Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for February 14, 2017

Hola Amigos!

Happy Valentine's Day!  We are going out tonight to celebrate at our favorite restaurant, and listen to some music.  Should be fun!  Thursday night, we're going out again to listen to some wonderful music played by our favorite guitarist, Miguel de Hoyos, who is back in town for a week.  Hooray!  We're getting our "fix"!  

For a little "sweetness" from Baja, here is the newest burrito in the neighborhood;  she (I'm assuming here on the gender!) was born last week to the black Mama.  This newest addition is SO friendly.  She came right up to me and sniffed my pockets for treats and rubbed up against me as I petted her.  I was afraid she was going to follow me home!  What a sweetheart!  And yes, her fur is very soft and thick.  

Ben has a home improvement project he hopes to finish today.  He is replacing the door frame around the kitchen door, since termites had gotten into it and did their dirty deeds.  The whole project involves going to the lumber stores in La Paz and/or San Jose, buying enough cedar for the project, cutting and planing and sanding the wood, figuring out where the hinges should really go on the door (research), making at least two trips to the local hardware store to buy new hinges (the old ones are corroded and ugly after 15 years).  Today, he was far enough along to remove the screen door and the old door frame, and is in the process of fitting the door and frame together, and adjusting for the new hinge positions.  It is windy today, but fortunately, not too windy, so it is pretty pleasant in the kitchen, where I'm writing this blog.  Sandals and a tank top are appropriate wear for the day, so you know it's pleasant here, about 74F in the shade.  

Here's the old frame, and my view as I was cooking breakfast!

The dogs are enjoying it, as there is no dog door to deal with! In fact, their hoping it stays just like this!

The Los Barriles street project has been finished with new concrete pavement!  Hooray!  The street goes by our church, and they did work one Sunday with the paving job, and now the concrete is curing for a few weeks;  hopefully we'll be able to drive on it before too long.  Right now it means a walk of about 200 yards or so to church from where we can park.  Not bad in this weather.

The dark red building on the left is our church.  The post in the road is complements of CFE (the electric company).  At least it's not in the middle of the street, like we've seen in other places around here!  And it was put there many years ago, before the street project was thought about. 

The above picture is when they were paving on Sunday a week ago.  It's really nice having pumper trucks to haul the concrete in.  There were about 5 lined up ready to go after this one dumped his load!  And what is even more amazing, the man hole covers line up the the top of the concrete!  

We took a drive last week out to El Cardonal for a sight-seeing tour, and for breakfast at a new restaurant out there.  When we asked for coffee, this is how it was served!  Nicest cup of coffee serving I've had in a long time!

Another really nice treat is that the road had been repaved for the majority of it.  And I mean "REALLY NICE"!  The last time I'd been on it it was falling apart, with pot holes and pieces of the road falling into canyons!   It was a very pleasant surprise.

The road that hasn't been improved (of course) was our route back, the coast road.  We get the best views of the Sea of Cortez from here, so it is always worth the trip a few times a yea.  And on nice days, we'll almost always stop at Punta Pescadero Hotel for a drink and/or snack (or to pick up friends who fly in and land their own private plane at the paved runway there).  Since we'd just had breakfast, we didn't stop this time.

Punta Pescadero Hotel is to the left of this beach about 1/4 mile.

Our house is located in front of that hill in the distance that is about 1/3 of the width of the picture on the right.  

That's about it.  Our last guests Tom and Karan drug themselves out of here, reluctantly.  Our next "for sure" guests are scheduled for April, so we've got room for you if you're tired of all the snow and freezing temps and rain and stuff that you're experiencing where you live.  The dogs would be glad to show you how to get to the beach, and where the burros hang out.   

We've got three baby burros this year!  Cuter 'n all get out!  

I've started a 2017 February album with a few more pics in it.  Remember, to see the captions, click on the little "i" (for info) near the right side.  I think you have to click on the picture first to make it full size, then you'll see the "i".  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Your doorless friends in Baja,  (reminds me of when we moved in in December 2002 ... we had windows, electricity, telephone and water, but no doors!)
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for January 31, 2017

Hola Amigos!

