Thursday, May 31, 2007

Camping in the Garden, on Beach, in Chacala

It’s getting hotter every day in Chacala. More humid too. But it’s still nice if you stay out of the sun mid-day. Of course, today I didn’t do that, and ended up out in the sun about 1pm.

So when I got as far as one of the camping areas, I stopped and visited with a friend who lives in one of the homes that has a beach concession for camping and bath/shower facilities in Chacala.It was very comfortable, sitting in the shade, and catching the breeze that comes off the ocean, and comes between the house and the bath house. And admiring the ocean.The is a new home, rebuilt after Hurricane Kenna destroyed the old one, in October 2002. All the plants, trees and garden areas were planted since then. The shade trees in front of the house are about 18 feet tall now, and make a nice shady place to relax and visit.I have posted photos of the Cannas at this home before, but I can’t resist doing it again. They are so lovely.There are flowers and cacti and palms and shrubs around the house and palapas. Some are volunteers and some are planted. And they really make a lovely place to sit and visit.

I just had to take some photos. Especially when there where no people picnicking or camping this afternoon.Except for a truckload of police who were taking their lunch break down under the next net of palapas down the beach. I decided not to take a photo of them. Their guns are too imtimidating.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bird Nests and Jasmine, in Chacala

In February some friends of mine were leaving Chacala after a two month stay. I am babysitting their two clay pots, and their jasmine plant. The jasmine is growing so quickly I had to take it out of the clay pot, and put it in the ground. It's growing like crazy and covered with blossoms.
A few days ago a couple of small birds came zooming out of the entryway of the downstairs unit here where I live. I looked up and saw there were two bird nest mudded to the wall, up near the ceiling. Two little heads were peeking out.I have to include another shot of my very favorite plant, the Desert Rose, Adenium Obesum.

Lilies and Peppers

This is Saturday morning in Chacala, and it’s slightly overcast. It’s too soon for the rainy season, which usually arrives on the summer solstice. At least, that’s what’s happened for the past three summers. Anyway.

I have a hot pepper plant in the garden. I started it from a seed packet that just said “Chili”, so I don’t know what it is. It seems to be very popular around here. When people visit me and my little garden, they are very interested in the peppers, and I tell them to take some.They don’t usually take them that time, but I notice people seem to come back later and pick a few. People don’t generally notice me looking down from my second story perch, my little kitchen-patio.

So sometimes I get to observe people picking peppers without knowing I am watching. I love it that I can grow something people want to eat.

I started some more peppers from seed this week, and some tomatoes too. I haven’t had much luck with tomatoes before here in Chacala, but I’m going to give it another try. Tomatoes are my very favorite vegetable, and I normally eat them everyday. It would be nice to have some that haven’t been sprayed, etc. This will be about my sixth trial with tomatoes since I came to Chacala.

The main difference this time, is that it’s almost the start of the rainy season, and some people have told me that’s a good time to plant time.

When I first moved back to this house, my lovely landlady gave me a bucket full of water lilies. I don’t know what they are exactly, but they have pretty blue blossoms every six weeks or so.
The lilies are multiplying quickly, and now I have six buckets of lilies, and three buckets are blossoming right now. I am running out of shade to tuck the buckets under.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Swimming with Crocodiles Near Chacala

Here I am jumping into the clear spring water, up at the end of the Tovara swamp and crocodile ride. I was scared to death of crocodiles giving me a nudge.
I swam to the ladder really really fast.

When I got home a friend of mine here in Chacala told me there is a watch guard who screams to get out of the water if he spots the big old crocodile who likes to swim there. I don't know if that's true or not, but it's a scary thought. There IS a chain link fence across the end of the swimming area, but.....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

May Blossoms in Chacala

It's definitely getting hotter in Chacala. I don't have a thermometer, but I bet it's getting close to 90 in the afternoons. Mid 80's for sure. Not particularly humid though. Lots of plants are blossoming right now, in preparation for the rainy season , which starts in late June, usually. this Aloe has grown from about six inches tall to a couple of feet in the last 4 or 5 months. This bouganvillea is growing so quickly. I love how it looks. They come as either vine or shrub plants, and you never know exactly what you are getting, unless the plant is big enough to see the difference. I wrote the name of this tree down, and put the paper in my pocket,
and then promptly washed the shirt
The town water didn't come on until about 11am this morning. Usually it comes on about 9am or so. There is a hose bib on the front of the house, and I water my plants with a hose attached to the bib. Until a few days ago, the pipe the hose bib is attached to continued on to the water tank, tinaco, on top of the roof of this house. But that line seems to have clogged up. I can still use the hose though, and there's plenty of pressure, so I have been filling the tank with the garden hose. It's working okay with just me living here, but this set-up may get tricky when the other two units get rented. Maybe at Christmas.The Primavera tree,called something else in Mexico
(but that name was on the same piece of paper),
also blooms in pink. The blossoming seems to go on for months.

