Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for May 23, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Welcome to another POTW from sunny Baja.  Ben returned home on Sunday afternoon with his new toy, and has already been "playing" with it yesterday!  The carburetor definitely needs work.  It's hard to start, and hard to keep it going.  It was a trick getting it off the trailer!  But he succeeded, with George's help, and has it parked in the carport in the shade. He and our friends George and Carolyn helped yesterday to get the little black cab off of it.  We certainly don't need that cab here in Baja!

It took most of the afternoon unbolting bolts, unscrewing screws, cutting a breaking a few bolts and screws, disconnecting wires, removing seats, and crawling underneath with the proper tools; then some muscle power to get the thing off, but we got 'er done!  

Ben wants to have a roll bar cage built for it, and then we'll have a cloth top attached to the roll bars for some shade.  We'd also like a bit more comfortable seats, and the gas tank needs to be modified a bit (or maybe a lot!)  Anyhow, should be an interesting project.  It would be nice to use it this season, but hemay not get that far.  We'll see!  Won't I look cute boppin' to town in this to go grocery shopping or lunch with friends?  ;-) 

Ben is thankful that they had an uneventful trip coming back here to Baja.  No problems along the way, and he even found a nice new hotel in San Ignacio that he'd like to visit again when we travel north.  Hopefully, that will work out for us.

I don't usually get up for sunrises, but I noticed the pink glow in my bedroom windows one day last week, and just had to get up and take some pictures.  I took and few with my phone camera from the veranda just outside the bedroom door, then I had to grab the good camera and head upstairs for some more photos.  Wow!  It was gorgeous!

In preparation for grand-kids visiting soon, I moved some sand from an old sand pile (left over from some construction project) to an area under the Neem tree where it is shady most of the day.  I think they will like this!  And yes, I'm willing to move more sand if needed, but they might also like to play in the little mound of sand that's left and flatten it out for us!  Or, we can just go to the beach!  Plenty of sand there!

Ryan and Rebecca and David, Aaron and Eleanor will all be arriving on Saturday; Ryan in just a bit later flight.  Rebecca and kids are flying from the Middle East today to Chicago (to Tim's parents) where they'll catch their breath, and then fly down here on Saturday.  We sure are looking forward to having them here.  Their Grandpa Purkey even bought them a very nice looking inflatable wading pool, so if the weather starts heating up while they're here, they'll have a nice place in which to cool off.  They'll be here until the 13th of June.  (You can be sure the next POTW will have lots of pictures of cute kids!)  In preparation, here's a recent one from their vacation to Jordan in April.

I finished the main part of the latest quilt project, and Ben bought some fabric for finishing the border while he was in Oregon, so I hope to get that done very soon.  I made this one for Ben; I had the center piece printed a couple summers ago, and finally got around to using it in a special quilt for Ben.  I think it turned out pretty neat!  What do you think?  (Projects like this keep me out of trouble!)

George has a drone he's been flying around, and when I get my hands on his photos, I'll add some to the May 2017 album.  He flys it from our roof deck to out a mile over the water.  Today he found a bunch of Manta Rays and a turtle.  Very cool watching those videos!

Hasta la proxima vez (if I have time!)
Tus amigos en Baja

Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for May 9, 2017

Hola Amigos!  

It's May!  Hooray!  My favorite month in Baja.  Lovely warm weather, but not too hot, and the water is warming, flowers are blooming, and the days are longer. Wonderful temps for dining al fresco on the veranda and bird watching (and lizard spotting).  I also celebrated another birthday, and tomorrow is Ryan's birthday!  Tomorrow is Mexico Mother's Day, so I guess I'll celebrate that, too, although I am here alone with my doggies.  

