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Goats who Climb Trees


7 Incredible Natural Phenomena you’ve never seen
Published on 11/16/2007 under Weird Science –

“Morocco’s Climbing Goats
Goats on trees are found mostly only in Morocco. The goats climb them because they like to eat the fruit of the argan tree, which is similar to an olive. Farmers actually follow the herds of goats as they move from tree to tree. Not because it is so strange to see goats in trees and the farmers like to point and stare, but because the fruit of the tree has a nut inside, which the goats can’t digest, so they spit it up or excrete it which the farmers collect. The nut contains 1-3 kernels, which can be ground to make argan oil used in cooking and cosmetics. This oil has been collected by the people of the region for hundreds of years, but like many wild and useful things these days, the argan tree is slowly disappearing due to over-harvesting for the tree’s wood and overgrazing by goats.

As a result a group of people and organizations have banded together to try to save the tree. To do so one of the primary locations where the trees grow has been declared a biosphere preserve. It was also decided that by making the world aware of the oil, it’s great taste and supposed anti-aging properties, would create a demand for it. However, the people who planned to market the oil could not envision people wanting to put an oil on their food or their face that was collected from goat excrement. As a result, a campaign is being led to ban grazing on the trees by goats during certain parts of the year to allow the fruit to ripen and fall off on its own. The fruit is then collected and turned into oil by oil cooperatives.”

I was just there, and the coop seem to be working. Most argan sold today is produced by a Berber women’s cooperative that shares the profits among the local women earning money which provides health and education to them and the whole community. The cooperative has established an ecosystem reforestation project so that the supply of argan oil will not run out and the income that is currently supporting the women will not disappear. The goats are kept out of the trees from May to August thus the trees are looking much healthier than the pictures of trees taken in 2007.

According to the Department of Water and Forests, Argan oil provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of the kingdom. The oil provides a total of 20 million workdays per year. Its operation is an income-generating activity and has always had a socio-economic function.

Co-sponsored by the Social Development Agency (SDA) with the support of the European Union, the UCFA (Union des Cooperatives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie) is the largest union of cooperatives for argan in Morocco. It comprises twenty-two cooperatives that are found everywhere in the region (e.g., Coopérative Al Amal, Coopérative Amalou N’Touyag, Coopérative Tissaliwine, Coopérative ArganSense, Coopérative Maouriga). These women come together to be better organized and thus guarantee a fair income through cooperatives, allowing them a better living environment.

Argan oil is an oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree, endemic to Morocco, that is valued for its nutritive, cosmetic and numerous medicinal properties. The tree, a relict species from the Tertiary age, is extremely well adapted to drought and other environmentally difficult conditions of southwestern Morocco. The species Argania once covered North Africa and is now endangered and under protection of UNESCO. The Argan tree grows wild in semi-desert soil, its deep root system helping to protect against soil erosion and the northern advance of the Sahara. This biosphere reserve, the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve, covers a vast intramontane plain of more than 2,560,000 hectares, bordered by the High Atlas and Little Atlas Mountains and open to the Atlantic in the west. Argan oil remains one of the rarest oils in the world due to the small and very specific growing areas.

Before modern times, the Berbers (also known as the Amazighs) of Morocco would collect undigested Argan pits from the waste of goats which climb the trees to eat their fruit. “Amlou” a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter is produced by stone grinding roasted almond and Argan oil and is considered a favorite local bread dip. However, the oil used in cosmetic and culinary products available for sale today has most likely been harvested directly from the tree and processed with machines. The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has found favour with the cosmetics industry.

500px for photos from many photographers

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A popular tourist site near Barcelona

Have you ever visited Barcelona? A very interesting side trip is to the Mountain–The serrated mountain- Montserrat. The Monastery is sheltered and almost hidden in the rocks.

Santa Maria de Montserrat is a Benedictine abbey located on the mountain of Montserrat, in Monistrol de Montserrat, in Catalonia, Spain.The Virgin of Montserrat is a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery in the Montserrat mountain in Catalonia. It is one of the black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, la Moreneta (“The little dark-skinned one”). Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.
The monastery is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat and groups of young people from Barcelona and all over Catalonia make overnight hikes at least once in their lives to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat.

Legend has it that the Benedictine monks could not move the statue to construct their monastery, choosing to instead build around it. The statue’s sanctuary is located at the rear of the chapel, where an altar of gold surrounds the icon, and is now a site of pilgrimage.

Upon his recovery from battle wounds, Ignatius of Loyola visited the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat (March 25, 1522), where he laid down his military accouterments before the image. Then he led a period of asceticism before later founding the Society of Jesus.

