Archive for April, 2009

The obvious

April 30, 2009

About the Swine Flu, we have no cases in the State of Jalisco.  Nevertheless, all classes are canceled until the 6th.  Movie theaters, bars, museums and other places where large amounts of people gather are closed until the 6th.  The restaurants are open and on Tuesday, when we went to buy Adolfo’s guayabera for the wedding, I saw the restaurants doing pretty good business.  I don’t see panic in the streets, people seem pretty calm.

We aren’t really heading out unless it is necessary – Adolfo went out to a meeting this morning and I think he went to another meeting on Tuesday.  Any business that can is be handled by phone or email.  I’m fielding a lot of questions from my coworkers and students and Adolfo has a translation project he’s working on, so we are busy at home.  I probably won’t go to the Abastos market this weekend and will go instead to a small supermarket.  Also, my excursion was canceled yesterday – we were supposed to leave for Michoacan tomorrow.  I’m really sad about that.

All in all, I’m about to get really bored here at home.  I hope we will be back to normal soon, the country is losing a lot of money on all these closures.

Lemongrass and peas, maybe

April 12, 2009

The garden is on the upsurge, once again.  I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on the gardenia and it seems to be thriving as long as I keep picking off the little bugs that gather at the blossoms.  The azalea seems to be suffering through all the wind that comes racing through the terrace at sunset and we will see if it ever blooms again.  So far, it’s putting out a nice amount of new foliage.  My free fern that came wrapped around the azalea has been putting up new fronds and as the new fronds unfurl, I’ve been clipping off the older browner leaves with the kitchen shears.

The rotation plan for the green onions is also doing really well.  Every time I pick one green onion, I push a new seed or two into the vacant soil.  I have four onions going at different stages of development.  The lettuce is once again in it’s last hurrah and I’m going to pull it up in the next few days.  However, I already planted the replacement lettuce and it is too small to eat, but coming along.

Last week, after several weeks of pondering, I broke down and bought the lemongrass plant I’ve been eyeing.  It was so root-bound I had to use the scissors to cut off some of the most offending masses.  I divided the plant, but put it in one large container.  Next time I do this I need to wear opera-length gloves, as I managed to slice up both arms to the elbow.

I also made it back to the horticulture store in the Centro.  Trips to the horticulture store are both exciting and disappointing.  I really want the people working there to be more knowledgeable.  But the seeds are so cheap, I feel like experimenting.  I ended up buying some peas and serrano chiles, I passed on the tomatoes for the moment.  The chiles were really an unnecessary expenditure.  I can get a few chiles every couple weeks for pennies at the abastos market.  Sometimes the venders even throw them in for free – I usually ask for three or four and it’s not worth the trouble to charge me if I’m buying other vegetables at the same time.  But, I’ve been wanting to have my own chiles and the plants can last for several years – if you treat them right.  Since a packet was only $5 pesos (~$0.40 US), I thought, why not give it a try.

I’ve purchaced peas a few times in the market and I decided after the last attempt to give up on the fresh peas.  They are old and square, starchy and hard.  These are not the peas I want to eat.  So now I have three pots with a pea seed in each and we will see what they do. The packet said the growing season was September to January.  This may be the practice round since I’m growing them out of season.  I know the weather has been extra warm and the peas shouldn’t like that, but the lettuce hangs on.

I wanted to know if they were going to need supports when I bought them and I asked the woman behind the counter, what kind of peas are these?  She replied: normal.

So, for more than one reason, I may need a practice run with these peas to see what I have and what they want.

I also asked about the tomato varieties and received unsatisfying answers.  Apparently, there are three kinds of tomato seeds:  round, oblong, and by the kilo.  hmmmm…..

The “by the kilo” seeds were also of the “round” variety.  I could see the labels on the seeds and wrote down the varieties so I could go home and look them up on the internet.  This is what I found: Flora Dade and Rio Grande.  Do you know anything about these?  I didn’t write down the “by the kilo” type since I have NO need for a kilo of tomato seeds.

I looked them up, and the descriptions used words like: firm, blocky and grown for market.  Other tomatoes are described as tasty or sweet and juicy.  These are not words used for Flora Dade or Rio Grande.  I am not convinced.

Other than the tomato mess, things are growing and growing and I’m excited to see what the peas will do.

Being a tourist in my own town

April 10, 2009

We are right in the middle of most people’s two week vacation.  Semana Santa started this past Monday and next Monday begins Semana Pascua.  Both the universities I work with are closed and my students are out exploring, so my job duties have also slowed considerably.  This is good since Adolfo’s sister and aunt were in town this past week for his mother’s birthday.  We were able to do a lot of touristy things, including shopping and eating all around town.

In the process we began to frequent a new cafe in the Colonia Americana.  La Cafeteria has been open for five weeks and seems to be going strong at this point.  In fact, they have been doing so much business that they ran out of quite a lot of their menu.  This, combined with a very charming and air-headed waitress, made for very interesting visits.  Adolfo’s sister says she is like Lisa Kudrow’s waitress character in Mad About You.  The highlight for me happened while trying to eat dinner one night.  We were told that they only had bagels for the bread option on their sandwiches and so we ordered a couple bagels with cream cheese and salmon, along with some sides.  First, she comes back to our table to change our sides, because what we ordered is no longer available, then she returns to tell us that some of the sides we ordered are in fact available.  Then she returns again to apologize that they had run out of ham.  We replied that this is  a shame.  She stays at our table, then says, did you want to get something else instead?  We reply that we had ordered salmon, and thought we would stick with that.  At this point, after the waitress leaves, Adolfo’s aunt declares that whatever the waitress wants to bring will be fine with her.  She brings out the sandwiches and only one is on a bagel, because she said they “found” some other bread in the back.  We are dumbfounded, but the food is really pretty good and in total, in the last week, we went three times to the cafe.  The deserts were particularly good and I am excited about trying more of the food, once they get their feet back on the ground.

The Cafeteria is on Libertad at Robles Gil.