One of the lazy days

brushtree

SOMETIMES YOU wake up to a day in which nothing of note is waiting. This is one of those days. They do not bore me. I like them.

Given that the eventless day stretched before me, I decided to do at least one thing that needed to be done, and that was to whack back three bougainvilleas, the smaller ones. The fourth, a monster, is beyond hope and goes its own way.

But due to the day’s relaxed atmosphere, I just whacked back two of the three. The third will have to wait. Maybe mañana. It was warm out there, and the sun was glaring, reason enough to come inside and drink cold, red tea.

Speaking of red, I photographed the above before calling it a day. Midday actually because it was scarcely beyond noon. That’s a bottle-brush tree, the red of which complements the red of the house. While the grass grows more yellow and crunchy by the day, some yard plants are blooming.

Though you cannot see it, buds are erupting on the uppermost reaches of the nopal tree there at the rear. That’s always fun until they fall to the ground, ground that was until recently grass, but now is concrete and rock.

In a couple of hours, we’ll be lunching downtown, location yet to be decided. That will happen around 2 p.m., breaking up the afternoon nicely. Then we’ll come home, relax a spell, then head back downtown for a nice cafecito on the plaza.

Lazy days are great days. I’ve never been ambitious.

Glimpse of sunshine

yard
The psychedelic birdbath is full of fresh, clean water.

WE’VE BEEN dreadfully wet of late. Not Houston-style, but extra wet in our own way, and it’s due to two factors.

One, it’s the rainy season, and it rains a bit every day. But, in addition, we were getting almost nonstop rain for a spell due to a hurricane out in the Pacific. Not Harvey but Lidia.

When hurricanes run amok in the Gulf or Pacific, we get extra rain sometimes, and that’s all we get, which is good.

But the sun was out this morning, so I did some yard trimmings, cutting dead stuff, picking up nopal fruit that had fallen to the grass. You need gloves to do that latter, as I discovered painfully some while back. Nasty little spines.

And I refilled the birdbath, which I had not done for days due to the rain keeping it full. However, I noticed today there were tadpoles in there, so I dumped it out, and refilled.

During the morning activities, I needed something from the downstairs closet and while in there I got in a sharing mode. I don’t think I’ve ever put a closet photo here, so …

closet
We maintain marginal order in the closet. There’s a similar closet upstairs.

The closet is across from the downstairs bathroom and next to the bedroom. You enter from the hallway. It was my idea, and it baffled my child bride at first because it’s as big as many — perhaps most — bedrooms in Mexico.

I hired a carpenter to build shelves that don’t just abut the wall but extend outwards, giving much more storage space. It’s an idea I got from the late, great Al Kinnison (R.I.P.) who had such a closet next to his kitchen. He lived downtown.

While I’ve been writing this, the clouds have grown, which may cause a problem for my morning exercise walk around our nearby plaza. I think I need to get going.

Adiós.

Reach for the sky

My soaring nopal.

I’VE LONG been a desert fan and the cacti that come with it. There is something spiritual about a desert. The same can be said about rainforests, the desert’s alter ego.

When I lived in Houston, one of my favorite road trips took me west. You didn’t have to go far before the environment turned dry, and nopal cacti appeared naturally along the highways. In spring they sprouted red flowers.

Mexicans are fond of eating nopal. I don’t share this love. Nopal is too much like okra, turning slimy when cooked.

So I just admire the appearance, and I don’t have to drive west to see nopal. I need only to step into the yard where I have about the tallest nopal I’ve ever seen.

I shot the above photo with a zoom lens. That’s just the noggin of my nopal. It soars 18 feet into the air.

I measured, more or less.

It was just two of those paddles when I planted it at least a decade ago, having no idea what I was getting into.

My second ex-wife is something called a Master Gardener. You get that title from the County Extension Service after taking an amount of training on such things.

While I am the yard chief here at the Hacienda, she was the garden honcho where we lived together in Houston.

I often encouraged her to plant bougainvillea. She never did. Perhaps it was out of pure spite. I hope not. But she did the right thing. I see that now.

Bougainvilleas are beautiful. They also sport thorns that would fill the most vicious rosebush with envy.

Our bougainvillea likely tops out at 20 feet, and even more from left to right. It is held in place by steel chains. The plant never stops growing, both upward and outward.

I water the nopal because I don’t want it to fall down. I never water the bougainvillea because I want it to calm down.

Springtime is just getting started.

My soaring bougainvillea.

 

 

The blooming rain

aloe vera

THE INTERMINABLE rain should begin winding down in about a month. It started in June, as it almost always does and should, and it’s continued daily till now and onward. It’s a blessing.

But in September, one starts to think: Enough already.

Every year the yard plants increase in size, which is not good most of the time, especially since I’ve grown weary of controlling them. Take this aloe vera, for instance. When we moved here in 2003, I snipped a twig from an aloe vera in the yard of the rental where we lived before.

I stuck that twig in the soil next to the downstairs veranda. It grew. How nice, I thought, so I yanked off some pieces and stuck one against the property wall between us and the neighbors, not the sex motel, the other way where the grumpy people live with their nasty kids.

Another piece went into the ground next to the bedroom. That’s the “twig” in this photo. Just around the corner, out of the photo, is where I planted the fourth twig. It is the smallest of the quartet. But growing.

Well, here’s what happened: The one next to the veranda had to be removed last year due to its monster size, which reminds me now of what my second ex-wife, an avid gardener, often mentioned. When you plant something in a spot, think about its eventual size.

Neglect this step, and you may be sorry in time.

The one against the property wall grows daily, but it’s still smaller than this baby in the photo. I chop off a limb or two each year in part just to show it who’s boss, that it’s my bitch, not the other way around.

In the 1990s, I planted a little aloe vera next to my house in Houston. It never did a dang thing, just sat there like a wart on a log. I also planted a nopal cactus in a whisky barrel. Never did much either, and my then-wife removed it after she kicked me out because it was unfavorable feng shui, which is not something you want to mess with, she said.

Here at the Hacienda some years back, I planted a little piece of nopal. It’s now about 18 bristling feet high. I know squat about its feng shui, but it is not something you want to mess with either. Wish I had not planted it.

But the rain will end next month, which is the introduction to our most glorious period: November, which kicks off with a long night in the cemetery with candles, marigolds and memories of dead relatives.