The depths of August

Fifteen minutes earlier, it was impossible to sit there due to the fronds.

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It’s worse every August, two months into the monsoon season. I curse my planting of so many things years ago when I was a horticultural ignoramus. The philodendron in the photo is an example. I’m resting my old bones after removing about a dozen of those huge leaves, which were drooping to the grass.

Speaking of grass, all of what you see and much, much more will be stone and concrete by January. That’s this fall’s reversal plan, turning greenery into lovely, maintenance-free rock.

By mid-August, the constant rain since early June has put muscle into the yard. I really should hire a gardener. But wait! I have one, Abel the Deadpan Yardman, and he does more than mow on occasion, mostly tossing what I cut into the ravine at the tail of the dead-end street out back. I just need to alter his job description.

When I replace this grass with stone, he’ll have even less to mow, but I’ll pay him the same, so I need to provide more chores.

Looking to another part of the yard, we encounter this below, the Willy-Nilly Zone, at least half of it. This is where the monster aloe vera lived until I had it removed last year. It was at the back, to the right. It monopolized at least a quarter of the space, and since its departure, eager beavers took up the slack. Most are weeds.

What is a weed? It’s a plant growing where you don’t want it.

I tried to control them at first, but it was an impossible task. Thankfully, the zone is trapped by stone and concrete! There are some desired plants in there. The datura tree, a stand of red-hot pokers, a bridal bouquet that doesn’t bloom much anymore, some lilies, that cactus in the foreground.

Also, a line of something I planted along the near border 18 years ago. And some ground cover my child bride tossed in there way back. But there are lots of weeds too. It all rather blends together, however. It’s not called the Willy-Nilly Zone for no reason.

Maybe I should yank it all out and lay concrete and stone.

That’s always a superlative option.

The Willy-Nilly Zone, full of Lord knows what.

A July report

Looking along the Alamo Wall on this drizzly morning.

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The Mexican mail system is famous for its pokiness, but today takes the cake. I did my biweekly run to the post office this morning to check my box, and there was a letter from Hearst pensions. It was dated back in January. I’ve had mail take a month or two on rare occasion but never six months. Stamped on the envelope was this message:

Missent to Malaysia.

Now that was quite a detour. I wish I could have gone along for the ride. But I don’t think Mexico did it. I think the Gringos were at fault. Mexico, Malaysia, it all looks the same to them.

Luckily, the Hearst envelope contained nothing of significance. But Social Security sends recipients who live outside the United States a yearly letter we must sign and return to prove we’re still alive.

The Social Security letter was not sent last year because of the Kung Flu. I imagine all those civil servants were at home, smiling, while their salaries were direct-deposited to their banks and they were out back grilling burgers on the barbie. So far the letter has not come this year either. It normally arrives in May or June.

Government employees must be loving the Kung Flu hysteria. Endless paid vacations. There’s a reason that governments almost everywhere are promoting Kung Flu. It’s manna from heaven.

If you work for the government.

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An annual appearance.

We’re hard into the rainy season now. The grass is green, and flowers are blooming. This morning, as I raised the curtain in the bedroom, I spotted a black-vented oriole perched on a red-hot poker plant.

And the hummingbirds are happy. This yellow flower comes from a bulb that hides underground most of the year, but it pops up a blooming plant annually about now to greet the rainfall.

Another plus to the daily rains is that it fills the galvanized tub from a rooftop drainpipe, and I just have to dip the watering can in there, easy peasy, as they say. You get your little pleasures where you can.

The watering can delivers drinks to the potted plants that live beneath the roof of the downstairs terraza.

It was drizzling when I drove to the post office around 9 a.m., and I wondered if Abel the Deadpan Yardman would show up today for the weekly mowing. As I write this at almost 11, he’s a no-show, and it’s not drizzling anymore. If he doesn’t come today, he’ll come tomorrow. He’s quite reliable, and he likes money, as we all do.

The ever-full tub of summer with water for the terraza plants.