Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Meanwhile, Back At The Rancho

Meanwhile, Back At The Rancho
            Those dratted leaf-cutter ants are at it again, drilling holes, raising mounds of pebbled dirt around their nests. Their chain-saw jaws can strip my hibiscus, roses, oleander and hydrangea in minutes, leaving bare-naked stalks. Unsated, they turn to the rest of my garden.

            I gently escort spiders out of my house. But when I see fresh ant hills, I show no mercy. We were driving out the Rancho road to the highway, going to Guadalajara to pick up Pam at the airport, when I saw a dozen new anthills outside my walls. That means they were also inside the walls. I made a note to sprinkle yellow death when we got home or I’d have no garden tomorrow.  

            For three days, twice a day, I tied a kerchief over my nose, slipped on nitrile gloves and sprinkled last rites above the piles. More will appear. Constant vigilance is required.

            Pam had shoe-horned a short trip into her schedule, five full days, days of exploration in Etzatlan, meeting my friends, wandering the tianguis, adventures in Tequila (the town, not the  drink), Teuitchitlan and the Guachimontones pyramids.

One morning we went shopping in town. I bought a new refrigerator. The store delivery men brought it the next day. Instructions say to let the gases settle twelve hours before plugging it in the outlet, then wait another twelve hours before filling it. I did all that.

My new fridge blows hot air. I’m waiting for the factory repair man to come verify the appliance doesn’t work. Then he writes a report to the company supervisor. Then I get a different new refrigerator. Once the refrigerator left the store, it became a factory problem. Or my problem.

My old refrigerator is out on my patio, plugged in next to my outdoor kitchen sink. Dinner prep means many trips in and out. The fridge still works, just sounds like a John Deere.

At the tianguis, the weekly open-air market, several blocks in length and crammed with goods, Pam took a million photos. Vendors from around the area hawk everything imaginable. The market is colorful, noisy, exciting; a place to explore delicious flavors and aromas and see fruits and vegetables unknown to us in Montana. And flowers.

I bought three tomatoes, a small head of lettuce and a pineapple. And a hydrangea, a gardenia, a small plant with orange flowers and a large plant with red flowers. And one more hibiscus. Well, I don’t have one that beautiful shade of tangerine.

Briefly I contemplated that I might have developed a strange garden obsession, I mean disease, I mean addiction. I don’t believe it is deadly. So why does everyone laugh at me when I bring home more plants? I don’t understand. There is a wee side effect. New pots must be purchased.

Pam is a trooper. We ate meals out at least once each day, sometimes twice. We had a breakfast of pork ribs with nopales at Dona Mary’s, a roadside shack near San Pedro, where all the foods are cooked over wood fires, including the best ever hand-patted tortillas. Believe me, this place would never catch one’s eye for fine dining. We licked our plates. We feasted on cheese stuffed gorditas in Magdalena, topped with a kind of mushroom stew. We sated our appetites on shrimp at every opportunity. Tacos or shrimp, all was excellent. Except one meal.

After a day at the Guachimontones pyramids, we were starved-horse hungry. We decided to splurge, to eat at a fancy restaurant on the lagoon. The caldo, a soup made from dried shrimp, served in many restaurants as an appetizer, was excellent. The rest of our meal was inedible. We left this supposedly posh place disappointed, dispirited and still hungry.

Best of all were times spent out on the patio, simply visiting and working on final details of Pam’s book. I loved watching people’s faces when I would introduce her. “This is my friend, Pamela. She’s my ex-husband’s wife.” Their puzzled faces scrunched even more when one of us would mention, “Our daughter.”

Pam got Dee’s hardest teen-age years, when I was a single parent with a world of other problems. Her Dad and I agreed that two parents were better than one for our mindful daughter. I got the holidays, the good stuff. I blessed Pam daily though she didn’t know it. 

Pam will come back to Etzatlan. Who knows, she might buy a get-away place here. After all, this was her “first” trip.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

October, 13, 2016

No comments:

Post a Comment