Yesterday we saw the first really scary looking snake here. It was dead, it's head having been removed. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera, so you'll just have to believe me. It was probably closer to three than to two feet long, skinny, striped black, red and white (I think). The (I think) white stripes were jagged, like lightening looks in comic books. The deadly snake in our area is the coral snake. They are relatively shy and not aggresssive and rarely seen. I don't know how this one came to lie across our path, but I do know it wasn't a coral snake. I came home and looked through dozens of snake pictures and didn't see one just like it. Maybe my imagination was playing tricks with me and maybe the white stripes didn't look like lightening bolts in comic books. I stopped looking at the pictures because I didn't want to end up dreaming about snakes which are not my favorite animals in the world. If this description makes sense to any of you and you could offer an identification, I would really like to hear from you.
Friday was El Dia de la Vera Cruz, the Day of the True Cross. The capilla of the True Cross is located behind our neighbor's house. It is only used on this day. For the celebration, it is cleaned and decorated and looks beautiful. This year it had its own arco. In addition to the misa, there is often an effort to have a fiesta of some sort. One year it was very successful with all kinds of activities for younger people as well as music. For this year's celebration the community hired a DJ for a baile, a dance, at night. I don't think too many people came, but I couldn't swear to it because it is also the holiday outside of La Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe that has the most cohetes and the biggest ones, and these ones are fired off right around us and these big nearby ones still make me VERY nervous even after all these years, so I hide inside.
Here is a picture of the capilla all decorated:
There were a number of very pretty hanging decorations:
Here is the interior:
Moving right along....
Much to my amazement, the carrots we planted in the garden at our other little house actually grew into real carrots! I still am amazed when stuff actually comes up, especially stuff I've not planted before, and carrots seem particularly miraculous. These came up (or rather, went down) full-sized, crisp and flavorful!
Last week our young neighbor Graciela went on a walk with us. She has the other afghan hound in the neighborhood. It is also a found afghan. This one was at one point the dog of a neurologist who lives in Xico. The guy tried to keep the dog without a fence! So of course it wandered. His wife tried to bring it back quite a number of times, but they finally gave up. (This according to our friend and vet, Marco Antonio) Kids in our neighborhood saw it and thought it was ours. Anyway, it ended up with Graciela and she and the dog (now tied up) adore each other. So she came on our walk.
Graciela has eagle eyes. She saw a snake in the grass which she repeatedly pointed to while making alarmed little noises. Finally I saw it as it scurried away, and at long last, so did Jim. It was a slender green grass snake. She also was the first to notice a clump of tiny, shiny black worms inching its way across the path. Each worm must be about a quarter of an inch at most and quite skinny. Each pile of them must contain a couple of hundred. She showed us that when you see one clump, you will see more. They tunnel and come up. And sure enough, we saw a trail of them, spaced apart. She also saw wild cilantro which doesn´t look at all like the cilantro we are accustomed to. The leaves are clustered around a center, like dandelion leaves. They are fairly narrow and have pointed edges which are sharp. You have to cut off these edges to use the leaves, but then they not only smell and taste just like cilantro, according to Graciela, but can be used just like regular cilantro. She collected a bunch for her mom.
Below are some leaves I picked. I didn't have my camera on the walk so these are on our table.
And finally, yesterday Doña Gloria came over with a beautiful bunch of roses for me. Today is Mother's Day in Mexico, and she brought them "as one mother to another" so I wouldn't feel too lonely with my kids far away. We sat and had coffee and commented on the weather which has gotten a bit May-like: no rain, dusty air, and a lot of humidity, although this year the temperatures have been pretty mild. So she told me about the Fiesta of San Isidro which is coming up and will be celebrated in Xico and I think in our Colonia. She said that on this feast day, people carried a gourd upside down to show there had not been enough rain. They pray to San Isidro for rain, and if all goes well, it will rain shortly thereafter.
And that's all for now. El Pacto por México pronto. Maybe.