Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Shelter for the Orchids

Every year we build a shelter for the orchids and other weather-sensitive plants in the bodega.  Using shade cloth and black plastic, we can keep the plants just warm enough to avoid freezing.  In the past, we have added a string of Christmas lights for extra warmth, but we decided to try it without them this year. 
Wish us luck!
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Last Saturday, we attended Erasmo's birthday party.  Sixty years young, he had quite a party!  Balloons, confetti-filled egg shells, a great dinner, birthday cake, and lots of strange women who wanted to dance with him. 

More than 100 people drifted in and out while we were there.  Family, friends, speeches, songs, toasts . . . and lots of presents - mostly tequila.  What more could a man ask for?
Erasmo is a local politician and a good friend.
He always has a smile and a kind word.
We enjoy his company!
Happy Birthday, Erasmo!

A Time of Prayer

Several weeks ago, my good friend Estela was the victim of an attempted car-jacking in Monterrey. The road was blocked and a young man approached her with a gun and demanded she get out of the car. Stalling for time, she made much of getting her things together. Some may call what happened next "luck" and some may call it "God's intervention." Whatever . . . the young man was distracted, Estela saw a way around the blocking vehicle, she floored the accelerator and escaped - shaken, but safe.

Since then she has become much more active within her group of friends and colleagues advocating for peace. And she has prayed as never before.

The Virgin of Guadalupe has always been present in the entryway of her Parras home, but now there is an alter with fresh flowers and prayer cards.

This is a beautiful thing, but the fear that prompted this action cannot become the "new reality" for Mexico.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day 11-25-10

The day was bright and beautiful!  Dinner was simple:
Roasted Chicken with Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry/Orange Relish
Sauteed Green Beans

The sunset was especially beautiful!
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts at Time of Thanksgiving!

Hacienda de Perote is all dressed up in its fall attire. The pecan trees have turned that special brown/ green/ yellow that only pecan trees can manage. The days are bright, warm, and sunny; the nights are cool but not cold. Perfect weather for a fireplace!

And it is perfect weather for thinking of November Treasures. Some treasures are rather ephemeral. Today the orchid is dropping its golden petals, and the cactus bloomed only a few hours. Some treasures are more long-lasting like the summer tomato vines which are still producing succulent little tomatoes that make excellent salad. Some treasures are quite unexpected as are the ten new grape vines that have produced grape bunches . With luck, we will have fresh grapes from the vineyard before we leave for the Christmas holiday.

Today, it is very easy to remember just how blessed I am!

Many of you have expressed fears about our safety here in Mexico. We appreciate your concern and do not want you to think your words of caution fall on deaf ears. We have decided, after careful consideration, that we are safe in our present location for the time being. Over the past four years we have made this our home, and as you all know, a home isn’t easily or lightly abandoned.

As we prepare to give thanks for all our many blessings, I encourage each of you to think about what is going on in Mexico, why it's happening and what you might be able to do about it.

Mexico is experiencing great difficulty in dealing with the drug cartels as well as a general atmosphere of lawlessness which has permeated the country as the line between the cartels and corrupt law enforcement blurs. This is indisputable and undeniable, but this is not a one-sided problem nor can it be solved by Mexico alone.

The United States and its citizens have played a major role in strengthening the power of the drug cartels in Mexico.

The Mexican government is constantly endangered by the high quality weapons that flow freely from the United States into the hands of the cartels.

The US government does not control the strength or quality of the mind-altering substances our citizens consume. They have elected instead to outlaw those substances thereby failing to provide even as much control over these potentially dangerous chemicals as they provide for peanut butter.

We continue fighting a costly, illogical and ineffective “war” against drugs when they could be sold legally providing much needed tax revenue.

We must make difficult decisions and take action individually and nationally.

Stricter enforcement of present laws, tougher laws yet to come, and longer prison sentences are NOT the answer! So long as we have laws which prohibit the legal sale of drugs, we will be plagued with the same problems.

Prohibition was a terrible time in our country’s history and yet it pales in the shadow of the present Drug War. If you are not concerned about the present level of violence in Mexico, please understand that it stretches closer to American cities every day.

What can you do?

Encourage Washington’s immediate attention to the legalization of recreational drugs in the United States. I firmly believe that the resolution of this issue alone would go a long way in establishing peace both in Mexico and on the international border. This action would clear the way for quality control and taxation.

We must do our part to stop the flow of weapons into Mexico and we MUST completely overhaul our failed immigration policy.

If you are blessed with a venue in which you can speak your mind – speak up!

If you are a praying person – pray!

Always thankful, I am celebrating with you in spirit, with love,


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fossil Samples

Stanley and I went to the dinosaur site.  Although we didn't find any more bones on the surface, we did find more fossils than you can imagine.  This is just a small sample.
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Raul's Bones

Meet Raul. He's the guy on the left with the great smile!
Having worked here at the hacienda almost as long as we've been here, he knows us fairly well.
He knows we're always interested in just about everything so he brought these bones one morning for a little show and tell.
Maybe we could tell him something about them?

With just a little observation it was clear they were very special.

We took pictures which we sent to a paleontologist who had been involved in excavating a dinosaur not too far from Parras several years ago. He wrote back saying he thought the bones were vertebrae from a young hadrosaur.

Plans were made the very next day to return to the site.

Raul was able to confidently point out the location of his find within about ten meters.
The hill is covered with lechuguilla, a nasty desert plant, which
would have to be cleared before any level of excavation could be done.

We did not find any more bones on the surface, but we did find lots of fossils.

Since then we have been in contact with the paleontologist from
El Museo del Desierto in Saltillo.
He now has all the pictures and site information we have.

This is going to be a fun experience to follow no matter what happens.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back to Reality

Back in San Antonio, we were quickly caught up in the family doings.

First of all, Sarah and David, Zac and Grayson have moved into their new home.
It is lovely.
Watch for pictures in an upcoming blog entry.
Away from town with a big backyard! Perfect for boys - be they teenagers or toddlers.
I spent one morning helping Sarah with some unpacking.
Now she has space for everything and more space for things yet to come.

Mom and I spent an afternoon with Kelly and Mel and Little Sterling.
What a sweetheart!
He puked on me, pooped on me, and then closed his eyes and went to sleep!

I was able to see lots of my San Antonio family. Frosty and Jill came to Mom's one night for dinner; Trey, Sarah, David, and the boys came the next night. It's always fun to cook for an appreciative audience!

We always enjoy being in San Antonio with family, but Mexico was calling our names.
We were anxious to get back home!

Back at the hacienda, the birds were nibbling on late, 2nd harvest grapes. The bird net would have to go up fast!
The vegetable garden had become a weed patch. It would have to be cleaned thoroughly before all those weeds went to seed.
The cactus garden had been overtaken by tumble weed. That just wouldn't do at all!
The olives trees still wanted pruning!

So much to do and I had a blog to write!

It was good to be home!

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