Silence of the hens

WE HAVE ENTERED a new era at the Hacienda.

For almost 16 years, we have endured various, usually minor but persistent, problems due to the gang of chickens running wild next door.

Because of the sourpuss neighbors’ apple tree that abuts our property wall and because of the chicken flock’s fondness for snoozing up there at night, the fowl have long noticed the literally greener pasture next door.

New ImageSo they jump over. Oh, not all that often, but too often for my taste. Thankfully, they soon weary of this new world or perhaps they miss their sisters, so they flap back over the wall to where they belong, their familiar world of pigs, dogs, horses, etc.*

Recently, something odd happened. A hen leaped over and decided to stay. I addressed that challenge here if you missed the drama.

Two days ago, while I was standing on the upstairs terraza admiring the lovely morning, I noticed something next door because the terraza offers a clear shot of the neighbors’ yard. An enclosure of chicken wire, and inside that enclosure were all the darn chickens. Trapped!

Even better, the new chicken coop abuts the wall on the far side of their property, not on our side. And yesterday morning, unlike all mornings for years, the dawn cacaphony of cackles was drastically reduced. The coop, unlike the apple tree, seems not to encourage sunrise conviviality.

With luck, this situation will continue, but things tend to fall apart in time next door, both literally and figuratively. Our fingers are crossed.

One wonders if the neighbors missed the wandering hen who came here and never returned, or if building the chicken-wire coop so soon after was pure coincidence. No matter. All’s well that ends well.

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* You always want uninvited migrants, i.e. illegal aliens, to do precisely that, go back where they came from as soon as possible.

A morning tradition

MOST EVERY morning following croissantitos and orange marmelade or Costco bagels and cream cheese lite, plus café americano negro, of course, we retire to the living room and sit on the red sofa.

The music machine is already playing. I turn that on before bagels or croissantitos. This morning it was Madeleine Peyroux who was serenading us. She’s been our morning music for quite a few weeks now.

And will remain so till we weary of her.

This is how the scene appeared this morning. It doesn’t last long because we are a very busy pair, but it lasts long enough to count.

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(Note: The rather loud tick, tock, tick you hear is my Aunt Ned’s (R.I.P.) antique wall clock which dates from about 1885. I date from somewhat later than that.)

A full Saturday

saturday
A very lovely morning after a pretty nasty week, weatherwise.

SATURDAYS ARE variable, but some are far more varied, i.e. busy, than others, and this is one of those Saturdays. I pause to fill you in due to my being a sharing sort of fellow.

When Saturday falls on the first of a month, then things get even fuller. There are Saturday chores, and there are first-of-month chores. There are also occasional chores, and one of those fell on this Saturday too.

That was the twice-a-month 8:30 a.m. drive downtown to check my postoffice box. I did that only to discover the postoffice shut due to this also being inauguration day for our new president (ugh!) in Mexico City. Why they had to close the postoffice here is one of those Latino mysteries.

So I came home with no mail, but since I almost never get mail, this is no big thing. That’s right, I get virtually no mail in my postoffice box, not even the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

I also don’t get sales calls at dinnertime.

Saturday morning is when Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrives to mow the lawn. Normally, we’ve ended that by December, but stubborn rains in November have kept the grass green and jubilant.

The first of the month means I check the two cars, the fluid levels, the tire P.S.I., that sort of thing. I did not do that today. Tomorrow is okay.

Saturday morning is when the plants on the veranda get watered, so I did that. It’s also when I shot the photo. It’s a cool, lovely day. I also wiped the Jesus Patio table and web chairs. You can see them in the photo.

Saturday is when my child bride sells her pastries in the afternoon on the downtown plaza, and I accompany her for the first few hours. As I write this, around noon, she’s out in her private kitchen baking up a storm.

Simultaneously, I hear pigs screaming bloody murder next door. They are not kind to their pigs. Sometimes they do murder them.

My neighborhood is not for the squeamish.

Though not specifically a Saturday chore, I washed the Honda because it was grubby due to the nasty weather this week, lots of rain and mud, and one wants to present an elegant face to the world.

And after Abel the Deadpan Yardman cuts the grass and heads home, two doors down, with his weedeater, I upend the mower and hose it clean.

It’s a Briggs & Stratton.

Furthermore, arriving this afternoon while we sit on the plaza hawking pastries is a woman from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who will live in our Downtown Casita for a month, maybe two. She just retired as a therapist. Perhaps she can heal me, make me right.

I’ll drive her to her new, temporary, home with the keys.

Yes, it’s been a very busy Saturday, busier than usual, and it’s only half over. And it will continue till tonight when we climb weary under the goose-down comforter draped over the king bed, and call it a day.

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(When I retired 19 years ago 19 days from now — yes, Dec. 19, 1999 — I wondered how I’d fill my days. It hasn’t been an issue, to put it mildly.)

 

The pear’s downfall

pear
Abel the Deadpan Yardman cuts the pear down to size.

WHEN WE MOVED to the Hacienda in 2003, there were a few trees on the property — a fig, a loquat, a peach and God knows what else.

As a housewarming gift, the great Al Kinnison surprised me with a load of fruit trees he’d purchased in Uruapan in La Tierra Caliente. Leaving me no option, bless his heart, I planted them. There was a pear, an orange and something else I still don’t recognize, maybe macademia.

Like other plants I’ve allowed here, they’ve turned on me, become evil, and I’m sick of them. Last month, I had the monster nopal removed. Today, it’s the pear that just this past summer started dropping a colossal quantity of fruit which I had to scoop up and dump into the ravine down the street.

I mentioned the problem recently to Abel the Deadpan Yardman, who said he would happily remove the pear. According to him, if you cut it into pieces and let it dry about five years, it makes stupendous firewood.

He arrived this morning with a wheelbarrow and machete, nothing more. I offered him my big pruning saw, which he used instead of the machete. After downing the pear, he proceeded to machete it into smaller pieces.

This has come with a price to pay. My child bride was quite angry in spite of my having told her previously that the pear had to go. Abel’s arrival with his machete and wheelbarrow caught her by surprise.

If she had her druthers, the yard would be limb-to-limb fruit trees of every imaginable variety. My druthers would leave us with a parking lot of stone and concrete. We’ll have to settle on a sweet spot in the middle.

In a few weeks, workmen will be removing more grass from the yard and installing stone and concrete. A part of that will entail removing the peach tree, another trash-tossing pendejo, which abuts the Jesus Patio.

I have told her this too, but I will have another sourpuss spouse on that not-distant day. And then it will blow over. Peace will reign.

New Image

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(The Unseen Moon has a new face. Hope you like it.)