Monday, November 27, 2006

Clearing the Cocos in Chacala

I walked over to Majahua late this afternoon. Trying to stay in the shade, I walked thru the gate for Majahua and Mar de Jade and cut across the palm grove that runs along the creek bed there. There was a worker-type truck parked in Majahua’s parking area. It was Marcos Antony, and his partner Pedro. They were cleaning the coconuts out of some of the coco palms. Probably for the coconuts, but mostly, I think, so the falling cocos wouldn’t land on the cars or heads of guests staying at Majahua.I have seen the coco cutters at work before. It’s pretty amazing. Pedro had a rope tied around his waist, and was barefoot. And had a machete hanging from a loop of twine hooked to his pants. The rope wasn’t a safety line. It was for tying around clumps of coconuts. So they could be lowered to the ground gently, without the cocos getting smashed. Marco Antony held the end of the rope on the ground, waiting to guide a coco clump down to the ground.

Pedro ran right up the tree, rope dangling from his waist, bare feet gripping the rough sides of the palms. Machete swinging from his waist. The palms are forty, fifty and more feet tall. Very beautiful, crowned with many, many palm fronds and maybe a dozen clumps of mature cocos.

Pedro waved as he went up, hanging on with one hand and his feet. When he got up into the palms he rested briefly, and then tied the rope around a coco clump. And then started hacking away at the branches with his matchete.

When a clump broke free he backed away, and Marco Antony, on the ground, guided the clump down to the ground by slowly letting the rope out. Some of the larger clumps had 30 or more cocos. Others just a few.

The Majahua handyman was there with the little ATV/mini-trailer they use to take luggage and other stuff up to Majahua. He drove on ahead with a big load of coconuts on the back of the ATV, and I followed him up the hill. On foot.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Not Much Gardening Time in Chacala

It's been so easy to water my plants, I haven't done much gardening lately. The water usually is coming on about 9 or 10am for a couple to four hours. I bought a new hose, 15 meters, for 90 pesos including do-iot-yourself couplings and a washer. I tied a rope aroun dthe hose so I can have water on my teraza. I can fill the buckets with water and don't have to carry them upstairs. Today I bought a couple of portulaca plants in Las Varas, but didn't plant them yet. Walking over to Majahua, I took some shots of the scenery. Majahua is the most beautiful place to stay in Chacala. Five wonderful units, tucked in the jungle, a beautiful outdoor spa, an a small restaruant. Overlooking the beach and very private. Wonderful. Plus they have a wireless connection. A private wireless connection.
Palms, the ocean, and a little flower named Jasmine.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hanging out in the Garden

The sky is blue, the sun in bright, and there’s a nice little breeze blowing. Yesterday the wind was blowing really hard, and I had to put everything away on the teraza. Stuff was blowing all over the place. But this morning the weather is perfect.

After tidying up from the windstorm last night, I ate breakfast. Then I flagged down the water truck guy (five gallon blue plastic jugs), carried the trash bag down to the street to the trash truck, put my “Coke” chair out on the side of the road, so the Coke truck would and sell me Cokes.

I cleaned up the trash my landlord throws on the side of the house, and watered my plants. My landlady came up from the restaurant, and we picked chilis from her plants. She me one of the water plants with blue flowers, and we planted it in a water slurry of dirt and water.
My landlord, 76 years old.
A young man who was supervising some guys “cleaning” a hillside lot across the road from this house can over to buy a Coke. I explained my “Coke” sign was so the Coke truck would stop and sell ME some Cokes.

It turned out he had lived in Central California for years, spoke English, has an English-speaking wife and lives nearby, in La Penita. He invested his U.S. earning in property around this area and seemed to be doing okay financially. I got nervous that he would try to buy my landladies lot. But she make it clear to him she wasn’t selling, even though he hadn’t brought up the idea. Or, at least, I don’t think he had said anything about buying. Who knows.

I watered everything from the trash can, and "planted" a water hyacinth my landlady gave me. And then weeded and tidied up my pots/masetas.

