see rubbish bins discreetly and conveniently placed all over the village. There's a green bin near the left lower corner of the photo above. I mention this because in most of these antique Himalayan towns there is usually an open drain down the center of each road or square. This drain typically serves as an open sewer where everything from human excrement to noodle wrappers flows in plain view. (Just as you would have seen in any 18th century European metropolis.) Here they've strategically placed slate flagstones over the drain so you can no longer see it. No packs of stray dogs and various livestock loitering and pooping about town authentically either. Every's so shiny, neat, and beautifully restored I almost thought I was at some Disneyworld version of Nepal! Then I heard a familiar whack, a bloodcurdling screech, a horrific yowl, a rasping sputtering, and a prolonged hissing noise...

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

This ain't Disneyworld! A goat was sacrificed at the nearby temple of a goddess. As I have been told many times by many Nepalis, "The goddess won't listen unless there is blood." And blood there was. A lot odf westerners don't seem to realize that blood sacrifice is a part of Hinduism. The head is taken into the temple shrine while the blood is left to flow in the courtyard. The carcass of the goat is eaten later. The lady in red is readying offerings of fruit and home-made sweets for the goddess. Lamps of ghee are lit inside the shrine. Kids, don't try this at home!

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

The lady in the scarlet salwars proceeded calmly with the offerings of devotion as the goat still twitched. The man in tan was whom beheaded the goat with a single slash of a khukri. If you eat meat please be aware that this is where it comes from. Don't get all hasty and judgemental now. I know we hide and sanitize butchering in western countries but this is what really happens in abattoirs too.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

A tray of beautiful fruit for the goddess overlaid with crimson ribbons. I was trying to get a photo of the puja tray with it's 9 compartments that the lady was carrying. You can sort of see it to the left of the photo. 

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

Anywho, there were a lot of signs advertising organic home stays. I'm not certain what exactly an organic home stay implies. Hessian-weave hemp bedsheets and a birdseed and yoghurt breakfast? I doubt I'll ever find out since the Sheikh is a 5-star hotel with a flatscreen and room service kind of guy.  

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

And so we ate lunch at one of the little sidewalk cafes advertising organic fare. The new owner and head chef of the restaurant seated us on the shady back patio. Above you see the incredible view from our table. I sipped a delicious fresh mint lemonade and the Sheikh had his usual latte. We perused the menu whilst the new owner and head chef noisily and repeatedly informed us that everything on the menu was handmade, all natural, and he was trained at the very prestigious Radisson hotel in Kathmandu. We ordered a veg pizza as neither one of us was very hungry after our mid morning snack of momos in Dumre. We were served possibly the worst pizza I have ever eaten. It was one of those pre-made frozen dough disks topped with a little ketchup, a sprinkle of grated yak cheese, raw onion slices, and tinned jalapeno peppers. The prefab pizza dough disk wasn't even completely thawed out much less cooked through. So we left. And my husband being an Indian had to tell the owner the pizza was terrible, exactly how a pizza should be properly made in the Italian manner with a fresh thin crust (etc. etc. etc.), and that he (the owner) talked too much. I wandered off slightly embarrassed to further peruse the town. 

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

The panoramic vistas were stunning in every direction from this hilltop town of about 15,000 people. It was blissfully quiet with no vehicles other than handcarts present. Birds chattering and children playing in the distance were the only sounds. Villagers occasionally snored during their early afternoon siestas enjoyed in outdoor porticos and verandas. Narrow lanes and alleys of hand laid slate formed mazes twisting and turning along the ridges of old Bandipur. We saw a few tourists, hippies and hipsters mostly. The Sheikh looked puzzled at my delight in this little gem of a town:

The Sheikh: Why would anyone come here? There's nothing to do.
Me: Imagine if you lived in a noisy, dirty, crowded, and congested city like Delhi or Los Angeles. Wouldn't you love to come to a peaceful, quiet, and clean place like this for a little rest and relaxation?
The Sheikh: Oh. It is very pretty here.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

Despite what the Sheikh says there's lots to do around Bandipur. Opportunities for day hikes include a visit to a silk farm to the west of town, a downhill trek to Siddha Cave (the second largest cave in South Asia), a walk through the Raniban (queen's forest), or observing rural village life in rustic Ramkot which is just an hour's stroll away. Bibi would be thrilled to live out her natural born days on a sunny half acre of land gardening her heart out here. As long as she had a flush toilet. And internet access. Probably at least 6 hours of electricity too. The Sheikh says that ain't happening. Oh well.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

