Friday, October 26, 2012

Turtle release Melaque

Second time is the charm. We heard that Wednesday there would be a baby turtle release on the Malecon around 8PM and since we pick up Uriel from Secondaria at 7 we thought we'd give it a try. No sign of anything at 8:20 so we walked down to the college turtle pen and they didn't have any ready to leave.

The next day, Thursday, there was notice saying there would be another release in front of Hotel Dorado about 8:30 to 9. The kids really wanted to see them so we tried again. The ocean temperature and the breeze made waiting easy. Sometimes late in the summer the ocean feels like and smells like a bowl of fish soup but right now it's perfect.

They brought 200 turtles in a large plastic tub and then gave us a lecture on the life of turtles from the laying eggs in a nest, how many survive and return and how far they range. The organizers did have flashlights but flash cameras are not allowed so I borrowed some fotos below. About 30 of us rubbed our hands in the sand so the turtles would get the sent of the beach and then one by one we let them go in the surf. Some babies very strong and ready to go and others more docile. If a big wave came in we had to stand still to avoid stepping on any that might be washed back. First time for all of us and a great way to educate the local kids about turtle preservation.

Melaque beach waiting for dark

What they looked like in the tub

More or less but we did each by hand

Monday, October 22, 2012

My birthday and the Whirling Dervish

Jorge is a special kid and is the son of one of the guys that built my house. I can't ask Oscar over without including the whole family and that includes 9 year old Jorge. He goes to a special needs school in Barra de Navidad (CAM) and we see him there every Friday when we take Uriel to his physical therapy class. Of the 40-50 kids he is the most disruptive and needs constant mangement. He's not mean, understands his parents, doesn't speak and has a huge amount of energy.

So yesterday at my birthday party he knocked over 2 potted plants, banged the wind chimes, broke anothers toy, swung in the hammock endlessly and finally dove thru the screen door. It was really funny and just glad he didn't hurt himself. The cat regularly pulls the screen loose so I've been wanting to put an aluminum panel in that lower section. Guess I get to find out if it can be done. Good party by the way.

The target

Just a foto of recent painting

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's Chili season again

The area is full of migrant workers that are here to plant this season's crop. They plowed the field below for 3 weeks before creating the planting rows. A machine lays out the plastic and tucks both sides into the dirt. The last crop for that field was corn but it has also produced watermelon and papaya.  The mango season is all but over and while some mango work goes to migrants, most of it is done by locals.

The growing season lasts for about three months so I'm not sure what the workers will do in the meantime unless it's weeding.   The plants can be picked multiple times before completely mature.  At the end of the season when the chilies start turning red they are used for Chipotle (smoked Jalapeno).   Jalapenos get there name from Xalapa (Jalapa) in Veracruz.

This one just planted

Planted by hand

Workers planting in another field

Monday, October 15, 2012

We made a microscope

Not this one but didn't look that dissimilar. The foto is just pretend but ours was "real". A secondary school project that the neighbors left till Sunday when no stores are open. We were all tired after about 3 hours so I forgot the camera.

Ours called for magnifying glasses (2), a mirror, a clear dish, a light source and using 1.5" PVC as the tube. One of the kids remembered a neighbor that sells magnifying glasses (lupas) and we got 2 4cms across for 10 pesos each. I didn't have any 1.5 PVC so we used one inch. We duct taped the lupas to 1" couplings on either end of the 12mm tube. You could move the couplings a bit and I guess they were to focus tho it didn't work very well.

Below the tube was a shoe box on it's side with a small truck side view mirror tilted at 45 degrees. A flash light shinned into the mirror is directed upward to a hole we cut. Over the hole we placed a clear tupper ware cover and sprinkled some sugar granules to test. More duct tape to hold a number of things in place. The microscope didn't really work that well as I assume lenght of tube, distance between the lenses and ability to focus have a lot to do with it. Hopefully the project was just to get the idea.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zero gravity and the scorpion

I was sitting in Shoes old zero gravity chair on the patio last night visiting with neighbors.   What is a head rest in the foto is a lumbar pillow on my old chair.   That's the way it was when I got it so thought that's how it should be.

Anyway I got up to close the screen door to the house that my cat opens but refuses to close.  While I was gone one of the kids noticed a scorpion in the middle of the seat that must have been under the lumbar pillow.  It wasn't moving and turned out to be dead ... but did I kill it by sitting on it?

I've seen lots of small grey ones here in the brick piles during construction but this one was about 3 times larger and dark brown.   How I escaped getting a stinger in the rear I don't know.  We had the usual conversation about getting a shot at Centro de Salud but just glad I didn't have to make that trip.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Pinal Villa Fiesta

Last night was the finale of the annual 7 day celebration in honor of the local patron saint. All week long surrounding communities paraded into Pinal with a small band, dance group and maybe the town princess. Each parade rather small and non-impressive. All that ended this weekend with music, dancing and food on Saturday and well over a thousand last night for the castillo.

I've heard polka like music in Mexico before but never seen anyone dance to it. Last night there were 4 couples looking like they just dropped in from Bavaria absolutely dancing a very energetic polka. They were followed by 4 folklorico couples with the usual swirling of colors. Not sure why but the local female impersonators showed up and lip synced too many songs. Oh well!

They actually lit the castillo a little after 11 when it's usually midnight or later. Very impressive display and nearly as large as the ones in Melaque. Not quite as ornate but still a great show. What was different was the "errant" rockets that flew thru the crowd making us glad we had moved to the other side of the plaza.

Horse dancing to the band

The amusement center

The crowd

Putting together the castillo

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Verdolaga or Purslane

I was reading a message board from La Manznilla about someone looking for Verdolaga or Purslane and this was their message.

There is a "weed" called purslane, or pigweed, or, in Mexico, verdolaga - which is also very high in many nutrients (omega 3 for example). It's easy to grow and harvest, and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is related to portulaca. If anyone sees any growing wild, and would be willing to transplant it into a pot, I will be most grateful. I'll bring seeds for the domestic type, but I hear the wild variety is better tasting. This fall, I'll be looking out for someone who can show me which other weeds are actually edible and nutritious; why work so hard at growing familiar vegetables, when local, wild ones grow so readily?
There are a number of similar looking weeds and I had to go out with a Mexican neighbor to get the right one.  Not a good idea to eat things that only look similar.  These are the wild ones unlike the vertical ones raised commercially.

Verdolaga found on our street

Verdolaga example found on the Internet

Ours won't look like these from a market

It is an excellent source of Vitamin A (100 g provides 44% of RDA). Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.

Verdolaga Link
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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