Saturday, January 31, 2015

Back to the garden

Last year Linda gave me about 3 each of three different kinds of bananas, all very small so we didn't know which was which.  I planted a couple in the back corner behind the limones. They turned out to be the big ones and soon became trees shading the limes and everything else. Just had to cut them down but saved their babies for other locations, the neighbors and the lot next door. 

The small one in the second foto already had a crop of the sweet small ones but now the plant just outside my lot has got a bunch. You have to wait until a few have a touch of yellow before you can cut them so we'll see if I or the neighbors get to them first.

Star Fruit has finished it's season, Moringa has flowers but no fruit yet, Peas (Chicharo) are up but very slow, Cherry Tomatoes going crazy as well as Beefsteak, all leafy vegetables are just leaves and not very big, Radishes are just leaves with no root

Not quite ready but not secure from hungry kids

The two remaining on my lot - Moringa on left

First crop a month ago

Indigenous girl with kinda traditional dress and traditional Coke
Most of the kids wear shorts and a Tea or school clothes so this was different

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Indigenous kids enjoy a serenade

Cuchillo (Esteban)(Stephen) does not usually get an audience but this evening 3 Indigenous kids were loving it. He plays guitar and sings a couple times a week just because he enjoys it with usually only passing people to listen. Of course I hear him every time and even open my windows to listen.

They shyly walked up to him, one girl wanted to dance but then they came across the street to sit on my sidewalk. It was just too interesting so they crossed over again to watch him closer. First two fotos from street level and last two from my roof

Peaceful community
On my sidewalk

Crossing over

Almost taking lessons 

They scattered when Cuchillo said I had a camera

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Leaf Cutter Ants Bite the Dust

Leaf Cutter Ants are a constant battle around here but I've never seen this before. You powder their holes and they usually just move a little way or a long way and they'll be back in a few weeks. These guys made their nest underneath my sidewalk so hard to notice their holes and no large excavation mounds. I noticed them yesterday, put powder on them and this is what I found this morning.

Literally thousands dead

Put down a little new powder


Monday, January 26, 2015

A little rain two mornings in a row

About eight this morning we had our second morning rain in a row though yesterday was not quite as dramatic. That is, no interesting cloud formations and no rainbows (arco iris or Arcoiris). Looking at the weather for the following week it looks like we may get real rain starting next weekend. It has been overcast here for at least the last week.  A meteorologist from UNAM predicts more rain than normal this winter due to El Niño. We'll see!

Front walk

Kinda rain clouds to the south

Brilliant rainbow to the north
It was actually a double rainbow from horizon to horizon

I borrowed this from the La Manz board - by Sue
The double rainbow I didn't get a good view of

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 years of marriage

Papel Picado banners in Cihuatlan - by David Dagoli

Last night I was treated to the story of how Hugo "stole" Lorena away from her family, both on one bicycle, and they hid in a Motel in Jaluco for 4 days. Lorena's family is very large and they all had different opinions of Hugo. Hugo's family was small and not as well known. Then the physical problems Euriel had were all blamed on Hugo. He got turned around in the womb with cord around his neck leading to Lorena's first Cesarean. 

So today is their 15th wedding anniversary which they jokingly call their Quinceañera. We're gonna have a special dinner tonight as yet undetermined. We'll decide when we shop in Melaque a little later. Maybe shrimp ??


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's Tax time again


And you might as well do it early if you are going to get a refund.This is my 4th year using TaxACT and find it very easy and absolutely free.I'm not sure if you reach a certain income level and then it costs something but mine isn't the simplest return with even a minuscule self employment income and it's still free.They do offer a Deluxe package a number of times while you are working but I don't see the purpose.

I tried TurboTax through my bank and it was gonna cost more than my Tax man was charging. I gave that up real quick

With TaxACT you download the program and work on it at your leisure.If you used it before your previous year can be opened and refereed to as needed .... or just print out the various forms.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Booker T. & the M.G.'s

Leave it to TomZap to bring up anything and everything. Somebody jumps into a Motel thread with a fan of Booker T. the M.G.'s. Out of nowhere, out of the blue, out of the TomZap mouth. I vaguely remember this song but "Green Onions" was the coolest thing ever back in the early '60's. I posted this video because I thought they didn't do live performances and just played studio. Studio would have been my choice rather than stage shows and the craziness. 



