Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oleander and Laurel

I bought these two plants from a woman leaving Melaque about six months ago both in large pots. I haven't known what they were but with the help of my neighbor we found them on the Internet a few days ago. She immediately recognized the first one as Laurel (different accent in Spanish). Beautiful plant, at least the part that stands upright. Problem is some side branches end up lying on the ground. This version must be a shrub but some varieties become large trees. Not sure if I should leave it in the pot or stick it in the ground.

The next one is Oleander and it was root bound so I planted it earlier today. I also read Oleander can grow as high as 20' so not much reason to be in a pot. This one has white flowers that I have seen but the previous owner said it has two colors of flowers. Either two plants or a graft I assume. My neighbor had a Spanish name for this and we found it linked to Oleander ... but for the life of me I can't remember her word for it. (She just told me the name and it's "campanero" and I think part of the olive family)

Just a slight mention of the Papaya and the rest of the garden. Everything grew 20% with this last week of rain. Even had a bunch of melon seeds sprout in my compost pile that we will transplant to the vacant lot next-door. Bananas have baby sprouts coming up. Of the two lime trees, one just dropped hundreds of blossoms and new limes starting. The other has two limes that have been there two months an nothing else. Both where supposed to be spineless ever bearing but one has spines developing. Nurseries don't always know what they have it seems.


Drooping Laurel

Oleander - campanero


Also found this Interesting website with  list of many (not nearly all) plants in Mexico Notes on Selected Plants, Animals & Ecology of Mexico

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Barrio - by Lee

A person named Lee posted this well written piece on TomZap and it so reminded me of my 'Barrio' that I asked him if I could re-post on this Blog. Lee hasn't posted much in the past but did post two more of equal quality until one of the TomZap know-it-alls chastised him for glorifying the age old tradition that the locals partake in of harvesting the local fruit that is readily available and not always on public property. Sadly it's been over month since we've heard from Lee .....

The Barrio

I live in the Barrio where there is more dust than beans and tortillas combined, and where the lingering smell of smoke from evening fires with its distinct aroma of burnt almond leaves and rubbish permeates the still air. I am surrounded by music and neighbours; sun dried laundry hanging precariously from barbed wired fences.

The Barrio wakes with the rattle of vehicles on dirt roads, barking dogs and the repetitive announcements of gas and water trucks delivering their goods. In the empty lot next to me, two unbroken horses add voices to the cacophony of roosters and radios and garbled messages from speakers secured to the rooftops of cars. This is the song of the neighbourhood - distinct notes in a chorus.

Yesterday, a trio of errant cows mingled outside my door; the day before a horse trailing its twenty foot tether stood awaiting a bucket of water, its lips moving in anticipation. The doors to my house are open. I have an unobstructed view of my neighbourhood, apart from the metal bars on the slider that prevent my own dogs from becoming roaming miscreants. My garden teems with bougainvillea and hibiscus, roses and climbing vines bursting with bright yellow flowers. The palms tower over the frangipani, their fanned fronds brushing the delicate blooms releasing the most intoxicating fragrance. The jasmine climbs the wall to the staircase and I stoop daily to water the single pineapple growing close to the earth. Soon I will savour the sweetness of its flesh - my reward for nurturing. The 'Nancy Tree' is in bloom - deep orange blossoms, and soon the yellow balls of fruit will laden the branches. 'The Nancy' and I have an awkward relationship. I loathe its incessant falling leaves which scatter about my courtyard; I adore its shade and sweet fruit and the grandeur of its stature.

It is nearly time for the daily ritual of sweeping the road with a straw broom - an action which at first seems absurd and futile, but in fact is extremely effective. This to be followed by the watering of the street - the most primitive form of dust control, and a delightful way to socialize.

Afterward, I will warm corn tortillas on the open flame of my gas range and top them with dollops of re-fried beans and spicy salsa. My daily bread so to speak. If the back tire of my bicycle continues to hold air, I will ride to el centro for an ice cold Pacifico and a caballito of my favorite tequila. A table in the shade, the breeze of the lagoon through in my hair.

This is where I live. This is where I'm alive.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My morning presents

At least the last two mornings. The first was dead baby bats (murciélagos in Spanish).

My neighbors heard something in my new palapa and they thought they might be rats or mice.   Hugo climbed up and couldn't find anything.  The next morning I found the first bat.   After finding the second one we concluded it must be my cat, Tomas, catching them somehow.   Tomas does not let anything live in the yard except toads.   I regularly get mice dropped near the front door ... partially eaten.  Sadly, also a bird or two.

The second was snakes.   Very thin about a foot long and also well chewed

The third is toad poop that looks very similar to their diet which is mostly cucarachas.   Toads (sapos in Spanish) come out at night.   The other evening we watched a toad chase a cucaracha across the lawn. No mice or birds for a few weeks so they may have come to know Tomas.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Perfect Sunday on the beach

Bought shrimp in the morning to make ceviche and the other group must have done the same. We ended up with two large pots of shrimp, one finely chopped and the other larger pieces mixed with pulpo. Both different veggies.

Had to talk Hugo into no futbol in the afternoon so the kids could go to the beach for a change. Here in Mexico you can bring all your own food to beach restaurants, use their tables and umbrellas but you have to buy their beer. We bought about three buckets.

Water was perfect and the kids were well behaved. Lots of birds, people fishing from the beach (even catching a few) .... and lots of people cooling off in this heat. Birthday girl Yari got her hair braided (trencitas). Perfect Sunday.   Little video below

Melaque Playa

Yari checking out her trencitas

Friday, June 08, 2012

Two showers a day weather

It's definitely two showers a day weather along with two changes of clothes working or not. Later in the year I usually turn off the hot water as a warm shower is the last thing you would want. Now, just leaving the pilot on warms the water enough for a quickie. Still cool most nights and mornings

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Finishing up this week

At least I hope so. I filled up one planter to make someone in the family happy. Moved the palm from behind the star fruit, colorful plant from the far corner and a fern that was root bound in a pot. Still haven't been to the nursery.

The palapa step and tile floor are finished and the dog seems to prefer laying on the tile than than on damp ground. Hopefully this means less digging in the yard to make a cool place. You can see bricks in the planter and plants to discourage the dog. Made more space for the bananas and star fruit. One of the bananas has babies already

The long needed large garage-shed area now has the roof on and is about to get a cement floor. It's 5x5 meters so will cover my car if I choose to use it. It's main use to to cover the well and pump and be a protected wash area. Longer life for the washing machine and a place for a covered closeline when it's raining.

First planter

Palapa floor and step

Bananas and star fruit

Almost finished garage and bodega

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Election time in Mexico. This group is PRI nationally but also for Lupita Lopez for the local president of Cihuatlan. They offered me a cheap baseball cap and a wrist bracelet ... but I asked for a T-shirt and got one. T-shirt turned out to a small-medium so a neighbor kid got it. They also offered many pretty Mexican women when they found out I was single.

A couple hours later they fed about 100 people on the Pinal Villa plaza with some pretty good pozole. A month away for the elections and mucho energy expended early ....

Pozole feed
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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