Swanking the Hacienda

table
Parota, a wood I’d never heard of.

WHEN WE MOVED into the Hacienda 16 years ago, there was lots of open space due to our not having much furniture at that time.

Our dining room set was tossed together in this way: My child bride had a four-chair set in her condo in Mexico City. We brought that here, put the table out to pasture, and ordered a six-chair table and two more chairs from a carpenter.

It was a rustic, Colonial design, and it served us adequately until just recently when we were rambling around for fun in a nearby town called Cuanajo that specializes in furniture. Cuanajo is chockablock with furniture workshops and showrooms.

The potholed town has been making furniture since the 16th century, or so said the fellow who delivered the dining room set you see in the photo above. It is made of parota, a tropical hardwood. I’d never heard of parota.

During our recent ramble through Cuanajo, we saw the eight-chair set and fell in love, or as much as one can fall in love with furniture. Since my spouse recently had some cash drop into her lap from an inheritance, we bought it. It is very swanky.

CHAIR
Have a seat.

We advertised the previous six-chair set on an internet forum that caters to Gringos in our area, and it sold lickety-split. One justification we used for buying the new set is that when we have relatives over, they always come en masse (Mexicans!) and there’s never an easy way to seat them all. Now we have two more chairs at least and a larger table.

We even got to choose the fabric of the padded chair seats. The checkered design is cloth woven right here on the mountaintop. Support your local artisans!

The Hacienda didn’t change much for 16 years until recently when we removed and replaced the yard patio and then completely revamped the upstairs terraza, which included relocating the circular stairway to the other end of the house and installing yet another steel stairway from the “service patio” to the kitchen roof.

terraza
The new greenish shade net sits atop the glass, not below.

As part of the upstairs terraza renovation, we installed a yellow shade net beneath the glass-and-steel roof. Click here to see how it looked then. That, however, was a mistake because it trapped and murdered mobs of insects that either rested up there visibly dead, or were wind-blown to the terraza floor to be swept up every morning. Yuck.

The new net is dark green and rests atop the glass roof, a better plan that does not trap and execute wayward, dimwitted insects.

We get more elegant every day, and we’re kind to bugs.

Battling the bushes

twins
Aloe vera on the left, philodendron on the right. Both growing again.

THURSDAY MORNINGS there’s a mercado on the neighborhood plaza just down the way. Mostly, it’s fruits and veggies, but you can also find fresh fish flopping atop a tarp on the sidewalk, and used clothing and deep-fried pigskin from a copper vat.

What you cannot find, at least today, are decent avocados. Prices are really high lately, and one effect of that is that street vendors do not buy them to sell because they don’t sell. You can still find avocados easily in supermarkets, however.

Returning home following my morning exercise walk, I looked about the yard. The rainy season does good things and bad things too. All have to do with rampant growth. The grass gets green (good), and it must be mowed (bad).

Plants that were chillin’ over winter and spring muscle up. Habitual passers-by here at The Unseen Moon will recall that I’ve eliminated quite a few yard plants over the last year or so, to my happiness and my child bride’s dismay.

Some, like the cursed peach tree and monster pear tree, are gone altogether. Here’s a shot from 2015. That’s the peach on the left. The pear is barely visible farther on, right side. Also, you’ll notice the old, stone Jesus Patio.

old
Olden days. Funky, funky and more funky.

We now sport a cleaner look.

new
These days. Sleek and fresh. Time to party!

That big aloe vera in the top photo is whacked back a bit, something I did this morning. I also trimmed the other aloe vera that sits outside our bedroom. I did that a couple of days ago. The cuttings rest in what I call the Garden Patio, below.

Abel the Deadpan Yardman will be here Saturday to mow the grass and weedeat. I’ll have him haul the aloe vera cuttings down the street where he’ll toss them into the ravine.

pile
Lots of burn treatment available in this pile.

Remember the colossal bougainvillea I had removed a few months ago? Here’s how she looked then with my child bride providing size perspective.

bougain

And then I had her removed, all but the base.

New Image

But like an unruly woman, she’s reasserting herself, but I’ve got the upper hand now and will bend her to my considerable will. She’ll learn who’s her Daddy.

bougain baby
Just you wait, Dearie.

In an ideal world, plants with attitude would be eliminated completely from the Hacienda property, and only polite ones would stay put.

shade
Yellow looks nice. Bugs love to get between the net and the glass. Then they die.

In other news, the fellows who installed the shade netting in the renovated upstairs terraza last month will return today or tomorrow to remove the yellow net we chose at first. The reason is that it hangs below the glass domo, trapping bugs which then die there. Due to the light color of the net, the bug graveyard is horribly visible. Creepy.

So the yellow netting will be removed, and a darker, greenish one will be installed atop the glass, not below. This will also add a bit of protection against hail damage.

Never a dull moment. And if you read this far down, a Gold Star and Honorable Mention will be added to your permanent record. Congrats.

Curse of bougainvillea

New Image

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.

* * * *

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

orchids
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?