House of horrors

Seven feet high! Doesn’t look it. I just finished whacking it back.

I DON’T WANT this to become a gardening website, but awful things merit mention.

The plant in the photo, a philodendron, is about seven feet tall.  Before moving to Mexico, I thought philodendrons were little, potted plants for the home. Only sometimes.


Better Homes & Gardens says this about philodendrons:

(It’s) one of the toughest houseplants you can possibly grow. Whether you choose upright or trailing/climbing types, they are perfectly happy in a home setting. Even people with so-called “black thumbs” are usually successful at growing these plants. Philodendrons are very low maintenance and can sit idle for long periods. You can train them up a trellis or simply leave them to their own devices — philodendrons will survive no matter what.


By toughest houseplants, they don’t mean tough to grow. Quite the contrary. It’s a tough customer. Very low maintenance? Will survive no matter what? No joke!

Not only does this grow easily. It multiplies. It started with one little stalk about a decade ago. Now it has many and continues to add more. And the plant is creepy. As it grows, it tosses “stuff” below. It’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see in a werewolf movie, the scene in which the villagers discover what happened in the forest overnight. Oh, gross!

But this is one plant I do not plan to remove because it doesn’t toss trash over a wide area, just at its base. I do wish it would stop the proliferation of stalks, however.

I foolishly planted another in the small, carport, garden area of the Downtown Casita. It too is beefing up at a remarkable pace. I never seem to learn.

The wheelbarrow contains just a bit of the gooey, grim material found at the plant’s base. The photo does not do justice to the miserable stuff.

21 thoughts on “House of horrors

  1. You do know you can take those stalks you have cut and stick them in the ground as is, and they will grow. I have several in my yard, and two are huge. I love them though I’d live in the jungle if it weren’t so hot and humid.


  2. For 22 years we tended extensive gardens. It was a fun time, but I’m glad we sold all that work. Now we have 29 acres of woods. No gardens. I’m ecstatic. Well, actually, I’m growing a couple of marijuana plants this summer because it’s now legal up here. I’m regretting it already. You seem to be on the right track to less maintenance with all that whacking and hacking.


    1. Brent: I’ve never been keen on yardwork, and I grow even less keen with every passing year.

      Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrives Saturday morning for the yard’s first grass mowing. I had the mower serviced two weeks ago, and I will buy fresh gasoline tomorrow. Another yard year is off and running. Egad!


  3. What is the make of that mower? I paid over $500 for one that looks just like that one. It was horrible! Every time I turned loose of the handle to pick up a piece of trash, the damn thing quit. Then, it was impossible to get running again. There is a rubber primer bulb that rots out on the first hot day. And then, there is that thing at the back of the mower that prevents one from pulling it backward. If one mows into a corner, it makes it hard to get the thing out of it. I hated that damn thing. I hoped the neighborhood thieves would take it, but no, they were wise to it.

    Never buy any thing with that rubber primer bulb. They may work in Sweden, but they sure don’t in Arizona. My wife finally cut a deal with some mojado to do the lawn and take care of the trees. That worked for years, but then he fell out of a tree and was injured pretty badly. He lit out for New York City. God only knows what he is doing there. She is looking for another lawn guy. In the meantime, the lawn is a hay crop.


    1. Señor Gill: Funny you should ask. The lawnmower is a Frankenstein monster. The motor is a Briggs & Stratton, but the body is Craftsman from Sears. It started out as full Craftsman, but the motor went south after about eight years, and the shop that replaced it stuck a Briggs & Stratton motor on it without asking me first. I’ve not been a fan of Briggs & Stratton for many years. Their motors seem old-fashioned, and they likely are. But this one, now about two years old, has worked fine. Both the original Craftsman motor and now the Briggs & Stratton have primer bulbs. I’ve never had a problem with that. Works great. Both the previous motor and this one start quickly. The mower does have that thing at the back that makes pulling it toward the rear less than ideal, but it’s never bothered me too much. No big deal.


    2. Señor Gill, P.S.: And, of course, if you let go of the mower handle, the motor stops. It’s designed that way, a safety feature. Again, does not bug me. If I need to let go and don’t want the motor to stop, I just loop the crank rope around the rod that makes the motor stop, and the motor keeps running. One must be clever.


