Early blackbirds

Upstairs terraza photographed in some distant springtime.

I CALL THEM blackbirds, but they’re really just soot.

Every springtime the rural folks in these parts burn dry fields, and this produces soot like you wouldn’t believe. Some days it’s like black rain, but with “drops” the size of feathers. And these fall into the yard, drift into the downstairs terraza and, of course, the upstairs terraza.

But it’s not springtime, so I don’t know what the Devil’s going on, plus it’s not falling anywhere near the quantity that drifts down in true springtime. No matter. Here it is. Like shedding blackbirds.

This morning, before 8 a.m., I decided to sweep the upstairs terraza before going downstairs for bagels and Philly cream cheese light. The feathers were plentiful, and I disposed of them.

Speaking of blackbirds, we have real ones, lots. There are ravens and black vultures and grackles. The ravens and black vultures — that sometimes circle high above in scores — I enjoy. The grackles, no. Those big, black blokes land in the birdbath and splash all the water out. It’s not neighborly.

If only I owned a shotgun.

* * *  *

The Angry Corner


THIS IS THE angry corner, and I have no one to blame but myself.

Every springtime the yard gets a good going-over. This entails removing lots of stuff. If it’s frozen over the winter — and it often does at night, but not so far this year — the amount of dead stuff to be cut is considerable. I do much of it myself, and then hire someone to haul it off — to somewhere.

But even during this (so far) mild winter, plants must be cut. The lower, drooping, limbs of the fan palm, nopal, lots of banana leaves, maguey fronds, which grow endlessly and cussedly.

I have taken care of most of that this season. The only place that I keep procrastinating about is the Angry Corner. Years back, I planted a sole, small banana tree, about 18 inches high. And then I planted a cute little maguey, the yellow-green one, that we bought in a nearby village. And I clipped a piece of aloe vera and stuck it into the ground one day. And let’s not forget the sole pad of nopal cactus, four or so inches high.

Flash forward a decade. The stand of banana trees simply takes up lots of space, but those other things are armed, huge, and dangerous. It’s a risk even going near. I’m trying to work up the nerve.

* * * *

Mexico City

WE’LL BE HEADING to our nation’s chaotic capitol soon for a few days. It’s a necessity. Pay some bills for our condo. Dust and mop. Air it out. See what’s changed in the neighborhood. Eat some caldo de gallina in a new restaurant just three blocks away.

And we’ll try to make some headway with getting the condo’s deed into our hands, yet again. We paid it off years ago, but it was purchased from a government agency. Many arms of Mexico City’s government have improved immensely over the years, but the agency handling our deed is mired in the inefficient past.

Don’t try any funny stuff here while we’re gone. The two rottweilers, Rolf and Rachel, will be on duty. We don’t leave food, so that keeps them hungry and on edge. It might get ugly.

12 thoughts on “Early blackbirds

  1. Your blackbirds (soot) will be fuming our way before long. Sometimes the smoke is really bad while it lasts. Depends on air currents, of course. Que le vaya bien.


    1. Carole: It’s a mystery where this is coming from. Normally, the source of the springtime feathers is obvious. Lot of smoke in the distance, but not now. Actually, the last few days have been spectacular after a week or so of odd February rain.


  2. Ash Thursday?

    A friend has a small getaway house in Jojutla, Morelos, which is sugar cane country. When they burn the leaves off the canes, it creates a ton of ashes just like yours. Seems incredibly annoying to me. Sure, it saves the farmers work, but creates a lot of work for everyone else. Not fair at all. I think you should start an anti-ash league. (As an aside, when I did my Mexican road trip last spring, all over Veracruz farmers were burning their fields, and all I could think of was how this had to be undoing a lot of the effort that we make NOB to produce cars with lower emissions, furnaces with lower emissions, etc.)


    On your angry corner, it’s clear that you don’t eat enough nopal, otherwise that sucker wouldn’t have gotten so out-of-control. As for the maguey, you need to make some tequila-like substance, purely for export.


    Rottweilers? Rolf and Rachel? ROFLMAO!!!



    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where you’d need snowshoes and an ice pick to break into our current ice-palace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim: We Mexicans do not think much about fairness when it comes to others we don’t know personally. As far as we are concerned, they usually can stick it where the sun don’t shine. We just do not care.

      As for nopal, I do not like it much.

      As for Rolf and Rachel, they do not take kindly to mocking. Watch out.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Don’t Mexican burglars just toss some poisoned meat over the wall, wait until the dogs are dead and then help themselves to your stuff?


            1. Loulou: Both Mexican crooks down here and Gringo crooks up there have been known to use that technique. However, Rolf and Rachel have a rare talent, both of them. They know bad meat when they see it.


  3. Dig up that horrific nopal if you don’t use it. Visit a “vivero de plantas” and choose one of those beautiful unique palms Mexico has to offer.


    1. Andean: Alas, the nopal is 13 feet or higher and in possession of millions of killer spikes. I fear it is out of control. I should have done something long ago. I have tarried too long. Now, it makes the rules, not me.


  4. Why would you have to dig it up? Hire someone…
    A ‘serene’ corner is a nicer space. And the different sized and shaped palms are so pretty.


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