The bougainvillea shot

bougain

IT’S THAT TIME of year again, the time for the annual bougainvillea shot.

I include my child bride for the sake of perspective. And, as in all years, the monster plant has been trimmed back. Abel the Deadpan Yardman did that about two months ago in winter. Yes, this is the trimmed-back look.

My child bride is dressed for the gym, by the way, an every-Monday occurrence, along with each Wednesday and Friday.

Now that I have removed the behemoth nopal, the too-tall, trash-tossing pear, another smaller pear and the trash-tossing peach tree, this beefed-up bougainvillea is the lone, remaining yard annoyance. Perhaps one day I’ll have it removed too.

It is rather attractive, however, and it does not toss rotten fruit, just dead blooms.

When I walked toward the kitchen this morning not long after dawn, I noticed this light play on the wall of the living room, so I photographed it.

It’s a colorful world.

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Flowers and giants

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WALKING AROUND a corner yesterday, I paused to take this photo. This is the intersection of two of the streets that have been renovated here over the past couple of years, street renovation that included the rectangle around the main plaza, work that is on the verge of being completed.

After gussying up the streets and sidewalks, huge planters have been placed in some areas. Some of them have been broken by vandals, but most are intact, often with bougainvilleas like this one.

Bougainvilleas are not fond of living in planters, so we’ll see how it plays out over the long haul. This one seems happy enough.

Later yesterday, I shot the photo below. Our main plaza is full of Yule decorations, huge ones. These figures are likely ten feet tall.

The plaza has lots of such stuff. Elephants, camels, sheep and other beasts and characters, all larger than life. It’s a major tourist attraction. I don’t know what the figures below have to do with Christmas, but it doesn’t matter. They are impressive.

Santa’s trek is just days away and, about two weeks later, the Three Kings come calling and leave gifts for our Mexican kids. Santa ignores Mexican kids, but the Three Kings do not, which is why we love them so.

Their names are Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior, and they are reputed to be very Wise Men.

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Getting rid of the chicken

Caramba, mi amor! Caramba, mi amor! sang someone on FM 106.5 as I drove the Honda home in the dark of early evening.

Twenty minutes earlier, I had been walking in cool twilight across the beautiful, downtown plaza, clutching a brown paper bag containing two sugar donuts, and thinking of my chicken.

Our neighbors have chickens that roost overnight in an apple tree that abuts our property wall. Now and then, an adventuresome soul will make the leap and walk about in our yard for a spell. Then she’ll head home, back over the wall, in a flap of feathers because chickens don’t fly well. They have a low-max altitude.

This has been going on for years, and we didn’t mind much because the nasty things always went back where they came from. Till a week ago.

One came over and decided to stay. She sticks mostly to the side of the wall that abuts where her kin live, and she lurks beneath aloe vera and bougainvillea. Sometimes, she stands in the big, center semicircle of grass to taunt me.

I’ve tried to catch her, but I’m not as agile as I once was. My child bride assists on occasion, but so far the fowl has eluded our grasp.

New ImageOn Monday, a couple of guys come to lay talavera tile in the downstairs terraza. They’ll be out there for quite a few hours. They say the work will take two days, maybe three.

Here’s my plan: The first day, I’ll offer 50 pesos to whomever catches the chicken and tosses her into the street. If she’s still there on Day Two, I’ll offer 100 pesos, and that should inspire them enough.

I don’t want to eat her, and I don’t want her tossed back over the wall into the neighbors’ yard because this chicken has wanderlust and might revisit. That’s far less likely if she’s out in the street with multiple options for adventure.

The walk across the twilight plaza would have been more enjoyable had I not been thinking about the cursed chicken.

I would have focused fondly on those sugar donuts.

* * * *

(Update! My yardman came Saturday morning and had the bird in his clutches within a minute. Incredible. Mexicans can do anything.)

Beheading Birds of Paradise

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Survivors. Birds of Paradise who made the cut … or didn’t.

THIS SUNDAY MORNING, I awoke and thought of Sundays of Long Ago, specifically when I was married to my second wife and living in Houston.

We had a routine. I’d retrieve the fat Houston Chronicle from the lawn, pour coffee for the two of us — maybe we ate something too, can’t recall — and back to bed we went for an hour or more, reading the newspaper. It was fun.

I wonder if the Houston Chronicle still publishes a print edition. The world has changed so much in the past two decades. Another former employer, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, does not. It’s only online.

Just like me.

But this morning, here at the Hacienda, a far cry from Houston and New Orleans in all aspects, after coffee and bagels and cream cheese (lite), I went out the veranda door to do a bit of yardwork.

Madeleine Peyroux was still singing on the music machine.

I deadheaded a few Birds of Paradise. I whacked back one of the small bougainvilleas. I picked up rotting golden datura blooms from the ground in the Willy-Nilly Zone. And I cut stalks of defunct aloe vera flowers.

The weather was wonderful, and it appears the rainy season, which long overstayed its welcome this year, may have retired till June. I pray so.

We have plenty of work planned around here,* and it awaits the genuine end of the rainy season because it’s outdoor work. Not work I will do, of course. Work that people I employ will do, guys who do cement and stone.

And colonial tile.

terraza
Potted plants sitting on a scruffy surface. But you just wait!

There are three arches in the veranda, as you can see in the photo. There are potted plants resting on the three ledges below. They sit on a dingy brick surface. In about a week, a guy will come and lay beautiful colonial tile. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this 15 years ago or even last year.

It will be a huge — Yuge! — improvement. I’ll post photos.

In the meantime, I wonder if my second ex-wife still reads the Sunday newspaper in bed. I almost emailed her this morning to inquire. But I didn’t.

* * * *

* More work than has been done by far since the Hacienda’s construction. Roofs will be razed. Stairs will be moved. Floors will be ripped up. The Jesus Patio will be destroyed. Fruit trees will fall. More on all that when it happens.