Tag Archives: photography

My first hummer

In memory of Jack Brock.

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.

Life goes on.

Night blooms

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.

Five  months later, it’s still in bloom. Amazing.

Nightlife.

The cursed grass

Friday, before Saturday’s grass cutting by Abel the Deadpan Yardman.

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.

This large semicircle is the only grass I want to keep. About a third of it all.
This is the first grass that will go. It continues way off to the left.

* 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.

Bougainvillea butcher

THE CURSE of my gardening existence, as has often been noted here, is this bougainvillea that I planted when it was in a pot, and then I turned my back on it, so to speak.

When it spotted me otherwise engaged, it exploded — spikes, shedding flowers and all — to its current beastly status, virtually out of control, taunting me daily.

But I am battling back. At least, Abel the Deadpan Gardener is fighting back on my behalf. That’s him Tuesday morning giving the plant some much-deserved discipline.

For contrast, see the photo below that my child bride shot about a month ago as I posed for perspective’s sake.

That’s one big mother. That plant, that is.

But Abel’s labor did not stop there. One of the four ivy plants creeping along the Alamo Wall decided recently to take a dive, in a manner of speaking. It died, and I don’t know why.

It was firmly connected to the rock wall, and difficult to pull off even in its dead state, but Abel did a great job.

With the trimming done, he chopped everything and hauled it away in a wheelbarrow to somewhere out back, down a ravine where it will decompose as Mama Nature intended.

Abel went home with 500 pesos.

Not bad for three hours of work in the sunshine.

Sidewalk shot

SITTING WITH my sister-in-law, who was in a grumpy mood, on Saturday, I pulled the little Fujifilm camera from my man bag, and shot this photo for the fun of it.

Later, I doctored the photo just a hair, also just for the fun of it, and this is what I ended up with.

I don’t have a job, so I gotta pass the time some sort of way. I don’t care for orphans or feed (other) old people, so I have a good bit of free time on my hands.

I sat there for a couple of hours with a café Americano negro and a pecan muffin I purchased on the corner. When I went home my sister-in-law was still frowning. She gets that way.

It doesn’t really affect me.

A waning day

YOU MAY have noticed that there is a new banner photo at the top of The Moon. Here’s the entire shot.

Again.

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.

But Houston likely has more Mexicans.

Up in the sky

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.

* * * *

(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.)

The guitarist

EASTER WEEK, or Semana Santa, brings tons of tourists to our mountaintop town. Tourists bring money.

And street musicians hope to score some.

I was sitting yesterday at a sidewalk table with my electronic book and a cup of hot café Americano negro when this old boy appeared and struck up a tune or two.

He got 10 pesos from me, and other tables also contributed.

If I’d had my best camera, the photo would be sharper, but I did not have my best camera. Maybe next time.

The rooster

I WAS LIGHTING incense with a stove torch in the living room yesterday, standing next to this. The sunlight from the big window was doing a swell job of illuminating.

I took a photo.

Cockfighting is alive and well in Mexico. You see fighting birds quite often while you’re out and about. Not fighting, but you see them, mostly in little roadside cages.

Or guys with cowboy hats and mustaches carrying them down the sidewalk or in the rear of pickup trucks.

I’ve been to a cockfight once, but it was in Puerto Rico 40 years ago. Don’t recall much about it. I likely was not sober. I do remember the covered arena, but not the fight itself.

I’ve also been to a bullfight once. That was in the Plaza México in Mexico City. As with the cockfight, once was enough. I have nothing against cockfights, however. Bullfights either.*

Chickens are dumb as rocks, and cattle suffer far more in slaughterhouses around the world. Toros in bullfights actually get a pretty good shake, as shakes go.

But the rooster theme is quite common in Mexico. In addition to this artwork of papier-mâché, you’ll see other roosters in the Hacienda. Lots of skeletons too.

* * * *

* Never been to a dogfight. That would bother me.