Monday, August 8, 2016

No Story This Week

No Story This Week
            My mind is a mess.
Twenty three days ago the men began work in my back yard, front yard, patio, and, yes, even inside my house. Twenty three days of mud and crud and cement dust, of men and tools and Mexican music, of piles of sand, water barrels, ladders and stacks of brick across my lawn.
Did you know fresh cement has a distinctive smell? And handmade sun-baked brick has its own flavor?
My wall is complete, my patios are finished. I can sweep, “rearrange the furniture” and “hang pictures”.  Figuratively speaking.
My head and my heart, and, yes, my hands, are in the garden.
I planted all eight of my new trees. Wish I knew the name. They flower twice a year; three with intense pink and five with pinkish white blossoms. The flower cluster is much like that of a butterfly bush or a lilac. My newest orange tree holds place of honor in a corner of a half-wall I asked the men to build, as long as they were slinging brick and mud.
I moved my “kitchen” pots; cilantro and peppers and savory herbs, to the south patio. Flowering beauties and greenery adorn patios on each side of my house. I’m in garden paradise.
For three weeks every time I go to town I returned with plants from David’s Vivero in anticipation of today. My neighbors and the workmen, tripping around my empty pots and burlap wrapped bushes, tease me. I already have flowers everywhere; why buy more?   
There is no such thing as too much. And there is no such thing as done. Friday I went to market to buy mangoes for jam and returned with four stalks of flowering ginger. Ten pesos!
The season is perfect for planting. We get rain every night, sometimes as much as two inches, but usually not such a drencher. Come September I’ll be dragging hose around again, watering daily.  
Nancie, my cousin from Sedro Woolley, Washington, arrived last week. She is doing what I was five months ago, making her new casa her own. We pop back and forth several times a day to check progress or just to take a needed break.
She asked me, “Do we have seasons? When and what are they? My answer, “cold, hot, rainy and nice”. Four seasons. Lani jumped into the conversation to fine tune my answer.
December, January, and February are cold—relatively speaking. No colder than the Pacific Northwest nights but afternoons are hot and sunny instead of wet and gloomy. Let’s not even try to make a comparison to Montana winter.
March, April and May are hot. Hot being hot. Take my word for it. Montana in August.
June, July, August and into September are rainy. Days reach perfection, sunshine and warmth with cool, refreshing nights.
People who live here tell me September and October and November are “nice”. I’ve no idea what that means so I’ll venture a guess that like baby bear’s porridge, not too hot and not too cold; just right.
Sunday I’m going to Tonola to the tianguis to buy more pots and then to a huge vivero outside Guadalajara for more plants. I have this perfect place for more flowers, you see. The stump left from removing an old pine tree, not a pine like we have, but one with huge gnarly roots, is now surrounded with lovely smooth concrete, creating a circle space, perfect for a “stump” garden.

I can see it, succulents nestled among the roots and flowers I’ve yet to discover painting patches of color here and there and overall.  Dirt beneath my fingernails but no story. 

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

August 4, 2016

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