FOR A FEW years, since I purchased my Canon, whenever I sat on the Jesus Patio to read my Kindle, I always toted the camera and rested it on the glass-top table.
One might wonder, Why does he do that? The answer is this: I wanted a photo of a hummer. Though the little buggers are commonplace in the Hacienda yard, photographing one has proved impossible. Till yesterday, that is.
The midday was overcast. Perhaps that explains my little friend’s relative lack of shimmering color, something often seen in hummer photos. Or maybe he’s a she and, like many birds, perhaps the hummer ladies are a bit drabber.
He (or she) is puffed up a bit too, a nippy afternoon.
No matter. Like Hemingway kneeling beside an African rhino, high-powered rifle aimed skyward, I have shot my prey. There will be no more safaris. I will read my books in peace.
WALKING INTO the dining room/kitchen last night shortly before 10, as the clock on the wall clearly indicates, I saw this, and decided to take a photograph.
It’s not a very sharp photograph because, contrary to the camera’s shrill advice, I did not use the flash, just the light hanging from the ceiling, which is not visible here.
Let’s call it a mood piece.
My child bride had turned in quite early — she was in bed with her Kindle — but I was still rambling around.
Two items of note: The wicker backs of the chairs were done years ago by my wife. They’ve held up pretty well. The second thing is the orchid on the table. It was left, already blooming, in our Downtown Casita in February by Steve Cotton.
IF IT’S NOT raining, I might sit around noon on a web chair by the glass-top table, shaded by the big, brown umbrella, feet atop another chair, for no better reason than pleasure.
I did that on Friday past.
I usually bring my Kindle and camera too in case a hummingbird sits a spell atop a nearby bloom. I’ve been hunting a shot, but when the hummers spot the camera, they zip away. When I don’t have the camera, they’ll come stare in my face.
The top shot was taken Friday when the yard needed a mow. The bottom two shots were taken yesterday after a mow.
I’ve had people ask me, “What’s up with the lawn? It doesn’t look like Mexico.” Well, the grass was mostly here when we bought the double lot. There’s wasn’t much else, but there was plenty of grass, an endless, freaking headache.
I’ve been telling myself for years that I’m uprooting all of it, or most of it, and laying down concrete and rock, but I never do it. Two reasons: the cost and the (temporary) mess.
But I feel steel in my spine. I’m more determined. Alas, the rainy season started last month, so the work cannot begin till November at the earliest, giving me months to change my mind.
But I’m not going to change my mind!
I’ve even worked out a plan. Do it gradually.
When the rains end, we’ll do most of the section in the photo at the very bottom, empedrado* only up to the Jesus Patio. Beyond the Jesus Patio — that’s the Jesus Patio where you see chairs and a table — a larger and far more elegant patio will be dreamed up to eliminate all of the grass in that area. Next year.
The yard is too large to be included in one photo. From the upstairs terraza, I can see more of it but not all, even from up there. It’s absurdly big. There is no backyard because the house is built against a corner of the double lot.
If I had been smarter, I would have built our house on half the space, facing the main drag, and another, a rental, facing the back street. There are two entries. But I was not smart.
I was a dumb Gringo in over his head.
But at least, gradually, I am now determined to resolve this grass curse.** Pray the steel stays in my spine till November.
I want to sit on the (much enlarged) Jesus Patio, which will need a new name, and gaze upon stone and cement, less grass.
Like the Reverend King: I have a dream.
* A surface of concrete and stone, very common in Mexico. The sidewalk is empedrado.
** A curse due to its lunatic growth during the five-month rainy season. You can never turn your back. You surely cannot travel anywhere more than a week.
(Note: Another grass section is to the right of the middle photo. It’s sizable but the smallest of the three sections. It’s where sit the monster bougainvillea and the towering nopal tree. It will be filled with stone and cement too, but not this year. The bougainvillea and nopal will stay in place.
YOU MAY have noticed that there is a new banner photo at the top of The Moon. Here’s the entire shot.
For a few years there was part of a typewriter up there. I thought it appropriate, but I wearied of it.
Typewriters were my weapon during 30 years in the newspaper business. I started in 1969 with a black-iron Remington, or maybe it was a Royal. Then there were IBM Selectrics and, later, computer keyboards came along.
The new photo is mine. I shot it a few months ago in the late afternoon as sun was setting downtown.
I was standing on the main plaza. Our mountaintop town is a nice place to live, and it’s a far spell from Houston.
SUNDAY WAS the final installment of a three-day, hot-air balloon festival in our mountaintop town.
I shot this brief video from our upstairs terraza.
The airport, and that’s using the term loosely, rests on the edge of my neighborhood on the outskirts of town. It’s a dirt strip that goes virtually unused all year.
There is a hangar there, and a DC-9 without wings on display. A funny story that. The DC-9 was brought here on a massive flatbed tractor-trailer some years back.
It had almost completed the trip when it had to make a right turn from one highway to a lesser road just three blocks from the Hacienda. There is an incline to the roadbed and, halfway around the curve, the jet fell off the trailer.
It rolled briefly toward a carnitas stand about 20 feet away. I imagine those seconds were endless to the crew cutting carnitas. It’s not often you see a DC-9 rolling your way.
The jet was hoisted back upon the trailer and continued the short distance to our airport where it now lives.
The hangar there, the DC-9 and, previously, an ultralight service is owned by some well-off individual. The ultralight service has gone out of business due to lack of, well, business.
Once I drove over there to inquire about learning to fly ultralights, something I never got around to, and the fellow let me go inside the DC-9, which was lots of fun.
I have a private-pilot’s license though I haven’t used it since the 1970s. It never expires. I also took a number of sailplane lessons in Central Texas, but I never got that license either.
There’s something a bit unnerving about being up in a plane with no means of propulsion whatsoever.
I skydived once in Louisiana, and I went up in a hot-air balloon once in Texas. Giving my mother near heart attacks apparently was an unconscious, lifetime goal.
And then there were the motorcycles.
She’s dead now, so I’ve quit doing all that stuff.
My father could not have cared less.
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(Promo! For those of you who have not recently visited — or never have — my SlickPic photos, there is a new look and new photos. The SlickPic Gallery is where you’ll find gobs of photos of the Hacienda through the years, our Cuba visit in 2012, photos of the Downtown Casita (available on AirBnB), my art furniture, Mexico in general and, last but not least, a blow by blow — photo-wise — of the construction of our free-standing pastry kitchen.)