Thursday, February 28, 2013

Toothpick Art from the local jail

The carcel artist is branching out into another art form. This time they are utilitarian. Even though we sold almost all the Origami baskets and figures he's hoping things you can use will sell better. The cutouts in the lamp shade project images and the napkin holders have a drawer for toothpicks. Pretty cool and I sold one napkin holder today to a neighbor.

Lamp with drawer - 450 pesos

Napkin and toothpick holders - 100 pesos

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cotton in Mexico

And no I don't mean Steve Cotton ... he's only here sometimes

This was going to be a general nature post about what I ran into today including a Humming Bird (colibrí or chuparrosa locally) sipping my banana flowers. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, Euriel had asthma problems last night, probably brought on by these low 60's temperatures at night, so we took him to the Centro de Salud in Jaluco. While there Lori noticed what looked a cotton plant except this was 10 feet tall. Having never seen a cotton plant except driving by cotton fields in the south I had my doubts. When I got home I checked the Internet and sure enough, it was. I cut and pasted a few bits of info I found on Cotton, Mexico and it's history.  Always something interesting around the corner. 

The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico

G. hirsutum
The oldest evidence of Gossypium hirsutum in Mesoamerica comes from the Tehuacan valley and has been dated between 3400 and 2300 BC. In different caves of the area, archaeologists affiliated to the project of Richard MacNeish found remains of fully domesticated examples of this cotton. The Tehuacán Valley lies in southern Mexico in the state of Puebla near the region where maize (corn) was first domesticated 7,000 years ago.

Recent studies have allowed the comparison of bolls and cotton seeds from excavation in Guila Naquitz Cave, Oaxaca, with living examples of wild and cultivated G. hirsutum punctatum, showing that they might come from the same species, originally domesticated in the Yucatan Peninsula.

In different eras and among different Mesoamerican cultures, cotton was a highly demanded good and a precious exchange item. Maya and Aztec merchants traded cotton with other luxury items, and nobles adorned themselves with preciously woven and colored mantles.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Enchiladas - a welcome surprise

Yesterday my neighbor made these for me and her daughter brought them over in the late afternoon. Actually she was making dinner for when her husband came home so made some extras. A lot of work to boil the chicken and pull it into thin strips. Only had time to eat two before we picked up Euriel at school so will reheat today. I'm sure they won't be as good as last night.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trip to Manzanillo

My main reason to go to Manzanillo last Tuesday was to pick up my new 2 year visa. I had received an email the week before saying it was ready. The new cards are very much like a credit card and do not contain a chip but rather a bar-code. The example below is obviously not me and lacks personal info but gives you an idea.

I stopped at the new Home Depot for a few interior lights and was looking for a replcement bulb for my light/dark sensing security outdoor light. Turns out the replacement bulb costs nearly what the whole fixture with bulb costs. I decided to go with a cheaper one that uses standard bulbs. Much better idea.

Next up to Telcel to replace this cel-modem that I think is pretty flakey. They said the techs would have to check it out and I'd come back in a few days. Decided to buy another and using points I had accumulated on my account paid $100 pesos for it. Would spent more on gas making another round trip.

Then to AutoZone for a windshield repair kit. I have a number of tiny chips but had one larger one that looked like it could spread. I can still see it from the inside but almost invisible from outside. Here's hoping with resin in the chip it will be strong enough to prevent further damage. My kit was slightly different than the video but it seems to be a forgiving process.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My first bananas

I only noticed the flower yesterday and it's open a little more to show the young fruit. Everyone said it had months to go before producing. I got these from my neighbor Linda and she didn't know what kind they were because they have a grove of three kinds. I'm thinking maybe the small sweet ones but we'll see in a few weeks.

Now if I could only get some corn to grow. With two batches from seeds I brought down last year I've gotten nothing. I think maybe a local breed next time.

First platanos and flower

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Cafe de Mojote de Cuzalapa

We went up to Cuzalapa today since my friends hadn't been. This was about my 4th trip and I always enjoy it as the countryside is beautiful and the COOP people are nice. Today we met a young Mexican woman, helping at the COOP, studying her PHD in Switzerland and chose to do her study near her home town of Guadalajara. Beautiful young girl with very good English and she acted as our guide. I didn't really need the English but my friends Spanish is weak.

Anyway, part of the story is they sell "mojote" coffee which tastes like the real thing but is caffeine free. She showed us a large mojote tree right behind the COOP store after we each bought a 1/4 kilo bag ... roasted just like coffee.  Mojote was a staple food and beverage of the indigenous peoples of the area many years ago. I found the following quote on an Internet site where they are selling Mojote among other things.

Mojote The coffee is made from dried seeds from the mojote tree, which are roasted and ground to prepare a nutritious beverage similar to coffee.

Mojote seed is considered a highly nutritious food, containing Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Folate, Fiber , protein and vitamins A and B.

This product is made by a group of women Cuzalapa indigenous community, which is in the Biosphere Reserve of Manantlán. By purchasing this product you favor the conservation of the resources of this place and the development of the Women "Colour of the Earth"

Foto on their ad

Large mojote tree behind their drying coffee

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

3D Origami from the Cihuatlan Jail

These are being made by a family member of neighbors who is in the 'carcel' mainly because of a drug problem. We are selling them to help pay the legal fees, gas for visits, materials and personal items he needs or wants. He's also making these rather than just staring at the walls.   Seems like a good way to occupy your time. From an ad with fotos on Tomzap I found a couple in Barra that wants 2 or 3 so they will have first choice.  Heading over there later today.

I was totally amazed when I first saw them and had no idea how they were done. I finally found how with Google. You just have to make many hundreds of the little triangles and stick them together. Some things like the flowers have to be glued. Sounds simple from the video below but you still need to be able to visualize what you are going to make. The pieces of colored paper cost more because the family has to buy it. The other two pieces are made from magazines.

White baskets - 200 pesos each

Colored baskets - 200 pesos each

Large colored swan - 450 pesos

Magazine swan - 400 pesos

Large vase w/flowers - 400 pesos

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Stingray Season?

Stingray Season in colder waters is in the summer but we have them here year round. There may be more in the summer or they may gather for mating season ... but don't really know. There are lots in Playa Mora at Tenacatita and also La Vena river mouth by Los Angeles Locos. Actually much of Tenacatita Bay as far south as La Manzanilla.

We were planning on going to Boca de Iguanas and the beach restaurant Las Palmas until someone reported they were stung right in that area. The last thing I wanted was to have to deal with a 2 year old or 9 year old after a sting. Boca is a long way from Melaque and I don't know where the clinic is in La Manzanilla .. or their hours. I suggested we stay in Melaque and have a much smaller chance of running into those critters.

There have been a number of conversations about what to do for a sting including using a beach vine made into a tea or poultice. Can't find any references to that plant as a cure ... so hot water and a doctor as soon as possible sound the best. They also say elevate the foot so hot water in a towel maybe.

Stingray in Playa Mora in February

For lack of a better name - Planta de Raya

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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