Friday, September 28, 2007

Buds in Chacala

It's Friday morning here in Chacala, and it's a very strange day, weatherwise. I just checked the hurricane warning site, but nothing is going on out there. But that's it's hard to believe. It's very, very windy and thick dark clouds are everywhere in the sky. I think it will start raining in aminute. Which rarely during the day in Chacala.I was sitting here at my computer, and all of a sudden the windows on the east side of the room slammed closed. The wind coming in from the ocean side did it. I ran out on the to patio because I had just hung out some wet launry. I double pinned some of it and brought my shirts on hangers inside, to hang in the bathroom. It's been windy like that for about 40 minutes. At least it's not hot and humid for the moment. Changes, changes, changes. I like it.Earlier I went down to the garden, thinking I would practice taking more "macro", bud, photos. I think I am starting to get the hang of it, but my photos still don't look anything like some of the spectacular shots I see on the garden blogs at "Garden Voices".I took this shot of these yellow buds yesterday, by the side of the road at the edge of Chacala. The vegetation had been sprayed there, and I think that's was caused the spots. Up until now men with machetes cleared the vegetation around Chacala at the start and end of the rainy season.

But my guess it that some "elected" government official got a spraying contract for his brother-in-law. Possibly an incompetent, non-reading, non-trained, and unable to find other work person is now out there spraying god-knows-what-where ever. Spraying without gloves, a mask, and eating his lunch without washing his hands. Probably a short-lived phenomena. Oh well. I am so happy to see the Desert Roses coming back to life. I donn't think I realized how hard the hot, humid summer was for them, until they started putting out new growth and blossoms a week or so ago.
I always get confused about this plant. I keep thinking they are gladious, but they are plananititos, from the banana family, I guess. I know I still have so much to learn. This plant puts out new blossoms about every fifth day. The previous five or six blossoms were yellow/orange, but this one seems pale. Maybe my landlady's esposo peed on it. That would probably kill it though. Whatever.

By the Side of the Chacala Road

Yesterday I left Chacala, via collectivo, for a few hours. I had some errands to do in La Penita. That's a nearby town that happens to be located near two nurseries. Plus their tianguis (Thursday Street Market) often has plant sellers.
But I just went to the bank and both nurseries, hoping for some succulents, or whatever. I ended up with only a nice new Desert Rose (. It's big enough to harvest right now for some cuttings. This plant is a fvorite around Chacala, so I like to have to to share.

I also took some photos of blossoms at the nursery near the Pemex station. It's slightly most expensive (still cheap) but they often have some unusaly plants. Not this time though.
But on the way I had to wait for taxi/collectivos bys the side of the road, and was bored. So I took a few photos of wild things.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

After the Equinox, in Chacala

I just re-discovered this photo from my trip to San Miguel de Allende a year ago.
I couldn't resist posting it. SMA is very very lovely, building and plant-wise anyway.

I think the weather in Chacala is changing a little this week. I am sleeping with a sheet the last few nights. And with the fan turned down to low. I guess that's a sign we are nearing the end of hot-himid-hot-humid-hot-humid and moving toward pleasantly-warm-and-breezy. that's ny plan anyway. We'll see.
I think the plants are sensing a change too. My Rose of the Desert (Adenium Obesum) plant havn't blossoned for months, but there are baby blossoms on all six plants right now. And new leaves.
Today I was looking at my photos from last May and June, and I realized quite a few of my succulents are gone. I went out and looked around, and I don't see any withered rotting plant remains. Which makes me think someone felt they needed them more that I do. Which is probably true, since I just noticed they are missing. Of course, it's s slightly weedy jungle out there, and I wasn't looking very closely.

On the other hand, many people have told me succulents don't like the summer weather here. The plants I kept in pots, and sort of out of the nightly rainstorms seem to have done okay.
This Gardenia plant is covered with blossoms, bu then it never really stopped producing all summer. The old Gardenia plant, about five feet away, hasn't blossomed in months. But the somewhat impaired husband-of-my-landlady may have sprayed it. Every once in a while I find him wandering around with a sprayer, spraying god-knows-what god-knows-where in the yard. It's scary for me. Sometimes I hope a local bandito will disappear the sprayer.

This Ixora also blooms all year. I love the young blossoms. They look sort of pretend. I have about six started in buckets. They look okay. But after my helpful whatever ripped the best new Hibsicus babies out of their buckets the other day, I am nervous about what he will do next.