The flowers in Bandipur were spectacular and everywhere. Above you see a unique strain of hibiscus that nearly every Bandipurean had in their garden. The photo doesn't do it justice. Searing high noon sunlight isn't ideal for photographing richly saturated colors. Each bloom was nearly nine inches across and faded from a brilliant cerise pink at the edge of the petals to a coral red at the center. The throat was a deep maroon highlighted with pure white. Most of the hibiscus shrubs were huge - about the size of small trees.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

Mauve is Bibi's favorite flower and so I had to take a photo of this dahlia. Most of the dahlias on display were not quite dinner plate size and more of the cactus variety. Isn't that color divine! Dahlias always rot in my garden. We don't really get a full day's worth of sun in any spot in our flower garden so I think that may be the problem.

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

Did I tell you that the flowers were beautiful? And Bibi's favorite color is mauve? I did? It's for true! Bandipur is not yet a well known tourist destination. I would highly recommend this picturesque town to anyone who wishes to see what old Kathmandu was like before it became a grubby, crowded, noisy 3rd world city. Just don't order pizza. ;)

bandipur, nepal, living history, life, love, beautiful,

That's all kids!

As the month of Ramadan starts, speak respectfully, treat others kindly, walk modestly and pray sincerely. May Allah bless you and your family.


Jun 5, 2017

Small, dark, and handsome...

What have we here?
It looks like a mini sumo wrestler wearing a Nirvana t-shirt is throwing gang signs at me in the side garden! Or are those gestures of peace? Hard to tell these days.

Aha! The mini sumo tells me he climbed over the front fence to get a closer look at the "billa-ro" (cats). Keeping pets is sort of a new thing in Nepal and keeping cats is very rare. His name is Jigme. He's quite hip and stylish isn't he? If you look closely you can see his arms are inked with temporary dragon tattoos.

My new friend seems to have made himself at home after examining and petting the cats. Actually the ancient Ms Chinger (the black cat) allowed herself to be carried about by Jigme. I wish I'd taken photos of that. My new friend was quite chatty and thrilled that I brought him coloring books, crayons, a glass of cold water and raisins. I don't think he's ever eaten raisins as he thought they were jellies.

Whoops! Now I have 3 new friends! These two young ladies are sisters to the young man sitting in the side garden. They wanted to pet the cats too. And so they did. Above you see them proudly holding the bag of raisins I had to bribe them with to leave so I could pack lunch tiffin. These two are the third set of twins I've seen in our neighborhood. 

Speaking of interlopers, the cows are in the corn! Little boy blue come blow your horn! This is the cornfield next door to us. The cows are in the corn because some numbskull knocked a hole in the brick wall that surrounds the cornfield. if you look in the upper right hand corner of the photo you can see the start of the huge hole in the wall. 

Oh my. Now the entire herd is happily munching corn. The Sheikh told me not to venture onto the neighbors' property so I yelled "TSAO!" at the cows to try and shoo them away. As you can see by their expression the cows were not one bit frightened by me. Apparently the neighbor is going to start building a house here soon so that's why a hole was knocked through the brick wall enclosing the cornfield.

More corn thievery. Sometimes even a wall isn't a deterrent to all the free range livestock around here.

Yup, they're building a house next door to us where the cornfield is. There's the first truck full of rubble to fill the foundation. Drat. That means at least two years of construction noise dawn 'til dusk. Since land prices have soared they'll probably build right up to the property line and we'll have a wall or someone's window to look into on that side of the house. Gentrification...

My summer garden is starting to bloom. Above you see a dwarf canna I grew from seed. Being a California girl I'm determined to have flowers in my garden all year long. My Nepali gardener says flowers are not possible in the Monsoon. Every year I've tried different plants with varying success to see what will put up with the fetid heat and humidity of the Monsoon. This year's line up includes cannas, hibiscus, celosia, Mexican sunflowers, gaillardia, dwarf crape myrtle, black eyed susan vine, caladiums, and flaming glorybower. 

These dwarf cannas make beautiful container plants. I have them in the salmon shade you see above as well as scarlet red, white, and yellow. They come in a rosy pink too. All the colors are one to two feet in height. In addition to the beautiful blooms you get the lovely tropical foliage too. By the end of Summer that pot will brimming with blooms and gorgeous leaves. I like the contrast with my blue Chinese pot collection too. 

