Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Post of the Year....

We've lived here in our house at Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico almost 3 months already and the days just fly by.  I don't think I mentioned in a previous post that my Leica camera broke last month and I've been using my "back-up" Canon Powershot.  It's a good camera but is difficult for me to use because it doesn't have a view finder....  locating anything in that flat screen thingy is just by chance.  So I don't take very many photos these days.  Well... I take photos but I'm lucky if I even get my subject in the shot.  But that will all change...  next week our daughter and son-in-law from New York will arrive for a visit...  and they are bringing a new camera for me.  I'm thrilled they are coming to visit and the camera will be a bit of icing on the cake!

The contractor and his crew left a few weeks ago, but there's still work to be done.  Bill works some each day on things...  like installing a light above the place I use my laptop, painting things, organizing his workshop, and stuff I don't even know about.  We go to Spanish lessons twice a week.  We both spend a lot of time studying...  Bill's much further along than me, but I love it when I actually understand parts of a conversation and can say a few words.

Enough of that...  let's get on to a few photos ...
Isn't he beautiful?  This young Broad-billed Hummingbird comes to our feeders several times a day.  I keep trying to capture the iridescent colors on his breast.  A mature male will have a totally green/blue front.

 Can you guess what species this guy is?  He's a Cinnamon Hummingbird.  He arrived before any other species and has already claimed all 5 feeders in the yard.  When not chasing any interlopers away he can usually be seen on this tiny perch in a tree just in front of the veranda.

 We have 2 red hibiscus plants...  one fairly large and one we just bought.  The blooms open up in the morning, close in the evening... then drop off...  only bloom for 1 day.  The flowers are quite large...  6"or more across.

When walking along the River Road the other day I saw some  splashing going on across the river.  I could see color,  and thought these were Painted Buntings.  I couldn't see well enough what the camera was catching, but when I got home and downloaded my memory card, I saw that these were about a half dozen Striped-back Orioles taking a bath.  While not a very good photo, I really liked it because it looks almost like a watercolor painting.

I've been hoping that the fountain we put in our yard would attract birds...  and finally this beautiful female Bunting flew in and spent about a half hour at the fountain one day last week.  

 I believe this is one of the "Sisters", but those spots are definitely yellow-orange with not even a hint of red.  I'll look it up later...

 These guys are harvesting coconuts.  There really is a man way up in that tree using his machete to hack loose bunches of coconuts.  Coconut milk is a very popular drink at roadside markets, on the beach and from street vendors.  They just slice off one end, insert a straw and there you are!  A drink with it's own disposable container.

 The Malachite butterfly was on my "must see" list for years.  They don't live in the USA (maybe sometimes wander into the very south of Texas) and I finally saw them in Mexico over 10 years ago.  We had them in our yard when we stayed in Costa Rica, and now they visit us here in Lo de Marcos.  I find it interesting that butterflies, as beautiful as they are, love things like old fruit, piles of horse manure, yucky mud puddles and other really gross things.

 Speaking of liking old fruit....  this Casique is having lunch on a banana from one of our trees.  As we expected (but hoped wouldn't happen)...  the whole bunch (50+) of bananas all ripened the same day.  And, as I wrote, I totally dislike bananas, Bill ate his fill, and we gave away all we could.  So, even the birds and butterflies enjoyed our crop.

We closed on our house back in July.  But, as is the norm in Mexico, we didn't get our deed and title then.  Finally, December 24th, Armando (left) and Robert (right) were contacted by the Notario (lawyer) that our paperwork was complete.  They picked it up and I just had to take this photo of them presenting it to Bill.  Yeah!  Now we're the official owners!

Right now our quiet little town is hoppin'!  While we're not the resort towns that Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita are, (I counted 12 tour buses waiting on the road leading up to Sayulita the other day), the beach and hotels here are crowded with folks from Christmas through New Years.  Most of the tourists here are Mexicans who live in big cities like Guadalajara and the like...  some actually have homes here that they only stay in a couple times a year...  some just take their vacation and rent hotel rooms or bungalows.  But come this coming Monday it will all be quiet again.

 This man probably has a trail ride lined up...  maybe a ride along the beach or up into the jungle into the mountains.  We might do that one of these days...   But for now...  this is...
The End

That's All For Today!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Everyone Loves A Parade!

The annual Christmas Parade here in Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico, is a highlight of the year.  It is organized by the Lo de Marcos Amigos, a group comprised of Snowbirds (winter residents), year-round Canadian and US residents, and local Mexican residents.  The parade was this past Thursday....  it started at the Oxxo station at the edge of town on Rt 200, traveled up the main street and ended at the plaza.  Lots of photos...  with short explanations below each...
The Parade Begins!
Lots of music...  lots of colorful clothing and decorations!
If you didn't already have the Christmas Spirit, this will certainly give it to you.

This group of children danced and sang all the way down the street.
A lot of the floats further back had folks throwing candy to the crowds.  I bet these kids were happy they were the first group so they could run back and get candy after they finished at the plaza!

This little cowboy is riding his Shetland Pony along side the kids dancing.

In the back of the cab, it looks like a Princess and Prince....  along with the teen controlling the music and the elf throwing candy.

Ah Yes...  the dancers!
They sure could rock to the Christmas Music!

More of the kids...

Lots of folks here have golf carts to get around town.  They really decorate them great for the Christmas parade!

The kids on the left are picking up wrapped candy...

Everything here is so colorful!
The parade started around 4:00 pm....  you can tell White Christmases are never gonna happen here!

That looks like a parrot to me...
And that little kid looks like he's having a fun chat...

That's Merlin on the left.  
He had a good time teasing the kids and pretending to perform magic.

I think that might be a Christmas tree?  Or maybe a birthday cake?  I really don't know, but it was colorful and fit right in with the festivities!

