Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Night of the Pitaya Flower

Pitaya (dragonfruit) in May?  The last time I wrote about the dragonfuit growing it was early September. I think July is the normal beginning of its season, but I could be wrong. I'm not sure the first two fruit will survive.  But this time I did remember to take photos of it on its big night out.  This is a series of photos that tells the story itself.  All it needs is the follow up when we see if we get two fruit or not.

The first pic below was taken at 5pm

This photo was taken at 8pm.


midnight. all opened up.

4pm today, finished, now it'll work on developing the fruit.

If you checked my link above from a previous pitaya post, this is what the plant looks like now.  It seems to like it on our side of the wall.  And we like it!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Project Gone Wild: The Jardín

The two photos below show the front patio area when I first cleaned it up, filled it with sand, and planted a few plants. The driftwood Pablo and I brought from El Salvador and the seashells were from local beaches.  Later it became overgrown with many of my throw and grow plants I put in.  I can't find a photo of it as the jungle it was of late.  The philodendron has grown up and provided a natural kitchen window curtain, and the papaya tree lived its life and is no longer with us.  

This is where the project called bed, bath and beyond got a little crazy and out of hand.  . When the workers made a mess of my yard with concrete and paint, leaving half my plants in a sorry state, the contractor asked if I wanted them to clean up the yard.  I said I would love that.  Frankly it needed someone else's attention since I haven't been able to get to it.  This project was on the back burner for a while and I thought the cleanup ended when they trimmed the bushes and cut off dead leaves and pulled weeds, etc.  Good old miscommunication.  I must have given permission for a complete landscaping job.

I was surprised when Juan, the contractor, showed up  the other day with Jorge Junior, of Jorge's Organic Farm, here I've linked a copy of an article written by Beryl Gorbman about the productive family farm .  First Jorge brought a huge pile of consumable vegetables for me.  Fresh leafy lettuce, a huge bunch of radishes, bok choy, a huge bag of chaya, several beets, a few mangos, a watermelon and a huge bouquet of spearmint. We are eating a lot of radishes and I have to decide what to do with the chaya, but the rest of the goods were real good eatin'!   Fresh organic veggies and fruits, the best.

In the back yard he planted cilantro seeds, radish seeds, habanero plants, an epazote plant, two sunflowers, other flowers I've not seen before, re-used and replanted all the rootbound pots I had. Jorge got rid of my mosquito collecting plants and replaced them with more useful greenery.  The back yard pics will look better after the new plants get used to their new home.  I'll post them later. 

The front patio, however, went through a major overhaul.  I think the guys just really got into it.  They tore almost everything out.  Now there are roses lining the walkways. They started a flowery vine with yellow flowers to join or replace the philodendron.  Plus they planted grass.  It's a small area of grass but it will be so nice to have ANY grass that I'm looking forward to it. I am also being good about watering.  That's the toughest part for me, being a constant gardener.

I've seen tuberose in the flower market, but now I have one growing in my yard.  They are beautiful and the most fragrant of flowers. If you look closely you can see the grass.

I thought this mix of plants with the canoe and driftwood was quite clever. It proudly upholds and honors the story of the original Dorton canoe, which began back in the early 90's.

Beautiful and fragrant roses.

Chile parado.

Juan is a great coordinator of work projects and Jorge is a very talented landscaper - quite knowledgeable about plants.  Although I wasn't planning such a major change and elaborate garden, it's beautiful and if we have a kind rainy season should look really good in a few months.  If not, pray I become a more constant gardener.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fan Coozies

The summer heat is kicking in here in Mérida, with temps reaching mid 30'sC°, or around 95°F.  We haven't yet reached 40°C, so the hot season is just beginning. The temps are more like March temps, and March felt more like winter than any of the winter months.  We've had bizarre rainstorms, very few of them, but crazy nonetheless. One day we had a mini-hurricane, tornados for sure out of the blue. The wind started blowing crazy from all directions and the lightning and thunder were zero seconds away.  The wind blew the double iron gates of my front carport wide open.  I tried to push them closed in the downpour and was pushed back by the winds. Finally I got them closed, after the filthy flooded street water rushed in.  As you might imagine, this became another facet of the bed, bath and beyond project.   Had to have one lock replaced and another installed.  I found out the winds hit 93kms an hour during that storm.  It damaged several areas of the city, but tornado style, lots of damage in small areas.

This blog is not about the heat however. It's about beating the heat. In this case I mean floor fans and protectors.  Inspired by Lindasita's covering her fans with netting to help keep them dust free, I finally spent several hours to clean each of my floor fans with tweezers, a toothbrush, and a small paintbrush.  My fans don't open. Maybe they are supposed to but they don't anymore.  After collecting half a trash bucket of dust and cat hair, I gave up and gave the fans a little shower.  I was desperate. I let them dry and evidently did no damage to the motors.  Whew!

That same day I took the netting Lynn brought for me and decided to cover ALL the fans while they were ALL clean at one time.  I've seen the results of this practical and simple solution, and decided to just sit down and do it.  Here are some photos.  This project was a success! It may seem a little Aunt Sally's 'toaster coozie' but it was a very useful and worthwhile effort.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Project Two: Paint Bedroom Completed

The tale of the bedroom project is just about finished.  In a previous post, Project Two: Paint the Bedroom I believe I told you about the history of the unattractive room.  I also provided photos of the before and after the paint job at Project Painting the Room PHOTOS.  It took me a few weeks to think about what to put on the walls and where.  I confiscated my collection of items from Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from the front room after discussing with Lindasita how I missed my memorabilia from the South Pacific. I tried to hang some of these things myself, but whacked my thumb and decided I wasn't able to penetrate the concrete wall after all.  I can with a little nail, but the heavier ones, watch out!

 Above the back window hang two of Pablo's paintings. No need to remind me Chac Mool is crooked, and one of these days I'll straighten him out.

 The room looks a bit crowded but I do have clothes hanging on the door and my blanket in the hammock. The idea was to make the room feel bigger, Have room to sleep in our hammocks without the bed in the way, and have space to hang out.

 Need to hang one more painting above that closet. No the colors don't all match - but the hammock chairs do! The joys of living in the tropics where color is king!

It's too hot to sleep in the bed this time of year, so I tucked it out of the way.  I haven't finished deciding what else to hang on the wall in this corner, but I like it bare for now since the other wall is so busy.

 The storage space above the bathroom allows for more memorabilia.  I didn't have the ladder handy to get that black plastic bag out of the way. Use your imagination. It looks better than that plastic stuff, that's for sure.

The bedroom project is now officially finished.  There are still some decorative touches needed,  but the bed, bath and beyond project -as it grew to such proportions - was well worth it. I have peace of mind that my roof would withstand high winds, my screens, when used properly, will help keep the mosquitos out, and I enjoy the soothing brown in the bedroom.  Only one problem, it makes me want to eat chocolate.