Saturday, December 26, 2009

Leaf Cutter Ants in my garden

Leaf Cutter Ants in Jocotepec Mexico

My neighbor had some Leaf Cutter Ants in her garden but I'm not sure she had a nest there. She did track their trail to a nest in front of my house on the street, dumped a poison powder on them and we thought that was the end of it.

Little did I know that the volcano of dirt under some shrubs and extending into my lawn was from the same critters. I just kicked the dirt back and eventually the mound didn't grow any larger. I knew they were ants but not these guys.

Then there's the issue of a number of my plants not doing so well but I thought it was due to previous neglect, lack of water and I'm new to this climate. Maye some plants were going dormant for the winter.

So two days ago I was working in the garden and noticed the line of ants carrying parts of leaves much bigger than themselves. I followed them back home and sure enough it was where they had been pushing dirt into the lawn a few months before, yikes!!

All I have is a powder that I used on termites down in Melaque so I don't know if that will eliminate these or not. I found the following in an article on Yucatan Living. We'll see in the next few days.

The ultimate solution is pictured here. It is often called padrón by the locals, but this particular brand is called Extermirex. Only use it if you can find the entrance to the colony. Then, while wearing rubber gloves, pour the granules into any holes the ants are using and cover with dirt. The entire colony will be dead within five days. It is the most effective solution we’ve found.

Two openings to the nest with ant powder

The ant train

An undisturbed nest entrance

So they don't like Bouganvilla eh?

Box shrubs are not immune

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Tianguis in Jocotepec

Thursday is Tianguis day in Joco and was also the day before Christmas. That makes for a huge day of normal shopping as well as last minute shopping for presents. Vendor stands totally filled the plaza surrounding the Christmas tree and nativity scene. Mostly toys but also lots of clothing, food ... and people watching.

I made three trips to the plaza yesterday - one just to see in the morning and take some photos, a second with Maria and family shopping for clothes and food for our Xmas day dinner and a third in the evening with gringo friends to check the festivities and eat dinner. I'm still not a night photographer but friends had cameras and am hoping they got a few good shots. All are Bloggers so will wait to see what they post.

It seemed like the whole town was in a good mood as we walked back home checking out a few nativity scenes in front of private homes. Lots of hello's, buenas noches, Feliz Navidades, hand shakes and hugs. A very pleasant evening !!

Christmas in Jocotepec

Christmas in Jocotepec

Christmas in Jocotepec

Christmas in Jocotepec

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where is this beach

One of my favorites on the west coast of Mexico

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Laguna Sayula

We took a little loop drive a few days ago heading around Cerro Garcia and thru some back roads towards Amacueca and back on the 54 libre. We went around the lake from Jocotepec to Tuxcueca where the highway to Mazamilta takes off south. Just about a mile on that road there is road to the right that heads to Citala, Teocuitatlan de Corona, across Laguna Sayula to highway 54.

Pretty country but it's dry and brown now including the Lake. We made stops in Citala, very small and not much there and Teocuitatlan quickly to check the old sugar mill. There are much better preserved and larger mills around Mexico but this one has been converted to housing, hay storage and various other things. Didn't get to see much of Teocuitatlan because we got a late start and my partner had been there before. Gonna have to start earlier next time by myself or with another 'newbee'.

Anyway, we did make it to Amacueca for coffee and did not get rained out this time. However what really interests me about that area is the lake and how it changes from season to season. Some years it has lots of water (looks like a lake) and right now it's dry .... but not as dry as it's going to be. When it's really dry it turns to dust and with a good wind the storms can be like a 'white out' with snow. In the opposite season it is green and filled with migratory birds.

Then there are stories of the ancients living on the lake, salt deposits and collection, arrow and spear heads found and pottery shards. Interesting stories and history

View Larger Map

Dry lake and the valley

The lake with water looking across at Cerro Garcia

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rain clouds and thunder over Jocotepec

Rained lightly this morning and has been threatening this afternoon. Rather odd for December but the rain last week in Melaque was unusual as well. Don't imagine it's enough to change our brown hills green but we'll see tonight. We're planning a short road trip tomorrow and the possibility of driving in the rain will end that.

Took these off my back porch upstairs facing SE and SW. Would be nice to get my web cam up there - we'll see. Some nice sunsets.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Six year Anniversary thoughts on Mexico

I started this Blog in December of 2004 and was a few months from retirement and a few more months from heading to Mexico. I didn't have the experience that Mike had from years in Mexico/Baja but I sure appreciated his attitude. I spent a few months in the late 1990's in Mexico City and had pretty much the attitude but not the prose to say it (still don't).

Just an anniversary post (repeat one of my first) ... and thanks Mexico

Great starting philosophy for my new adventure
More of Mike Humfreville's Stories

While we are traveling through an environment, anywhere in our world, and are not familiar with the surroundings, we are more vulnerable. When we exist in a static environment we grow to know the context in which we live. The local folks and their individual natures.

