Monday, November 1, 2010

Some scenes of tourist sites taken in October Jordan Farmer to Farmer Assignment

This mosaic mural depicts the site where it is believed that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The bottom part of the photo shows four columns with an arch overhead. It is believed the baptism took place at this location. If you click on the photo it will zoom to show more detail. The course of the river changed due to an earthquake and does not now flow in this area. Diggings located the four pillars and they are shown in the next photo.

The River Jordan flowed from top to bottom in this photo.

A building has been erected to protect some of the many artifacts discovered near the baptismal site.

Observation decks are located on each side of the Jordan River where tourists can get close to the river. This view shows the one on the Israeli side. The site had been guarded by military until 1994 and no one was permitted in this area. There is lots of building taking place there now as tourists are beginning to flock to the site.

Ruins from the City of Gerasa as it was called in the Bible are found in current day Jerash, a city of 400,000 about 45 minutes north of Amman. The city thrived from 100 A.D. until after falling to the Ottoman Empire in 1200's.

The ruins at Jerash are some of the largest in the world. There were many outdoor amphitheaters, coliseums, temples and market places there. It was a major shopping and trade center between Damascus and Amman.

The River Jordan seperates Jordan and Israel. During the times of conflict
between the two countries it was guarded by the military and much of the
land was mined with explosives. Since 1994 the region has been under
study to locate historical sites.
I am shown here at the Jordan River near the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

The Jordan River is believed to have changed course since the time of the baptism due to an earthquake years ago.

Amman is fairly well westernized and has many fast food places such as Burger King, Hardees, and next door was a Popeyes Chicken.

It was interesting to see a wall mural featuring Historic U.S. 66 painted on the wall inside Burger King.

One evening at the farm we had a real feast featuring lots of vegetables cooked with chicken in a 55 gallon barrel buried in the soil where hot coals were left from burning some limbs and the coals were left to cook the chicken and vegetables for two hours. It was really tasty and enjoyed by all. The fellows who did the cooking were all from Egypt.

This photo was taken at Aqaba on the Red Sea. I had an opportunity to go there with my host to tour the city and to eat fresh fish. It is located about an hour away from the farm.

Vegetable production near Wadi Rum

Green beans are being picked by hand. The long growing season allows for many pickings over a long period of time. Once a crop is finished successive plantings are made in the same field.

Potatoes were being harvested while I was on assignment in October. Due to the shortage of potatoes in Europe from drought conditions prices were very high for immature potatoes. Because the skins were so tender, it was necessary to pull the plants by hand and pick up the potatoes and place them in boxes for shipment to markets. Normally machines are used to harvest the potatoes after reaching full maturity.

The sandy soils in the desert are ideal for growing high quality potatoes
and harvesting can occur as early as 85 days after planting. Irrigation is done with center pivots systems.

Workers would pull up to two or three rows of plants with the potatoes then removed by hand and placed between the rows to dry in the sunshine for a few hours before being placed in boxes holding 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds) per box.

There was a shortage of workers for harvesting potatoes while I was there. It really takes a strong back to handle the work as the plants were heavy with moisture and with high yield. Of course the sun was providing intense heat!

The view of the desert with the magnificent pink rock formations is a sight to behold! It was in this region where the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" was filmed.

These quality potatoes are ready for shipment. They are not washed nor handled anymore because of the tender skins. I was told the sand would dry and fall off during transportation leaving a shiny clean potato for purchase at the market. Many other vegetables such as onions and tomatoes, squash are also grown here. Fruit crops include grapes, apricots. figs, peaches, pears, cherries and more. When I was there in June many were ripening at that time--Yummy!

Corn silage production and marketing in Jordan

Corn silage is being grown in the desert in southern Jordan using center pivots to supply water from an aquifer that also supplies water for fruit and vegetable production. Pipelines are now being installed to pump water from this area into Amman some 330 kilometers north. The growing season is long starting in early March and extending until late November. It is possible for two crops of corn silage to be grown on the same land in one year.

At the present time long maturity varieties are grown in the region, however it is recommended that newer genetics that mature up to one month earlier will use less water without sacrificing yield.
The corn is harvested when the dry matter of the total plant is near 33 percent and is chopped with modern equipment. The silage is trucked a short distance to the horizontal silo where it is packed tightly and allowed to ferment rapidly to preserve high nutrient quality.

After the silage has fermented at least 45 days it is then removed from storage and is placed into a stationary baler where it is shaped into a large bale.

Silage will spoil quickly if allowed to remain in contact with air, so the baling operation is done rapidly.

An operator contols the hydraulic pressure applied to the bale as it is being formed. Once it reaches desired size a net wrap coveres the bale.

The baler is stationary and powered by electricity.

Once the net wrapped bale moves onto the finishing platform a plastic film is stretched over the bale as it is rotated in position allowing at least two and a half wraps to cover the bale insuring a tight wrap which preserves the bale for up to one year.

Net wrapping is being applied in this photo.

When the bale is fully wrapped it is allowed to roll down a ramp
onto a sand pad where it in then picked up for transportation to the bale storage yard. Each bales weighs up to one tonne (2240 pounds).

The bale is carefully picked up and transported to storage.

Bales are stored in the storage yard until an order is placed for
delivery to northern Jordan where it is used in rations for dairy cows.