I walked around town at sunset the last couple of evenings. Taking care of business and doing some visiting. One of my favorite women here in Chacala is very ill. I try to go by her place every other day, with a little gift or food or cash or whatever. She almost always has other women visiting in the evening, so it's sort of nice. We all sit outside under the trees and visit.
These photos are of the plants, trees, and shrubs that are blooming right now in Chacala. I know the names of some plants. In English, Spanish, or Latin. Depending on who told me the name. It's very beautiful in Chacala right now. Not as nice as after everything greens up after the rains start, in late June. But still, very nice. I think maybe the plants know the rain is coming, and they go ahead and blossom. Like they just can't wait.

I bought a photography magazine at the P.V. airport a few days ago. It's the best place to find English language magazines around here. There were some great articles about taking photos and I am trying to practice what they preach.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

From Chacala to La Laguna and St.Maria del Oro

Today I got to go on another day trip, with some nice folks who are visiting Chacala and have a rental car. We went to La Laguna, a small town, and a lake called St. Maria del Oro. It's about two hours north and east of Chacala, on the way to Guadalajara. Nice quick ride, most of it on a toll road. I am not used to being in an air-conditioned car, but otherwise it was a nice ride.

There were lots of succulents in at the St.Maria del Oro camping place, called Koala. They were all around the camping area's refreshment stand.And a nice stand of very thick bamboo.And lots of beautiful trees.Including some Jacaranda's, which seem to be blooming for an extended period in this area. At least two or three months so far.The lake is set in a volcanic crater, and you reach it by driving down a step road to the lake. Which I didn't much care for. After visiting the lake we had lunch at a nice little restuarant across the street from a church.
And the church had a lovely courtyard.And there was a row of orange trees along the street.I loved seeing all the healthy succulents and the bamboo. I would have liked to visit with the gardener, but we were only there for a few minutes. It was a nice trip though, and I liked the town of La Laguna. But it's another tourist town, so it's not a possible alternate living location for me. Oh well.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Crocodiles and a Mangrove Swamp

Chacala is so beautiful this time of year. Even though we are still in the dry season (only one evening of rain since mid-October), the trees and shrubs are going ahead with growing fresh new vegetation. Many of the trees that lost their leaves these past months are now covered with lovely new leaves. And/or blossoms. Same with the shrubs. And in some area new grasses are coming up, and the Coral Vines are covered with little blossoms.Today I went on a wonderful trip with some people who are visiting Chacala. We drove in their rental car to Tovaro, just south of San Blas. It took less than two hours, and was a nice ride. We took a boat ride through a mangrove swamp. We visited a crocodile farm, and saw crocodiles and odd birds and lots of Crinum plants growing on the banks of the swamp.The bathrooms at the boat dock were surrounded by beautiful dwarf Poinciana lants. Very beautiful blossom. We had lunch at a nice little restaurant overlooking a lovely crystal clear swimming area. With a rope hanging from a tree to swing out over the water, and jump in. It was really fun, although I was only actually in the water about two minutes. Even though there was a chainlink fence across the inlet where we swam, it was still scary. Crocodiles have REALLY big mouths.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

May 9th, in My Chacala Garden

These little cacti came from one of the big Mexican supermarkets: Soriana. I moved them out into the direct sun (4/5 hours a day) about a month ago. In the dirt, not a pot. They look peculiar, with red spots and a bleached side. I assume it's too much sun, but would appreciate advice or suggestions. They are still growing quickly. They were one "column" each when I put them in the dirt.

Today is a lovely Chacala day. Sunny, breezy, and nice and warm. There are some cement workers plastering the walls of the rental room downstairs, and I spent most of the morning puttering around with my plants. And keeping the water barrels full for the cement boys.
I walked over to my neighbors to get some starts from a plant I gave here about six months ago. It’s a succulent that puts out babies at the end of it’s large leaves. They have little air roots, and when the ends of the leave sag down close enough to the earth, they plant themselves.But it this case I cut the little guys off with my scissors and took them home to pot them.

And I planted the jasmine plant I bought I few weeks ago. 20 pesos/$1.80US. My landlady showed me how she wants the purple vine that’s coming up thru the gardenia plant on the left side of the walkway to meet the new jasmine plant and make an arch over the walkway. I think I will make an arch out of old long branches. But for today, I just planted the jasmine. It’s in a shady spot, and I hope it will grow quickly.When Dona Lupe was up here the other evening, we fiddled around with some of the plants. She is fascinated by how quickly the succulent cutting grow. She thinks she can do the same thing with the Ixora plant.

So she borrowed my clippers, which she loves, and hacked some big branches off her nice Ixora plant. And then stuck them in one of my dirt pots. I think it really unlikely that they will grow, but who knows. I just have to water them. And cross my fingers.I did some other succulent started today, and did some weeding. Some of my aloes that I planted in early March and not making it. I moved them today, hoping they will revive. I don’t know if it’s too much water or two much sun, or both.

Probably both. The red zinnias in these photos are self-seeding, and they are providing lots of shade for the baby plants.Dona Lupe loves the plumbago plant. It’s blooms are really wonderful this year. She is coming up to the house a lot lately. To cut fresh flowers for her little restaurant. I am so lucky to have local lady gardener friends here. I learn something everyday.