|The waterfall on the Rêya Bêbin|
|The Marsh Mallow|
In case you are ever in the village and wonder about what birds are making what song, here is a video of the Golden Oriole and its song. And here is a video of the hoopoe and its song. And also of the blue cheeked bee-eater.
|Me as we arrive at Camel Rock|
The heat is bearing down on us already and the trail is lined with stinging nettles (ısırgan otu), milk thistle and other thorny plants. The milk thistle is everywhere—a pretty prickly plant with a globe of purple flowers on top that Delal says they used to hit like a baseball. Its name is kelenga kere in Kurdish—or Donkey’s Thistle, because donkeys love to eat it. According to different herbal medicine sites, the seeds have been used for centuries totreat liver problems, including hepatitis B and C. It is also apparently a good hangover treatment because it cleanses alcohol toxins from the organs. All parts of the plant are edible. The roots can be eaten raw or boiled and buttered. The leaves can be trimmed of bristles and used like spinach while the seed head can be eaten like a globe artichoke (it’s apparently a relative).
|On the ruined walls of the horik of Warê Garîşan|
|The hot sunny view of the horik of Warê Garîşan|
|The Fields of Milkvetch as we hiked toward Derdivan|
|A close up|
|The stick we set in a cairn of rocks on top of Derdivan--That's Sulbus and Taru in the back ground|
|The blackberries on Korta Usxanan|
|The Horik of Korta Usxanan|
|The wild peony seeds at the Korta Uşxanan|
|The view of Tûjik in the back and the castle (Kale) in the foreground|
|Taru (left) and Silbus (Surp Luis)|
|The yarrow plants (yellow) in the Kilampox Ravine|
|The Picnic Site at Nala Gewr|
|I've been corrected--this is Bladder Senna, Colutea arborescens|
|The blue flowers are the güriz (bugloss)|
One other common plant up in these parts is called kinkor by
our local Kurds, though the common Turkish name is çarşıt. I could not find
much about it anywhere at all except from locals, Uncle Mehmet, and Cevat Eran’s
book. Kınkor is a spindly, brambly plant that grows in the rocky places here—its
green and reddish. It’s all green when its young and if you cut it then, a
burning white liquid resembing milk will ooze out. In the old days, they would
harvest it in the fall, leave it to dry in bundles and then take it home for
winter feed for the animals. In the fall, it turns yellow and can get yanked
out of the ground by a good wind, just like a tumble weed.
|Kinkor--under which the delicious Kifkark mushrooms grow in the spring--yum|
We also keep seeing turtles everywhere—it is apparently testudograeca ibera—the Spur Thighed Tortoise—named for the spurs on their thighs, naturally. They range from the Central Balkans all the way to the Caucuses. They live in ‘scrapes’ and come out during the day to bask and graze. We heard them moving through the brush everywhere we went, assumed they were giant bears with land mines in their mouths, freaked out, and then only found, in the end, turtles. They eat dandelions, mallows, and vetches—all of which I have mentioned here. They like to bask in the sun and will prop themselves up on a rock and extend their necks and legs. The most interesting thing about them seems to be their mating habits—the male gets rather feisty, biting and ramming them as he tries to mount them and mounting other dude-turtles if ladies are not available. They also seem to be surprisingly, in a little danger of extinction.
Let me end with one final animal—my Chinese zodiac sign, the wild boar our in scientific circles the Sus scrofa libycus . We see signs of boar all along the paths—they have clearly been rooting in places. At twilight once we saw a heard of them in the fields. People hunt them here, though they don’t eat them, however back in the days that homo sapiens first started settling these lands, they not only ate them, but domesticated them. Evidence for the very first domesticated pigs comes out of sites like Çatalhöyük, one of the earliest human settlements sites in the world and not too far from this area. The story is here.