Gustavo, the young man, had been stung by a wasp from the “cleaning”. He asked my landlord, who who has been on a tequila binge for three days, if he wanted to work. My landlord said that there were wasps down there and he wouldn’t go near that lot. But he did teach the young man, Gustavo, how to sharpen his machete.

It ended up Gustavo’s wife, and niece arrived to pick him up, because he couldn’t see well enough to drive. His wasp bite had swollen his eye closed. So my landlady, landlord, Gustavo and his family, and I sat around talking half the morning. I was waiting for the town water, and the trash truck, and the Coke truck. And they were passing time while their worker cleaned the hillside. And my landlord was maintaining his level of enebriation via Tequilla and orange juice.

Gustavo has worked in the restaurant business in California, and has lots of ideas about how to bring the good lifestyle things to Mexico without destroying Mexico. Good luck.

He seemed pretty saavy politically, about Mexico. He doesn’t’ think the rich Spanish families who have ruled Mexico for so long will ever let go of their stranglehold on Mexican business and politics. He thinks it would take a revolution, but the educational system here is so poor it will never happen. Who knows? Oaxaca is exploding as we speak.I started fooling around with the water line, and finally replaced the split section. I have been waiting all morning for the town water to go on, so I can fill the tinaco on the roof, and check the new line. Yesterday my enebriated landlord or his son left the toilet running in their bathroom and emptied the tinacho on the roof yesterday. This happens constantly. I always find little pieces or plastic or paper holding the flapper open in the toilet, so I assume it’s delibrate. Who knows?
Julio, the guy that turns the town water off and on, walked by a while ago with his mother-in-law, Tina, the orange juice lady. He said the water would be on in an hour. But that was two hours ago. Oh well.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Revolution Day in Chacala

These are growing at my new place. Don't know what they are.
I am still not really up to speed with posting. But here are some photos of stuff around Chacala.
This is Markito, dressed at Pancho Villa for Revolution Day.

Here are some photos of flowers at my new place. I don't know what they are.
Here is a view from my new place. If I already posted these photos, sorry. I am hurrying to do this, and not feeling very organized.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Morning in my New Place

These are some plants in front of my landlady's house.
I am all moved to my new/old place, and starting to feel settled in. I am living in the upper floor of a small house. I have a bedroom with room for my projects, a nice bath, and a terzasa where I eat, cook, visit, and so on. Very nice.

My landlady mostly lives down near the beach at her little restaurant, but sometimes she and her husband and daughter sleep up at the house, downstairs. I lived here for six months, during my second “winter” in Chacala. Winter being low to mid-80’s, no rain. I learned alot about everyday life in Chacala, especially to do with water and electricity and plumbing. Hopefully this will be a more relaxed experience.My plants have a good location, not too much heat and direct sun. And it’s easy to water them. The town water line is close, and there’s a nice little bit of hose to spray with. And a big trash can that we keep filled with water for the days when the water isn’t running.The next time I go to town I am going to buy some more pots/buckets. Then I can start separating out the succulents I crammed together when I got back from my vivero/plant nursery trip to San Miguel de Allende .There are alot of big black birds around here. I just re-read a Don Juan book and I am really noticing birds and the breezes these days. This morning there were more than 200 of these birds on the big power lines. There are so many of them that when they all take off to move a bit, they cast a pretty big shadow. This photo was from this morning, maybe about 7am.

All the plants around this house are looking really healthy. They have grown a lot in the last year and a half, since I lived here before. I am not sure if it’s my landlady or landlord, but things are looking pretty good. Last night we all sat on the stoop and talked about me making a hammock place and maybe place to do laundry under two small trees on the north, shady, side of the house. I don’t have running water up on the teraza where I cook, so being able to do laundry downstairs, and near the hose, would be great.

My landlady has a really large succulent plant out back. It looks sort of like an agave, but it’s not. We talked about moving it out front, where it could get more sun.I am glad there is actual dirt to garden in here. But I am going to stick mostly to pots for now. I feel like every time I walk around the house I see plants I didn’t see before. And hear birds and feel fresh breezes. The little path Beto and I made a few years ago still runs between this house and Aurora’s, so it’s easy to run back and forth.

