Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why the rainbow?

Does anybody know why there was a rainbow logo showing near the http address of my own blog??

How sad...I came to check my blog again and the rainbow logo has vanished. my eyesight playing up?!

Il-Barumbara - A dovecote

Wild pigeons had been living in Malta thousands of years before the first inhabitants arrived on rafts or canoes from Sicily. These pigeons lived on cliff ledges and in holes in cliff walls, as well as in man-made buildings – a characteristic which led to them being domesticated.

Before the advent of guns, ways and means were found to catch wild birds for food because there wasn't much else available to the poor by way of protein, except for snails scavenged from fields. When guns arrived they were for the privileged few - unaffordable to those who could not even pay for a pair of shoes. So the poor people had to find ways to catch wild birds in quantity without the use of weapons. They came up with the idea of building a dovecote or barumbara as an integral part of the house - except that it wasn't for doves but for pigeons.

Farmers used to build ledges and holes in the walls of their farmhouses to be taken up by the domestic pigeons, which were induced to stay around the farmhouse by being fed on grains and other seeds. These man-made ledges and holes in walls came to be known as 'Barumbara' in Maltese. This is probably a corruption of the Sicilian word 'palummara' or the Italian word 'columbara' - a place where pigeons live and breed.
Each old Maltese farmhouse used to have a barumbara in one of its walls. There are also several areas and streets in Malta known as Il-barumbara, indicating that there must have been ancient dovecotes in the vicinity. The pigeons were encouraged to breed in the upper section of the house, where four or five rows of nesting places would be made in each of the walls. There might be up to 100 nesting places in one small room!

Nowadays you might come across some old rural dwellings with just a few nesting places for pigeons incorporated in the facade as the one I found in Zabbar.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rough Seas

Yesterday morning the sun decided to shine for a few hours after a rainy week and a gale force wind on Friday and Saturday. I took the opportunity to test out the christmas and graduation present that my hubby bought for me - a professional Canon. I admit I'm still green but I'm working on it. I stopped my car near the abandoned Jerma hotel and took photos of rough seas pounding on the shore close to the hotel. It was such a weird situation .. with the eerily silent hotel behind me and the booming sound of the crashing waves in front of me. It was a sure scary sight to watch all those waves crashing and pounding on the rocks very close to where I stood.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A picture of Serenity

I took this photo last summer on one of my car trips in the countryside. I found this old narrow disused route which I started following and this is what I came across. This picture, for me, epitomises serenity. Three horses in a meadow, in summer, with no one to bother them - no cars, no people (apart from me) away from pollution and the humdrum of everyday life and with the sea as a backdrop. What more would they want?
This was taken in the Delimara area, very close to the old disused lighthouse. Horses are quite rare in Malta for the simple reason that it's very expensive to import a horse to our country. Moreover, to own a horse can also be a very costly matter because their upkeep and care can cause a really deep dent in one's pockets. We don't get to see a lot of horses grazing in fields and meadows in Malta. So I was really surprised to find these three beautiful horses grazing to their hearts' content out there far away from humanity. Their owner was nowhere to be seen but I have the impression that few persons come over there.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Catching up..

How time flies! It's been so long since I wrote a post but I was extremely busy preparing for another party which took most of my free time. This Christmas I decided to prepare a three course meal rather than the usual party with so many nibbles to create.
As starters I prepared three kinds of vol au vents with mushroom, salmon, and artichoke stuffing. This was followed by courgette and parmesan soup. Next came stuffed chicken and pork, potatoes, cauliflowers and a mixture of other veggies. As for dessert our friends helped themselves to pancakes with a selection of stuffing of their own choice, strawberries, nutella, banana, nuts, cream and ice-cream.
Finally, at tea-time, some of us played boardgames and the rest competed on the Playstation. We had chocolate dipped figs, (thank you Juniper for the recipe), Bacio-cake which I incidentally found in another bloggy friend's site (thank you Dina), log cake and mince pies. Our friends must have really enjoyed themselves for they came at around half noon and stayed till very late. And somehow I pulled it off once more!! Don't know how I managed but having two ovens did help me cheat a little bit in preparing everything on time. Oh I nearly forgot to tell you that I nearly freaked out when I went to take out my courgette soup from the fridge and did not find it there. My husband had put it in the freezer instead and when I peered inside the pot I found a green circular block of ice!!! I found this out at 12:00!! So you can imagine my panic! But I managed to thaw it in good time. Phew!
Now to come to the other subject...Another thing which kept me from posting was my surprise at finding I was pregnant on Boxing Day. That was one Christmas present that I was surely not expecting! Now I'll just have to get used to a new way of life - a slow-paced life -and I think this will take me time to adjust to. I'm so used to running so many errands at one go, carrying heavy stuff by myself, and eating so many kinds of food which now I'll have to give a miss. Now I have to think twice at whatever I do - is this wrong? is this good to eat? Can I nibble some more sweets? So many questions... Don't want to get over the moon or over excited because I might feel drastically crestfallen if anything goes wrong. So I'm taking it day by day. As the Maltese like to say "Issa naraw.." We'll see...
Incidentally this is my first blog post without a photo. Didn't know what to put up here.