The Un-greening of Felipe

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The Before Shot.

THE CREW came this morning with machetes and a chain saw, a pickup too.

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Guys at work.
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Wielding the axe.
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No more aloe vera, at least not on that spot.

They got the stump almost level with the ground, so now the question is if it will try to pop up again. Probably. I’ve seen people pour motor oil on stumps in these situations, but I hope not to have to do that.

Background on this work can be seen here.

This ongoing process I dub the Un-greening of Felipe. When the Hacienda was young, and I looked at the yard with the attitude I developed in Houston, I made mistakes. I planted things thinking they would grow as they grew in Houston, a little bit or not at all.

But Lordy! I am now running in reverse. We had three stands of banana trees, and now we have one. We had three monster magueys, and now we have none. We had a towering nopal, and now we have none. We had a trash-tossing peach tree, a pear and a loquat. Now we have none. We had three aloe veras. Now we have one.

The un-greening, still ongoing, makes life easier, and ease is what I crave.

Battling the bushes

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Aloe vera on the left, philodendron on the right. Both growing again.

THURSDAY MORNINGS there’s a mercado on the neighborhood plaza just down the way. Mostly, it’s fruits and veggies, but you can also find fresh fish flopping atop a tarp on the sidewalk, and used clothing and deep-fried pigskin from a copper vat.

What you cannot find, at least today, are decent avocados. Prices are really high lately, and one effect of that is that street vendors do not buy them to sell because they don’t sell. You can still find avocados easily in supermarkets, however.

Returning home following my morning exercise walk, I looked about the yard. The rainy season does good things and bad things too. All have to do with rampant growth. The grass gets green (good), and it must be mowed (bad).

Plants that were chillin’ over winter and spring muscle up. Habitual passers-by here at The Unseen Moon will recall that I’ve eliminated quite a few yard plants over the last year or so, to my happiness and my child bride’s dismay.

Some, like the cursed peach tree and monster pear tree, are gone altogether. Here’s a shot from 2015. That’s the peach on the left. The pear is barely visible farther on, right side. Also, you’ll notice the old, stone Jesus Patio.

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Olden days. Funky, funky and more funky.

We now sport a cleaner look.

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These days. Sleek and fresh. Time to party!

That big aloe vera in the top photo is whacked back a bit, something I did this morning. I also trimmed the other aloe vera that sits outside our bedroom. I did that a couple of days ago. The cuttings rest in what I call the Garden Patio, below.

Abel the Deadpan Yardman will be here Saturday to mow the grass and weedeat. I’ll have him haul the aloe vera cuttings down the street where he’ll toss them into the ravine.

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Lots of burn treatment available in this pile.

Remember the colossal bougainvillea I had removed a few months ago? Here’s how she looked then with my child bride providing size perspective.

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And then I had her removed, all but the base.

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But like an unruly woman, she’s reasserting herself, but I’ve got the upper hand now and will bend her to my considerable will. She’ll learn who’s her Daddy.

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Just you wait, Dearie.

In an ideal world, plants with attitude would be eliminated completely from the Hacienda property, and only polite ones would stay put.

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Yellow looks nice. Bugs love to get between the net and the glass. Then they die.

In other news, the fellows who installed the shade netting in the renovated upstairs terraza last month will return today or tomorrow to remove the yellow net we chose at first. The reason is that it hangs below the glass domo, trapping bugs which then die there. Due to the light color of the net, the bug graveyard is horribly visible. Creepy.

So the yellow netting will be removed, and a darker, greenish one will be installed atop the glass, not below. This will also add a bit of protection against hail damage.

Never a dull moment. And if you read this far down, a Gold Star and Honorable Mention will be added to your permanent record. Congrats.

The awakening yard

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Miniature roses and golden datura abut the Alamo Wall.

PLANTS THAT have sat dormant through dusty springtime are coming to their senses. Blame the rain. There are good and bad aspects to this transformation.

Among the good are that our rose bushes make roses and — mostly good but not entirely — the golden datura creates its reportedly hallucinogenic blooms. Alas, after a couple of days, they shrivel up and drop to the ground where I have to pick them up.

But the datura is mostly a positive thing here. See this brief video.

One definite downside to June and the upcoming months is that the grass wakes up which requires me to hire our neighbor the Deadpan Yardman to mow the lawn every Saturday. Weedeat too. I wish we had no grass at all. That’s my dream.

I’ve been on a successful plant-removal campaign the last year or so. The only trash-tossing plant left is the loquat, and I’m working up to that one. My child bride will be a hindrance. I’d also like to replace more grass with stone and concrete, but not this year.

Oddly, in spite of my wife’s opposition to my plant murders, she wants to zap the monster aloe vera. It tosses no trash. She just doesn’t like the look of it. We have two about this size. It does need to be trimmed back. I’ll give it that.

In late summer, the aloe vera puts out big, lovely flowers that last for weeks.

And, of course, if you get a burn, it’s there to provide solace. Tons of it.

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The aloe vera does have a wicked look. Reminds me of me.

Getting rid of the chicken

Caramba, mi amor! Caramba, mi amor! sang someone on FM 106.5 as I drove the Honda home in the dark of early evening.

Twenty minutes earlier, I had been walking in cool twilight across the beautiful, downtown plaza, clutching a brown paper bag containing two sugar donuts, and thinking of my chicken.

Our neighbors have chickens that roost overnight in an apple tree that abuts our property wall. Now and then, an adventuresome soul will make the leap and walk about in our yard for a spell. Then she’ll head home, back over the wall, in a flap of feathers because chickens don’t fly well. They have a low-max altitude.

This has been going on for years, and we didn’t mind much because the nasty things always went back where they came from. Till a week ago.

One came over and decided to stay. She sticks mostly to the side of the wall that abuts where her kin live, and she lurks beneath aloe vera and bougainvillea. Sometimes, she stands in the big, center semicircle of grass to taunt me.

I’ve tried to catch her, but I’m not as agile as I once was. My child bride assists on occasion, but so far the fowl has eluded our grasp.

New ImageOn Monday, a couple of guys come to lay talavera tile in the downstairs terraza. They’ll be out there for quite a few hours. They say the work will take two days, maybe three.

Here’s my plan: The first day, I’ll offer 50 pesos to whomever catches the chicken and tosses her into the street. If she’s still there on Day Two, I’ll offer 100 pesos, and that should inspire them enough.

I don’t want to eat her, and I don’t want her tossed back over the wall into the neighbors’ yard because this chicken has wanderlust and might revisit. That’s far less likely if she’s out in the street with multiple options for adventure.

The walk across the twilight plaza would have been more enjoyable had I not been thinking about the cursed chicken.

I would have focused fondly on those sugar donuts.

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(Update! My yardman came Saturday morning and had the bird in his clutches within a minute. Incredible. Mexicans can do anything.)