view

view
Hooded Mergansers

Monday, October 31, 2016

Newest Acquisition Etc.....

I've been trying for 2 days to post a blog...  I couldn't load photos... every time I tried it just showed a bunch of numbers, letters and symbols that looked like I was swearing.  Finally, I asked Bill to take a look.  He did...  then at the top he saw 2 buttons...  "compose" and "HTML".....  (I guess I never noticed them nor did I know what they do...)...  He hit the "compose" icon...  and...  What do you know!  That gibberish magically turned into my photo....  Took him less than a minute.....

I never said I was computer literate...  but darn!  guess I'm extremely illiterate.  Oh well..  I'm ready to tell you about our new table and chairs...

The house came with a big glass-topped patio table, which we use out on the patio as a dining room/kitchen/catch-all table.  Inside, in the living area, was a round plastic table, like you'd use on an outdoor patio.  We wanted "real" furniture and headed up to La Penita on Friday to check out the furniture stores there.  The first one we went to had several kinds, but all were way too modern for our taste.  Our house is very traditional Mexican... stucco/bricks/tile... lots of arches... and we wanted a more rustic look...  

At the third store we found this...
The table is around 5'6" long...  just over 36" across.  It came with 6 chairs.  I can't remember what kind of wood it's made from, but it's VERY heavy!  That red price tag on the table top says it cost $7,700 pesos...  but in the small print at the bottom, it says if you pay cash, it costs $6,610 peso.  As it happened, Bill took a wad of cash with him thinking we just might find what we wanted.

Since the peso to dollar ratio changes every day, I just rough it... divide the pesos by half and put in a decimal...  so our table cost approximately $335 USD.  Bill gave the salesperson $6,600 pesos and they called it good.  They delivered it on Saturday...  
Here it is...  set up in our home.  Doesn't it look nice?
That's a printer on the table.  We brought our laptops with us but printers are fairly inexpensive these days so be bought that printer at Walmart last week.  Seems we are always wanting to scan or print something.  

I think I wrote earlier that we have some fruit trees around our yard...
While technically not a tree, the bananas will soon be ripe.

And for my Ohio friends who have been seeing Jack Fruit in their local Kroger stores (at $1.19 a pound)...  our tree is producing nicely...
These will grow to be watermelon size...

However, the tree is going to be cut down soon...  
See how the root system is already pushing the concrete retainer in front ....  and the wall behind it is in danger of being crowded out too.  The tree provides some shade, but it's just in the wrong place here.

Bill spiffed up that Weber grill by painting it a metalic brown.  We're using it fairly often and  since it has a permanent place on the patio it might as well look nice.

A week or so ago I posted a photo of a reptile we'd seen along the river.  Our friend Francine, who lived here last year, wrote that she thought it was a "Jesus Christ Lizard".  That one wasn't, but I kept my eye out hoping to see one...  and sure enough...
A Basilisk Lizard, also known as a "Jesus Christ Lizard" because it runs on water.
This guy was about 12" in length and we never did see him run, but I've read that they can really move fast.

You never know what you'll see as you're walking along the streets.  Folks here do a lot of their living out on the sidewalks or even in the street in front of their home.  It's nothing to see an extended family totally blocking the sidewalk from walkers because they have their chairs..  maybe a table..  sometimes a grill or outdoor fire arranged outside.
I think this family has a small tienda in their front room...  
This guy is relaxing in his hammock on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

And this guy is patiently waiting for his owner to finish shopping and come back to get him.  We see horses tied up in various places along the sidewalks, but almost always in a shady spot.  
I got a kick out of this one..  wouldn't the meter maid in my hometown freak out!  

We see a lot more cats than dogs here.  I don't think this cat is feral, but she lives in a kind of rough area.  One thing I've noticed about the dogs...  a lot more males seem to be neutered than when we were here last year.  Hopefully the local Spay and Neuter Clinics are becoming more popular!


That's All For Today!






Friday, October 28, 2016

Hummingbirds and More....

Last year, after finding that buying hummingbird feeders around here is next to impossible, I brought several with me this time.  There are now 4 hummingbird feeders out around our house...  and while we've seen a hummer zap by a couple of times, none have stopped at my feeders.  I hope they get used to them as we really enjoy seeing the hummers in action.

We take long walks nearly every day and occasionally we've seen hummers along the river.  The following 4 photos are the same bird...  none of the photos are very good...  lighting, speed and "operator error"...  but looking at the slightly curved bill, we think this is a Broad-billed Hummingbird.
 Catching a rear view of him as he's hovering over the morning glories.

Another rear view...  he likes those red flowers.

A side view...  he's got that beak right down into that flower!

