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Posts Tagged ‘Casita Colibrí’

Day three of cut roses from the Mercado de Abastos.  Gracias a Kalisa!

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Crown of Thorns… new addition to the rooftop garden from the weekly Sunday plant sale in the Jardín Morelos.

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Winter may be coming, but there are always flowers blooming in Oaxaca.

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Not all cotton bolls are white…

Roberta French, who built my apartment complex in Oaxaca many decades ago, established a textile weaving business and planted coyuche (koyuchi), a natural brown cotton.  She is no longer with us, but her plant survives and grows up onto my balcony.  This time of year, the yellow, pink, and rose flowers bloom, die, form pods, and brown cotton fluff results.

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And the results?  Here, at my apartment complex, the plant is solely decorative.  However, the traditional way of growing, spinning, and weaving brown cotton is still practiced in some communities in coastal Oaxaca, Mexico.  And, I have been lucky enough to have been gifted an old huipil woven of coyuche and acquired a new one at an expo-venta here in Oaxaca city.  If you would like more information on coyuche and its cultivation and weaving, I recommend checking out the Katyi Ya’a collective.

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X currently marks the spot in OaXaca — be it for HOT weather, blockades, or orb weaving spiders.  Regarding the latter, another, in a long line of Argiopes, has chosen to take up residence on my terrace.

Argiope spider in middle of web with stabilimentum

Fun fact:  The purpose of the white zigzag of silk, known as a stabilimentum, is disputed. It reflects UV light and may act as camouflage, attract insect prey, or prevent larger creatures from accidentally destroying the web.  Whatever the function, this gal’s (yes, it is a female) is one of the best I’ve seen!

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Plumeria (aka, Frangipani, Flor de mayo) currently bringing their fragrance to the Casita Colibrí terrace…

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As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers — even if it’s still April!

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This morning’s ecumenical gathering of the birds at the fountain — seen through my (dirty) kitchen window.

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I think the orange one is a Bullock’s Oriole — the first I’ve seen on my rooftop garden.

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If you suffer from arachnophobia, you might want to click away from this post.

You were warned, so I will continue…  Two spiders, a Neoscona oaxacensis and an Argiope, have taken up residence on my terrace.  This isn’t the first time I have played hostess to these two kinds of orb weaver spiders.

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Neoscona oaxacensis (back)

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Neoscona oaxacensis (underside)

My latest guests arrived a week ago and have been settling in ever since.  Their webs are strung across neighboring plants, though the Argiope’s also extends across a walkway onto the deck.  Unfortunately, a few days ago, I inadvertently walked through it but, undeterred, she rewove it in the same place.  So I have blocked the route with an extremely spiky cactus, to prevent further human destruction.

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Argiope (top)

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Argiope (underside)

Aren’t my new visitors beautiful?  By the way, they eat insects and are harmless to humans, so nothing to be afraid of!

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A razor wire (aka, concertina wire) frame for an African Tulip tree blossom.

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The rainy season not only brings lush greens, it brings the brilliant red-orange of the Árbol de tulipán to Oaxaca.

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Last week, a friend of mine in California challenged me to post a nature photo every day for seven days on Facebook.  I had participated in one of these challenges nine months before, posting mostly photos from the countryside.  This time, I decided to acknowledge the gifts that Mother Nature keeps surprising me with in my rooftop terrace garden.

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African tulip tree seen from my terrace, July 6, 2016

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Neoscona Oaxacensis orb weaver spider, Sept. 9, 2016

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Night Blooming Cereus early morning, July 21, 2016

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Lesser Goldfinch (I think) on the terrace chain link fence, Nov. 12, 2016

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Io moth caterpillar munching on plumeria leaf, Oct. 31, 2016

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Hibiscus flower taken Oct. 19, 2016

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Agave and Stapelia gigantia early evening, Oct. 24, 2016

And, in the spirit of the season, they are my gifts to you.  Hope you like!

 

 

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Sitting in the morning sun…

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Watching my feathered friends find my new fountain.

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I know I promised that Talavera transformation, the end was the end of the talavera tile projects.  However, what can I say?   It’s been almost two years and the outdoor counter was too small to be functional, not to mention that the 25+ year old glass tiles kept loosening and falling off the sink area.