We have been having a great time the last several weeks!  We have been back in the Los Frailes wilderness, been to the big city of San Jose for a fancy night, had a Paella cooking class, toured around on the Baja 300 race course (before the race!) and other assorted fun things.  We also celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary on January 27th.  Wow!  
Our friend Perla surprised us with a cake for our anniversary... It was so cute!  She got all the details, down to our two little black dachshunds!  The shot with us was the next day, and the cake cover kind of smashed the little people down into the beach, but the fresh look from the night before is just precious.

The day after our anniversary, we had our friends Hector Manuel and Rosi Amarillas come from La Paz and give us a Paella cooking class.  It was fun AND delicious!  

She made the final dish in her father-in-law's 50 year old aluminum Paella pan.  They brought chicken thighs, pork ribs, little clams, shrimp and other goodies to add to the final dish, and it was wonderful to watch and to eat.  (Thank you Ryan, for buying the Paella rice...she forgot to buy some in La Paz, and what you bought was just perfect.)

She even fixed up Ben's Mole sauce.  She added a touch of peanut butter and a teaspoon more of brown sugar.  It was very tasty with the Paella.  

Good news here in Los Barriles....they are finally paving the street they've been working on for over a year.  The street goes from here next to Tio Pablo's restaurant up the hill to the LB Delegacion, then on out to Hwy. 1.  They are only paving to just past the Delegacion for now.  It also goes right by our church building, so we may be parking a distance away while that new concrete cures before driving on it.  (Ben, the old ODOT employee, says 7 days).  They do have some nice equipment (again; Ben was impressed!)  

We took a couple days to go to town and celebrate.  Karan's birthday was the 26th, and our anniversary was the 27th, so we went to San Jose del Cabo.  We stayed at the Tropicana, an old hotel in downtown that is in the center of everything, and has a nice pool and very good restaurant.  We decided to have dinner on Karan's birthday at the restaurant of her choice, and ended up at Don Sanchez, which was right next door.  Delicious!  We each ordered 26 oz. Rib Eye steaks and split them with our spouses.  

Ben got a good photo of the resident parrot at the Tropicana.  He was better than a rooster in the morning when he got very vocal!  I'm sure he woke up everyone in our hotel, and some down the street!

Another January celebration is our granddaughter Eleanor's 3rd birthday on the 28th.  She loves everything pink, including the pink frosting on her birthday cupcakes!  (Yes, her talented Mom made and frosted them).  

On our way home from San Jose, we stopped off in Miraflores, and decided to go home the "old" way to Santiago, which also happened to be at least part of the course for the race that was run this Saturday.  No pictures of the race, this time, but the drive on the old Baja roads was fun.  We saw "pig on a rope" at several places (fattening it up for you know what). 

One last time, we took the drive out to Los Frailes to help set up Mel and Katie's new place.  They had the 5th wheel in place by the time we got there, but Ben installed a great little stairway he built to make the steps more manageable (5" each)  for Katie from one level of the camp to the other.  She was thrilled!  It is lightweight, so they can pick it up and move it to a safe place while they are gone.

Believe it or not, more photos are in our January 2017 album.  It includes a few more photos and videos of making Paella and the Frailes rancho set-up.  I think you probably believe all we do is eat good food all the time, and you're not far off!  (We ate a wonderful meal at Frailes, too!)  So, if you've got a hankering for some good Mexican food, come on down!

Tom & Karan are leaving tomorrow, but are already planning their trip for next year (start earlier, stay longer...)  and have put a deposit down on a place to rent.  We've had a great time with them, and are sorry to see them leave.  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Baja
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PIc-of-the-Week for January 17, 2017

Hola Amigos!  

Sorry I'm so slow today.  We took a trip today to San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas  for various and sundry reasons, and since we didn't get home until 4, decided to go out to dinner, then decided to play 3-handed Pinochle with Pat.  Phew.  Just one of those days when more "important" things are happening than Pic-of-the-Week, if you can believe that!  

Another two weeks have flown by; it's amazing how fast time goes when you have friends visiting who are counting their days here!  (They were counting the days until they came down starting late last summer, so they are really good at counting!)  My cousin Tom and his wife Karan are getting into the Baja good life. They're renting a nice casa nearby, and have a fantastic ocean view, easy walking distance to our house (or Rancho Buena Vista round bar), and are enjoying the food and the life style.  They are staying a whole month, and plan to come back next year for even longer!  We've played some wicked good Mexican Train domino games.  We've all won a few, and lost a lot!  That's the full moon coming up behind them the other night, when we were at our favorite restaurant, La Playa, enjoying the beautiful evening (and of course, thinking about friends and family freezing in frigid Oregon.)

