Time to pucker up!

My patch of parasitic mistletoe.

A couple of months ago when we were still in winter and the bush — hibiscus, I think — in which this thing resides was still lacking its leaves, I noticed a patch of something green sitting there alone. Looks like mistletoe, I muttered as I continued on with life.

This morning, I took a photo using a plant-identification app and, sure enough, it’s mistletoe. I mentioned this to my child bride and, after the appropriate smootch below the mistletoe, she said she’d never heard of it. It must not be “a thing” in Mexico.

Hibiscus, I think.

The plant on which the mistletoe lives — mistletoe is a parasite — is, I believe, a form of hibiscus. The plant-ID app was unsure. When we moved into the Hacienda 18 years ago, it was living cheek-to-jowl against a loquat tree where some nincompoop had planted it. I uprooted it and planted it over thataway a bit, giving it space.

The hibiscus — and let’s assume that’s what it is — flowers now and then, kinda pretty, and it does not toss trash all over the place, so I’ve left it in peace. Longtime readers here know that I am a plant predator, quite the killer when it suits me, and it suits me when a plant becomes a nuisance, mostly by tossing trash.

When we moved here, there was a fig bush where one of the carports now sits, so it was removed, which is a shame because I like figs.

The skeletal loquat.

Not far off is the loquat tree which grew like mad, tossing loquats all over the place where they rotted on the ground. Tossed big, ugly leaves too, much like those of a magnolia, which is a yucky tree, I think, in spite of my being a son of the Old South.

Rhett Butler and all that.

Alas, my child bride is excessively fond of loquats and the tree on which they grew maniacally. But she didn’t have to deal with the constant mess and work, so her vote was of less value than mine.

I am a kind husband, however, so I did not remove it. I only cut it back, way, way back, and I maintain it as you see in the photo, a half-alive zombie.

When I die, she can let it go whole hog again and, believe me, it will.

It needs a trellis.

Let us further milk the gardening topic today. While the Hacienda was under construction in 2003, I planted five bougainvillea bushes along the property wall you see in these photos. Two promptly died. Of the remainers, one was very different. It does not go berserk, and at times during the year it’s all flowers. It’s my best bougainvillea buddy.

But the best gardening news of the day is that we have mistletoe, which gives my child bride another reason to kiss me, even though she’d never heard of mistletoe. You get your kisses where you can. That’s always been my philosophy.

Figs in copper

Figs cooking in copper pot.

MEXICANS ARE famous for being able to do most practical things easily and quickly. My child bride endlessly amazes me with her fast and practical solutions to about any problem, problems that would cause me to toss up my hands and go sprawl out for a nice siesta.

Then “canned” in bottles.

The other night she came home with lots of green figs in a plastic bag. She asked if we had a big aluminum pot. The answer was no. So she went to the living room and emptied a copper pot purchased years ago to hold ocote, a fire-starting wood. It was sitting by the fireplace.

She washed it real good. She sliced each fig a bit, and started the process, which began in the evening and continued on into the following day. She had never done this before. She found the process online.

A few years ago, after perfecting her pastry skills, she decided to bake bread, something that has a reputation of being tricky if you do it from scratch, especially your first time. She did it perfectly.

She wants this fig supply for her muffins. As I write this (last night) they are sitting on the kitchen counter exactly as you see in the second photo. They will be good. Trust me.

Mexicans are handy people.

Figs and knives


FIGS HEREABOUTS have been quite pricey of late, but that has not caused a price increase in this fig bread that I like to buy warm from a basket on the smaller downtown plaza. About $1.25 or 16 pesos.

There are two versions, the integral and the other one, called nata. I always get the integral because it’s a bit better on the healthy scale. I buy it, bag it, and walk to a sidewalk coffee shop on the big plaza, sit, slice and eat some. I never eat it all because it’s too much. But I’ve been known to share.

I slice it with that knife, which I tote in my pocket. I’ve carried that knife in my right pocket for many years. It is very sturdy and has but one blade, which is all you need. I bought the knife in a street market for about three bucks, and it’s served me very well. It has a snazzy, wood handle. Well made and heavy.

When we bought the property where the Hacienda now sits, back in 2002, there was a fig tree in residence. Alas, we had to remove it a couple of years later to construct a carport for the second car, the little Chevy, which we sold last year to buy the new Nissan March.

But that has nothing to do with either figs or knives, just to let you know what happened to the fig tree. A few months ago, my child bride came home with a tiny fig plant in a little pot. It’s now in a planter in the yard, growing sweetly. One day it will be a tree planted in the ground, full of figs.

So I sit at the sidewalk table with warm fig bread that I’ve cut with my snazzy knife, and I admire the brown-skinned beauties passing by, and I think, Jeez, I wish I had done this when I was far younger.