Tag Archives: environment

Mi Jardin Se Despierta

11 May

I hope my beginner Spanish has not failed me. The translation of this post’s heading should be “My Garden Awakes”. Wow, does it ever! Less than a week after the last of the snow melted away so many of the perennials have begun to poke up, unfurl, leaf out and even bloom. It never ceases to amaze me that so much beauty can burst forth after the brutality that is winter in Western Canada. There is nothing quite like the joy that comes with the regeneration of Spring. Much as I look forward to taking on the challenges of gardening in the Yucatan I know I will miss the fresh new hope that accompanies the changing of the seasons. I am sure that alone will draw me back to Canada on a regular basis. But, I am getting ahead of myself. I have one more perfect garden season ahead of me before the move to Progreso so here are some pictures of the delights that await me.

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Monkshood an aconite with blue or purple flowers. The upper sepal of the flower covers the topmost petals, giving a hoodlike appearance

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Iris a plant with sword-shaped leaves and showy flowers, typically purple, yellow, or white. Native to both Eurasia and North America, it is widely cultivated as an ornamental

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Yarrow a Eurasian plant of the daisy family, with feathery leaves and heads of small white, yellow, or pink aromatic flowers

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Columbine from Latin columba ‘dove’ (from the supposed resemblance of the flower to a cluster of five doves)

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Sedum a widely distributed fleshy-leaved plant with small star-shaped yellow, pink, or white flowers, grown as an ornamental

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Lungwort a bristly herbaceous European plant of the borage family, typically having white-spotted leaves and pink flowers that turn blue as they age.[so named because the leaves were said to have the appearance of a diseased lung.]

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Remember the brave little silla bud I showed you the picture of in my last post? Well here she is in full bloom with many of her friends.

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And, just in case you were worried, the flood waters have receded.

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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!

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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Groove-billed-Ani-in-sunshine

“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.

Cute Mexican Critters #1

13 Mar

Axolotl

The axolotl is a type of salamander, native to Mexico. It’s scientific name is Ambystoma mexicanum. The common pet or laboratory Axolotl refers exclusively to A. mexicanum, although in Mexico the term Axolotl is used in reference to several species of Ambystoma, and is considered an edible food source!

The Axolotl is neotenic, meaning that it doesn’t routinely undergo metamorphosis from the larval to adult form, as happens with most other salamanders. Instead, the larval form (with gills) becomes sexually mature and reproduces, maintaining a strictly aquatic life style. Under some circumstances, the Axolotl can undergo metamorphosis into a terrestrial from, although this can be stressful on the animal.

The Axolotl has amazing regenerative abilities – if injured, even to the point of losing a body part, the Axolotl will heal readily and even regenerate lost bits. They are fairly hardy creatures that can be expected to live up to 10-15 years with attention to proper care, particularly with respect to water quality. Their skin and gills are very sensitive and quite soft, so handling is not recommended.

Juvenile axolotls can be cannibalistic towards each other, so they are best raised in separate enclosures. Adults can potentially be housed together but watch for cannibalistic tendencies. Of course, if a body part gets bitten off by a tank mate, an axolotl can regenerate it over time.

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