Ben is on his way to Oregon (probably nearing the California/Oregon border as I type this) to pick up his '56 Jeep, and no, I don't have any pictures of it!  He downloaded some to his computer, but didn't share with me.  He's got his friend George S. riding up with him, and George and his wife Carolyn will ride back down here when he gets the Jeep loaded and some things bought that are on his list.  He'll also be stopping in Bend to pick up some other items that we've ordered online.  He's made a rushed trip up, but hopes to make a more leisurely trip back down and give George and Carolyn time to enjoy the beauties of Baja.  George has a very nice drone that he brought with him, and he flew it around our house and out over the Sea of Cortez the first day he was here.  He showed me a bit of footage, but hadn't edited it yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing it and sharing it with you all when he's perfected it!  He's also wanting to stop several places along the trip back to run the drone as well.  Should be fun! They hope to be back here by the 20th.  

In the meantime, I'm sewing like crazy and getting a few things accomplished here on the home front.  I've planted a small crop of green beans that I hope will be producing when Rebecca and the grandkids are here, but I'm having some issues with the critters biting off leaves (lizards?  birds?), and some crazy all-night long west winds that we've been having drying up a lot of the leaves that are left.  Needless to say, the late-season bean crop is struggling.  I'm also trying to keep the sunflower seed bird feeder full; I can't believe how fast the birds go through that!  

And on several evenings, friends have invited me out for dinner.  That's always nice to be remembered!  Thank you Sandy and Debi, and Alexandra!  Perla (our Mexican house guest who is a waitress at La Playa) also asked me out last night for the Monday night Salsa music by a Cuban duo who are regulars there.  I politely declined, because I don't like driving in the dark at night.  Then later, Alexandra called and invited me, so I figured it must be "meant to be".  I had a great time and enjoyed the music very much.  (And someone else drove!)

Before Ben left, we had several windows replaced in our house, including our bedroom sliding glass door (which now has a much better lock AND handles on both sides so you can actually open and close it easily).  It reminded me of when the originals went in 15 years ago.  Windows here aren't "standard" sizes.  They measure the opening, then make the frames to fit.  It works well!  Here, they are removing an old frame.  The new frames are much more substantial, and seal and slide much better.

Our friend John Hirons visited with his friend Sue recently.  He flew his Cessna 185 down, landing at Punta Pescadero, after various other stops in Baja and mainland.  He also landed at his favorite Baja places on his way north.  What a great way to see Baja!

Sam and Zoey are living the dog's life here.  Not much to do but lie around looking cute!  Sam was a bit worried when Ben packed up a suitcase and loaded the pickup.  He kept a close eye on things and said "I see you haven't packed my bed or food, but I'm ready to go whenever you are!"  He was quite a bit relieved when I stayed home with him this time!  (But he keeps a close eye on me at all times!)  Except when he's sleeping!

 Like I said, flowers are blooming.  This one has a few buds year round, but it really bursts into flowers in May!  This is one of my Desert Roses, or Adenium.

I've started a 2017 May album with a few other pictures.  

I should make Ben write the next POTW, since he's the traveler in the family, but I don't think he's stopped to take any pictures (typical!!)  He was going to take our nice big camera, but it's still here.  I'll have to count on George and his drone, I guess!  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Tu amigos en Baja,
Harriet, Sam & Zoey  (and Ben in spirit, somewhere on Hwy 395)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for April 25, 2017

Hola Amigos,

I'm sitting here at my new sewing table in my bedroom working on my lap top because Dalia is cleaning house for me, and since the floors in here are done, she's working out in our family room/kitchen.  (I'm trying my hardest to stay out of her way!)  It's not too bad.... the door is wide open, nice breezes blowing in, birds singing, and look at this view!

Yes, I got started late today.  Ben came home from his quick trip to Oregon to buy another new toy.... a 1956 Jeep.  I guess I told you about it in the last POTW, but he brought home a cold with him, and generously gave it to me.  I was coughing and nose dripping by Saturday, so got to the doctor on Monday and have antibiotics and cough medicine and fever reducer.  I am feeling better, but not up to par quite yet.  Unfortunately, while we were sick we had company!  Ben's brother Greg and his wife Cherlenne and daughter Georgina were here, (flew in on the same flight as Ben) and we didn't get the chance to take them anywhere or do anything special, other than eat out a lot!  (We're really good at that!)

