Curse of bougainvillea

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THE ABOVE SHOWS just a small portion of the fallen bougainvillea leaves I must remove on a regular basis. My patience is running short.

More than 15 years back I planted many things in our yard that I have grown mightily to regret. The nopal tree, now gone. Two pear trees, gone. Peach tree, gone. There are only two major nuisances left, the bougainvillea and a very large loquat.

Just this week, I noticed that a freaking, nasty pigeon is nesting deep in the bougainvillea, no doubt producing more of those large pests. I would remove the nest if I could see it or reach it, but the plant is so thick, that’s next to impossible.

I see her dive in there and disappear. Then there are maternal clucking sounds! If  I’m walking along our sidewalk, and she’s gliding toward the hidden nest, she abruptly detours on spotting me. She thinks I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sharper than a pigeon.

The damnable pigeon occasionally sits and craps atop the steel superstructure where our upstairs terraza dome will be installed. (Glass is en route, by the way.) Pigeons are a relatively new element in my hardscrabble barrio. I only noticed the first one about a year ago, and now they’re making themselves at home.

If I only possessed a shotgun!

The large plaza downtown is overrun with pigeons now, and people feed them! Welcome! They roost in the attics of the old Colonial buildings surrounding the plaza, making a horrible mess. We wrote a letter to the mayor a few years back, suggesting he put signs on the plaza forbidding the feeding of pigeons.

He ignored us, and the pigeon population continues to swell.

On a positive note, the days now consist of blue skies and cool-enough temperatures. Not only are bougainvillea blooming all over town, but spectacular jacaranda trees too.

And the first flower of our golden datura appeared by the Alamo Wall this week.

Other current events: At this moment, just after High Noon, the folks who live in the hovel out back are blaring music to one and all. Luckily, that side of the Hacienda has no windows save a small one in the upstairs bathroom, so the noise is not a problem.

This afternoon we’ll be lunching at a health-food joint by the docks. Haven’t been there in many a month. Should arrive about 2 p.m. Come join us if you like. Dutch Treat, of course. We’re fixed-income pensioners.

Then later we’ll drive downtown for a stroll around the Semana Santa market that covers the plaza. Some interesting things on sale, but the Day of the Dead market is superior.

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Note: The horror story I mentioned about a week ago likely will appear here on Saturday. I’ve emerged from the grim tale intact. Stay tuned, as they say.

Bagels and orchids

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Leaning toward the sunlight.

WHEN BEACH BUM Steve Cotton and some of his kin stayed in our Downtown Casita in February he was gracious enough to leave these orchids as gesture of gracias.

Since then, this has been the morning scene as I breakfast on bagels and cream cheese lite or sometimes croissantitos and orange marmalade. It’s a good way to start my Mexican mornings. We moved the flower from the Casita to the Hacienda, obviously.

This was February, but not last month. Not last year either. But February of 2017. Except for a week or two fairly recently when it took a breather, this baby has sported orchids nonstop for more than two years.

How about dem apples? Or should I say orchids?

Ton of steel

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WE’RE INSTALLING a metal-and-glass roof over the upstairs terraza, as some readers may recall. This decision was made after 16 rainy summers in which the upstairs terraza turned into a small lake, rendering it useless for anything.

The lake problem resulted from the builders’ not installing the terraza floor with any incline toward the small drain holes. It is level. This was done because we did not explain adequately that the space above the downstairs bedroom was going to be open.

Maybe even we did not know it at the time. I don’t recall. We hired no architect, and we were winging it. It’s akin to being your own lawyer at your murder trial.

We lived with the annual six-month lake out there until a straw broke the camel’s back last summer — a small leak into the bedroom below. We had previously replaced some of the ceramic tile in the terraza because it had buckled. That happened twice in recent years. But the leak did the trick. Serious action was required.

Two neighbors of our Downtown Casita had installed a glass-and-steel ceiling partially atop their house, making a nice roof patio. It looks good, so we decided to do something similar. They told me what it had cost, and it was reasonable. And they had hired a contractor to handle everything, making things simpler for themselves. Smart.

I contacted the same contractor, but he never responded. Screw it, I said. I’ll do it myself. And it will cost less.

First, we hired the same blacksmith who did the work on the neighbors’ house. After he installs the framework, we will buy the smoked glass elsewhere and pay to have it installed by that separate business.

The blacksmith arrived Tuesday with four guys to deliver the steel beams and columns, depositing them in our yard. Be back later this week, he said, to do the installation. While the neighbors’ price seemed reasonable, I had neglected to notice that our upstairs terraza is far larger than the domo (that’s what it’s called here) over their home.

We were flabbergasted at the quantity of it all.

The size of our framework dwarfs that which tops their house. After the installation, the metal will be painted the same color as the Hacienda. Rojo costamar. Seacoast red.

But first the blacksmith must return and install the frame. Hope he doesn’t take long. You never know with those folks. It only needs to be fully done before the rains start in June.

But I want it done far before then. We’ll buy some patio furniture. Maybe throw a fiesta. You can all come. Whoopee!

A couple of pictures

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THIS ATTRACTIVE woman was sitting nearby the other day as I was enjoying my usual afternoon café Americano negro on the downtown plaza. She has a familiar look, but I can’t quite place her.

And the kid? Got no idea.

And later the same day, at night, I was descending the stairwell at the Hacienda on my way to the king bed when I paused at the scene below and said to myself, “That’s interesting. I’ll take a photo.”

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