Tag Archives: rain

What the hey!?

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Just this morning. Circle of hippie women and the green floral frog.

IT RAINED last night, which is against the rules.

Normally, February is clear, blue and cold at night, cool in the day. The last couple of days, however, have escaped the mold. It’s been overcast, cold and very windy.

This morning dawned overcast, but it’s mostly blue before 10 a.m., and the cursed wind has diminished.

Lots on the calendar. We will soon flee our hardscrabble barrio due to Carnival. We’ll go to San Miguel de Allende where, among other things, we’ll visit a friend of mine from high school. She and her husband are spending three months there.

They live in North Carolina.

She’ll be the first high school friend I’ve seen in over 40 years. She’s a retired professor of Chinese something-or-other. She’s very smart, which is why we were friends.

Shortly after returning, we’ll go to Mexico City for our twice-yearly airing of the condo. It’s highly likely that we will actually get our hands on the deed at last.

On returning from Mexico City, we’ll hire a crew to do stuff both here at the Hacienda and at our downtown Casita, mostly maintenance, but we’ll probably remove the grass, and plant stone and concrete in the yard’s semicircle.

yard
Photo from a few years back. We sold that blue Chevy in 2014.

I’ve been wanting to reduce the grass for years. Maybe it will start this year with that semicircle. Depends on the price. But the peso-dollar exchange rate makes me feel rich.

I’ll keep you posted next month because I know you’re on the edge of your seat about this.

In the meantime, I’ve got to walk the plaza now, take a shower, get dressed, drive to an outdoor market, buy veggies for stir-fry, and fix lunch. Pork chops, pasta and that stir-fry.

I’m a very handy hubby.

The evening wall

walll

AS I STEPPED through the Hacienda’s steel door from the street yesterday evening, I spotted this.

The day was fading, and the sky was gray. It was about to rain, which it should not do in mid-November because it’s simply not right. We’ve had enough by now.

Speaking of water, I was returning from paying our water bill, which I do every four months. Most people pay monthly, but I pay four months at a whack just for convenience.

The water office is a block and a half away in a corner building on the plaza. The building is likely about four centuries old. The office is only open the last two weeks of each month.

A woman waits in there at a paint-flaking desk where sits a computer. I don’t know what the computer is for because she does everything by hand on sheets of paper.

The monthly charge for municipal water is 50 pesos, which is about $2.50 U.S. bucks these days. Water usage is not metered. It’s a flat rate for everyone.

And it’s the honor system. Nobody gets a bill.

The woman writes a receipt by hand from a receipt book she likely purchased in a stationary store. I leave 200 pesos for the four months, walk out the door and head home.

Opening the steel door to the Hacienda, I look up at the Alamo Wall, the monkey and the swan. It’s a nice evening in spite of the threatening rain, which did fall later.

Object of envy

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How it looked today, June 30 of 2016.

HERE I SIT on the veranda, just in from the morning walk around the neighborhood plaza, something I do most days to maintain my boyish physique and high humor.

I am an ideal object of envy. No job. No money worries. My health is good. My wife is young and beautiful. The weather is wonderful. Waffles and maple syrup (100%) await.

Birds sing. Burros bray. Horses neigh. Dogs bark. Hogs oink. All within earshot, night and day. And last night till 2 a.m., musicians howled on the plaza, so we slept with earplugs, something that doesn’t warrant envy, alas.

Hereabouts 11 a.m., the sky is blue and white. The temperature is 69. My utility bills are low, and my grass is high, green and damp. My wives are all alive and my daughter too.

I have no dogs, no cats, no outstanding bills, and both of our cars run smoothly though they could use a wash. It’s the rainy season, a constant battle for self-respecting vehicles.

The waffles are ready now, I’m advised. The maple syrup too, the daily second breakfast around the hour of 11.

It’s an enviable position in which to find oneself.

