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Posts Tagged ‘Casita Colibrí’

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 pitaya 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 pitaya.

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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 pitayas had grown into the concrete!!!

IMG_1821Alas, the pitaya’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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Late last night, twelve buds on my pitaya burst open; my favorite the cluster of four at the top of the eight foot tall chain link fence.

P1130210cropB&WAlas, now, less than twenty hours after their night-blooming show began, they are no more.  Hopefully, the brilliant white flowers with their sweet scent attracted the desired pollinators, Dragon Fruit will begin forming at the base of the blossoms, the fruit will ripen to a blush red, and be ready to pick in 45 days (más o menos).

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We had spectacular electrical storms Sunday and Monday nights, with thunder rumbling continuously, lightening flashing in all directions, and torrential rain.  And, today, I awoke to a rare early morning downpour — 8 inches of pergola runoff collected in my buckets.  Noticias, the Facebook group Bloqueos y Accidentes en Oaxaca, and Reportes en Oaxaca, Mexico all show major flooding throughout the city from this morning’s surprise.

This morning's view of Templo de San José and Basilica de la Soledad.  Where did Monte Albán go?

This morning’s view of Templo de San José and Basilica de la Soledad. Where did Monte Albán go?

All of this has me asking, is this the beginning of an early rainy season?  Then, there is the report from Conagua (Mexico’s national water commission) that, due to El Niño, there could be a significant increase in the number of Pacific Coast hurricanes this season.  Hmmm… it looks like we may be in for a bumpy and wet ride!

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I came out one morning to find buds had appeared on my night-blooming cereus.

April 5, 2015

April 5, 2015

As the days and nights passed, the blossoms grew and swelled.

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April 12, 2015

After only a week, flowers burst open for only a night.

April 13, 2015

April 13, 2015

Cereusly, I love my garden!

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Two weeks ago, we returned to San Juan Guelavía to pick up my new custom-made lampshades.  Again, Teresa and her family welcomed us with open arms.  A couple of plastic chairs were positioned in the shade under the tree and Dulce, Teresa’s daughter, snuggled up beside me, as abuela and abuelo continued working.

Teresa briefly disappeared, but soon re-emerged, from the gate hidden in the carrizo fence, carrying my new hand-woven carrizo lampshades!  After many oohs and aahs, expressions of “muchisimas gracias” by me over and over, and big smiles all around, blogger buddy Chris posed us for the requisite photo-op.

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After paying for my new treasures and many more “many thanks,” shades were put in the trunk and we slid into the front seats of the car, and headed back to the city.  Once home, I called Cristian, my electrician and scheduled the installation of the lampshades.  The smaller was hung outside my front door…

and the larger beneath the pergola on the terrace.

I love how the light glows through the finely woven carrizo.  I’m a very satisfied customer!

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Sunrise brings a warm glow to the denizens of Casita Colibrí…

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Buenos días, world!

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