Hogs, hats, Mozart and chores

Art can appear most anywhere.

YESTERDAY ABOUT noon, I was sitting on a web chair beside the glass-top table on the Jesus Patio. I was sporting my thick, black, winter hoodie with the hood atop my head. It was a bit overcast and quite cool.

To flip the hood up, I had to remove the old straw hat, which I sat on the table. It was then that I noticed that I had an art shot. The camera was with me, so I photographed. That’s the cursed peach tree, sans leaves, you see reflected.

I bought that hat for just 50 pesos a few years ago in Zihuatanejo.

For a good length of time, a hog next door was squealing bloody murder, and that’s probably because murder was in his future. They come, they go, they’re eaten.

In addition to the camera, I also had my Kindle because my initial intention on sitting out there was to start a new book, a brief bio of Mozart, but I got sleepy, set it down and started to doze. I woke a bit later, refreshed, and began to think of spring repairs.

Every December I have a list already made up of “spring” repairs for the Hacienda. However, I usually start them as soon as January arrives. If I actually wait till spring I may not have enough time to finish. It depends on the length of the list.

The list is usually work that needs to be done outside, either in the yard or on the house’s exterior. Doing such labor from June through October is a challenge due to the daily downpours. The time for work is from January through May.

This year’s list, which I’ve already printed out, consists of eight items.

  1. This is the biggie. A major section of the yard will have the grass removed, and cement and rock installed. Included in this is the removal of the last giant maguey from the yard. Never plant a giant maguey in your yard.
  2. Renovate the exterior of the downstairs bathroom window. It’s tatty, and the screen needs to be replaced.
  3. Repair a hole in a corner of the roof over the downstairs veranda. It leaks during the rainy season.
  4. Reroute a drain spout over the service patio.* Currently, it dumps rain into the service patio, but I want the rain dumped out on the street.
  5. Remove a plastic laminate roof that’s over part of the service patio.
  6. Install a new one, bigger and better. Gotta cover the new propane tank.
  7. Install a plastic laminate lid over the water tank and propane tank on the roof of our Downtown Casita. The sun is playing havoc with them.
  8. Get a blacksmith to make and install a handrail on the upper section of the stairwell here at the Hacienda. The bottom, larger, section already has one.

I’ll be getting price estimates in January. Contributions accepted from readers.

So there I was on the Jesus Patio with Mozart, the hat, the camera, hearing the hog and thinking of springtime chores as the cool breezes blew.

* * * *

* Patio de servicio, something most Mexican homes have. It’s where the water heater, propane tank, scrub sink, etc., are installed. Ours also has a clothesline. Service patios are usually outside.


Man who eats weeds

Felipe strikes a pose.

IT APPEARS our rainy season is winding down. Perhaps it’s even ended though that is unlikely.

But the grass continues to grow.

While Abel the Deadpan Neighbor mows the lawn, I keep weedeater duties in my own hands because whenever I turn over weedeating to a local, the tool is abused.

In a post last May titled Busy, busy boy, I mentioned my travails with weedeaters, which are generally cussed machines. I had gone through a couple of brands till I got a Stihl.

It’s a German make, and I call it a Nazi machine. So far, I’m pretty happy with it, the happiest I’ve ever been with a weedeater. It starts quite easily, and it keeps going.

A weedeater that does that is above average.

After weedeating Wednesday, I called my child bride out of her pastry kitchen nearby and had her snap this photo. That’s La Señora Bones and her dead kid behind me.

I’m the live one in the grass-green shirt.

Green revolution


IT’S RAINED a lot recently, and that means work. Yuck!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore. I’ve, uh, outgrown it. I farm it out, so to speak, to the deadpan neighbor named Abel who has no brother called Cain. That I know of. He does have a brother, however. Probably named Pablo.

Abel came Saturday for the first mow of the season. The rainy days have not arrived in full force just yet. It’s a touch early. But it’s been coming down more than normal for May, and the grass is gobbling it up, turning green, and growing at an incredible pace, especially around the edges.

This photo shows a corner in the yard, very near the dining room window, so we look at this corner quite a bit. Two-thirds of it was planted years back by my child bride who has the annoying habit of putting down things that spread. Then she goes about her business, baking pastries and leaving her plant mischief to me. I do so wish she would not do that.

There are three things growing in that corner. A philodendron, the centerpiece which I planted, and the stuff she planted: that ground cover — a real hog-wild spreader — and the vine growing up the wall, another constant battle for me, not her.

I have to keep that vine from crawling over into the neighbor’s property (They are grumpy people) on the left and over into our Garden Patio on the right. I call it the Garden Patio back there because it’s where I store yard gear. It’s not attractive. But the name’s nice.

Garden Patio. Sounds like a grand place to sit, but it isn’t. It’s concrete and a buried water tank.

The rains of summer bring major changes to our world. It cools us off. It puts mud on our boots and constant puddles on our terrazas, niggling stuff to deal with. But the overall effect is positive, mostly because it keeps us cool through summertime. And the world turns lovely.

Here at 7,200 feet above the not-so-distant Pacific shores.