Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back to winter....???!!!

Well,The weather here in Winnipeg had been quite nice- not blazing hot but not cold either, some rain but sunny days too. It had been just perfect enough for me to totally fill up my garden with seeds and plants (like tomatoes, watermelon, and flowers). All the plants love warmth and hate cold. In fact if the temperature might reach 0 C they will just shrivel up and die. Surely, (I thought), by 25 of May I should be safe. After all, they will be much happier in the ground then in little plastic containers. AND the sooner they are in the ground, the sooner I will be eating wonderful red tomatoes. (And, I want to be able to do that before I leave again for Iraqi Kurdistan).

[Those of you from Canada may also question the wisdom of planting watermelon in Manitoba and expecting to get fruit off of it. Well, I have a hot sunny wall and a lot of horse manure so I decided to give it a try. They are little tiny Manitoba watermelon. And if the don't work-- I will try again next year!]

Any way-- guess what happened as soon as this little hot loving plants were in the ground---. The temperature dropped and now I have to figure out how to cover all these little guys before tonight so I don't have to make another trip to the store to buy new ones and start all over again..

Well, as I procrastinate on figuring this out, I was looking at my photos that I took in Iraq the last 3 months and realized that I had never posted about the blizzard that we drove through on 18 March. So, because we are back to wearing coats AND because I know that those who are still in Sulaimani (and beyond) are baking in hot temperatures and need some cooling down, I will tell you about that day.

Two days before the celebration of Nawroz (spring and New Year) Mohammed, Lukasz and I headed out in M's truck for the mountains in the north. We wanted to have some follow up discussions in the village of Zhelea and Sidikan. The forecast was for rain and snow FLURRIES. But as we travelled and got up higher, it became obvious that the flurries were developing into something bigger.

We reached a checkpoint along the way where we are fairly well known. I saw the guard with the umbrella and asked M if he could sneakily take a photo of him. He tried unsuccesfully, but before we knew it several of the guards came running over to ask to take photos with us. So, of course then we were able to ask them permission too.

For some reason this guard made me think of Mr Tumnis in "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Maybe it was the umbrella and the snow.

Mohammed really enjoyed the snow- at least when he was not driving in it.
The roads over the mountains were so bad that we had to stay the night in Cholman. There the roads were pretty clear. This is the next morning with beautiful blue sky. We received word that the plows had cleared the roads over the mountain pass to Sidikan.
The gorgeous house of a son of one of CPT's friends.

The shadows on the snow were lovely. This was at the highest point that we had to cross.
Lukas enjoyed the snow too
The villages we were going to visit were in the part that did not receive snow.

The village of Zhelea
The flat roofs are made of dirt. Some are rolled frequently with a heavy concrete roller, others are protected with blue tarps and rocks or small bags full of dirt.

After I had taken some photos of the villagers, my guide decided it was time for me to have a photo taken too.

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