Bones, hair, cobblestones & cheese

FLY
I was sitting on the Jesus Patio when I shot this guy nearby.

AUTUMN ARRIVES on Saturday, but we’ve already started Fall.

In our hearts, if not in celestial reality.

The leaves are dropping from the peach tree, littering the Jesus Patio, making more work for me, not appreciated.

I like the photo above, so I’ve added it to the header.

Unrelated to fall is that we’ve now entered the third week of my child bride’s broken arm, caused by a fall. The doctor said the cast would stay in place from four to six weeks. We are praying, of course, for four.

The biggest challenge, certainly for me, but for her too, it seems, is her mop of hair. She cannot arrange it to her satisfaction with one hand.

So that leaves me.

We’ve come to verbal blows over this matter.

cdmx
Disheveled on an early morning in Mexico City.

Here she is sitting in our Mexico City condo three years ago. Her hair has not been cut since, so you can imagine. It’s not only long, much longer now than in this photo, but it is quite curly. You might even call it kinky.

We’ve had quite a few emotionally challenging moments due to this mop.

Her getting both her arms back in action cannot come too soon.

Matrimonial bliss hangs on it.

* * * *

And furthermore …

As I’ve written on various occasions, our town is renovating streets, especially around the spectacular plaza.

This has been going on for y-e-a-r-s. Three at least. Nonstop.

street
Just yesterday on the third side of the plaza.

Laying the cobblestones, and sidewalk renovation too, has been completed on two sides of the plaza. Above, you see the third side, and they’ve dug up all the old stones on the fourth, the side that abuts my family coffee shop. We’re in the rainy season, so we have an abundance of mud.

The Goddess willing, this will end before I die.

* * * *

Moving on to cheese

cheese
This is queso seco.

One of the many great things about living south of the Rio Bravo is the abundance of great avocados or, as we call them, aguacates. Another is cheese or, as we call it, queso. We Mexicans love our queso.

Visitors are cautioned to avoid cheese. Sometimes it’s not pasteurized, maybe most of the time. I pay that warning not a lick of attention.

The cheese in the photo is called queso seco or dry cheese. We bought it here on the mountaintop, but recently we found a very small store that sells only cheese on a street corner in the capital city.

The cheese is unrefrigerated, and on our first visit we found wheels of various cheeses sitting on the floor. This would appall a persnickety person, but we bought a quarter kilo, which was exceptionally tasty.

We took it home, ate it happily, and did not die.

Interminable municipal improvement

THE POWERS THAT be here on my mountaintop, the people who run the town, started major street and sidewalk renovations two or three years ago. I forget how long it’s been. It feels like forever.

It’s been nonstop since it started.

Previously, the cobblestone streets (some were just concrete) were in very bad condition. Same goes for some sidewalks. That’s all changing now.

The work seems interminable because it’s so labor-intensive. There are two elements involved. One is the surface of the streets and sidewalks. The other, just as important, is upgrading the underground drainage system.

Flooding was a serious problem during the daily downpours of the five-month rainy season. June to (or through) October, depending.

I’ve really enjoyed watching this work. Unlike above the border where everyone fears getting sued, so construction projects are walled off, nothing is walled off here. You can walk right up and watch, even making a nuisance of yourself.

I particularly enjoy the drainage aspects. What you see in these photos will be just manholes from the street surface, but look what’s below.

street2
Close up.

I never spotted anything like this above the Rio Bravo. Maybe they were doing it this way, but you couldn’t get close enough to see due to lawsuit fears.

If you fall into a hole here, it’s just your tough luck.

street
Not so close up.

Getting stoned

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what a cobblestone street in the making looks like, wonder no more. Behold!

For a few months now, major work has been under way on two streets radiating out from the southwest corner of our spectacular main plaza. It was supposed to be completed by Easter Week, but that’s not going to happen.

A major component of the labor is installing wider sidewalks. The sidewalk to the right side was about half as wide and, of course, that meant the street was wider.

Now the street will be narrower, a trade-off.

That sidewalk surface is just a concrete base now. Flat stone will be installed atop it. It will be quite snazzy.

The street itself won’t be smooth. Cobblestone streets never are, but newly installed ones are smoother than older ones.

Time takes its toll. After about a decade, driving on a cobblestone street goes something like this.

I’m not a fan of cobblestone streets. I prefer smooth concrete or, barring that, asphalt. But our town trades on tourism, and tourists like to see cobblestone streets.

They go nicely with our tile roofs of red clay.

The fact is that our mountaintop town improves yearly. And the same goes for our property values.

Happy Ville

out
Happy Ville this very morning! Peach tree in foreground, winter foliage.

A FULL MOON hung over Happy Ville last night, but that’s not its lingering display through the peach branches at the top. That’s a new WiFi antenna.

Here at the Hacienda we woke in high spirits today, so we’ve temporarily — perhaps permanently — renamed our home Happy Ville or, if you prefer español, Villa Felíz.

But there was work to be done, as ever, and I’ve been doing it for days. It’s cutting back summer yard growth. If this is not done, things fly out of control.

I’ve whacked one of the two daturas back to the nub. Same for the roses, and reducing the towering nopal horizontally* is an ongoing chore. And I’ve removed a goodly number of fronds from the big, malicious maguey.

pile
Growing cull pile.

I’m dumping my culls out back in the Garden Patio. Already included are lots of aloe vera, the aforementioned maguey and assorted odds and ends. The pile will grow.

When I’m finished, I’ll hire Abel the Deadpan Yardman to wheelbarrow it down to the ravine out back.

* * * *

Morning Walk

It was such a lovely morning, I decided to take the longer route for my morning exercise walk. This took me to the far end of the barrio where, oddly, a snazzy, four-lane boulevard of cobblestone is being constructed.

One can enter our hardscrabble barrio principally from two directions. This is the direction we rarely use, mostly because it was a potholed nightmare.

This renovation is welcomed, but I wonder why it’s being done so elegantly. I mean, really, four lanes? This stretch is only about a quarter of a mile and funnels into another narrow, two-lane, cobblestone street.

second
Another two lanes planned for the left side. New sidewalks too!

It would have been sweet if they’d made this short boulevard just two lanes instead of four and used the leftover money to build a bicycle lane from here to downtown. We’ve written the mayor about that. He’s ignored us.

No matter. It’s another fine day at Happy Ville.

* * * *

* Trimming it vertically is out of the question now.