On September 11, 1844, Pope Leo XIII declared the virgin of Montserrat patroness of Catalonia (Saint George is another patron saint.)
Santa Maria de Montserrat

Sorry for the long Silence!

A recent picture of my hubby just before we took a Gondola ride in Venice! Many more pictures to follow so stay tuned!

I uploaded a few new photos on Flickr

Venice (Italian: Venezia [veˈnɛttsja] is a city in northern Italy known both for tourism and for industry, and is the capital of the region Veneto.

The name is derived from the ancient people of Veneti that inhabited the region as of 10th century B.C. The city historically was the capital of the Venetian Republic. Venice has been known as the “La Dominante”, “Serenissima”, “Queen of the Adriatic”, “City of Water”, “City of Masks”, “City of Bridges”, “The Floating City”, and “City of Canals”. Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. Venice has also been described by the Times Online as being one of Europe’s most romantic cities.

The city stretches across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 60,000 in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazioni of Mestre and Marghera; and 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon. There is a recent concern that Venice will be come a living museum with no Venetians living in Venice, just tourists!

The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. This made Venice a wealthy city throughout most of its history.[6] It is also known for its several important artistic movements, especially the Renaissance period. Venice has played an important role in the history of symphonic and operatic music, and it is the birthplace of Antonio Vivaldi, and the place that Richard Wagner died.

A fun city–Visit it soon!

Using Animoto– Tarcoles River Costa Rica and Roses

Two videos using Animoto software

I am playing with production of video and still shows using Animoto, http://animoto.com/

“Award-winning Animoto Pro lets you instantly combine your photos and video clips into sharp, sexy, HD videos.

At the heart of Animoto is our patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images, video clips and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television & film. No two videos are ever the same.”

Can’t decide if I like the software or not.

The Rose video was made using all still photos taken after a rain storm in Tucson–Except for the last photo, which was from a Tournament of Roses Parade.

What do you think?

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Happy New Year from Pasadena!

Happy New Year!
Windy and Cold here–Sunny CA yes but—also can get cold—Not quite this cold!


OOPS the Snowman was made in WA last week! Lemon tree in Pasadena.

The Tournament of Roses Parade is Tomorrow! Can’t wait to see it!

Happy December 1st!

Happy December 1st. Encourage you to check out Flash Galleries to visit the Faroe Islands

Check out the new page in the Flash Galleries Column and learn about the Faroe Islands

View Map on Google Maps
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zc_XF56MDexc.k9WnNNywAWLo&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=k&msa=0&ll=62.179285%2C-6.863708&spn=29.440814%2C74.707031&z=3&source=embed

Tigers Back by Popular Demand

Click on Photo to see the Tiger Cubs

Chateau/Castle in the Making

Chateau/Castle in the Making


Deep in secluded woodland, an abandoned quarry reveals a landscape seemingly untouched since the dawn of the last millennium. Out of this wood and stone, using 13th century building techniques, a castle is being created, hence a Chateau/Castle in the making in this cerntury

Guédelon Castle is a medieval construction project located in Treigny, France. The object of the project is to build a castle using only the techniques and materials used in the Middle Ages. When completed in the 2020s, it should be an authentic recreation of a 13th century medieval castle.

In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin is the chief architect for the project. He designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.

Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot, owner of the nearby Saint-Fargeau castle. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a pond close by.

The project is considered to be ecological and economic, since it created 45 jobs and is now a tourist destination.

If you are visiting France be sure to visit this hands-on educational experience!

Flagstaff Train

FLagstaff Train;


FLagstaff Train;
Click on the Train to enlarge it-

This historic Train sits beside the historic Train Station which was built in 1926. The station is still in use today as the home of the Flagstaff Visitor Center.
For you train buffs:
Arizona Lumber and Timber Company purchased this Baldwin Steam Engine in 1917 for lumbering operations in and around Flagstaff, where the engine spent its entire working life. The City of Flagstaff purchased No. 25 in 1995. Canvas water bags hung out the engine’s window & eventually rubbed off the number 5 on each side, resulting in Two Spot’s affectionate Nickname. This engine was made in Philadelphia in January of 1911. It is Baldwin 35938.

–From: http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2VQD

Known to the locals as “Two Spot”, number 25 spent its entire working life in the Ponderosa pine forests of Flagtsaff. The locomotive originally operated for the Greenlaw Lumber Company as No. 25 for 14 years. In 1925 the locomotive was sold to the Central Arizona Railroad, still as No. 25. In 1941 it became Saginaw and Manistee Lumber Co. No. 25. In 1953 it was sold to Southwest Lumber Mills and re-numbered to No. 2. No. 2 was rebuilt with a new boiler and firebox in 1950. No. 2 was retired in 1966 and placed on display as No. 25 at the Southwest Forest Industries facilities in Flagstaff.

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