And while he did finally sit still on a branch, it was so far away from us that it was still nearly impossible for me to ID him/her. (a female Broad-billed has a dark stripe across the eye)

Of course we'll see more as time goes on...  and if we're lucky, they'll find our feeders and visit us often.  I may get better photo opportunities later...

Another unknown bird...  
I thought at first it was a female Painted Bunting, but that heavy beak and the white circle around the eye give me serious doubts.  Hmmmm....

This Striped-headed Sparrow looks like he doesn't have tail...  but it's the angle of the shot...  he's just fine.  

I think this is a Tropical Kingbird, even though you can't see any "whiskers" around his bill.  On the Cassin's Kingbird, the white throat extends further up under the eye. 

 And another mystery bird....
About the size of a bluebird...  but this guy was quite a distance off.

I brought a whole box of books with us this time, but couldn't find my field guide to Birds of Central America, so am depending on the National Geographic and Sibley apps on my Ipad.  If any of you out there know of an app I can download for a field guide to Mexican birds, please let me know.

When we were renting last year, we walked every day...  miles!  Now that we have bought a house we still walk, but we are spending more time making the place "ours"...  that includes doing more shopping for things we need or want to change, or just being at home rearranging, getting rid of stuff we don't need and fixing things that need fixed.  Good thing Bill is a first class handyman!

More on all that later...

That's All For Today!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mi Mascota

KC, our 19 year old cat died 3 days before we started our full-time RVing adventure back in 2001.  Although we had rented our house to a young couple who would live there for the year (yes, we thought we'd be traveling for one year) we'd be gone and they'd take care of KC, I think she knew something was up and she didn't want any part of it.  So, Kylie and Jimmy never had to feed KC, take her to the vet or let her sit on their lap of an evening (not that she'd have allowed that anyway), she had a stroke and died 3 days before we rolled out of the driveway.

So...  since that time, we've never had a pet.  Our life style really would be a cruel life for a pet...  we're gone for hours at a time...  we leave the country for months at a time...  it just wouldn't be right.

Sunday morning, on my way to 7:00 mass I saw this beetle on the sidewalk...  
He was on his back...  doing that swimming kind of things with his legs.  I flipped him over and headed on to church.

An hour later, on my way home he was still there.  Nobody had squashed him flat...  I figured he was on his last legs (?).... scooped him up and headed on home.

Entomology was one of my very favorite classes when I was in the Recreation and Wildlife program at our local community college.  I don't know what it is about insects, but I want to know what family they are in...  where they live...  all that stuff.  Hey, if Bill can do genealogy about humans, I can sort out the insects or birds or whatever.

I brought him (?) home, put him in a Tupperware container, figuring he would die very soon and I'd have a great specimen.  I knew he was a Rhinoceros Beetle...  just look at that "horn" proboscis....  but when I Googled him, I found that in some of the Oriental countries they keep these guys for pets.

He's Huge....  over 4" in length.

These guys don't sting, they don't bite...  whoohooo!  The perfect pet!

Come Monday morning he's still alive...  Okay...  time to make a decision.  Keep him in the Tupperware or turn him loose.  I let him loose....  hoping he'd stay around a while.  That might have been the right decision...  however....

The lawn maintenance people (man, wife, 3 or 4 year old child) came on Monday morning.  They are raking, pruning...  doing all the things they are supposed to do.  I was inside... forgot about my little Rhino friend out on the patio.  Darned if the woman didn't spot Rhino...  smack him with her broom (intent to kill) as she's sweeping off grass clippings...  and she hit him so hard she broke his "horn" off.  Bill was outside, saw what was happening and stopped her...  told her Rhino was my mascota.

Her young son was determined to finish the critter off, but we intervened.

They finished the yard work...  Rhino disappeared somewhere in the yard...  until today.

He reappeared in the grass....  we've kept an eye on him.   But, either his life span was naturally over or losing his "horn" was the fatal blow, I don't know.  Mi mascota es muerto.

Guess we're back to being a "petless" family...  unless you want to include all the geckos that climb all over our walls all night...  but truth is, I enjoyed having Rhino as a member of our household in the short time he/she resided here.

That's All For Today!




Monday, October 24, 2016

Chicken Every Sunday....

Yes, we like having that Weber grill, but there's something about buying a BBQ-ed chicken ready to eat that has a certain appeal.  Especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon...  which happens to be the only day of the week that the restaurants here drag their grills outside and BBQ....  I don't know how many...  chickens.

We've tried the 2 places closest to us but prefer the chicken that the "Bernel" complex fixes.  I'm calling it the Bernel complex... that's not the real name...  but the Bernel family has at least 2 businesses in that huge building.  Letty, one of the 7 sisters, seems to run the grocery store where we do most of our shopping.  And one of her sisters has a restaurant right next door...  she's the one who does the Sunday chickens.  
They have the rotisserie chickens...  (they also grill potatoes, peppers and onions in here)
and....
The split open chickens laid on an open grill.
This is what we usually buy...  I like the skin crisp and inside juicy, and even though it's not healthy, it sure is good to eat!