That's Frank, the guy who rented our house last year before we bought it.  I told him later that he'd be just perfect for the Rose Bowl Parade.  

Another golf cart...  I believe that that's the Queen he's got in the back.

Ah....  the horses 
There'll be more as the parade progresses.
But I'll tell you...  the saddles these guys have are something else!
Hand tooled leather...  lots (and I mean LOTS) of silver....  really beautiful!

Yes...  that's the queen of the parade...

And some little princesses!

Some balloons got loose from a float..
But they won't go to waste....  these little guys will grab them.

A really lovely Christmas Tree!

I don't know what make this vintage automobile is, but it's all decked out for Christmas.

Don't you just love the expression on this little girl's face?

This one's for my son, Dan.
He has one of these 3 wheelers back in Ohio.  

The band!
I don't have any information about who they all are or anything else...  just know that they play great music...  and the horses will start dancing when these guys play the first notes.

The horses and riders...
These are the Dancing Horses...  
We've seen them before, but I never tire of watching them perform.  And...  they never seem to tire of dancing!

Look at the mane on that horse!
A lovely braid that must take real skill to fix.

And, like all Christmas Parades...
Santa Claus and Mrs Claus at the end!

We followed the parade down the street...  stopped to watch the horses dance some more...

Got a sweet smile from this young lady...
She's carrying her "goody bag" to keep the candy in that she collected from the floats.

We walked around the Plaza...  more festivities there...

These ladies were in the parade...  all decked out in traditional folkloric clothing.

Well..  what's this?
The Amigos had bought and wrapped 600 gifts for the kids!
They were age and sex appropriate...  and there was one for every kid there!

I'm not sure what these 2 little guys got, but they were happy!

I saw a lot of Barbie Dolls...  
And a lot of happy kids!

We walked around for a while - did a lot of "people watching", listened to the holiday music and just kind of soaked in the Holiday Spirit!
I think I can honestly say...  A Good Time Was Had By All!

That's All for Today!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Making Our House Our Home.....

I posted before about the electric and sewer being upgraded.  Most of that work is done now except for the final hook-ups, which involve the electric company and the city utilities department.  The contractor and his helper worked only 2 weeks total, which, in my mind, seemed real quick, especially for Mexico.  There's still a lot of work to be done, like painting, refinishing the floors and ceiling...  things that will take a lot more time.

But gradually, Bill and I are making our house into OUR home.  We bought a dining table and chairs and are in the process of having a matching book shelf made. 

Last year, Bill made friends with Fernando.  He's the guy who made new buckles for Bill's sandals.  He works with metal and glass....  our bathroom needed a decent mirror... 
Fernando made us not one, but two!
Custom made sizes....  and installed exactly where we needed them.  The photo on the left is in the bathroom...  the photo on the right is the door leading from our bedroom into the bathroom.  I haven't had the luxury of a full-length mirror in years!  So long, in fact, that I just groan when I catch my "these days" image as I'm heading into the bathroom.  Not sure it was a good idea ;-)
Note the towels hanging in the bathroom...

We needed to replace the towels and sheets that came with the house.
What fun it's been to buy colorful linens!  I've got orange and pink and green and blue and yellow towels...  and dark orange sheets and a set of light brown!  I'm replacing the linens gradually as we have to carry our purchases home on the bus....  a set of towels can be very bulky to carry!

We haven't done much with the bedroom yet.  That's a king size bed, and the bedspread that was here works just fine until I find something I like better.  There were no curtains at this window and we really need to replace the curtains on all 7 of the windows in the house.  So, until I'm ready to look for the curtain material, we bought this ...  well, I think it's a "throw"....  or maybe a bedspread?  Anyway, it's dark orange and white striped...  I have it doubled over on the curtain rod because at night I can look up through that gap below the fringe and see the stars..  Orion is bright and clear these nights!

This area between the sink counter on the left and the kitchen range counter on the right used to house the refrigerator.  But the fridge is huge and there was so much wasted space on and in the counters and cupboards on both sides.  We moved the fridge to another area and bought this 4 shelf utility stand.  It's perfect for the microwave and some of the kitchen stuff I use every day.

The couch is built in...  concrete base covered with huge cushions.  Neither of us really care for the cushions, but that's something else we want to think about before replacing.  But we did buy some accent pillows....  traditional regional embroidered covers...  so colorful!  We bought the hand woven rug to use as a wall hanging.....  those are lovely birds woven in the pattern. 

All of our personal things, like photos, artwork, souvenirs and knick-knacks are in storage in Ohio.  At some point we'd like to bring those here to include in this home.

That's a water cooler at the left....  everyone buys their drinking water in Mexico.  Those 5 gallon bottles cost about $1 US, and while some folks put a pump on the bottle, and some folks put the bottle in a metal "hammock-like" contraption that tips, we like having cold drinking water.  These coolers are inexpensive and available in many kinds of stores.

The inside of the house is quite comfortable as is, but I'm sure that our personal touch will make it more home-like to us.

Yesterday, we went to another garden center....  bought 25 more plants (had bought 28 a few weeks ago) .....  plants to attract birds and butterflies...   like Lantana and other colorful flowers and shrubs.  The fountain we got at Home Depot is now in its permanent place and there is even an electrical outlet closeby for the pump.

That white patch on the left is a scar on the bricks where there used to be something attached to the wall.  Either we'll work on aging the bricks there or maybe the flowers Bill planted will grow tall enough to hide it...   At any rate, this isn't the best photo and I'll be showing better ones later.

We are enjoying making this house into our home....  while shopping has never been much of a thing I liked, it's fun here in Mexico, where colors are vibrant and lively and extravagant does not have to mean expensive!

One last photo...
The tiny clay Nativity Scene I bought to welcome the Christmas season...

That's All For Today