Sunday, 5 May 2013

Gifts from Friends and Gifts from the Skies

   This is the parlour of our place on the face of the Sierra Madre Oriental, where some weeks back, Alvaro fashioned a pair of sconces to accommodate a very fine gift.    An old friend was involved in clearing out excess and unused "learning resource material" from his secondary school in Texas.   In the process, El Gringo Viejo picked up a few odds and ends and books of interest, all salvaged from the Dempster Dumpster.    We have been blessed by really excellent, pertinent décor gifts over the years by Diana's brother and sister-in-law, by our daughter's parents-in-law, from our children, and from El Gringo Viejo's parents-in-law
Among those things was a political map of Mexico, showing all the States, territories, rail routes, sea lane connections, principal cities and towns, a such.   FROM 1923!  Alvaro hung it up, and we are now fashioning a plastic sheeting to place over the magnificent piece, so as to protect it from that impulse all reasonable people have to go over and touch the place where they are and the place from whence they came.  It can be seen in these pictures we took while trying to learn how to use a 1998 technology camera , and having some success.  At right, the OROG can see that we really do have satellite television that actually works.   Above one can take note of a simple décor, and the famous cane ceiling that supposedly keeps allergies and dampness at bay.   These pictures were taken during the early evening, and Shepard Smith is holding forth on FOXNews  even as we are shooting this pictures on San Jacinto Day, 2013.
This is another of the gifts, in the master bedroom, received from our daughter's mother-in-law, the centre of attention of an article from last year about "The Curse of the Perfect Gift"....something that could be used almost anywhere...and that fit whatever assignment perfectly.  We used it as a backdrop, almost like a headboard for the beds.  It calmed the all white interior, calmed as well the slight echo produced by heavily plastered solid adobe walls.   All in all we have been and continue to be blessed by generosity and thoughtfulness on the part of our friends and family.   It is something like a couple of weeks ago that the 'comida canina' ran out at the Hacienda de La Vega.   The mayordomo came over to advise that there was no more food for the four Rhodesian  Lion Hounds (Ridgeback Hounds), and could we spare a few morsels.   They also have a half-coyote / half shepherd mix who has seniority, if not the size to stand up to the Ridgebacks, all of whom weigh between 110 and 150 pounds.
     Of course, El Gringo Viejo gave Ciro pretty much  half of a 20 pound bag of  food, enough say for about 3 minutes worth of fuelling the monster tribe of hounds.    Then, a couple of days went by, and the owner of the Hacienda de La Vega shows up with a bag of replacement food (he has started to use what we use...the HEB house brand version of Gravy Train.  He says, "Wow, this is better because it costs less and the dogs actually eat it")....and this was well and good.  He and his crew and family have always been overly generous with us, and anything borrowed or used is usually repaid two-fold or causes me a bit of chafing.

     In this case...the Case of the Gift of the Dog Food, about four days later,  Ciro came by and left me about 25 pounds of excellent Valencia oranges for making charge...just because I helped with the dogs. 
     And finally, this is our Rio Corona (above), just barely flowing.   Take outs for irrigation and the three months of far-below average rainfall totals have brought it almost to a standstill, although the springs, about 5 miles to the due west of us, are still flowing at almost normal levels.   It seems a bit odd to remember that were El Gringo Viejo to have been standing where he took this picture during the flooding a couple of years ago, his head would have been 22 feet below water.   Rains have come to the area during the past couple of weeks....during El Gringo Viejo's absence.  Best estimates are that we may have received as much needed  four or five inches of rain and it seems as though more rain is on the way for the middle of the month, coming up.   It would do us well for a weak hurricane or other such tropical involvement to come and bash itself out on the mountains to our west.   Ten or twelve inches of rain over a three or four day period  would help the citrus people and everyone in general. We shall hope for a fulfilment of the medium-term forecast and a wet late May and June....which are the months of the first rainy season of each calendar year.
File:Passerina cyaneaAAP086CA.jpg We had, during my last stay, easily the greatest outpouring of numbers of birds and different species of birds since the building of our little mud hut in front of the  Sierra Madre Oriental.   Above is the ruby-throat becard, and to the right is the indigo bunting.   These birds came en masse, along with green jays, cardinals,  and of course our ubiquitous array of orioles.   Wrens and warblers were numbering in the several score each of different species.   Since El Gringo Viejo is not a combat birdwatcher, he has trouble deciding who is just the drab female of the species, and when the whole species is just made up of drab males and drabber females.    The excellent artist's depiction of the male (blue) and the female (drab brown/black) show the problem one might have.   Real birdwatchers can tell the difference in a second.  We had Chachalacas by the boatload, and the greatest congestions were when there would be 40 0r 50 birds of 20 different species Dumpster Diving in our mora (mulberry) tree, which fruits to a lesser and greater degree throughout the summer 6 months of the calendar.   Everything from chachalacas, to caracara eagles, to over a dozen species of hummingbirds are gorging on the super sour/sweet berries...they are rally excellent for human birds as well.
     In any regard, the OROG is left with a bit of cheerful recounting of things El Gringo Viejo said he would tell the folks about when he was back in Texas.  Who knows, perhaps to-morrow, there will be more.
El Gringo Viejo

DescriptionRose-throated Becard (Pachyramphus aglaiae).
Date, 15:22:15
Sourceoriginally posted to Flickr as DSC_4736a.jpg
AuthorJerry Oldenettel