So, will we not go to the places in our world we are intimidated by? Some might not. But my choice is to face a reasonable danger, as supported by others, and learn something new, expand our lives. Grow the Earth with our new experiences. Cause us to evolve.

Anytime we walk out the door we face unpredictability. Every time we cross a border, a "frontier" in the Spanish language, we face change.

I've wondered through some pretty skunks places on our Earth, mostly as a young man, for good and questionable purposes, and have never been threatened. But I don't feel superior to a general populace and I don't have the bucks to drive a high-priced vehicle there and flaunt my non-existent wealth. I wear jeans and drive a Poor Old Truck (oh! Yeah: and I drink boxed wine of the highest quality - $6/5 liters).

I think you and your friends will find Baja California a pleasant place, a place that dreams are made of. Just read some of the wistful threads here and then experience Baja on your own.

As friends have already told you, protect your stuff in the border towns. That doesn't mean the border towns are bad, it just means there is a more dynamic work force and theft is more likely. Then imagine yourself in a tiny fishing village with a static population, one where everyone knows everyone else and their family and which would protect the basic values, even when you are new to them, of their village and you along with it because you are in their charge, and it's not intended for the five-O'clock News, but because it the right thing to do in their estimation. And their estimation doesen't need to be rewarded by the opinions of others, because they know they're right! That is the essence of Baja California.

That's the way many people think away from all the changing of the guard that happens in the larger cities anywhere on Earth.

I suggest that you and your timid friend "tackle" Baja. She'll bring you to your knees. And rightfully.

You will experience life in Baja's deserts and seashores and you will also discover how you fit into the real world.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The purple gang finds Tejuino

Just got back from 5 days in Melaque staying with Ron and Dora. Good to see the place and people again even tho they had had 3 days of rain just before we got there and humidity was high and the streets a mess. There was a rumor Salvador might show up from San Miguel and sure enough he came banging on the front gate at 2 in the morning Thursday after taking the bus down.

The next day we headed for the market and somehow everyone but me was wearing purple so we were avoiding the red gang we never found. Near the market we found a new Tejuino guy (with new cart) and they had to try it - somehow ending up with purple straws. I tried some, very sweet and if any fermentation it was not noticeable.

From Wikipedia
Tejuino is a cold beverage made from fermented corn popularly-drunk in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It is often served with a scoop of shaved ice.

Tejuino is made from the same corn dough used for tortillas and tamales. The dough is mixed with water and brown sugar (piloncillo) and boiled. Then the liquid is allowed to ferment very slightly. The resulting drink is generally served with lime juice, a pinch of salt and a scoop of shaved ice or lemon sherbet. It is usually sold by street vendors in small plastic cups or in plastic bags tied around a straw

Saturday, December 05, 2009

¡Feliz cumpleaños María!

Maria had a birthday yesterday and we went to Mariscos René in Jocotepec. Maria is the oldest sister of 4 and they were all there with the kids. Maria has been the librarian for the local high school for over 20 years and two of her long time compañeros came along.

Can't say the fish is as fresh as that on the beach but maybe that's why most of them had Empanizado, the breaded and fried version of anything. Maria had camarones (shrimp) Mexicana and said they were so spicy she couldn't taste the shrimp. I thought camarones diablo was the spiciest plate you could order. Shrimp either come from the Mazatlan area or are farm raised so Melaque won't have fresher than our area. I had a filet 'mojo de ajo' and they used plenty of garlic, another cover up?

The little girls found a video machine and had fun pretending they were really playing while it kept flashing "Insert Coin". I gave then a couple of pesos and into their pockets they went. The fantasy was better than reality and maybe the pesos were for candy later.

The family

The girls


Video games

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ajijic Fiestas San Andres

Lots of first time things to do in the Lake Chapala area and last night was my first to this Ajijic Fiesta. Elke and Vern came up from the beach for a day of business and their yearly visit to these festivities. We drove down to Ajijic from Joco before dark, walked around a lot, had tacos on the plaza and then found a plaza bar to watch the parade and drink Micheladas while waiting for the Castillo around 11pm.

The plaza parade is fun. Not the courting types of parades you may have heard of where the boys go in one direction and the girls the other. Just a mass of people pretty much going in all directions while a "cuban-latin" band plays from the kiosco.

My only experience with Castillo fireworks has been in Melaque and I do have to say these were more professional and the structure more solidly built. Lots of rockets going off next to the Castillo and real large fireworks were being fired from a block away. There also were no Toritos here which I didn't miss at all - dangerous and scare the kids. The excitement level in Melaque and Ajijic was the same and after all - that's what's important.

This is the second day of celebration (Lady of Pursisma) of our local Templo (church) here in Jocotepec (not the whole town) and I'm anxious to watch it through the eight day period. Starts every night at 7pm except for the bombs which can go off anytime. The cats love them

Ajijic Fiestas San Andres
The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa

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