30 May 2010

Sunday Afternoon

It is hot and dry in central Mexico right now. Hot and dry.

Some more snapshots from the orchid garden of subjects unrelated to orchids:

28 May 2010

The Orchid Garden

I am springing my very best orchid picture on you right away.

The orchid garden is an extremely cool place up in Colonia Santo Domingo, the fashionable neighborhood.

Once you turn off the street at the sign, you must cross this bridge over the waterway that runs down along the side of the building. This is a view back toward that foot bridge.

You knock on the door and wait for Julio, the gardener, to answer. He will collect 20 pesos apiece and give you a tour.

The orchid garden is located in a 200-year-old tannery building.

The orchid family is huge and diverse. Many are epiphytes, deriving their moisture and nutrients from their surroundings and growing on other plants.

Here they are grown wired onto these chunks of wood . . .

or in these hanging, wooden baskets.

There will be different species blooming at different times throughout the year here, according to Julio.

There were not actually a lot of orchids blooming right now.

However, I will certainly be checking back regularly to see others as they come along. . .

. . .for sure.

The brains of the cacti world. . . . .

I have a piece of Mexican candy for every child who can locate the dog hidden in this picture.

26 May 2010

Canyon Number Two Redux

Back on February 22 I went on the hike with Fred to Canyon Number Two. I use the phrase “Canyon Number Two” to distinguish it from Canyon Number One, which is the canyon at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.

On Sunday La Mexicana allowed as how she would also like to hike to Canyon Number Two. I told her that she was on for Monday.

What I call Cell Phone Mountain is visible from the second floor of La Mexicana's house and is the mountain one must initially climb and then descend on the other side for the trek to Canyon Number Two.

25 May 2010

In Bloom

Nopal blossom.

It is interesting that the cacti around here bloom during the dry period before the rainy season, that is, now. The other plants do all their blooming during the rainy season as one would expect.

Fred explains this by pointing out that this strategy gives the cacti a monopoly on the services of the pollinators. The cacti do not have to share the services of the bees and other pollinators with the other plant species.

Parties for ‘Mockingbird’ Birthday, but Don’t Expect Author - NYTimes.com

Parties for ‘Mockingbird’ Birthday, but Don’t Expect Author - NYTimes.com

24 May 2010

Myrtillocactus geometrizans

I love this particular species of cactus. To this point, I have never been able to supply you with a name. I can correct that now. In Spanish it is a garambullo, Latin species name as above.

Palm Tree

Does anyone know the name of this kind of palm?

As many of you do know--and I did not, these palms develop their seeds on the lower branches in season, and the lower branches take on brilliant colors, in this case a bright yellow.

This particular specimen sits at the entrance to a small shopping center. La Mexicana has been after me for some time to take the machete and cut off some of the lower limbs so that she could use them to decorate her courtyard. I did not relish the idea of doing that. I feared that I might have to depend on her to bring me food in a Mexican jail if I were caught.

As luck would have it, somebody recently trimmed off the lower limbs. On Sunday we were able to salvage some of the downed limbs before they were all hauled off.

La Mexicana now has some of these colored limbs with which to decorate.

And I have some material for a home and garden entry of sorts.

22 May 2010

Mr. Natural

We ought to take a look at an R. Crumb piece for old time's sake:

21 May 2010

Evening Run Up to the High Ground

Earlier this evening we biked up a dirt trail to high ground overlooking the presa and enjoyed some views that I did not know existed.

To our right toward the south. The Los Frailes development in the distance.

In front of us to the west. The Presa and environs.

To the northwest.

To our right and toward the north was another ridge line.

Behind us and to the east was the city of San Miguel.

Sacagawea pointing out the way.

Another Mystery Solved

The big picture, then, in terms of the immediate future is this. I am still determined to become involved in some program for the benefit of children or some program for the benefit of the poor or in the best of all possible worlds, some program for the benefit of poor children.

19 May 2010

Report on Paseo del Chorro

I did not say that I was going to bike all the way up Paseo del Chorro without stopping, did I? I only said that I was going to ride the bike all the way up. I am not even going to look back because I am sure that I did not say anything about stopping or not stopping on the way up.

We are at the point where I am closing in on the first anniversary of my border crossing and settlement here. Obviously, we are going to start to recycle some things. Anyway, a quick review regarding the chorro area.

That Franciscan monk who founded the city in 1542, Juan de San Miguel, originally had it set up out where San Miguel el Viejo is today. Hence, that beautiful little church that still survives there. The problem was that there is no water there. None. Which made things difficult.

Tire Pressure

Back to the bicycle for a moment. I am writing this full well knowing that those who have been riding trail bikes or mountain bikes for years will find my amazement humorous.

The Trek Under the Acacias.

This Trek 4300 is cool. I have learned that it is called a “hard tail” because there is no suspension in the back. The only suspension is in the front fork. Whatever the case, I feel as if I could ride straight up a wall with it. I know that is an illusion. Nevertheless, I am going to try riding up the Chorro hill a little later this morning, a hill so steep that it is a chore—no pun—to walk up it.

For years, having ridden only road bikes, my practice has been to keep the tires as hard as possible. If the recommended pressure was 90 to 110 pounds per square inch, I blew them up to 110 at least and sometimes more. Sometimes I just blew them up, period. The idea was to keep that line of the point of contact between the rubber and the road less than pencil thin. Because, of course, I wanted to go fast.

Now, I am in a different world. There is no way to go fast on cobblestone. And hard tires allow that cobblestone to beat the shit out of you. As a consequence, I am setting the tire pressure on the low side. The listed tire pressure on these fat Bontrager's is 40 to 65 pounds per square inch. Initially, I put them up to 65, which I soon found was a mistake. Now, I am putting them at 40, the minimum. Because, of course, I no longer care about going fast. I do not care when I get to where I am going. I do not really care if I get there at all. It is about the comfort of the ride now.

There is a huge overriding metaphor in there somewhere.

18 May 2010


We drove back to Mineral de Pozos this past Sunday to revisit the Spanish mining ruins. I suspect you may be tired of all that, but don't worry. We could not get to the ruins. Instead, we ran into the annual fair in that town. We had no idea in advance that it was going on this past weekend. You have to listen to the radio to learn these things.

A large percentage of all the Mexicans in the world had ridden buses to the outskirts of Mineral de Pozos where they disembarked and trudged into town along the main highway. It was drizzling. Very unusual for this time of year.

17 May 2010

Blue Agave

Not to be confused with Agave tequilana, commonly known as Blue Agave:

The Reservoir and Available Real Estate

If you zoom in to San Miguel de Allende on the map, you will see a large body of water directly to the west of the city. This is the reservoir behind the new dam, not to be confused with the old dam out at El Charco botanical garden and nature preserve. The reservoir was my destination this morning on a bike ride with Fred.

This is what the reservoir looks like now just in advance of the rainy season. We shall see how much it fills up this year. It did not rise much at all last year.

There are many upscale homes in the area of the reservoir, Mexican McMansions.

Here is one that you might be interested in picking up. It is another of the many abandoned construction projects hereabouts.

It has clearly been abandoned for quite some time.

Fred was pondering the architectural style here, trying to come up with a name for it.

Only a two-car garage, but I think there would still be time for you to correct that.

Still, for pure drop-jaw tastelessness it does not top the place with the gutter spout in the shape of a snake that I visited last July. That project was not abandoned, and it ought to have been.