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Modeled after my kitchen sink project, two other kitchens in my apartment complex had recently received a facelift and had used up most of the tiles squirreled away in the bodega.   But, I was determined and the expansion project began.

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Despite the lack of tiles, the previously mentioned, Sebastián and Leonardo began framing the new counter top.  The first attempt at purchasing more tiles at Materiales Venecia (on the way to Tule) ended in a police bloqueo.  We (thank you, Chris) turned around and headed over to Home Depot.  No talavera tiles.  Then Romasa.  Also, no dice.

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Push came to shove, the tiling needed to begin!  So, the following day, we again set out for Materiales Venecia — this time, smooth sailing and success.  With dimensions, a design, and a calculator in hand, the math was done (while squatting on the sidewalk) and boxes of green and dark terracotta tiles were purchased.

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I’d bought the accent pieces years ago at a Oaxaca Lending Library bazaar, had planned the design around them, and was SO glad to finally see them being put to use.

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After two weeks of on again/off again work, depending on their work schedule and my ability to obtain materials, the counter was finished and I immediately went out in search of stools, so I could belly-up to the bar to sip my morning coffee and sunset glass of wine.

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I love it!  And, besides serving as a delightful place to eat breakfast and dinner, the added storage under the counter is fantastic.  No more looking at the plastic garbage cans holding dirt, stacks of buckets, and leftover paint cans — thanks to shower curtains.

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What’s next?  Who knows…

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The difuntos (departed) will be returning on November 1 and 2, but it’s the impending arrival of my very-much-alive friends from el norte who have inspired last minute painting and decorating.IMG_0044New outside entrance color to highlight wall hanging from Colima, gifted by my neighbor.

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When I moved to the new and improved Casita Colibrí two and a half years ago, there was a sorry looking hibiscus in a huge green clay pot (probably from Atzompa) on the balcony.  It was obvious the plant had been water deprived for quite some time.  I made it my mission to bring it back to life and this year it has rewarded my efforts with a continuous procession of peachy pink flowers.

Pink hibiscus flowerHowever, yesterday I noticed it was playing host to a caterpillar having comida.

Yellow with red vertical stripes hairy catepillarI looked in the aforementioned, Butterflies and Moths book, but it doesn’t provide many caterpillar stage photos with which to identify this incredibly decorative guy/gal and, after a couple of pages of Google images, I gave up.  However, I did learn enough to know those flower-like hairs ringing its body probably sting like nettles, so I’ve kept my distance.  Anyone have any ideas as to my fuzzy friend’s identity?

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Opening the door onto my terrace this morning, I was greeted with more pitahaya flowers glowing in the morning light.  In the background, rain drops glistened on unripened fruit, as their dry spent flowers continued to cling to the fruit of their late night labor.Pitaya flower with unripe green fruit in backgroundBehind the chain link fence, one of my ripe Dragon Fruit is so close and yet so far.Red ripe Pitaya fruitHowever, there is more to come; blossoms preparing to burst open — for just one night.Two Pitaya blossomsFrom tenacious roots and branches of my previous post to fleeting flowers to long ripening fruit; such is the life of the pitahaya.

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One of the apartments in this higgledy piggledy complex is being readied for a new occupant.  Opening the door to begin the job, Luci was greeted with an unexpected wall hanging.IMG_1815She ran upstairs, laughing and calling me to come down and see what she had discovered.  Hmmm…  Rapunzel’s tresses?  If so, like everyone else suffering Oaxaca’s hard water, she needs to start using a good hair-conditioner.

IMG_1817Of course, closer inspection revealed it to be the roots of something.  A tree, perhaps?  But, there are no trees in the vicinity and, in reality, it seemed to be coming from my terrace.  I dashed upstairs, as Luci came outside to stand and point to where the fibrous cascade seemed to be coming from.  P1130530Yikes, on the west wall, the culprit was exposed; the roots of one of my pitahaya had grown into the concrete!!!

IMG_1821Alas, the pitahaya’s tenacity could not be allowed to continue; the garden shears came out and the problem was nipped at its root.  The same was done below, leaving golden tresses lying on the ground waiting to be swept away.

P1130510All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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My friend G called this succulent, the Chrysler Building.  Anyone who has seen the original, or photos of it, in New York City can understand why.P1130505This Kalanchoe luciae  is one of the great, great, great… grandchildren of the original plantlet G had given me six years ago when I first moved to Oaxaca.

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