The good times

This morning around 10.* Sunshine!

The monsoon starts here in June, and then it rains every single solitary day till about now. It normally tapers off in October, but I remember one year that it rained on October 1, and that was it. It was a happy month. The Goddess had smiled.

But sometimes she manifests a mean streak, and rains on the cemeteries on the Night of the Dead, November, disproving the existence of a Goddess with our best interests at heart.

It seems to be tapering off now, and maybe it’s ended. Hard to know. But it was a beautiful day yesterday, and this morning dawned in the same way. See the photo above. I planted that pole cactus years ago when it was a pipsqueak. Now it’s about to bump the drainpipe above. Just two of them, the others are farther out.

Yes, the rains are winding down, and it seems the pandemic is following suit, which is no great shock. Pandemics historically last one to two years. In Mexico we had a spike last winter, the first wave, and another in August when it spiked even higher.

But now it’s way down. An ending pandemic will distress the Democrats above the Rio Bravo, a happy thought.

Another indication that life is returning to normal is that we have tenants arriving Sunday for a two-week stay in our Downtown Casita, the first time since 2019. We had a number of reservations last year, but they all canceled due to the hysteria.

In any event, I am wearying of renting the place due to the effort involved and the fact we do not depend on that income. It’s pure gravy. To that end, I have spiked the rent waaay up. If I have to be bothered with tenants, let ’em pay!

But for people I like — perhaps you, for instance — they can come and stay a week or two for nuttin’. Free.

Well, you might leave a tip for Marta the Maid.

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The best month

October has long been my favorite month. When I lived in America, it was my favorite month because that’s when it got cool and nice after the sweltering summers of Texas. That’s not a big factor here because it’s always cool. It’s my fav month now due to the end of the monsoon rains. In any event, I love October.

Sitting on the printer.

Thirty years ago, I started a personal tradition. Every October, I purchased a small pumpkin and placed it atop my computer terminal at The Houston Chronicle.

I still do that today, but it has to sit atop my printer because my H-P All-in-One PC has no “top.”

Life goes on. For how much longer, nobody knows.

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*In December, all that grass and even more will be removed and replaced with stone and concrete. Oh, boy!

Nice, green and tidy

I shot this photo today just after Abel the Deadpan Yardman departed. He lives two doors down, and has been our lawn man for a good many years. I forget how many, but a good many.

The shorter plant in the stone circle is an avocado tree (okay, an aspiring tree) that my child bride started with an avocado seed a few years ago. I forget how many. It almost froze dead last winter, so we’ll see how it survives the winter to come.

Directly behind it, abutting the orange wall, is a bougainvillea that I keep under control with clippers. To the right, just before the patio, is a sour orange, good for dropping old oranges that I must scoop up. A long-gone friend gifted me that orange just after we moved here.

Stupidly, I planted it, but it grows slowly.

At left is the base of a fan palm that soars into the heavens, possibly 40 feet. I planted it when it was less than a foot high, thinking it’ll be cute. Now I worry about it falling onto the house some stormy night. Lots of trees hereabouts have collapsed recently in storms.

The area that’s abundant with greenery on the right is half of the Willy-Nilly Zone. The other half is farther to the right, off-camera.

See the whiter area of the sidewalk? That part was repaired about a year ago because it was coming undone after 18 years.

Starting about where the orange tree/bush sits and all the way up to the red wall at the rear will be filled in December with stone and concrete, my latest effort to de-green the yard.

That area is larger than it appears here.

Abel the Deadpan Yardman has been very reliable, but I detect just a small crack in that reliability this year, and I want to have as little grass as possible if he fails me.

He came Saturday mornings for ages, but this year it’s sometimes Saturday, sometimes Sunday, because he has other duties.

And that is worrisome.

Fine September day

That was yesterday, but we’re hoping today will be equally delightful.

We’re approaching the end of the rainy season, thank the Goddess, which is always the attitude about this time each year as we wade in water, mud and overabundant greenery.

This was a celebratory week due to my child bride’s birthday on Wednesday. We headed to a snazzy restaurant here that normally exceeds our budget wishes, but birthdays warrant exceptions. It was the rooftop restaurant in the Hotel Casa Leal on the main plaza.

It’s a “boutique” hotel, and we are boutique-y people. At least we were on Wednesday.

Here are two photos I shot from the restaurant.

This town has changed so much, mostly for the better, in the two decades I’ve lived here, it’s astounding to me. I landed here by pure happenstance. There was little planning involved.

Since I’m posting photos, here’s one that’s primarily for my amigo Phil up in Arizona who’s taken a particular interest in the construction across the street that’s been plodding along for months, done almost entirely by a single man, the owner.

Last week, the two steel “curtains” and door were installed by an outfit that makes such things, blacksmiths. It took one day. I am impressed that the owner ordered an entry door that sports a little pizazz. Most would have chosen the standard, solid, black door.

Stay tuned, Phil!

The chayote invasion

We have the sex motel on one side and sullen neighbors on the other. There is one good thing about the sullen neighbors, just one. Unlike so many Mexicans, they do not blare music into the heavens at full volume late into the night.

This is very unusual.

Nineteen years in this woebegone barrio, and the neighbors have thrown just one party, and they did it in the afternoon, not the middle of the night. We simply drove downtown till it blew over.

Because our windows were vibrating.

But they are not nice people. As mentioned, they are sullen, the mom, the dad and the two teen boys. It was the boys who broke a huge glass pane above our upstairs terraza some months ago.

We are convinced of that.

The neighbor couple is fond of planting things directly abutting the wall that separates our properties. The wall, by the way, is ours, not theirs. It’s been fruit trees, a nopal tree, etc., and all are trash tossers, much of it falling on our side of the wall for me to pick up.

Now they’ve outdone themselves. For what appears to be a stretch of about 10 miles in length, they’ve planted chayote, which is a form of squash that is versatile and tasty. I love it. But there is a downside. The plant is incredibly invasive. If you’ve traveled in the southeastern United States you’ve likely seen kudzu.

Chayote views kudzu as a role model.

Just yesterday morning, I made my first whack-back — the photo was taken after that cut — whacking the dangling onslaught back to the top of the wall. I then raked up what I’d cut, and heaved it over into their yard. Maybe they’ll get the message. Don’t hold your breath.

At least they don’t host concerts in the middle of the night.

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(Update: The above was written yesterday noonish. As mentioned, I had cut a bunch of the plant that had invaded our side, and I heaved it over the wall into the neighbors’ yard. In the afternoon, I headed downtown for my customary cafe Americano negro on the plaza and a little me time with my friend Kindle.

I returned to the Hacienda after 6 p.m., and this is what I saw. All of the invading plant had been whacked below the ridgeline. My tossing the trash over the wall had its effect. I am surprised but happy.

Clean as a Mexican whistle.