 Here's another shot of the moon, with just a little more "zoom".

Lord of the Wind Tournament is here in Los Barriles this week.  Trouble is, there is not much wind right now!  That is always a problem when people are ready to compete.  It is a pretty big deal; hopefully they'll get more wind as things start up tomorrow.  

We took Tom out to Los Frailes last week, and just about rattled his teeth out on that nasty road.  We took some supplies to Mel and Katie for their new campsite, and it ended up that poor Mel did most of the work.  But it looked really nice when he finished.  (It's a sewer pit for their camper). 

Ben and Tom supervised, as well as Katie and Ellie from the peanut gallery!  (I was assigned to picture taking, so I was working!)  They plan to move their 5th wheel and camper up next Monday, and we hope to be there giving moral support (and watch expert driver Katie maneuver that big ole trailer into place). 

We spotted a great big white bird across the canyon from their camp site, and I was able to get a few pictures of it, although none as good as I'd like to help identify it.  Katie and I figured it's either a Ferriginous Hawk or an Osprey....maybe!  What do you bird experts think this is?

As we were driving back to their beach camp, we saw a huge splash in the water in the bay, obviously from a whale breaching.  We didn't see it jump again, but saw lots of spouts.  Someone was also flying  bunch of kites on the beach, and they were so colorful and beautiful!  I should fly some from our roof!  The ones we saw were tied to a barb-wire fence.  Some were rotating, some just waving in the wind, like this one.  

There have been a few "coolish" days, and we and the dogs have appreciated the little propane stove.  So cozy!  For those of you who have been living in igloo conditions, we won't tell you our temps.  Just so you know...we're wimps when it comes to cold temperatures.  

And on the road to home from Los Frailes....what will YOU do to get great pictures with your GoPro camera?  Maybe ride on top of the jeep?  

And from the other side of the world, this is our 5-year old "teenage" grandson Aaron, who is enjoying his Dagwood sandwich.  This guy is a true gourmet!  He helps his Mom cook all the time, encourages his big brother to try exotic foods like mushrooms and garlic.  We're looking forward to having him and his Mom and sister and brother visit us here in late May.  (Doing my "Happy Grandma" dance!)  

And, just because I haven't done it for a while, here is a Hibiscus from our garden.  This is the BIGGEST hibiscus I've ever seen... it's probably over 6" to 8" across.  The bush itself is floppy, branches going everywhere, but the flowers are outstanding!

My vegetable garden is doing well.  I've strung my green beans, and they are working their way up the strings.  The onions are maturing, and we've eaten some Arugula, Spinach and radishes from the garden so far!  (I'll have to take some photos of our neighbor's Hydroponic garden....that stuff grows by leaps and bounds.  Truly amazing.)

Hope you are enjoying your January as much as we are.  If you're not, then you need to come see us for some Baja therapy.  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Baja,
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for January 3, 2017

Hola Amigos!

Feliz año nuevo!  Or, Happy New Year 2017!  We wish the best for you and yours in this new year.  Now, the first challenge for all us is to write 2017 instead of 2016!  I hope you're up to it.

Zoey is looking forward to more mobility, and getting in and out of this dog door in our kitchen screen door all the time instead of just once in a while!  She often comes in and goes out when the wood door is closed and she goes through both dog doors  She goes out this door.  But coming in?  She'll sit there and whine at us until we open it for her! Silly dog.  At this point she was thinking she might want in, but the sun felt pretty good laying outside the door.

I'm thankful that my garden is doing well.  The lettuce, onions and spinach continue to grow nicely; I planted my favorite Blue Lake green beans last week, and they are already popping up.  Ben said I should string them now, but it is just a bit too soon!  We should have beans to eat by February some time.

It is about time to put my soaker hose out, though, now that I can see the plants.  

On Sunday afternoon, we picked up our cousins Tom and Karan Malpass from the airport.  They said there was snow at the Sea-Tac airport, and a runway needed to be cleared and the plane de-iced before they could take off, so there were very thankful to get here where there is no snow in sight!  (Just white sand beaches!)  They are spending the month here, renting a house nearby us.  We had a rousing game of Mexican Train last night after dinner, and I'm sure there will be many more.  