I got home from errands around town this morning and my neighbor waved me over and said pointed over to my place. She said "He's got is machete out, I don't know what he's doing". But he wandered off with the machete as I arrived. And I didn't see any signs of machete madness around my plants. Not this time anyway.I can't remember what this plant is called, but I know it's a houseplant in Zone 5. Here they have to hack it back with a machete once or twice a year. The giant is climbing up my neighobr tree.
An hour later: I just went out to re-shot a couple of baby-blossom shots and found a few plants I thought were gone were juse buried in the jungle. So I ended up weeding alittle. And re-discoving some sweet little plants. But the little pink and white fringed sweetie is the only plant of seven that were growing there in June. Darn!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Making a "Comment"? or Selling?

I got a perfectly nice "Comment" for this blog today. As follows (with the book's title deleted):

How do you have a beautiful yellow rose in such a humid enviroment? My roses have yellow spot and I have been blaming the humidity but I may have to look at another culprit. I Love the zinnias and wish mine would reseed, but they become choked by the grass. I am encouraging all of my gardening friends to read my book "..........". Check it out at it is humorous account of a gardener tryin to create the perfect flower garden. Your pictures are great. Enjoy nature and enjoy life.

But the writer's efforts to advertise her book kind of offended me. It seems like a misuse of the "Comment" concept to me.

I would have written the "Comments" auther directly to complain, but it was posted anonymously. Well, with writer's name but no email address.

A Little Work, in Chacala

The is a squash vine, a Luffa sponge-type vine.It's on the side of Juan Luis's rental units. You dry the squash and break the outside skin off, and there's luffa. I just used my last one, so I will have to go pick some soon.

Due to my lack of attention, my Chacala garden has gotten kind of out of control. It’s rainy here almost every night in August and September. And it’s warm and humid, often overcast during the day. Everything is growing wild. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours pruning and hacking away in my little garden area.The succulents seem to be doing okay, even in the rain. And the cacti also seem to be doing okay. I am starting to clear out their little beds too. When I first planted them last March I wanted to fill them up with plants, but they are too full now.

This garden definitely looks different from other gardens around Chacala. I don’t know if that’s good out bad. And really, the beds are just places to hold my cuttings and baby plants. Not very organized.

The one yellow Lantana I planted in one of the little dirt pockets in the rock wall has burst in blooms and is growing wild. I am going to do cuttings today.
And the red Zinnias, which seem to re-seed and grow wild here, are growing all along the roadside.The Portulaca’s are blooming every minute there’s a bit of sunshine.

The arch I am trying to create over the front sidewalk seems to be taking shape. I tied a Opoema tree "trunk" to the trunk of a lovely purple vine that isn't blossoming at the moment. And started twining a jasmine around up around one side of the arch, and the purple vine up the other. It seems to be doing okay.
Now I just have to hope my landlady's husband doesn't decide to machete it down in a moment of whatever. Yesterday he broke the main branches off my young hibiscus plants. Ones I grew from cuttings and were now almost a foot tall. No longer. I actually heard the sound of him breaking the little twiggy branches. But I didn't realize was it was until I down to turn the water off at the road. And there were the remains of the bigger branches. lying on the walkway.
This is one of Aurora's roses. The plant has about a dozen blossoms.
It's hard to be motivated to work in my little garden when I don't know what he's going to do next. I am going to try to talk with my landlady about it again, but I am not optimistic that she can do anything.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hot and Humid, Gardening in Chacala

These plants are flowering all over Chacala right now. I think they are the not-Bird of Paradise plant, whose name I can't remember. But I'm not sure about that. We are still smack in the middle of the intense part of the rainy season in Chacala. Rain, thunder and lightning most times, and very hot and humid days. There's almost always a breeze during the day though, so it's pretty nice in the shade.My patio catches the sea breezes, and I love sitting out there.

I just got a wireless internet connection at home, yesterday. HOORAH!!!! First time in Chacala. Now I will be able to look at all the gardening blogs and websites. We are having a burst of Hibiscus blooms this week around Chacala. Many of the Hibiscus plants were killed by the government plant inspectors this past six months. They are trying to eradicate a plant disease that has infested Nayarit and Jalisco. It has a name similar to the fungus-looking stuff that is used to make a red dye. Cochinillea maybe. But some of the plants survived repeated spraying and extreme and repeated pruning and are looking wonderful. These colorful little portulaca plants are real eye catchers, and many people around Chacala want cuttings. Some ask and some just take, and either is fine. There are lots of plants, and they grow quickly.