Booker T. and the M.G.'s is an instrumental R and B/funk band that was influential in shaping the sound of Southern soul and Memphis soul. Original members of the group were Booker T. Jones (organ, piano), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass), and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums). In the 1960s, as members of the house band of Stax Records, they played on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Sam & Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas and Johnnie Taylor. They also released instrumental records under their own name, such as the 1962 hit single "Green Onions". As originators of the unique Stax sound, the group was one of the most prolific, respected, and imitated of their era. By the mid-1960s, bands on both sides of the Atlantic were trying to sound like Booker T. and the M.G.'s.


Just had to include Green Onions

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Deadly embrace of the Strangling Fig

Very disappointed that seemingly no one has shown an interest in how the Higuera posts for palapas and ramadas are found, trained, cut, cleaned and preserved for use. I found one article on how they were made of cement so termites were not a problem (very expensive) and another of a tourist liking them in a resort. It has to be a real craft since the posts are so common here.

I translated the article below from a Spanish Blog with a link at the bottom .... only about the life of the tree. I also came across the bridge foto below that I just couldn't pass up.


The process begins when the monkeys, birds, squirrels and bats eat the fruit of a tree called, strangler fig. 

Certain fig known as [strangler] are parasitic, but with a difference. Of the many species that live in the tropics, some germinate and grow as a common tree, though, to help, usually require a host tree, and continue to evolve so that in the end can do without. But to achieve this independence, the parasitic fig gradually strangling his unfortunate host to death. 

The process begins when the monkeys, birds, squirrels and bats eat fruit strangler fig and casts the seed on the upper branches of other trees [dense palm fronds are most vulnerable]. There, the embryo takes root in litter and humus of leaves that collect in the corners and crevices of the bark, and develop other roots that penetrate and nourish the trunk and branches. As the roots proliferate they intertwine and envelop the host in what looks like a work of basketry. Once it gets a firm hold, the young plant sends more roots into the soil, to start an independent life. 

Thus begins the death of the host, as the extra nutrients the fig obtains directly from the soil gives more energy and strength. Still developing more roots, the hosts trunk is wrapped a labyrinth of troncucos, and these woody roots grow more and more, in a process that can last a century, literally strangles the host tree. The host trunk can no longer expand as it grows, also fig exhaust all the nutrients in the soil. 

The strange final show, after the host has died and has withered, is a robust and mature tree with innumerable [logs] forming a hollow cylinder around the space previously occupied by the original tree. Many strangler figs become real giants. - Eco-Journal-Alternative LA OROPENDOLA 100% 


Bridge made of Higuera roots
Very interesting but it's in India

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fig or Ficus on a post

Someone on the La Manzanilla message board posted the first foto which is a bit unusual but this type of support post for ramadas in front of stores or houses is not. They are actually very common around here even though quite expensive. I assume a special name for them but neighbors and Internet are not helping.

I have two examples on neighboring lots but they are way, way past the usable or attractive stage. This Ficus or Fig is very much like the Mexican Mistletoe in a previous post. They both start high in a tree with the droppings of birds and eventually strangle the host and become a tree in the same place. Roots either hang or "climb" down the trunk which is what the foto is.

Neighbor did say the attractive and usable ones are found in the mountains and there's a guy in Jaluco that gets them as a business. The cost comes from getting them out of the woods, stripping all the bark and garbage and preserving them with diesel and later varnish. You can't drive around with a truck full of freshly cut trees in Mexico without a permit but these may be exempt since they are really a parasite and a dead tree. Would be interesting to know a little more.

Just figured out that "higuera" is the generic Spanish name for fig but there are many, many varieties.

Ramada support post

Strangling fig has totally taken over on lot next door

Around the corner even larger with roots hanging

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

They're making appointments for computer time

Three students now using my computer for tarea


We passed a neighbors house coming back from school and she ran out saying she had some homework and could she use my computer today. Jania is still in Primary and I helped her a few months ago. We said she could come over at 5 this afternoon.