Ryan is heading out for Thailand next week, to spend several months or more with his good friend Mike S, a college buddy of his.  Mike lives there and hopes to start a couple of enterprises with Ryan's assistance.  (The east room will be available!)  I think Sam is really going to miss him.  His lap is just the right height so that Sam can sit on it and rest his chin on the table...one of Sam's favorite places to be.  I don't think he tells him which cards to play.... Oh yeah, we'll miss him, too!!   Then we'll have our children all around the world.  Good thing for Skype and What's App to keep in touch!  I'll be anxious to see pictures of Thailand.
With those modern communications, we get to see pictures like this of Eleanor getting her hair cut.  (Or Aaron doing his own haircut.)  And pictures of David writing Arabic and Korean letters on the sidewalk to "make people think" as they walk by.  

We helped our friends Mel and Katie last week clean up the lot they will be moving their RV(s) to soon.  They spend about 5 months dry camping at Las Frailes, and this year they are going further up the arroyo almost to the ranch where there is a lovely spot available for them to set up, and keep it set up.  They do an elaborate camp every year, and they will be able to keep a lot of things in place at this spot.  

Katie is sitting about where they want the front of the 30' 5th wheel trailer to be.  She'll back it into here after winding her way up the arroyo and the road up the side of the hill to this camp spot.  We hauled brush Mel had cut previously, moved rocks, and picked up old garbage.  There used to be 5 or 6 little trailers parked here, and they were recently hauled out (lots of little bits and pieces left behind!)  They'll be getting a backhoe in to level some ground and dig a septic hole soon, and we hope to go back out to help them put things in place.  (I want to see her manuever some of those corners and skinny spots and be properly amazed at her driving abilities!)

After our work party we had lunch in Cabo Pulmo, and it was a windy day with very rough seas!  It looked like the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, except it was still the tropical turquoise color of the Sea of Cortez.  Oh... and you couldn't sit in an open air restaurant in December in Oregon and feel comfortable!  You can be sure no one was snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo that day!

Ben built a new platform for our bird feeder, since the old one was termite ridden and falling apart.  I'm sure the birds appreciate it (as long as we keep it full of seeds!)  The post is called Palo Brazil, which grows only here in southern Baja and parts of Sonora and Sinaloa. It is so hard, it is often used for fence posts.  I think the termites bypassed it, and just worked on the platform instead!  

I have created a January 2017 photo album just in case you want to see more...

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Baja,
Harriet, Ben, Ryan, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for December 20, 2016

Hola Amigos, and Feliz Navidad!

Yes, it's beginning to look a bit like Christmas here.  We have put up our several years old agave bloom stalk that we use to hold our decorations and lights, and it's looking more "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" every year!!  I think we need a new one, but this one will do for now.

Thankfully, our weather is nothing like the snow and ice storms Oregon and Washington have been having and we haven't had our little heater on at all the last several weeks.  It is kind of cloudy and coolish today, but it has been sunny and bright; several days of calm, then several days of wind.  That way, the kite boarders and wind surfers don't get too worn out!  

It has been a quiet couple of weeks.  Ben didn't go to the car show in Cabo San Lucas where he won top prize last year.  The timing was bad for it this year, and they usually hold them on a Sunday when we are busy at church.  Ryan's college buddy Ken was here with his girlfriend for a while, and they just escaped Portland before the ice and snow storm hit there, so were very fortunate.  They sure enjoyed the sun and warmth here!

We are happy that our hummingbirds are beginning to show up in force again.  I believe that Hurricane Odile from a few years ago was very hard on the hummingbird population.  Once they found our feeders, there are more and more coming and using them.  

These two are young Costa's hummingbirds.  The one on the right has a few purple feathers on his head.  He will grow in a beautiful crown of violet feathers soon.  The one of the left looks like a female.

The motor is finally back in the boat, but not quite ready to go yet.  There are still bits and pieces for Chuyito to do to finish up, but he's got a job right now captaining a boat touring the Sea of Cortez for some fishing. He said the ship was over 100' long. Must be rough!  We're hoping he's back in a couple weeks to get this little guy sea-worthy.   At least Ben is able to get around in his shop and clean some stuff up.  

The weather was so hot earlier this fall that I delayed planting my garden.  Now, I'm happy to say, we have some Walla Walla sweet onions, spinach, arugula, radishes and lettuce coming up.  I should plant my beans soon because my canned supply is almost gone.  Love 'em fresh, love 'em home-canned!  