On Saturday, they have a tablet out on the counter...  you write down your name, which kind of chicken you want, if you want any sides to go with it, and the time you want it done.  Then on Sunday morning they start grilling the chickens to be done at the requested time.
The young man in the green shirt is the owner's son...  he seems to be about 15, and this year he appears to be in charge of this operation.  Last Sunday his little sister was making change for customers, but it looks like he's doing the work of carving the chickens, adding the sides and wrapping it up to you to take home.

I just have him quarter it...  which means we get some odd kinds of cuts....
This leg has part of a thigh, maybe a bit of breast....  The wing has mostly the white meat of the breast...  but maybe part of the neck.  Doesn't make any difference, it tastes delicious!


It all comes in this styrofoam take-out tray...  those are a half dozen or so corn tortillas they added...
All for the price of 100 pesos....  about $5.00 USD.  The slaw, potatoes, peppers etc are a little extra.

While we've enjoyed our Sunday chicken the past couple of weeks, we probably won't make it a "must do" every Sunday....  but really is a great tasting meal at a reasonable price.

That's All For Today!


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Our House in Lo de Marcos....

I've had several folks ask me about the inside of our house.  So...  here are photos that I took yesterday.  We bought it "furnished".  That means we bought the appliances (kitchen range... with oven; refrigerator, washer/dryer combination... stacked; a microwave; one "secretary" type desk that has some drawers; a wooden chest that is used as a coffee table; 2 tables.. 1 indoor, 1 outdoors with 8 plastic chairs; a wooden frame couch on the front porch; and a couple of foldable lawn chairs.  The kitchen came (mostly) intact...  dishes, pots and pans, silverware and such.  But it has 1 coffee cup, 1 drinking glass, 1 martini glass and 1 margarita glass.  (maybe the folks who lived here took turns using these....)  There are some kitchen appliances and gadgets as well.

Mexican houses often are constructed mostly of concrete, brick and tile.  Ours is no exception.  The ceiling is brick, and like all the ceilings in this area has a "wavy" pattern.  The couch is made of a concrete base and covered with large cushions.  The bed (king size) is also a concrete base with a mattress on top.  The night tables are concrete slabs built into the wall.

Enough words....  here are some photos...
I was standing in the bedroom, looking  into the living area and kitchen.  At the upper right you can see the half bath (toilet, sink, stacked washer/dryer and a tiny shelf up on the wall.  This room is about 5' X 5'...  plenty big enough.  From where I'm standing in the doorway, it's 26' to the back wall of the kitchen.  It's 14' wide.  

Another view....  
Oops... I forgot to mention the bar stools in front of the kitchen island were here as well.
The front door is on the other side of the refrigerator.  That's a back door just this side of the secretary/desk.

Standing close to the kitchen island, looking back towards the bedroom....
I'm still experimenting with those blue cushions...  trying to find a reasonable comfortable way to use them.
Yes, that's a phone on the couch arm...  we actually got a call the other day...  a wrong number.  That's the Internet Router on the back of the couch.

If I were to turn to my right from the couch photo, I'd be facing the front wall.  That's the plastic table and a chair that came with the house.  We moved the refrigerator out of the kitchen...  it blocked about 3' of shelf and storage space... on both the counter side and on the island side.  

A closer look at the kitchen area....
Bill has replaced the florescent light over the sink with an LED fixture.  There are curtains stored in the closet that go on any window you might see that doesn't have one.  
An interesting feature about the kitchen and bedroom doors...  both are double doors (French doors?) and each door has a window.  The neat thing is, the windows unlatch and open, leaving a screened in area for air to circulate.  You can see at the left of the photo above, we've opened up the window (and pulled the curtain in front to keep it open.  Makes for a nice "natural" air conditioning.

The bedroom has a wall AC...  we'll probably replace it soon.  You can see what I mean about the doors....  The bedroom is about 12' long, and including the bath is also 14' wide.

I'm standing just outside the bathroom door....  looking into the bedroom and kind of into the living area.  There are 2 full closets to the left of the doorway, and 1 full closet just to the right.  (not in the photo).

The bathroom is small...  and we need to buy a shelf/storage unit to put toiletries/cosmetics in.  The sink is a lovely mosaic tile....   I'm standing in the doorway from the bedroom...  and if I turn to my right...
There's a HUGE walk-in shower!
I think the shower area is every bit as big as the bathroom.  

That pretty much takes care of the inside of the house...  I just went outside and took some outside shots...
The front porch...  This is where we spend most of our time...
It runs the whole length of the house and is around 11' wide.   There is another 12' or so of front yard, planters and then a brick wall in front.

