After a few days at Rouqayah’s Ranch we are full of fresh air and healthy organic food. My hair is full of bounce. I’m convinced it’s from the fresh well water, a welcome change from the heavily chlorinated tap water in Alex. Even the pool at the ranch is full of untreated fresh water. The water gets emptied into the fields every few days and the pool gets refilled for the next guest.
Oscar got to meet a lot of friendly farm animals and one unfriendly hissing goose. I’ve never been a fan of geese, swans or opossums. I’ve been hissed at by all three and I’m convinced they are mean, nasty creatures. We had a roasted bird for lunch the next day and I was rather hoping it was the offending goose. Turns out it was duck. I'm not worried, his day will come.
We were unusually close to our food. We saw a cow being milked and the milk was used in our pasta sauce the next day. We saw the lettuce being picked that would end up in our salad an hour later. We toured the fields with olive trees, wheat, barley, fig trees, banana trees, vegetables and herbs. Much of the food we saw in the fields would be used for the olive oil, jams, salads and meals for future guests. Instead of a hundred-mile market, our food all came from a 100-metre non-market. Farm to table at it's finest.
Oscar had two horseback riding lessons on a beautiful mare, Asal. He’s a natural. Oscar, not the horse. I'm sure the horse is a natural as well. If they've started mass producing artificial horses, I missed the memo. I was so proud. Of Oscar. He was riding on his own after 30 minutes. I completely trusted Rouqayah and Hassam to assess his ability and take care of him during the lesson. Later, Oscar and I had a hilariously fun bouncy donkey cart ride. Totally worth the butt splinters.
The downside of the trip? The weather. We’d kind of banked on the pool providing entertainment for Oscar, but it was quite cold and windy. Everything is usually more fun in the pool but he went in for a couple of minutes and was shivering like an electric toothbrush. After the failed pool experiment, the horse and donkey rides, game of footy, game of catch, playing with the dogs, playing with the cats, an hour on the kindle, countless rounds of UNO and various animal introductions, this is what my son had to say:
“I’m bored - there’s nothing to do!”
Fortunately our host, Rouqayah, in addition to looking after all her animals and her crops and cooking up lovely organic meals, still has time to “borrow” an easily-bored six-year-old to “help” around the farm. Rouqayah is a British lady who moved to Egypt on her own with only a smattering of Arabic and started a farm. Respect. I get thrown for loop trying to mail a letter.