Georgina is almost 3; her birthday is this Friday.  She's a real sweety, but unfortunately, she caught a cough and cold, too.  Greg and Cherlenne were impressed that the doctor visit and medications all totaled only $300 pesos (less than $15US), since children visits at the clinic are free.  

Next time, we'll owe them some more fun!

My quilt is coming along nicely.  I'm making  25 blocks  and I only have 5 more to go.  Just haven't felt much like sewing these last few days.  It looks like it's going to be another colorful quilt!  I do love bright colors!  

I've been trying to get some green beans to grow for when daughter Rebecca and her children are here at the end of May.  Something has been very hard on them, biting or knocking of the leaves.  I've got some growing, so I hope they continue and will produce something.  

Bad news for burros in the neighborhood.  The black mama and her yearling were hit by a semi-truck on Hwy 1 about a week ago and killed.  Her baby survived, and has been taken to a vet somewhere.  

That's it for this week.  I do have an April 2017 album if you want to look at a few more pics.  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for April 11, 2017

Hola Amigos,

Another two weeks have gone by lickety-split!  We have been keeping very busy; Ben always has multiple projects going on, usually helping someone get something done, which is always an adventure here in Mexico.  Tomorrow, he's off to do something for himself!  He's flying up to Oregon to purchase an old Jeep, which he hopes to bring down here in May (another quick trip up and back).  Once the deed is done, we'll have stories to tell, I'm sure, but I can tell you this much so far...  The Jeep is located in St. Helens, Oregon, which is northwest of Portland.  The owner is located in upper New York State.  The buyer (Ben) is in Mexico.  We sent friends from Portland to check it out for us, and we are to trying to figure out all the logistics!  Phew.  He'll be glad to get back dealing with contractors and driveways and house-cleaning and repairing issues!  Oh yes, Greg:  He's flying back to Baja on the same flight as you and your family!  

In the mean time, my dogs and I will be walking the beach and checking for fun things to pick up.  (I found a $50 peso bill in the sand yesterday!)  

My latest project is another quilt top.  I hope to get it done in a couple weeks to give to my friend June, who delayed their trip back to Oregon by a month.  We'll see how ambitious I am (Hope to get to it today!) and how many squares I can complete.  I did this one without a pattern, so had to do a bit of trial and error first, but it's turning out pretty nice, I think.  Finished block size is 10".  I want to use the black polka-dot for flashing (strips between the blocks) with colorful squares of fabric at each intersection.  Should be fun!  

   Our daughter and her family got to take a spring break trip to Jordan last week, and they took the kids to places Ben and I got to go in 2009 (before any of the kids were born).  Petra, Jerash (ancient Roman city); they saw some amazing things.  Made me wish I was with them!   This is the Treasury Building at Petra.

David (the 7 year old) was excited to be able to read "Philadelphia" on some mosaic tiles they saw.  Of course, it was written in Greek!  

And a minor Mexican miracle this week... Chuyito, who is repairing our boat, found some used 15.5" tires that fit the '73 pickup!  Wow!   Here's a guy from a local tire shop getting ready to jack up the truck.    You can see Ben's and Chuyito's shadows to the left as they watch (it was a HOT day!)  The boat is close to done.  It needs a part Greg is bringing down, and we're getting the name re-done on the sides, and putting it on the back as well (as Mexican law requires), and Chuyito will be polishing it and doing bottom paint.  Soon!!!  (Mexican time!)  

We're eating meals on the veranda more often as the weather warms up, and the other day I spotted a male and female Phyrroloxia.  They look like Cardinals, and I guess are part of the same family of birds.  I really like their long tails and sharp top knots!  And they do love the sunflower seeds we put out!  

