The tilted birdbath

daturaWHAT SORT  of loopy person leaves a birdbath tilted for over a decade when it requires only a few seconds to set it straight? That person, of course, is me.

But today I spent the few seconds and made it level. The birds had never seemed to mind or even notice. I long noticed but did nothing. The birdbath is a clay bowl that sits atop a carved wooden pedestal, knee-high. The pedestal is rotting, but that’s not what made the whole shebang off-kilter. It’s sat crooked since it was new.

I took the bowl off this morning, and moved the pedestal from where it’s rested so long. There was grime below, some bugs and a worm that looked perfect for fishing. I swept it all away with a broom, into the grass.

A slight shift to the right and a bit of circular movement set it straight. I put the bowl back on top and it was level, the first time in a long time. The birds still will not care, so this is a strictly human issue.

It’s not like the birds need my water supply right now because it rains every day. Pools and puddles are all over the place. No matter. My birdbath is quite popular, but it will become more popular when the rainy season ends next month and a pool will be darned difficult to find.

Summer has ended, of course. Our high mountain world is wet, and the plants are happy. When we open the bedroom curtain in the morning, this is what we see, the photo above, golden datura in a frenzy of flowers.

The big aloe vera bushes are full of orange stalks. The birds of paradise have come out to play, the plants, not actual birds, which are not mountain fowl. We must make do with the flowers.

I was sitting on the front terraza a spell this morning, admiring it all and thinking what a lucky fellow I am.

But I should have straightened that birdbath a long time ago. A personality flaw.

Life changes

oldhammockSINCE DAY ONE, over 12 years ago, this hammock has hung right there on the upstairs terraza. I brought it from the porch of the two-story rental where we lived before building the Hacienda.

This hammock is actually second generation. Its papa rotted in time and was replaced by another, identical, that we purchased during a visit down to the coast. Good hammocks are not sold here on the mountaintop.

This one too is beginning to rot. It was always outside. We never brought it in, even in frigid winter. A couple of weeks ago, two young nephews were here visiting, and they played on the hammock in the typical fashion of 11-year-olds, which is to say maniacally. One string broke.

For many years, I was out there daily, swinging in the cool air under the red-tile roof, usually with a book, often with nothing but a peaceful heart. Those were good times. But I gradually tapered off. Dunno why. My child bride has never used the hammock much. She’s not much for kicking back.

I, on the other hand, am a first-class kicker-backer.

The perspective does not make one thing obvious. You step through that screen door, and you are almost against the hammock. It’s an obstacle, but when the hammock was used a lot, it was an obstacle I was willing to accept. Yesterday, I said to myself:  You will never use this hammock again, so get rid of it.

And I did. We folded it up and upended it into a corner out in the garden patio where the yard gear lives under another red-tile roof. My child bride does not want me to throw it away, even though it is well rotted, because she never wants to throw anything away. It’s a Mexican thing.

So I will wait some months, then toss it. Don’t tell her.

I went out this morning, and swept the upstairs terraza. It felt more open, more accessible, more friendly. I think even the magueys in the big pots are glad it’s gone. That terraza has always been a bit of a problem. Tough magueys are about the only plants that don’t die up there due to winter freezes.

In summer, it’s usually covered by a third with puddled rainwater. In springtime, the sun is brutal if you’re not under the relatively small percentage covered by the red-tile roof.

But we’ll be replacing the hammock with a couple of nice, soft chairs that are designed for outdoor life. We’ll get them from Costco in the capital city. It’s just a question of when we see something we like.

For years we also used the yard patio a lot, the one downstairs with the glass-topped table, web chairs and big, brown umbrella. However, that space too has dwindled almost to zero usage. Nowadays we use the downstairs terraza with its wicker rockers almost exclusively for kicking back.

Life changes. Dunno why.

Mexican delights

morning

THIS SUNNY, cool morning we returned from our 20-minute walk around the neighborhood plaza. Birds were singing. The sun was shining. The air was like Baby Bear’s porridge, just right.

Walking back, my child bride detoured to the little general store on the corner near the Hacienda. She purchased butter for her pastries. I continued on, leaving the gate door unlocked for her return.

I sat on the porch, removed the walking boots that I bought years back at Academy sporting goods in San Antonio and put on my blue, house Crocs. I also have older, brown, yard Crocs.

In the kitchen I poured a glass of fresh orange juice. I returned to the porch, looking at what you see above. My child bride returned, went into the kitchen and came back with a grapefruit, which she rips apart with her hands, kinda like a hyena on a dead wildebeest. But it looks ladylike.

We will lunch today on beans and roasted chicken. The beans are already in the kitchen. I will head out later to buy the roasted chicken at my favorite spot on the ring road. Beans and chicken are our Wednesday tradition. You get a hen and a half on Wednesday for the price of one. Leftover chicken goes into evening salads.

Can’t beat it. None of it.

Muffins, apples, rain, death

muffins

AWAKENING AFTER an overly rainy day brings many new things, some related to the rain, some not.

1. Fallen apples.  The gumpy neighbors next door have an apple tree that abuts our property wall. It is common for the mentally challenged to plant little things in inappropriate places, not thinking years down the line. And then tall trees grow from small saplings. They outgrow their diapers. The tree now provides two things: apples that often fall on our side and a night roost for their chickens to cackle at us in the mornings.

The apples are nice, and the chickens are, well, poultry. Yesterday’s rain knocked down lots of apples!

2. Dead datura.  I occasionally post photos of our glorious golden datura, and it is glorious indeed for a spell. Then it dies … or is knocked down by heavy rain. This morning I picked up 50-60 datura blooms from the soggy ground. The Lord giveth and She taketh back too. Or rather, She smotes down. Watch out for Her!

3. Dead cat.  At 9 a.m. I drove to the downtown casita to let the maid in for the occasional cleaning. Just across the cobblestone street in a patch of grass was a dead Siamese cat. Her eyes were open, but she was a goner. This has nothing to do with the rain, I guess, but dead cats are not what you want to see when the maid arrives.

4. Muffins.  This too has squat to do with rain or apples or dead datura or stone-cold cats, but I include it here anyway because it is delicious, a positive life thing, which we need at this moment. Those are sweet tater and cinnamon muffins up there, which my child bride has added to her Saturday offerings on the plaza.

The intricate tapestry of life.

Those of you who live far away don’t know what you are missing.