Where to start? My little quarter acre here in Mexico is so insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe and even compared to the Earth, but it is a whole world of living things requiring much attention and care.
I guess I could start with the creatures whom evolution decided would not be secured to the ground, forcing them to develop defenses that did not require flight from danger. And so – there are my gatitas, my kitten sisters Ginger and Peach. With no parent present in their lives, nor other adult cats from whom to learn, they are nevertheless becoming quite the huntresses.
They have captured several grasshoppers and crickets, and unfortunately several geckos also. While I admire their hunting skills, since geckos are extremely fast when escaping prey or hunting their own prey, I rue the fact that geckos are also one species of the good guys who eat what we humans here call pests. I noticed that they play dead or stay perfectly still when cornered, so I have been able to rescue a few of them. Recently there was one on my bedroom floor and one on my doorstep who were still alive and intact, so I scooped them up and placed them in the foliage, where hopefully they will continue to live a long gecko life consuming whatever pests they can find.
I also recently found a little dead frog – or maybe it was a toad – on my bathroom floor. I don’t know if it died of starvation or from my cats using it as a play toy. In any case, it was the size of my thumbnail with very strange feet. More like a lizard’s feet than what I would consider the feet of a frog. But then, it was a long way from a body of water, and maybe it used those feet to climb trees. I remember my friend Lourdes had a fright when one day she started to pick up what she thought was a rock, and it turned out to be a very big toad.
Unfortunately for my “girls,” Momma cat has reappeared. Her belly is flat, so she has had her kittens somewhere else, but for 3 days now I have heard sounds of a cat fight early in the morning. This morning, she even got into my house when I left the door cracked open.
I’ve sprayed her with water, with detergent mixed with water, and thrown pebbles at her. She is still getting in the same way – on my neighbor’s roof, walking across my brick wall and climbing down my peach tree. I’m thinking that if I cement broken glass onto the top of my brick wall in a wide enough swath, she will not cross it to get to the tree to get into my yard.
And now onto the gardening. It turns out it is a lot more work than I imagined. Clearing areas of previous vegetation is one thing, but digging up the root systems underneath and the amount of rocks in the soil is quite labor-intensive. No wonder the streets are all cobblestone and the walls are mainly rocks and cement. I remember helping to get my mother’s garden ready on Long Island by sifting loads and loads of dirt to sift out the rocks. I thought about this each time I filled another wheelbarrow full of rocks.
After the root systems and rocks were removed there remained large holes which needed to be filled. So far, we’ve used 3 bags of dirt for the medicinal plant and herbal beds, but for the area that will be grass under my chayote vines, we’ve emptied 7 bags and my gardener estimates I will need another 8 bags, which he will bring tomorrow.
In the meantime, there is something they call here “plaga” which can infect trees and plants, and has already killed two of my smaller trees, necessitating that they be cut down. There is a two-fold answer to this problem:
First: for the bark already infected, mix Roma brand powdered laundry detergent with water and spray it on the infected areas. I am doing that and will see how it works. Second, powdered tobacco mixed in with the soil. Every 100 grams needs to be mixed into an area of soil 30 cm in diameter – so I bought 10 bags of one kilogram each and hope it is enough. I will find out how well that works when I am done planting.
For some final odds and ends, I found a good equivalent for scrub pants, which will be used for gardening, as it is way too hot for jeans, and my Skechers are now gardening shoes, as they get way too dirty to now be used for anything else. I am also constantly discovering new fruits and new flowers. I will be including photos of these, one of which is a bright orange daisy that is growing on a vine. Managed to snap a photo of an orange butterfly that perfectly matched the color, but it was so fast going from flower to flower that the photo is not as detailed as other photos I have taken of butterflies.
One last thing has also been added to my to-do list. Above the brick wall above my future plant beds is a triangular-shaped cement wall which is part of a structure belonging to my neighbor. I discovered it after stripping away some foliage. It forms a nice shelf, so my intention is, once it is cleaned up, to paint the cement a nice blue-green color and put little pots of plants or flowers on the shelf.
Well, I think that has been more than enough writing for today, so I will sign off for now and wish you all a good day – stay safe and warm…..