A Really Bad Decision

10 May

We seriously considered taking a quick trip down to Mexico to check on Casa Lulu in late April. I had some vacation days to use up and a long stretch off in  my rotation which would have given us almost two weeks free. We ended up deciding not to go. Because the work had not begun on the house we would have had to pay to stay in a hotel, bed and breakfast or the hostel which would have made for a more expensive trip than if we just waited until the basic repairs were finished and we could stay in our own home. Also, late April is traditionally a lovely time of year in Winnipeg. A time for shedding winter clothing, donning shorts, getting the bikes out, preparing the gardens and just enjoying the longer, sunny days. Progreso, on the other hand we were told, would be really, really hot. It would be exhausting to head in to Merida in the heat to shop for  the casa or meet with architects. So we decided not to go. That was a really bad choice. With record cold temperatures by mid-April the snow was only just beginning to melt when I took a few pictures on the 15th.

A Glimpse of Grass

There were some signs of life. A brave clump of thyme peeked out from under the snow

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and several tulips even emerged in the warmth of the brick school wall.

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But hopes of Spring were dashed the very next day when Winnipeg got dumped with over a foot of snow. Other parts of the Province were completely snowed in.

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And with the snow came the threat of flooding as the Assiniboine river rose up out our back door.

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Then, having survived the coldest April on record, when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it snowed again on May 1st!

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And when I checked the temperatures in Progreso it was a moderate 25 degrees C and sunny. Day after day.

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I could have gone to see this

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strolled along the beach

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and hung out with the pelicans.

So

all in all

a really bad decision

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But there is hope yet. The first sweet silla is in bud.

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Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

26 Apr

In keeping with the philosophy that if I can’t live in Mexico just yet at least I can eat Mexican here is my latest offering. You might call this one Asian-Mexican fusion because the ginger and the soy sauce definitely give if a bit of an Oriental flare but the salsa and the cilantro are pure South of the Border fare. What ever you call it though it is really, really good. And super healthy, coming in at 169 calories per serving and 24.4 gm of protein. So enjoy!

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http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-sweet-pork-tenderloin-10000001065570/

Click on the link above to try this amazing recipe from Cooking Light magazine.

Cilantro Garnis

 

Garnish with a little cilantro.

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Serve with okra and rice pilaf.

Ik Kil

20 Apr

As promised, here is the first of several planned posts about things to see and do in the Progreso area. Nothing like starting with a bang! Ik Kil Cenote is just so beautiful it may be the highlight of your visit (other than visiting with us of course!).

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Ik Kil lit by the Afternoon sun.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about this natural wonder. “The cenote is open to the sky with the water level about 26 metres (85 ft) below ground level. There is a carved stairway down to a swimming platform. The cenote is about 60 metres (200 ft) in diameter and about 40 metres (130 ft) deep. There are vines which reach from the opening all the way down to the water along with small waterfalls.”

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Amazing

When Ken was in Progreso he visited a small museum which described how an astroid hit in the Progreso area (actually at Chixelub) millions of years ago. This is the hit that many scientists believe led to the demise of the dinosaurs. Bits of the massive space rock broke off  and scattered in a circular pattern creating craters which have since filled with water. Hence, the cenotes!

Ground Breaking News!

20 Apr

Work has commenced at Casa Lulu. First up is getting rid of  the poured concrete all around the house. This will allow us to improve the drainage and will also open up all kinds of landscape possibilities. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress. Breaking ground.

Ken asked his buddy Andy to wander over to the house to take a few pictures. He was particularly interested in seeing this corner at the front. He is really hoping to find a way to get up to the roof and thought there might be room here for a spiral staircase. I’m not as keen on the idea because I have a wicked fear of heights and it is certainly not high on my priority list but it would be fabulous one day. Imagine, sitting up there in the evening, drink in hand, cool breeze coming off the ocean, nothing but stars blocking your view.

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Looks like really hard work and Andy said it was 40 degrees Celsius today. Glad they had a big jug of water on hand. The water is sitting on the steps that lead down from the covered terrace to the pool which is just to the right of the picture.