However, some of my favorite succulents have disappeared. I don't know if they just melted in the sun, rain, and humidity, or if some busy fingers removed them. Whatever.
Last week I got to share some of the plants that a lovely couple had to leave beyond after they decided not to return to Chacala. This sweet little palm is in foster care at Aurora's until I figure out how to levitate up into my garden.
My neighbor,Aurora have planted some vines to partially cover her lovely bodega building. I added some yellow vines from the same family last month. I think the vines will soon cover the south (shaded by a fruit tree) wall of the building and it will look lovely.
This palm-in-a-pot is really large for the pot. It burst thru the walls of it's previous, smaller, pot, and it looks like it's going to do it again. I love the life force in seeds and plants and vies and trees. They just want to GROW!!!

This plant (below) is popping up in pots all over Chacala. Apparently they are selling it at the nursery in La Penita. No one seems to know it's name. Or if it will blossom again.Time with tell.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chacala and the Birds

Birds seems to be especially valued in Chacala. Maybe it’s because the air filled with birds. All kinds of birds fly through the sky here. Even pelicans and big black vultures. And beautiful little green parrots, who fly thru the air in coveys/herds/clumps of hundreds. It’s an amazing sight.Most people seem to have some kind of bird in their lives. Cages filled with little canaries and other colorful birds are hung on the patios of many homes. Larger cages with doves, Palomas, are common. And colorful little birds are everywhere.
People walk around work and home with a colorful little bird on their shoulder.
And fighting roosters are in cages around many homes. Something to avoid when you are looking for a vacation rental. And hens and chickens run around every where. Dogs and cats ignore them. The ones that can’t stay away from chickens are usually poisoned or disappeared in their youth. I have seen a little line of baby chicks, following their Mom, hop right across a dog sleeping in the sun. Without a peep or a glance from the dog. Lots of peeps from the chicks though.
It’s not uncommon to see someone with a bird perched on their shoulder, as they work. Or visit, or go walking. This woman has a pina stand on the beach. Her little “Talon” is right there with her, keeping at eye on things. And the fellow who works at one of the tourist shops has “Magico” perched on his shoulder.ers showers with agua dulce (meaning not salt water) and toilets for rent. (add photo)

Little Blossoms of Chacala

It's still raining every night in Chacala. And it's still really "humido". It's 11am and I am sitting at a nice table at Majahua, my favorite Chacala spot. I am dripping with sweat, but luckily it's a little breezy, so it's sort of cooling.I am going to skip the gardening stuff today, and talk about how nice it is to live in a town with lots of kids. Every age of kids. And almost all of them are free to roam around town and have kid-adventures.The bigger kids, maybe 10 and up, take care of the little ones. And mostly work in their family's business. A restaurant or tienda, or deposito, or rentals or whatever.They seem to be very willing and able to take care of thir siblings in a loving way. Itdoesn't seem as though kids resent taking care of thirr little siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews.
And most kids make do with very few "toys". They make toys and cgames out of anything. This mud hole is in front of the primary school. There always seems to be leak in the water line right uphill from this spot. Her Mom is working in the schoolyard, doing a big cleanup, and her sister is watching her.
This boy is the younger brother of the girl working in Angeles's tienda near the church. He helps out when needed, and quietly watches what's going on. When some other boys show up he is ready to play.
Gilberto is a ball of evergy, always running around, doing whatever. He's the youngest of six, four brother's and a sister, and he roams freely everywhere. Here he is swinging onthe
primary school gate. He loves to pose for the camera.
These little guys posed for me all over the parking area at Las Brisas. From one plant filled planter to the next. The boy on the right is one of my favorites around Chacala. His single Dad is a fisherman. His grandmother and two Aunts help out alot, and he has 3 boy cousins the same age, so he has a pretty full ife.
There are three new, least than two months, babies in town right now. I expecially notice Angelica, who is Guadalupe's little sister. Guadalupe is almost three. It's been amazing to watch her response to having a baby sister. I don't see jealousy (althought it might be there).
What I see is Guadalupe aligning heerself with the women and bigger girls. She stepped irght up to being the "big" sister without a pause. It's very sweet to she her trudding up the road near my house. Her mom carrying the baby, and Guadalupe carrying the bag with their supplies. Usually the bag is almost, but not quite, dragging on the ground as she marches along.I feel so lucky to know so many kid around town. I love it when they call out my name or come running up to me. I don't have grandchildren, and don't mind that at all, but I am glad I get to be around babies and little kids. Every \day.