Notes on the Geography of Oman: Al-Ayn
We'll follow the path around the valley.
We're at the head of the valley, or at the bend of the hairpin. The view here is back toward the start of the path and the village of Al Aqor. The recently abandoned terraces are a recurrent theme in these mountains. Water supply may have decreased, or workers may have decided that easier livelihoods were available in town.
The view looks down the sunny side of the wadi.
Approaching Al Ayn ('the spring") and its freshly concreted irrigation ditch.
Fifty years ago, or less, this ditch--ghayl locally, as distinct from the aflaj, or irrigation system in its entirety--was presumably of clay or mortared rock.
A holding pond, presumably to store water overnight.
High-value crops are at a premium when land is so scarce. The choice here: roses, grown for oil.
Many kinds of fruit are also grown.
A bit of grain in the interstices.
A plugged pond outlet.
Close-up of roses.
Pomegranates interplanted with corn.
Backward glance over the roses toward Al Aqor.
The vital spring.
The natural channel from the spring to the valley wall.
The terraced bench.
Another channel passes through and under village houses.
The edge of the irrigated bench.
The camera was held over the edge of the precipice and turned toward a lower set of terraces. The result is disoriented but appropriately disorienting.
A more conventional view, straight down to Al Ayn's lower terraces.
Off to the right: the lower terraces of Sharayjeh. Note the full pond, above and below bare terraces.
The view from this point back to Al Aqor.
The bench edge and irrigation ditch.
Pulleys are used to carry things up and down the valley wall.
Here, the rope down to Al Ayn's lower terraces.
Peaches, hurting from leaf curl.
A biological means of caterpillar control: thousands of wasps emerge from parasitized butterfly eggs.
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