Roses of September

It’s too close to the golden datura. They’re bosom buddies.

Like virtually every plant in the Hacienda yard, I purchased this rosebush without knowing what I was buying. The flower is pretty. Turns out that it’s a climbing rose, and I have given it nowhere to climb, a defect I intend to remedy next spring.

With chicken wire.

But until then, it’s just droops. The flowers are nice, however.

I initially planted four rosebushes along the Alamo Wall. I have uprooted two for various crimes, and of the remaining two only one produces flowers, so the other’s time is limited. I just have not gotten around to murdering it yet.

Speaking of plant murder, a crime I have acquired some fame for committing, I have another victim in the sights of my virtual bazooka, the final aloe vera which, like the two I have already committed to the dust bin of history, has gotten too big for its britches.

It’s flowering up a storm, common this time of year.

But I will not murder this one because it’s my last aloe vera, and one needs the medicinal properties on occasion, plus it puts out pretty flowers. It will merely get a close shave.

I’ll have to phone the plumber who is my go-to guy for serious yard trimming. He has access to a chainsaw and pickup truck, neither of which are owned by my standard gardener, Abel the Deadpan Yardman.

Stay tuned. Bloodshed to come.

New neighbors en route

When we built the Hacienda and moved in more than 17 years ago, we had neighbors directly to the right, a vacant lot across the street and a vacant lot (with a resident cow) to the left.

Now we have a sex motel to the left, the same neighbors to the right, and what appears to be a house under construction across the street. Exactly what’s going on there is a mystery. The property owner lives about two blocks away. We asked what he was building, and he told us he was just putting a wall around the lot.

But that is baloney, the sort of baloney the locals voice on a regular basis. It’s going to be a house or some other sort of edifice. We hope it’s not going to be a salon de fiesta, a rental space for parties, which are quite common in Mexico.

But that’s unlikely … he said optimistically.

***

This morning, I made my biweekly trip to the post office downtown to check my box. There was nothing. If what I read is correct, Trump is mailing me a check for over $2,000 to ease the financial blow the Kung Flu has dealt me. Of course, I have been dealt no financial blow whatsoever by the Kung Flu, or the China Flu as Trump likes to call it.

Love his sassy humor, don’t you?

I’ve given some thought to what I would do with that dough. First, I’d have to figure out some way to cash a dollar check here in the middle of Mexico. There are exchange houses, but I’ve not used one in ages, and I rather doubt they would react well to a check for over $2,000. My bank will not accept it. Too early to fret about that. It might never arrive.

But if it does, I’ve decided to give a good chunk to a niece and her husband who recently opened a small business in the nearby state capital. They sell cheeses and other dairy products, but cash is a problem for them. They bought a used display case, which immediately stopped working. Trump to the rescue!

That he dislikes us Mexicans is a bald-faced lie.

***

Let’s move on to weather, something that interests everyone. This rainy season has been the lightest I remember. Maybe it’s that “Climate Change” Greta is so hysterical about. If so, I’m a fan because the rain has been quite sufficient for the yard, but not so much that we’re wading in mud for months, which is usually the case.

Hooray for Climate Change!

We have happy plants.

The cusp of Hell

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Grass turning yellow and grim.

LIFE IS ABOUT to get even lousier!

Next week we enter the first of the two worst months of the year here, April and May. They are dry and warm, a warm that comes indoors at night, especially upstairs where we have our evening salad with Netflix, and becomes incredibly stuffy.

The low upstairs ceiling does not help.

We strip to tank tops and skivvies. We have no air-conditioning, but two years ago we bought some sort of water-tank cooler, and it assists a lot upstairs, but it’s loud. For the bedroom downstairs we purchased an oscillating tower fan, which also is a boon.

Why we waited 15 years to make those meager moves is a mystery. Before we just suffered with a pedestal fan upstairs that blew heat around.

Downstairs, we had an elegant ceiling fan in the bedroom that was nearly useless. A saving grace of downstairs is a higher ceiling, especially in the living room. But even in the bedroom, the ceiling is higher than upstairs.

April and May are incredibly dry. The mountains turn brown. The campesinos burn fields, which sends ash and dust everywhere. You’d think we’d open the windows in the warm months, but we close them instead, keeping dust out and a bit of cool inside.

Spring is not a joyous time at the Hacienda. We just buck up.

Don’t visit in spring.

Toil and beauty

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Lovely red flowers adored by hummingbirds.

JANUARY IS THE time for annual chores, but the chores are done before a backdrop of beauty here at the Hacienda. Well, at least till the first overnight freeze clobbers us.

That likely won’t be long in coming.

The chores include paying for our post office box for another year. Paying for water at the Downtown Casita for another year. Paying property taxes for our three places. For the Hacienda and the Downtown Casita, we go to City Hall. For the Mexico City condo, which continues to be rented to a nephew university student, I do that online.

I won’t even mention that property tax amounts because it would shock and sadden those of you who live above the Rio Bravo and pay through the nose. The water bills too.

The Hacienda’s unmetered water runs 720 pesos annually, about $38 USD.

January is also a great time to begin outdoor renovations because the annual monsoon is on hold till June. The Hacienda is almost 17 years old and, like aging people, is beginning to sag. That includes the Romance Sidewalk, which was sagging at one spot, literally.

So the guy who was painting here for a couple of weeks — he finished painting — turned his attention to repairing the sidewalk. First, he ripped up the sagging section.

There was a little cave below, empty space caused by Lord knows what. Were there bears living in there? Wolverines? Rats? I neglected to snap a photo. But here’s how it looks after the cavern was filled with sand and concrete detritus.

romance

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And here above is how it looks this morning. Ready for romantic walks in a level manner for another 17 years. We’ve now finished this season’s renovations at the Hacienda. However, there will be more work at the Downtown Casita. We’ll hire a blacksmith to install a circular stairway from the balcony to the roof and a handrail for the stairs inside.

A homeowner’s work is never done.