Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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

Hola Amigos!

We are already almost half way through March! I can tell you now that it is truly spring-like here in Baja Sur.  Daytime temps are in the 80's, I had to put up my shade cloth for the lettuce bed, and there are more calm days than windy days. I told Ben the other day that there will be more boats moored out there in the bay soon!  (And fewer kite boarders and wind surfers will be in town, since there are less windy days for them).  

We took some friends to the Santa Rita hot springs out of San Jorge the other day.  That's the first time we were there this season!   It was a windy day, so it was a great day to visit (because it is NOT windy there).  We stopped for lunch first at Palomar in Santiago, which is almost a requirement for a day that includes a trip to the hot springs! 

Even though this picture doesn't show it, there were quite a few people visiting when we were there.  It is hot enough that a lot of people don't spend much time in there!  (Probably between 100 to 102F depending on where you sit). 

Our town has many fund raising activities throughout the year, and one that has touched our hearts is "Feeding the Hungry".  A local Mexican and his wife, Chuy and Lydia, spend many hours every week buying and delivering basic foods to 27 of the poorest families in Los Barriles.  The majority of the funds are donated to him by our church for food purchases.  For the past 5 years or so, an American lady in town has been putting on a Fashion Show, with all of the proceeds going to Chuy's "Pan de Vida" program.  Well, this year she said she'd like to quit organizing the show, and asked for volunteers to take it over.  My dear husband decided that WE should do it, and volunteered us!  Yes, friends, Ben now knows more than you can imagine about putting on a Fashion Show!  Fortunately, we don't have to do the show until December 1, 2017.  Phew!  I attended another Fashion show here in town last week (and took copious notes for Ben, who we didn't let attend!)  Many of the same presenters will be at our show, including Pepita from Magic of the Moon in Cabo San Lucas, and our local Victoria, who makes some gorgeous dresses.  It's a lot of fun, as many of our personal friends are models for these ladies.  And, to top it off, I won the beautiful centerpiece from our table.  (This show was to help raise funds for ALMA, an animal help organization.)  

Ben's latest project is to repair our "antique" wheelbarrow.

We bought it new when we lived in Eugene, so that's probably been 48 years ago!  This is at least the second set of wooden handles he's made (hanging in the pic to the left).  The hardest part about maintaining a wheelbarrow here is cactus thorns!  We gave up on an inflatable tire, and bought a sold rubber one last summer.  Yesterday, he had it sand-blasted (and got all the old concrete off put on by contractors that used our wheelbarrow!) and was going to have it painted, but the painter was sick.  So today, he bought lots of cans of spray paint and is painting away!  He said his index finger is getting very tired!  He even bought nice new bolts.

My project, FINALLY started yesterday, is another quilt.  It seemed to take forever to choose a pattern I liked, but I finally chose "Snail Takes a Detour".  (Maybe that "snail" name is something I can identify with???)  Anyhow, my work area is all set up and I got started putting things together yesterday.  Hopefully, it won't take too long!  The only thing missing from this picture is the ironing board, which I set up to the right of the table.  Fortunately, it doesn't have to be too big, since it is for a new baby.  I make them "child sized", so they can be used through nap time ages.  

 My little vegetable garden is doing well.  We have eaten a lot of lettuce and spinach, the Walla Walla onions are getting bigger daily, and I've canned 15 jars of beans and hoping for more (and we eat a lot of fresh ones, too).  And finally, I think the little lizards who've been eating my baby cucumbers are tired of them, and we're getting decent sized cukes.  Before, they'd been eating 1/2 of each one that got about 2" long!  Grrrrr!!  I'm very happy to see one get this big.  The plants are doing fantastic, and I've got lots of blooms and a promise of many more cukes....we'll see!

 I've started a 2017 March Album if you'd like to see more photos.  And I will get captions on them, manana if not before!  

We hope you are all well.  

Tus amigos de Baja,
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for February 28, 2017

Hola Amigos!

Happy last day of February 2017.  Did that month fly by quickly or what?  

We have had some lovely calm, sunny days, some seriously windy days, and a few raindrops here or there!  We sometimes have what we call 6" rain ... that's when the raindrops are 6" apart!  We think spring is not far from us.  The birds are singing, the Doves are cooing, and the days are getting longer.  We're almost ready to start eating our dinners out on our veranda again, as it will be lighter and warmer.  (Daylight Savings will start a few weeks later here in Mexico than in the US).  We spent one of those windy afternoons at Rancho Buena Vista last Friday.  They were offering dinner and music, and you can't beat the venue!  It's one of our favorite places to be, and it's only about 1/2 mile from our casa.  Good food, good music and great friends with whom to spend the evening.  

Our friend Mark, who is part owner of the Ranch, plays in a band called "Skeleton Key", and they were doing the music that night.  Here's a link to a short video of the band.  Mark is on the left, singing.  Skeleton Key

We went to a Valentine's dinner / dance at another favorite place, La Playa.  The band there was called "Revolving Door", named for the musicians who come and go with regularity!  They're good, too, and played some great dance music for the crowds.  Just check out these dancers who showed up to join the fun! 

They had some pretty amazing moves in those unwieldy outfits!  

AND..... Miguel de Hoyos was in town again playing his wonderful guitar!  Hooray.  (We do seem to get out to dinner and music a lot, don't we?)  February has been a great month for it!  And it is even more fun with friends.  

Of course, the burros are still hanging around.  We took the opportunity to feed them some old tortillas the other day, and they appreciated it a lot!  The bray of the burro is heard here regularly in our barrio!

Ain't she sweet?  (Oh, and so is Ben!)

Our Los Frailes friends Kate and Mel have headed north (to fish on the Rogue), and they gave us their left-over bird seed and a neat sunflower seed feeder to store for them.  I filled it with a little bit of sunflower seeds and hung it out in our feeding area.  It took almost a week before I saw birds using it.  Now, it looks like I might be busy keeping it filled up!  We have Blue Jays, Cardinals, Finches, Woodpeckers and various other little birds enjoying it.  I might just have to find one like it this summer and bring down to use next season.  It has been fun watching them figure it out!  

Flag Day here in Mexico (Dia de la Bandera) was February 24th, and I got a shot of the flag on the monument coming home from Costco that afternoon.  I think they should fly it all the time, but they only do it on flag day.  We have a great view of the flag monument from our casa.

Ben and I have both met a major milestone in our lives.  We each got hearing aids; Ben for both ears and me for my left ear.  Ben's are special, in that he can control volume and other settings with his iPhone.  I chose a different type, which doesn't seem to do anything but sit in my ear and make things too loud!!  Sigh.... I have no volume control of any kind, and it took some convincing to get the technician (at Costco) to turn it down enough so it wasn't grating on my hearing nerves!  I will probably exchange this one for a different type....but I'm giving this one a go, for a week or two at least.  

I have added some new pics to our 2017 February album, including a couple videos.  I'll probably even put a couple captions on them, too!  

Hasta la proxima vez en marzo!
Tus amigos en Baja,
Harriet & Ben, Sam & Zoey

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