  4. No, it wouldn’t bother you if it was Abel pushing it. I had the carburetor on mine replaced once to the tune of about $200. It took less than a week for the primer bulb to die. It gets real hot here. I may be strange, but I am not about to keep the mower in the refrigeration just to preserve that damn bulb.
    It went so much nicer when the mojado was taking care of the lawn. He had his crew do it all with weedeaters. They would show up, and everything was done in an hour or so. The wife would pay him cash, and then gave him a twenty propina. I could tell from the looks his crew gave him that he never shared it.

    I used to keep chickens in the backyard. My wife hated the rooster. She never understood chicken love. The chickens would reduce the whole yard to moon dust in a week or so. One day she gave the rooster to the mojado, and that night he had a fatal encounter with some red chili. Then next month, she gave them the hens. Hint: never walk in a chicken yard with open-toed shoes and red nail polish.


    1. Señor Gill: Yes, Abel pushes it now, but I pushed it before Abel came on the scene. Didn’t bother me.

      But I am appalled that you employ illegal aliens! Shame, shame, shame! Hire bona fide American citizens, amigo. And you appear to pay your illegals quite a bit. Abel mows and weedeats my yard for about $7.50 U.S. However, I’m gonna give him a raise this year to about $10, but he’ll also have to sweep the Romance Sidewalk of grass cuttings. I’ve been doing that up to now.


      1. He charged us $400 and then she gave him a twenty as a propina. It sounds like a lot, but it is the going rate. And we have a large lot with a lot of trees. We only had it done every other month. Things don’t grow real fast here. It is real dry, so if we don’t water a spot, nothing grows there.
        As to the question of hiring illegals, if the government removed them, there would be nobody here but us and the cats.
        For what it is worth, the Mexican mojados are upset by the arrival of the Central Americans in what they regard as their territory.
        This will not end well.


        1. Señor Gill: So it’s fine and dandy for us Mexicans to cross the border illegally, but we don’t want Central Americans to do the same? Ha! Actually, the Mexicans who live along the border (in Mexico) are really pissed off about the Central Americans who have landed among them. Ah, the endless irony. Okay for us to border bust, but it’s not okay for others. Human beings, gotta love ’em.


          1. I see AMLO is planning a rally in Tijuana. Those folks were really upset with the migrants, and now they think they are going to have to deal with a tariff issue. Let’s see how this all turns out.

            Mexico needs to secure it’s southern border.

            ICE has been dropping off migrants by the hundreds at the Greyhound Bus station. It will be 110 degrees next week. The bus company does not let them on the grounds if they are not buying bus tickets. These people are pretty much penniless. The wife’s cousin has been working with her church to assist them, but now there are more migrants than church members.

            The Democrats want them in the country, but they don’t want them in their cities. San Francisco and Seattle are a lot better equipped to deal with these people than are Yuma and Nogales. Let Nancy Pelosi solve the problem the Democrats have created.


            1. Señor Gill: As the United States needs a high wall from the Pacific to the Gulf, so does Mexico need something similar on its southern border. Since that border is far, far shorter than the U.S. border, it would be much easier. Both walls should be backed up by a deep moat with hungry crocs.


  5. Felipe: I bought a lawnmower at Walmart for $149 in 2007, used it to mow a 1/4-acre lawn for 6 years. It had a bulb, Briggs & Stratton engine, and a shut-off handle. When we sold that house, I gave the mower to my neighbour, who mows his 1/4 acre with it. I changed the oil every couple of years. It still has the original sparkplug. In the spring, push the bulb three times, and it starts on the second pull. After that, when you haul it out to mow, push the bulb three times and it starts first pull. If you stop to move something, you just pull, no bulb. If somebody told me it needed $50 in repairs, I’d put a ‘FREE’ sign on it, push it to the curb, and go back to Walmart for a new one.

    Now I live in a place where someone comes and mows the lawn, like you.


    1. Kris: I’ve never had a lick of trouble with the bulb. Yes, when it’s cold you push the bulb. If the motor is warm, you don’t need to. Señor Gill’s bulb problems surprised me. It has always worked fine for me.

      I bought my mower at Sears eight or 10 years ago. Don’t have a clue what I paid for it.


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