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.

Great white hunter

As Papa Hemingway once posed with his lion prey on the plains of Africa, I am posing with my prey in the Garden Patio on Easter Sunday.

Sure, those lions were tough customers, but so are my huge philodendron fronds. Papa could have left the lions in peace — they weren’t bugging him — but the same cannot be said about the philodendron I foolishly planted in the yard years ago.

Today they felt some sharp discipline, something that must be done every couple of months or so. Now I must chop them into smaller pieces and toss them into a huge plastic bag that will be delivered to a dumpster downtown.

I wonder what Papa did with his lions. No clue.

Other things bother me: illegal aliens in the form of Eurasian collared doves who only arrived in Mexico in recent years sans visa. They’re not as bad as regular pigeons, but it’s a close call. They’ve taken up residence in the dead fronds hanging up high on my towering fan palm, something else I stupidly planted years back. Will I never learn?

Actually, I have learned and learned well. I don’t plant anything anymore that may turn into a bothersome behemoth. I just plant nice things, and darn little of that too.

Before I removed the monster bougainvillea that once towered over the property wall, tossing dead flowers not only on my yard but onto the driveway of the sex motel next door, Eurasian collared doves lived in that plant too, hidden from view.

Now they’ve moved into the fan palm, and I make their lives swell because they use my ceramic birdbath for drinking and recreation. They’re like illegal aliens in California, treated nicely. They have found a bird sanctuary, but what I need is a shotgun.

Life is full of challenges, and Easter Sunday doesn’t change that.

High and dry

High at over 7,000 feet above sea level, which is permanent, and dry because it’s Springtime, the most miserable season of the year. When one says Springtime above the border one thinks of lovely days, romance, the occasional shower and flowers, perhaps the end of snow. When one says Springtime where I live, we think dust and heat.

And no A-C.

Easter Week (Semana Santa) starts soon, April 4. (Correction: Actually, it starts March 28.) It normally rivals the Day of the Dead for tourists and traffic in these parts but, like the Day of the Dead last November, most of the hubbub is canceled because of the Kung Flu hysteria. No massive artisan market on the downtown plaza and no parades in the evening. This pleases me because I am neither Christian nor a fan of bumper-to-bumper traffic.

It is bad for the local economy, however, which is already suffering due to the previously mentioned Kung Flu hysteria.

The video freezes in time a few seconds from this morning as I stood on the stone sidewalk and pointed the Canon up thataway. The photo below is my very favorite yard plant, the bottle-brush tree. I don’t know what the Mexicans call it, but that’s what it’s called up north. It’s seven or eight feet tall now, and still growing. I planted it years ago when it was just a little tyke. I wish I had planted one or two more. It’s lovely, and often in bloom. The hummingbirds love it.

Though Springtime is here, it still gets chilly overnight, and we still have the wintertime goose-down comforter on the king bed, but that will come off soon, the bedroom window will stay open, and the tower fan I bought just last year will keep us partially refreshed during the nights. There is no perfect world.

Hey, did you see “President” Biden bumble through his first press conference a few days ago? I predict that will be the first and final press conference. He’ll be drooling before long. It won’t be a good look. As Trump would say: Sad.

The hummers love this tree with all their hearts.

The morning rooster

Walking through the living room just after dawn, I noticed this rooster. The light was coming through the window some distance away, but light travels. It was an illustration of what I had been thinking about earlier. As I head off into dreamland every evening, I hear dogs in the distance. When I wake before dawn, I hear roosters.

It’s usually not a tranquil world here, but you grow accustomed to it.


The garden grows

We’re firmly into March now and, the Goddess willing, there will be no more freezes, so I decided to call Abel the Deadpan Yardman to come over from where he lives on the other side of the sex motel, and trim the Willy-Nilly Zone. That’s the area just off the downstairs terraza where things grow wildly, i.e. willy-nilly.

The Willy-Nilly Zone has two sides because the sidewalk marches through its middle.

Side One, before. The monster aloe vera long lived here.
Side One, after. At the top left are bridal bouquets that haven’t bloomed in a few years.
Side Two, before. Bridal bouquets, red-hot pokers and at the rear, Birds of Paradise.
Side Two, after. Too early for flowers, but now they have space.

Less clutter lets one breathe easier. The days are beautiful here now, but it won’t last long because Springtime is the worst season hereabouts. The landscape gets drier and browner, and dust becomes a problem, which means my child bride wants the windows shut at all times, and they usually are. The only exceptions being at night, especially the bedroom windows, when Springtime stuffiness is challenging.


I say I hope the cold is gone now, but that’s not a given. Look at this photo from March 2016 that I snapped from the upstairs terraza. The milder weather has inspired me to change socks. My winter sock is a wool blend from Costco. My new springtime — and perhaps summer too — sock, also from Costco, are Pumas.

I am fond of pumas, panthers, whatever you want to call them, due to an entheogenic vision I had 25 years ago, which was the inspiration for the Hacienda’s front door, a design of my own making.