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These steps lead up to the pool area bathroom and change room. On the right is the outdoor shower. I have big plans for this!f1aff1dbf28bc9fbcb4caf9015881c94 448179b34eeec7391de1479229a8a9f4

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Outdoor shower #1

It really wouldn’t take much to create a gorgeous space here.With a little imagination anything is possible at Casa Lulu!

Mexican Critters #2

17 Apr

I was absolutely stunned by these beautiful photos and fabulous descriptions by zoologist, photographer and author Cherie Pittillo. I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of this bird when we settle in the Yucatan. What a character! To read the full piece please click on the link below.

http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2013/04/backyard-birding-in-merida-and-beyond-what-bird-is-that-groove-billed-ani-2/

All photos and quoted text by Cherie Pittillo

Groove-billed Ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris, Garrapatero Pijuy (Spanish) and ch’ik bul (Mayan)

Groove Billed Ani

“Upon closer look, that Jimmy Durante-like schnozz, which is actually its upper bill, is unforgettable. It is a short, thick, large, curved bill with ridges and grooves. Groove-y!”

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“The Groove-billed Ani is common in tropical lowlands as it ranges from S. Texas and Mexico down to N Chile and N Argentina. It frequents lawns, pastures, haciendas, fields, roadsides, orchards, forest edges, and even marshes.”

Groove Billed Ani

“Besides that grooved bill, its flight is characteristic as it rapidly flaps its wings a few times and then glides a short distance down to another tree or bush. It pauses for awhile and may call before it advances in the same manner. This pattern is repeated. When it arrives to its desired tree, it may hop up sideways from limb to limb until it reaches its target perch.”

So, where is Progreso?

15 Apr

When we tell people we have bought a house in Progreso, Mexico we usually get enthusiastic but somewhat confused congratulations. This is primarily because they are not quite sure where it is. Is it on the Atlantic side, the Caribbean or near the Texas border? Even when we describe its location in the Yucatan people still seem to have only a vague conception of Mexican geography. So for all those who want to really know where we will be heading here is a map of the region. Progreso is on the Northwest tip of the Yucatan Peninsula about 25 minutes by car north of the city of Merida.

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Over the next several posts I will highlight of some of the many wondrous places to see and visit in the area. It is a land rich in culture, history and nature. So stay with me.

Meanwhile, on the home front, after a few tense weeks we have finally managed to close on the sale of the property. We really do now own a house in Mexico. How amazing is that? Work commences on some necessary plumbing, electrical and structural repairs on Wednesday. Though not particularly exciting changes from a design perspective they will make our lives a lot better. We are, for example, getting a water softener installed and also upgrading to a solar hot water system. We are also getting the roof resealed and a protective coating applied which will make it nicer to sit up there and enjoy the evening ocean breezes. Ladder anyone? A lot of concrete also has to be dug up around the house to improve drainage so that will open up all kinds of landscaping possibilities. The gardener in me is very excited about that! And there is a crack in the swimming pool which is a number one priority fix! Got to have that pool ready to go when we arrive. So all in all we feel things are headed in the right direction.

Mexican Easter Bunny? The Tehuantepec Jackrabbit

31 Mar

The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is the most endangered hare species in the world (2)(5) (6), and, like other hares (Lepus spp.), is recognised by its long legs, large hind feet and huge ears (2) (7) (8), which can measure up to 12 centimetres in length (2). The hair is coarse (2), and the feet are well furred (7). The upperparts of the body are a rich ochraceous buff, washed through with black, and the back of the neck bears a buffy stripe, which separates two narrow, black stripes that extend backwards from the base of each ear. The ears are buff coloured, with whitish tips, while the throat is yellowish and the underparts and flanks are white. The legs and rump are pale whitish to grey, and the tail is grey below and black above (2) (5). In spring, the fur may become more worn, with the upperparts faded to a more yellowish colour and the black stripes on the neck visible only as black patches behind the ears (2).

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To read more about the go here

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