Yari is in her first year of Secondary and can do almost everything by herself.  Searching, cut and paste both text and fotos and can print. Great to see her doing so well and her grades are all 9's and 10's. Yari likes to work after school (7:30) so she doesn't have to do it in the morning.

Euriel in his 3rd year of Secondary doesn't like homework but begrudging does some about once a week while Yari is almost daily.

I bought an HP All-in-One printer because my Lexmark's were a bit troublesome and had no drivers for Windows 7. The HP works fine with only the B&W cartridge. I take the color one out because most of their homework does not require color and cartridges are expensive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Reliving Hawaii

I used to love Hawaii for short stretches. Stay too long and it feels more and more like an island. The surfing, snorkeling and hiking in a tropical setting is hard to beat. It's not cheap but I always found a way to do it on a shoestring.

The first couple visits were in the Navy in the early 1960's. It was a required stop when heading to the Western Pacific. Our first chance to wear our tropical white uniforms, drink beer on the beach and see some tourist sites. A buddy and I stuck our heads in a fancy beach bar and listened to 5 minutes of Don Ho.

The next trip was in the early 1980's when I bought a one way ticket and stayed 6 months. Rented a cheap place just off Waikiki, bought a bike and spent a lot of time on the beach. Snorkel fished with locals, boogie boarded off the Waikiki pier and took the cheap bus over to Sandy Beach and around the island. Even tried driving a Pedi-Cab from the International Market for awhile but those over weight mid-western tourists got the better of me.

Sometime in the early 1990's my sister and husband bought a condo in Hawaii Kai so didn't have to rent but stays were shorter and I was working in Seattle. Sandy Beach was only a 10 minute drive from their place so I was there often. Sandy's shore break is really pretty dangerous if you don't know what you are doing and can be even if you're experienced.  I saw a couple tourists pulled in for not paying attention. The waves can slam you into the sand if you don't bale out. When I first went in the lifeguard came to the edge of the beach checking me closely. After I surfed a couple he relaxed and went back to his tower. Very exhilarating but I'm way past trying anything like that including Skim Boarding here is Mexico. 

Sandy looking toward the Blow Hole

It breaks in shallow water

A photographer

Can get a little crowed

With and without boards

Sunday, January 11, 2015

All the unhappy people

My Internet friends ;)
The TomZap Message Board

This little scenario all stemmed from a comment I made on the price of beer. I only said when the beer prices in a more or less average bar/restaurant go above 20 pesos it's time to look elsewhere. Many places here sell for 18 pesos and are on the beach. That's not counting happy hours of which there are many. if beer prices go up for everyone that's another story. From the comments you'd think I made a direct attack on these two bar owners ... Aaron and Nohands

Spammer of all Spammer's starts off with

Aaron
Sparks out of there? He was never there, here or any where else to start with.

WTF was that ? Give me your life story !!

Sparks the only lack of sense is that you always comment on everything even though you have no first hand knowkage? The market price is what it will be. My staff of 4 is here and open year round. I know that my staff/family is worth more than the min. wage here. Min. wage is less than 10$ a day. So I work hard to pay them much more. Yes to do that I need almost 2$. Does that make sense to you, Sparks?

Nohands Jack who makes up stuff and never makes sense pipes in with

Nohands
hey aaron, you are so right about sparks. he could be a benefit to the community and tourism but he survives by rumours of others. as you know our very reasonable beer prices are changing  fast and even though prices are rising it is still a steal for our NOB customers.
so CHEERS EVERYONE suck it up LIFE IS GOOD.

SPARKS stick to the corner stores....

And my old time enemy Dryhouse piles on after months of behaving himself

Dryhouse
oh jesus...two more raining on sparky's parade?...my, oh my...

I'm tempted to say it's hilarious but it's too sad that people feel better about themselves by trying to belittle others. They've got to be in some kind of pain ?? Aaron even used to post his restaurant Spam under his wife's name with hopes that a woman would be criticized less. And these three never answer people's questions about the area. They don't Blog or have a web site. Only Spam or smart remarks.

