Friday, March 09, 2007

Building the Great (mini)Wall of Chacala

I spent alot of time this past week looking at all the stone retaining walls around Chacala. I have been trying to find a wall in a location similar to the garden wall a friend of mine, a stone-worker friend has been describing to me. He was making suggestions for a retaining wall below my succulent garden at Dona Lupe’s garden. There are many heavy downpours in Chacala during the summer nights, and I wanted to figure out how the excess water is handled here.He, Fred worked on the wall for three hours yesterday. A local friend helped him, and they worked for about three hours, and I like it alot. I can't believe they got so much done in just a few hours. They focused on the main section. I will keep working on the wall, piece by piece, but it surely won't look as good as what they did. I think the wall looks great. I don’t know how the water will move during the rainy season, but my wall-builder is confident it will be okay. There another section to do, but it’s much shorter, and I think I can handle it myself. If it’s okay with Dona Lupe.This morning I went to the Vivero / plant nursery near La Penita. It’s about ten miles or 12 miles from Chacala, I think. My budget was 100 pesos. I wanted to get some small palm trees to shade the succulents in the summer and then some portulaca type plants for the wall.He didn’t have any succulents, but he was really excited about the photos I showed him, so maybe he’ll order some. There were some palms I liked though. Not coco-palms, but another, shorter palm with a lot of foliage that I hope will shade the succulents this summer. He said they grow quickly, but outward inside of up. I hope I understood him, and that he’s right.They were $30 pesos ($2.70US) each, and I got two. I would have gotten three, and still been under budget, but I was worried about carrying them, and about how I was going to fit them in a combi van.

I carried the palms out to the highway (20 feet), and waited. The first combi was crammed full of people and I waved him on. The driver was laughing, about the trees, I guess. I was standing by the side of the road in the shade, reading and watching for the next combi, when one of the fruit stand owners walked over. He told me he didn’t think any of the combi drivers would let me take my trees on the van with me. I wasn’t worried about it because someone always says okay. One time a friend and I brought 45 plants on a combi. But that was different, because we offered to pay him extra to drive us onto Chacala after Las Varas.Anyway, he, Ramon, offered to take me to Las Varas for 40pesos ($3.60) and I went for it. He had some kind of hatchback and the palms fit in perfectly. Ramon was a nice careful driver and he made fun of the cars that were passing us. That was great. My kind of driver.
When we to Las Varas the Las Varas-Chacala combi was at the stop. The driver let me load the palms in the back. I promised to sit under the foliage if he got a full load. When we waited about 10 more minutes, while I visited with Aurora’s aunt (and Chico’s sister) for awhile. She was born in Chacala about 75 years ago. She said Chico was 2 when they moved there. She said there was no town or road. Just the beach, some other families, and fruit growing wild. At least I think that’s what she said.

The driver had to drop a worker off at the Marina gate, so I got a ride right to my steps. Now I need to finish the rest of the wall, so I can plant the two palms on the south west side of the garden. I hope this plan will work. That there will be enough shade so the succulents won’t melt in the sun.

I have been reading a Phoenix home and garden magazine I found at the Guadalajara Airport, and it sounds as though Phoenix is too hot for some succulents without protection. That kind of worries me, but life is just one great big experiment anyway, whether I like it or not.

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