Sweep, rake, burn

MEXICAN LIFE isn’t all about sunsets and margaritas. Sometimes it’s work. Yesterday, for instance.


First, I swept the upstairs terraza. I got to enjoy a view of the mountains and our neighborhood’s red-tile roofs.


Then I swept the service patio downstairs. That’s where the washing machine, water heater, clothesline and propane tank live. Not much of a view there.


Third on the list was the veranda. Pretty good view, but there’s lots of stuff to sweep around, complicating matters.


At that point, I moved outside. First, the rake which resulted in three piles. Here’s one. Most leaves fall from a pear tree.


I lit a match to a piece of ocote, stuck it into the pile, and flames erupted. Soon it was consumed, a black smudge.


Back to the broom. I head out beyond the Alamo Wall to sweep the driveway and clear the pastry workshop entrance.


And, finally, it’s out to the street where I swept the sidewalk and a bit of the street too. Unlike in some cities above the Rio Bravo, we have no mechanical street sweepers.

I’m a Virgo. We like to be tidy.


Lastly, the gardener gets a breather on the veranda, posing with his tool while his child bride wields the Canon.

28 thoughts on “Sweep, rake, burn

  1. “Unlike in some cities above the Rio Bravo, we have no mechanical street sweepers.”

    And no Cantinflas either.


  2. Looking good, Felipe. I remember my mother-in-law sweeping the street in front of her business every day. Brings me back to Mexico.

    You have a great weekend, my friend!



    1. Mike G: Yep, one sees lots of street-sweeping here, plus the hilarious water sprinkle, which does nothing useful, but they do it anyway.

      As for having a great weekend, every day is Saturday for me. Enjoy yours.


          1. Felipe, it was simply and fittingly, a famous Cantinflas quote. But request noted and will limit my postings to English for the monolingual conservatives the predominate here. (I would post a smiley face emoticon here but I hate the damn things).


            1. Clete: A famous Cantinflas quote! Sailed right over my aging noodle. As for conservatives being monolingual, I put to you that 98 percent of all Americans are monolingual, which is why the world sometimes giggles at them. From what little direct interaction I have with Gringos in Mexico, most are of the collectivist persuasion, and most cannot carry on a conversation in Spanish no matter how long they’ve “lived” here. Read “permanent vacation” with frequent trips back to the United States for this, that and whatever they cannot live without.

              All of which is to say, speaking just one language is not just a characteristic of conservatives. Collectivists are equally guilty.

              I too do not use smiley faces or any of those things.


              1. Gringos are a clannish group which impairs their potential to socialize with native Spanish speakers. One needs to jump in the pool with total language immersion and start butchering another tongue. The most important step is to learn proper pronunciation whenever you learn a new word or phrase. If you can’t say it right no one is going to understand your lame attempts to communicate and you’re not going to comprehend their speech. If you learn a new word, please learn how to say it correctly before you learn another one.

                What helped me the most was to give private English lessons to my new friends. One of the best tools to learn another language is Google Translate. Just click on the button to listen how to say it.


                1. Andrés: I don’t know your level of Spanish since we just spoke in English the one time we were face to face, but if it’s fairly good it’s in large part due to your living where there are next to no Gringos. Spanish is essential. That is a great way to learn.

                  As for Gringos being a clannish group, all cultures are clannish, which is why promoting multiculturalism usually ends badly, sometimes violently. People everywhere prefer their own kind, their own religion, their own language, their own skin color, their own economic level, etc. Even though the only family I have in Mexico is 100% Mexican, I still spend most of my time around them rolling my eyeballs — figuratively, not literally — when in their presence. They do the same for me, I know, and sometimes it’s literally.

                  Allow me to leap to a related issue. The European open arms being presented to Mohammedan “refugees” is going terribly wrong. Of course, Weepy Barry wants to do the same thing in the United States.


  3. And you weren’t arrested for burning leaves in the city limits. I have to put my leaves in plastic bags and into huge city issued trash cans to be picked up once a week. My palm leaves and tree limbs get picked up once every 3 months, so I have to have to make big brush piles in several corners of my yard. No ravines here.


    1. Señor Bowman: That’s what you get for living in an increasingly collectivist, meddling state. I recommend you opt for liberty and move south of the Rio Bravo where Uncle Pedro doesn’t keep his nose up your keister. Think on it.


      1. Darn it, Felipe, you need to get your noodle out of that little backwater hick town you reside in more often. Burning trash is frowned on in many parts of this country. In fact illegal in many places. Obviously, you got away with it. It was just a small amount and you probably light up infrequently. But if a neighbor should complain you may find yourself served a summons. Yes, yes. I know how lax enforcement may be, but there are laws against (please forgive the use of Spanish, scout’s honor, I won’t use it no more) “quemar a cielo abierto o en lugares no autorizados, cualquier tipo de residuos.”


    1. Jeff: That’s a darn fine method, and if I had even 5 percent of that quantity of dead leaves, I might give it a try. Luckily, the majority of my dead leaves fall from a sole pear tree. If my wife did not love fruit trees, that dang thing would be outa here.


  4. The guys that take care of my yard are Indians from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. They tote everything off to some unknown place. If we burned stuff, there would be a lynching, or the police would haul us in.
    Dope dealers walk free, burners get taken down. Smoke is spotted by the police helicopter, aka the barrio bird.
    As to the issue of Spanish, our local Spanish is so corrupted with Indian, Filipino and English words, I am embarrassed to speak in Mexico.
    It is best to learn a language when young. I have been trying to learn German for years. It is a case of too little too late.


    1. Señor Gill: Narcos walk free and burners get taken down. What is wrong with this picture? In my neck of the woods, narcos walk free and so do burners. Of the two options, I opt for what’s behind that second door.

      And, of course, it’s best to learn a language when young. Alas, not everybody has that choice. When I moved south of the border 16 years ago, I spoke no Spanish at all. The main reason I speak it fairly well now is that my wife does not speak English. Another reason was that I moved here with the intention of learning Spanish, unlike many of my Gringo former paisanos who can’t converse after many years here. Tsk, tsk, I say.

      Can’t imagine why anyone would want to speak German.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have seen Mexicanos in the countryside sweeping their bare dirt yards with a dried palm leaf broom. Love to see the pride.


    1. Carole: Yep, sweeping dirt is common here. If that’s what your floor is, that’s what you sweep. And, yes, even po’ folks try to keep it neat. Well, many of them.


  6. Your veranda is lovely and well worth the sweep around you have to do.

    I try not to use emoticons/emojis as little as possible now. I was seriously taken aback by my adult daughter speaking an emoticon the other day. She lost an argument with a postal worker, and in turning to walk away said “sad face.” Facebook has taken her to the dark side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angeline: Yes, the veranda is quite lovely. Thanks for noticing. It’s not at its best in January, but it’s still pretty swell, if I do say so myself. After 12 years of having it turned into a lake countless times during the rainy season, we’re finally taking steps to rectify that eternally cursed problem. We’ve already had a cement entrance altered to redirect water and next month we’ll have drain channels all around the roof of the veranda. Can’t imagine why I didn’t take steps earlier. Stupid me.

      As for emoticons, I don’t use them for the same reason I don’t say or write “cool.” Or LOL, or any of that silliness and abuse of communication.

      As for your daughter, perhaps an intervention is in order.

      Liked by 1 person

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