This is where my plants are for the moment. I think I will move them around later, after I feel more settled, and can see how the sun hits things. The shrubs and trees have grown so much that it’s almost like gardening in a different yard.

The chili pepper plant has really grown. Before I moved down here, to this house, I decided not to have any plants upstairs, mostly because the water draws cockroaches and god-knows-what-else. Last night a large varmint was up on my stairs, looking for the garbage bag, I think. He ripped it open a couple of nights ago and made a large mess. I am being more careful now.

When I lived here before a family of tejones (like badgers, sort of) started visiting every night. One night I woke up and heard something on the teraza. I reached out the window in the door and flicked on the outside light. The mama and two little ones were actually “sitting” on the chairs around my eating table, sharing my bananas. I flicked the lights off and on and banged on the metal door and they left. And returned again and again, until I finally convinced them they weren’t welcome.ThThe front steps to my new place.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Haven't felt like posting

This is just a note to say that with moving to my winter abode, and recovering from whacking my home, and no longer havingan in-house internet connection, I haven't gotten around to posting for awhile but I am fine.

And will start writing again in a few days.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dan Hinkley Has a Website

One of my major gardening heroes is Dan Hinkley, founder of Heronswood Nursery, author, plantsman, plant explorer etc.

Dan now has a website, in case you are also a fan, and didn't about the website.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Various Monsters in Chacala

I have been in a kind of crabby mood for quite awhile. I haven't found any crabs to take photos of, so instead I took shots of some local wildlife, more or less.
Yesterday I was walking down the road, going down to paint my new place, when a large tree literally exploded with big black birds. Not the really big vultures that hang around trees here, waiting for something to die. These were more like big crows. Maybe they were big crows.
There were maybe a 1,000 birds on this one tree. When I went by they all flew up all together, really scaring me. They headed for the next tree down the road. . Then settled in that tree. As I approached that tree, I clapped my hands, and they took off back to the first tree. It was like a huge black cloud flying between trees. Ugh.

Some kids came running up to me on the beach road, near Dona's Lupe's. They had a bucket with a good sized scorpion in it. They wanted me to take a photo of it, which I did.
I was washing clothes in plastic buckets on the front patio this morning, when I noticed I had an observer. This little green guy. He stayed about five feet from me for 20 minutes or so, only moving away when some water slashed near him. I felt like he wanted something, but my lizard-speak is very basic, and we couldn't communicate. He finally gave up on me and left.
There is a cattle lot about 100 feet down the paved road from this house. It was stuffed full of cows and their calves for a couple of days, waiting for trucks to come haul them away. Which they did, in the night, I think. The manure odor and the bellowing lets everyone in the neighborhood know when they are here. All the neighborhood dogs run down to visit with them. And bark. And bark. And bark.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Almost to Tired to Type in Chacala

This vine is very common around Chacala, like a weed. I am feeling tired and crabby after painting my new bedroom today. So I am not going to bother to look up the name of this sweetie.
The two little kids, below, are local, and the middle kid with the cape is here fwith a tourist family whose memebers speak French, Spanish and a few speak English. Nice kids. I accidently deleted him with the cape waving in the air. Very nice.

The kids were leaping out of the various windows above these flower beds, having a great time. Spidey (Spiderman) is very big n Mexico. Yestereday I saw a guy with his head shaved with lines in a spider web pattern. He seems to be pleased when I pointed to his head and said "Spidey".

These flower beds are built on the west side of a newish building here in Chacala. It has two rentals in the back, very nice, with views, and an office space type rental in the front. Which doesn't seem to be rented. Or at least used. It you are interested you could check at

The next four photos are of the hillside below my new (next week) living space. God knows what they are and I am too tired to look them up either.

And these two photos are of a two year old plant in front of Aurora's little bodega building. I think the blossoms are lovely, and not in my books. At least I don't think this plant is in my books.
This is a little local two legged golden yellow flower and her friends.
There seems to be yellow blossoms everywhere this week. It's a good thing I love yellow, or else I would have to leave town, I guess.
I have been too something (tired, overwhelmed, whatever) to answer emails or respond to Comments. I guess I will be more energetic once I get moved.