Our dendrobium orchid continues to put out multiple bloom stalks and blooms. For something I was ready to throw out a couple years ago, it is doing very, very well!  

A since it's Christmas season in Mexico, it's tamale time!  Ben ordered this for breakfast the other day, and he said it was delicious!  We do enjoy our Mexican food available here, and there are some wonderful folks who know how to prepare it!  

We get to see pictures of our Grandkids, and talk to them on Skype pretty regularly, but the picture of Aaron that Rebecca sent the other day was a "shocker"!  Aaron has taken to cutting his own hair.  I can't believe he did all that with just scissors (and didn't jab himself!)  We're thinking he was going for the "monkish" look....just not quite centered.  Like Rebecca says, he's definitely right handed!  And he has such handsome red hair!  Sigh......

From our casa to yours, we wish you Christmas Blessings, 
and a Prosperous New Year! 

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Hasta el proxima año,
Tus amigos de Baja
Harriet, Ben, Ryan, Sam & Zoey

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for December 7, 2016

Hola, Amigos...

Another two weeks (and a day) has quickly gone by while we enjoy our sunny, but coolish, days here in Baja. By coolish, I mean that the morning temps have been in the 50's, highs in the 70's.  And that is cold for some of the Mexican homes that have no heating systems except for a few light bulbs and the cooking range.... and blankets!  It is supposed to warm up to the 80's this next week.  (Smiley face!)  

Yesterday was a beautiful calm and warm day and good enough for snorkeling ... at least for our friend Maggie.  We visited them at their new home yesterday, and when we got there she was down on the beach visiting folks from England and Germany who are here to take kite boarding lessons.  Of course on non-windy days, they need to do something else, so were snorkeling there, too. Those rocky areas attract a lot of fish, and she said there were hundreds of them out there.

Ben got our little propane heater working the other day, but it took the whole day to do it, and taking the thing completely apart and tipping it over to get to the little bits and pieces.  The gas supply line had separated from the igniter (he found that after much trial and error).  At first, he tried to order the igniter unit, but found that the shipping would be about $75 for next day air to get it to friends coming down soon.  Ha!!  Forget that for a $35 part!  Next he tried the store in Salem where we bought it.  They didn't have it.  Then he tried another one in Medford that wasn't real quick in getting back to us.  In the meantime, he managed to get the supply line back into the fitting by carefully, and with multiple tries, drilling out the fitting.  After about 10 or 12 times out to the shop to drill it again, it finally worked, and the fitting clamped nicely around the line.  Sure is nice to have a "Ben-of-all-trades" who can figure this stuff out. 

For those of you who have heard Miguel de Hoyos, our favorite guitarist, when you've visited us....he was back in town!  Hooray!  We got a front row seat for his last night here a few days ago, and really enjoyed his mastery of the guitar.  He claims he will be back again in January or February (with Alex on the violin), so we are pleased about that.  Check out our December 2016 album for a couple sample videos of his music. 

We are getting ready for Christmas...making our guest list to Christmas dinner and checking it twice or thrice.  Ben hopes to smoke another turkey, and I'm sure we'll have all the dishes to accompany it.  Ryan got our little stick tree out of storage and it is set up in the living room.  It's not decorated yet, but it's on the list of things for me to do!  Mañana!  Here's what it will look like....  Or something like that!!  At least the lights are already on it, so I don't have to deal with them this year.  

Ryan has a couple friends coming to visit for a while tomorrow, and they are our first "long term" guests this year.  I guess the weather hasn't been cold and miserable enough yet for the rest of you to consider a Baja vacation!  Ryan will be gone for several months mid January thru March or longer, so we'll have two guest rooms available then.  Something to think about!!  You can sit in our garden and watch the hummingbirds! 

Oh, I almost forgot... Ben took the 1929 Ford pickup to a car show in La Paz and won another prize or two.  I went up on the bus on Sunday afternoon, and got there just as the sun was going down.  

Isn't it pretty?!

I've got two photo albums for you to look at this week.  The November 2016 has some "end of the month" pics, and I've started the December 2016 album (and lucky you, a couple videos of Miguel playing have been uploaded).  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tus amigos de Baja,
Harriet, Ben, Ryan, Sam & Zoey (who snuggle together on cold mornings!)