Easter Sunday is coming up, and this year is the first time since we've been here that it won't be a sunrise service on the beach.  As we all age, it's with a sigh of relief that we don't have to be up before the roosters to set up sound equipment on the beach.  And that's a good thing too, since Ben decided to be gone this Sunday.  Yikes!  (He runs the sound equipment at church, but we've got excellent help!)  Regardless, we wish you a joyous celebration of the resurrection!  He is risen!  (Here's an Easter morning shot from several years ago).

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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pic-of-the-Week for March 30, 2017

Hola Amigos!  

Si, si!  Yo estoy un poco tarde esta semana;  lo siento!  I think I'm finally getting into the Mexican mañana mode, where time isn't so important any more! It has been a rather busy week...lots to do and places to go.  However, we are enjoying it here at home.  Our shaving brush tree is blooming again, and it is prolific!  And there are as many or more blooms on the ground as there are on the tree.  The blooms last less than one day, then fall off, so the ground is littered with these beautiful bright pink blooms.

In the tree, they look like this....

On the ground, like this....

And for our friend John, the Cannas you gave to us (or at least their great-grandchildren) are still blooming.  We finally found a bug spray so that the leaves are not eaten as soon as they unfurl, so they are looking better all around.  You don't mind them sideways, do you?  In real life, these are redder.  

Another plant blooming in our garden is our Cardon Cactus.  Not real impressive, but the bugs and birds like them!  (Notice the little black ant on one of the petals.)

This is the same cactus, and our view to the FINAL garage construction project on this side of Vista del Mar park.  That should keep the crew busy for several months. 

I finished my quilt piecing for the latest quilt I'm making.  Now I need to get it to our friends who do the quilting for me.  They happen to spend 6 or 7 months here in Baja, so they live close by.  They'll take it home with them and quilt it for me, and I will add the binding.  I like how it turned out.  Very colorful!  This is for a new Wick baby.  No, not Rebecca, but her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who are expecting this spring.  We'd better put a nice warm batting in it, because they live in northern Minnesota! 

The boat is coming together nicely.  It does start now, since the starter has been repaired, and the local electrician has rewired everything as well.  Evidently the connections were not "marine", so many were corroded.  That may be the trouble with keeping things for so long....they start falling apart on you!  For instance, about a month ago, we heard a big bang at our house.  Ben walked all around looking for a garden hose or air hose that blew, and couldn't find anything.  Then he noticed that his 1973 pickup had a blown tire.  He says he's never seen a tire blown as badly as that one, just sitting there!  The problem is, the tire is 15.5".... and that size is impossible to find anymore.  He even searched online and could find nothing.  So, now we need to change 4 wheels and tires or at least 2 of them.  Ugh!  (He probably put these on the truck before we drove it down to Baja in October 2000.  Not much wear, but how much longer will the other 3 last???  Best to replace the lot of them!

Oh!!  Here's a good tire story!  Last week we went to Costco to 1) return my hearing aid for a different kind and 2) check on tires for the 2006 Red truck.  Ben had bought the tires at Costco in Bend, Oregon, and they were wearing on the edges badly.  He showed them to the manager there, and he offered to replace all of them for full price!!  Wow!  They hadn't gone their full 70000 miles (maybe half that), so he said he'd refund the whole thing.  It took some time and about 3 clerks working the cash registers with their magic codes to get the money back (in the form of a Costco cash card).  We went back out to the tire department, turned it in, plus $110 pesos ($5 US) and we had a new set of tires.  Pretty cool deal!  

On that particular trip to Costco, we'd stayed the night before in San Jose with our friends Sandy and Debi, who'd just returned from a trip to the states, at their time share, Coral Baja.  Very nice place, and I got a couple pics of this "picture opportunity"... a family posing in their Mexican finery next to a cute burro.  They told me I should do it, and I told them I have my own personal burros at my casa!  This burro came with a poop bag attached, which I thought was pretty clever!  

Here's a view of the beach in front of Coral Baja....not recommended for swimming with the pounding surf (it rattled the doors in our rooms!)

Weather is warming up nicely, and the wind is not blowing so hard (usually!)  

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

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