Birds, paint & plague

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Playground of the orioles.

SPRINGTIME, THOUGH we’re not officially in springtime yet, brings birds to the Hacienda, pretty birds and fun ways to watch them.

It began three days ago. In the early mornings, between 7 and 8, I’m generally upstairs checking out the woeful state of the world via the internet. There’s a bank of windows just beyond my desk, and they open to the upstairs terraza.

orioleHanging out there, pure decoration, are two large balls made of straw or something like a thick vine. The larger is about 18 inches across. It’s the big one that’s become a post-dawn playground to black-vented orioles.

They fly under the glass roof and at the top of the ball is an opening through which the orioles, two of them, descend into the ball, flit about inside, and then depart to climb around the outside of the globe. This goes on for a minute or two, and they leave.

Three days in a row now, about 7:30 or so. They have a schedule.

This morning I tried to sneak to the door with my camera, but orioles are cautious, unlike house sparrows and hummingbirds which are fine with human company, and when I merely stood up from my desk, the orioles fled, lickety-split.

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The Downtown Casita’s new look.

We’ve gussied up the Downtown Casita, a fresh coat of light yellow and an artsy circular stairway from the balcony to the roof. The twirly design is the same we have on the stairwell inside the Hacienda. I found that style online years ago.

The ironwork was done by a young, very talented and artistic blacksmith. That would cost a small fortune above the Rio Bravo if you could even find someone who could do it.

It’s available for vacation rentals, plus we house visiting relatives occasionally, which comes in handy because Mexicans have lots of relatives, and they like to visit.

* * * *

Moving on to the spreading plague of coronavirus that is leaving millions dead in its wake worldwide. No? Well, okay, but it’s scaring plenty of people.

We have very few cases in Mexico, about eight, last I heard. Just south of us, Guatemala and El Salvador are quarantining themselves. El Salvador will let no foreigners enter for the next month. Guatemala is barring people who’ve been in China.

Here in Mexico, on the other hand, our nincompoop leftist president is doing next to nothing. On the contrary, he’s sticking with his hug approach, the one he extends to narcos. He always favors hugs, he says. Narcos, plague? No matter, he wants to hug.

Leftists love hugs because it distracts you while your pocket is picked.

Don’t fault me. I voted for the other guy. Maybe the other guy was corrupt. Who knows? But at least he wasn’t a nincompoop.

Sparrow on the edge

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SIX WEEKS AGO we returned from a two-night visit to San Miguel de Allende, which is about a three-hour drive northeast of here.

During our stay in that artsy Gringo town that rests prettily in the desert we drove a short distance north to Dolores Hidalgo and paid about 30 bucks for this spectacular birdbath.

On returning to the Hacienda, I set up the birdbath in the same spot where another bath, totally brown and drab but hugely popular, had sat for a decade. The birds ignored the psychedelic bath.

This went on for a couple of weeks. They would perch nearby, on one of the web chairs or up on the pumpkin wall, looking at their new bath, but they would not take the plunge.

But finally they came to their little birdy senses. However, it still isn’t as popular as the old, boring birdbath was. I haven’t seen any birds on its colorful rim save house sparrows, but that could be because it’s not springtime when the birdy array is wider.

Particularly noteworthy in their absence are the grackles, and I do not miss them. They stood in the middle of the old bath and splashed most of the water out with their big, fowl wings, like little, angry chickens.

May they never return.

I shot this photo with my new camera. Contrast it to the photo taken six weeks back with my far older camera. The new camera is clearly superior, but I’ve been thinking of selling it.

It does not fit in my pocket. It’s too big. I offered the camera on two Yahoo forums that focus on my area. No bites. No matter. The day after I offered it, I had already started to waffle on the issue.

It does take great photos.