This is a caladium in bloom. Oft prized for their colorful speckled foliage and shade-loving habit I'd never seen a caladium flower. I didn't plant these caladiums but rather found them volunteering on the burn pile. I'm not sure if it is native or not. I've planted them in the shady spots in our garden for some brightness and they seem to be doing well. 

An unwitting sign of the times or harbinger of a sort. The famed International Mountain Museum to which this sign correctly directs is about a half mile from our home. Unfortunately Google Maps shows the International Mountain Museum incorrectly to be on our street. On a daily basis foreign tourists come down our street staring at their phones searching for the museum. On occasion one of these foreign tourists will see me in the garden and inquire as to whether the famed museum is on our street. To which I will reply, "No, Google Maps incorrectly shows the International Mountain Museum on our street. If you go back to the main road and continue to the right for about a 1/4 mile you will see the sign that points to the street the museum is on." At this point I usually get a puzzled look. Here's the kicker- INVARIABLY the over 40's will go back to the main road and look for the sign, but the under 40's will continue on in vain down our street believing Google Maps to be infallible. I guess that defines the true Generation Gap of the 21st century. Probably one of the few things that the Baby Boomers and Gen Xer's have in common too. We don't believe technology is infallible. I suppose it's because we've lived in an age when we've witnessed massive technology fails. Remember those dial-up modems, crappy to non existent mobile service, and all the Y2K baloney? Well, Millennials missed all those epic fails that were the prelude to the information age. Despite all the technology fails like the recent hack that crippled NHS computers and caused British Airways to screech to a halt these youngsters still place their faith in technology. Amazing.

Lastly, a very happy Ramadan to all my readers celebrating it. In this broiling pre-monsoon heat I'm getting up before dawn not only for suhoor but to fix food for iftar also. It's just too hot here during the day to cook anything.

May this festivity push peace to transcend the earth, let light brighten up the world and bring hope to everyone’s heart. 

Happy Ramadan!


May 29, 2017

Over the river and through the woods...

Well, we didn't go to grandmother's house but we did go over some rivers and through some woods! Yes, we went to Kathmandu again. Above you see a mural of the Pokhara valley painted across the back of a truck we waited behind for about an hour. The mural is replete with para-gliders, Lake Fewa, and Mt Machaapuchre looming in the distance. The large bird is Nepal's national bird which is called a danphe, Himalayan monal, or Impeyan pheasant.

Look at that early morning traffic! Absolute gridlock! Sheesh!

Finally a tiny goatherdess cleared the road and bade us farewell.

Bibi's LOTD was a travel smart abaya, palazzos, and hijab in dreamily comfortable modal and viscose. A pair of golden bejeweled sandals with matching handbag added a touch of bling to this Arabesque ensemble. 

Here's the first horrific crash of the day. The 174 kilometer/108 mile long Prithvi Highway we drove to Kathmandu on is one of the most dangerous roadways in the world. 

And there were landslides. With the start of the rainy season this is always a hazard. It gets worse when the Monsoon starts.

We decided to stop for a snack in Mugling and check on road conditions ahead. The veg momos were yummy and we learned the highway was going to be closed until 2 pm due to another landslide. 

So we did a little shopping and met some beautiful people. The black dot on the baby's forehead is to ward off the evil eye in case you're wondering.

Smoked fish are a local specialty in the villages along the river. We passed on the fish but picked up some fresh locallly grown ginger and dal. 

Here's horrific crash number two on our trip. Yes, it is a large (18 meter long) truck flipped over on it's side. No, there weren't any tow trucks there. In fact this truck's cargo was being unloaded by hand onto another truck. 

And finally the road was reopened and we were on our way! There was the usual traffic jam over the grade into Kathmandu. While the Sheikh did business in Kathmandu Bibi was lazy and luxuriated at the spa and lounged by the pool in her burkini sipping virgin mojitos.

Then we came home. The kitties jumped in our dusty and dirty duffel bag and refused to leave. I think they missed us. So anywho, I took lots of photos for future posts on our little trip. We did a side trip to a little village that was so pretty. Ramadan has begun and so I'll be busy cooking up all sorts of goodies for iftar and suhoor.

Calmly currying on,

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