The back yard is maybe 20' deep....
Looking at it from the left side of the house (as you're facing it)...  you can see the bodega (shed) and the housing for the well.  There is a compost pile just behind the bodega.  The bodega contained the Weber grill, a lawnmower, wheel barrow, shovel, step ladder and various other tools...  as well as a set of golf clubs!  Back here, the lemon, lime and orange trees are well on their way to adulthood.

Standing in front of the bodega, looking the other direction....
That spindly looking tree sort of center front is a Moringa tree that Memo gave us.  It needed planted but that's just a temporary place until we do some more landscaping.

Back to the left side...  now looking at the stairway leading to the roof.
Sometime in the future we hope to build on...  another bedroom and bath, plus a small patio up there.  That won't be this year...  we feel we need to live here a while to get a feel for exactly what we want.

Another front view of the house...  standing just as you're entering the gate onto the driveway.

And...  finally...
Standing in the street.....
We live at 51 12th of December Street...  the property starts on at the brick wall where the ceramic house marker is, past the wrought iron gate, along the red brick wall, and ends where the pink stucco wall begins.

Now you've seen it.... the house that captured our hearts.
If you have any questions feel free to ask away...  or e-mail me...
sharonrver@gmail.com

Tomorrow we'll get back to the birds...
That's All For Today! 



Saturday, October 22, 2016

Saturday....

It's Saturday...  the tianguis in Lo de Marcos doesn't start for a few more weeks.  But each day we see more winter folks here in town, so the season is, indeed, here.

If you're new to my blog I'll tell you now that most of my posts are about what we see..  we go for long walks almost daily...  checking out what birds are about as well as what's going on on the streets and things about town.  Since I use this as my journal, I'll also be recording changes we make in the house.  We haven't done anything to the inside since our arrival, so the photos I posted last March are still what it looks like.

I got some replies about my lizard-like critter...  I believe Nancy is correct in ID-ing it as an "anole".  We didn't see any on our walk today....  but maybe I'll get lucky and see more as time goes on.

Since we aren't renting, we're responsible for making sure our propane tank is full.  The kitchen stove and the hot water heater are all that we use off the outdoor tank, and when we had it filled yesterday, we figure it will last for several months.
In the upper right photo you can see the propane delivery truck out on the street.  The truck driver just pulls out a hose and drags it to the big tank.  Years ago we were near Veracruz on the east coast... had propane delivered into our motorhome tank and the hose burst while it was being filled.  Thank goodness nobody was smoking or we'd have gone up with a big boom!  All went well with this delivery, but you can bet we keep an eye on what's going on.

I love the walk along the river...
There's ibis and egrets and even a little blue heron enjoying the water today....
The best time to walk is around 8:00 or 8:30... walk from the east towards the ocean...  that way the sun doesn't blind you and you can see the colors of birds.  I was facing east taking the above shot, but there are areas of shade that make great shadows.

This guy passed us....  just ambling along.
See the tree at the lower left?  That was planted just last December.  The town workers planted these trees all along both sides of this road.  Most of the trees they planted are thriving!

This Golden-cheeked Woodpecker looks like he's having a bad-hair day!
I tried to get a better shot of him, but he kept ducking around the back of the tree.
Looks like he got carried away with the gel on his crew-cut, doesn't it?

Today is the first time we've seen goats while walking this road.  These guys were in a field next to the beach.  The biggest buck was tethered....  even though there are males in this herd I'm guessing that the buck is the leader and these guys won't stray too far away.

We see a few Jacana along the river, but not as many as we'll see as time goes on.

The Turtle Sanctuary looks like it's up and running...
The folks that run it collect eggs that the turtles lay and rebury them in this enclosed area.  They'll post a sign above the buried eggs with the date.  That way they'll know when to expect a hatch.  After the hatch, they'll release the baby turtles back to the sea...  at dusk.... hoping that they escape the predators that aren't nocturnal.

The sea, and the beach, was quiet this morning.  But it's Saturday and by noon families will be enjoying the water.
This woman and her young son were the only folks I saw this morning.  Just out taking a walk...

When we get to the ocean, Bill and I turn around and walk part-way back on the River Walk before turning into town.  
It's always interesting to see things in the opposite direction...
There were several of these huge Magpie Jays flying around up in the palm trees...

And I caught this Casique just as it was coming in for a landing....

There is a large flock of Rufous-backed Thrush hanging out along the path.  Looks a lot like our American Robin, doesn't it?

We walked over to the Lagoon and checked it out...  it's kind of cloudy today so visibility was better than usual.  We're usually facing right into the sun and its glare on the water is terrible.  The usual...  black-necked stilts, cormorants, herons, egrets, various songbirds....  no Roseate-spoonbills yet.

We headed home...  

That's All For Today!