Who’ll stop the rain?

after
After: With the rain gutters.
before
Before: No rain gutters.

SPRING APPEARED over the past few days. I’ve sported short-sleeved shirts thrice. One is brown-checkered, one yellow-checkered and the third was a rose-colored linen.

We’ve replaced winter’s goose-down comforter on the king bed with a wool blanket that, we discovered on the first night, was inadequate for the cool air that flows in the window.

Another blanket will go atop it, but the goose down is retired till next winter. Short sleeves are in order for daytime.

Spring on the mountaintop brings numerous changes. One is the hour switch, that irrational nonsense that soldiers on yearly out of pure inertia. That happens next weekend.

Yes, the schedule is slightly different than what happens north of the Rio Bravo.

People tend to think — people who do not live here — oh, boy! Springtime! Fact is that it’s the worst season. It gets stuffy in the afternoons and evenings, and then there’s the dust.

The rainy season changes all that, cooling things off and inspiring Mother Nature to go full-tilt green. It’s nice.

That arrives in June.

Since we built the Hacienda 13 years ago, we’ve had endless problems with the downstairs veranda flooding from water that runs in during downpours.

Finally, we’ve done something about that. It’s a two-prong solution, the greater of which you see in the photos:

Rain gutters!

Common sense would have had them installed long ago, but common sense often is in short supply in our house.

The second prong is work done on the floor under the fourth arch you see in the photos, the rear, left.

It’s an entryway and previously was flat, providing a sweet path for blown-in rainwater. It now has a gentle incline urging rainwater outward instead of inward. Duh!

I’d like to jump completely over springtime every year, going straight from the goose-down comforter and coats to the rain of cool summer. But the Goddess ignores my opinion.

But by October, we’ll be asking, Who’ll Stop the Rain?

A winter shot

window

datura

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a season makes. The top shot is through our bedroom window this week. The lower one is the view through the same window in rainy summer.

A sharp eye will detect the butchered trunk of the golden datura in the topmost photo. Datura, like the banana, takes winter very badly, and must be whacked back yearly.

But it’s an enthusiastic, stubborn plant and swiftly returns in springtime, giving us quite a view from the bedroom on our perfect summertime mornings.

The blooming rain

aloe vera

THE INTERMINABLE rain should begin winding down in about a month. It started in June, as it almost always does and should, and it’s continued daily till now and onward. It’s a blessing.

But in September, one starts to think: Enough already.

Every year the yard plants increase in size, which is not good most of the time, especially since I’ve grown weary of controlling them. Take this aloe vera, for instance. When we moved here in 2003, I snipped a twig from an aloe vera in the yard of the rental where we lived before.

I stuck that twig in the soil next to the downstairs veranda. It grew. How nice, I thought, so I yanked off some pieces and stuck one against the property wall between us and the neighbors, not the sex motel, the other way where the grumpy people live with their nasty kids.

Another piece went into the ground next to the bedroom. That’s the “twig” in this photo. Just around the corner, out of the photo, is where I planted the fourth twig. It is the smallest of the quartet. But growing.

Well, here’s what happened: The one next to the veranda had to be removed last year due to its monster size, which reminds me now of what my second ex-wife, an avid gardener, often mentioned. When you plant something in a spot, think about its eventual size.

Neglect this step, and you may be sorry in time.

The one against the property wall grows daily, but it’s still smaller than this baby in the photo. I chop off a limb or two each year in part just to show it who’s boss, that it’s my bitch, not the other way around.

In the 1990s, I planted a little aloe vera next to my house in Houston. It never did a dang thing, just sat there like a wart on a log. I also planted a nopal cactus in a whisky barrel. Never did much either, and my then-wife removed it after she kicked me out because it was unfavorable feng shui, which is not something you want to mess with, she said.

Here at the Hacienda some years back, I planted a little piece of nopal. It’s now about 18 bristling feet high. I know squat about its feng shui, but it is not something you want to mess with either. Wish I had not planted it.