These guys are almost as sad as the Wicked Witch of West Melaque .... none other than Elke Gasvoda who said I contributed to Shoe's death .... in public on this message board.  There is a nut case.

Couldn't resist ;)

While we'er at it but on a different message board the almost always nasty Chinagringo.  This guy is just plain nasty without a doubt.

The Question - Re: [lindalacruz] Do I need to stop at km 21 going into Mexico?

My Answer - Aduana might stop you but don't need to talk to INM ..... unless you got an FMM when leaving

chinagringo speaks
What if someone at km21 has a different understanding of the law or rules/regulations? I am sure it will go a long way when the OP claims that "Sparks" told her that it was ok to pass straight through. 
Regards, 
Neil 
Albuquerque, NM 


So even though these people may piss you off in the beginning .... get over it quickly and move on. Happy I'm not sure is the desired state but don't let these unhappy people regulate your your life and emotions.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Had Mistletoe for Christmas and didn't know it

I went up on a ladder to cut some "suckers" (branches that shoot straight up) out of my Carambola tree. Noticed a bunch of leaves that did not match those of the tree. Looking further I could see a vine wrapped around the branches. Parts of it were glued tight and some just a dangling vine. I assumed a strangling fig or Ficus. The neighbors called it "malojo" (evil eye) and said that birds eat the seeds and then deposit them in their poop. Still didn't tell me what the English or scientific name was until I found an article on Mexconnect below. Gonna get my saw back from Ron today so I can cut out the last little bit.

My tree with the embedded starting point
Not the Christmas kind of Mistletoe

An embedded "root"

Of the Mexican mistletoes, some are herbaceous; others are vine-like, even treelike. Their leaves and flowers vary but several have tubular orange flowers growing wherever there is sufficient light. Phoradendron species are "hemiparasites", meaning that they are capable of some photosynthesis and have green leaves, unlike Cuscuta. Various birds including thrushes and tanagers feed heavily on mistletoe berries. Their sticky droppings deposited on branches contain the seeds which give rise to future mistletoe plants. Phoradendron flowers are well adapted to pollination by hummingbirds, though bees and other insects also help. 

One of these mistletoes, locally called "Mal Ojo" (Evil Eye), is very much in evidence at present in the Chapala area. Left to its own devices, it will quickly kill its host trees. It is so prolific that it seems in many cases that the whole tree is in flower; unfortunately, it is not the tree's flowers that are such a dramatic orange in color but the parasite's. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

A Coffee Cup from memory lane

Coffee cup from 1993 working at AIM Aviation

The Cup and the Coffee
Cuzalapa

Who would have thought a coffee cup would last for 22 years but this one is in daily use. Everything else in the kitchen is plastic.

So in '93 I was working contract for AIM in Renton Washington upgrading and expanding their computer network from Arcnet to Ethernet. They had some big new contracts and with computers being added Ethernet was much faster. They did leave Arcnet out on the factory floor because it's less sensitive around heavy machinery and can go longer distances. Not only were they installing new computers and the software on them, AutoCAD, but hiring draftsmen that had never used a computer. They had to figure out the inner workings of the software but I taught them how to use the computer and how to send to the Plotter/Printer via the network.

That was also my first encounter with a very old version of Novell Netware which helped in '95 when I got the SVI school job. Printer/Plotter drivers varied with the version of Windows and the version of AutoCAD so that was a constant job chasing down the right match. 

All in all a very good experience and led into the next job of upgrading the City of Bellevue's network from mainframe terminals to PC's connected on Novell Netware.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

It's Elvis season again

David Weber the Elvis Impersonator is back in Melaque

Schmoozing it up in Cancun

Not in drag in Manzanillo

I've got to smile every time this guy is back in town although his first visit 4-5 years ago he irritated me and a lot of others with his Spamming Ads on the Tomzap message board. I've never seen his act because Elvis is long gone and female impersonators don't interest me much either. Maybe a Cancun beach bar on your one week vacation kind of thing to do. Anyway, he's at the Salamandra restaurant in Melaque sometime soon.

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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