But the rain will end next month, which is the introduction to our most glorious period: November, which kicks off with a long night in the cemetery with candles, marigolds and memories of dead relatives.

Top of the world

roofABOUT 8 A.M., I climbed to the roof of the Hacienda with my camera. It was cool and nice.

The days are getting noticeably shorter. It’s still raining every day, but I’m optimistic that will be ending soon. Been raining daily since June, so we’re ready for the seven-month breather. We are very wet.

Thinking on it the other day, it occurred to me that every American I know of down here, either personally or online, is beyond happy to be living in Mexico. I cannot say the same for those above the Rio Bravo where the citizenry seems to be in constant turmoil — doubt, worry and anger.

Comments on news websites, when Mexico is the topic, almost universally reflect an intense dislike of my new nation. If it’s a right-wing news source such as Breitbart, illegal aliens are the cause. If it’s a left-wing website like HuffPost, they think we’re all living in abject poverty and corruption.

Well, think what you want. I love every morning, afternoon and evening of this place.

But I am ready for the rain to peter out.

The tilted birdbath

daturaWHAT SORT  of loopy person leaves a birdbath tilted for over a decade when it requires only a few seconds to set it straight? That person, of course, is me.

But today I spent the few seconds and made it level. The birds had never seemed to mind or even notice. I long noticed but did nothing. The birdbath is a clay bowl that sits atop a carved wooden pedestal, knee-high. The pedestal is rotting, but that’s not what made the whole shebang off-kilter. It’s sat crooked since it was new.

I took the bowl off this morning, and moved the pedestal from where it’s rested so long. There was grime below, some bugs and a worm that looked perfect for fishing. I swept it all away with a broom, into the grass.

A slight shift to the right and a bit of circular movement set it straight. I put the bowl back on top and it was level, the first time in a long time. The birds still will not care, so this is a strictly human issue.

It’s not like the birds need my water supply right now because it rains every day. Pools and puddles are all over the place. No matter. My birdbath is quite popular, but it will become more popular when the rainy season ends next month and a pool will be darned difficult to find.

Summer has ended, of course. Our high mountain world is wet, and the plants are happy. When we open the bedroom curtain in the morning, this is what we see, the photo above, golden datura in a frenzy of flowers.

The big aloe vera bushes are full of orange stalks. The birds of paradise have come out to play, the plants, not actual birds, which are not mountain fowl. We must make do with the flowers.

I was sitting on the front terraza a spell this morning, admiring it all and thinking what a lucky fellow I am.

But I should have straightened that birdbath a long time ago. A personality flaw.

Maguey boner

tall

IT’S AUGUST, and an old man’s fancy turns to stuff of the earth.

Sometimes that stuff gets directly in our faces. When we came back from Mexico City last week, gone just four days, this tequila maguey had quite the stiffie.

That entire stalk appeared over those four days. For perspective, know that the regular spiked fronds circling below are over six feet from the ground.

This baby means business. The pole in the middle must rise about 14 feet or so.

Alas, it spells death for the plant, which I stuck into the dirt years ago when it was about eight inches tall. After poling up, so to speak, the plant has done its work, whatever that is, here on Earth. It dies.

This is the second time we’ve had a tequila maguey do this, so I have experience. I had heard that the plant dies after sporting its woodie, but I did not know it took so long to die. Mostly, it just sits there, looking woebegone. Finally, after a year or two, I had the first one uprooted, which is amazingly easy, and toted away. Before uprooting, it’s best to saw off the boner. Ouch!

That will be this plant’s fate too. There is one more in the yard, younger, and it will do the same one day, and that will be the end of it. I will plant no more. They are a hassle anyway, with those constantly sprouting swords.

August heads toward its finale. When September arrives, the end of the rainy season will be in sight. Normally, it dribbles a bit into October and then stops. November is our most beautiful month. It’s when you should visit.