So what have we been doing during the pandemic? We are stocked up on food and liquor. We have a good sized farmer’s market down the road and their prices are great! Avocados? Three for a dollar! Nice sized too. Roma tomatoes much better than in the store also cheap. Next time I go I will get some fruit too.
A friend of mine on Facebook is the daughter of one of my professors I had in my BFA program in college. She posted a picture of a serigraph he printed in 1965 and described it as a quintessential piece of mid-century art. And she was right. Since our house is small, I wasn’t sure where we could hang it but the price was right so I bought it.
The framing cost way more than the print! The framer is great though. She is a little ol’ Texas lady, Sylvia, who is always perfectly coiffed and made up. Every transaction with her is a personal one and she always comes up with good suggestions. The actual framer, Max, is the one who actually does the work but she runs the show. When I took the print in, Sylvia wasn’t there so I explained to Max what I wanted. They didn’t have the mat color I wanted so before I went back I stopped at Hobby Lobby and found the perfect match. Saved me some money there, ha! Of course, the price had to come from her so I went back the next day for the sticker shock. She picked out a better frame color than black, I gave her my deposit and it was ready the next day!
BEFORE AND AFTER:INSIDE
I replaced a painting I did in 1980 with Mr. Rugolo’s serigraph from 1965. Mr. Rugolo was a great teacher and from him I learned the concept of a happy accident.
It looks great though and it’s nice to change things up.
BEFORE AND AFTER: OUTSIDE
The outside changes took a little longer… We had three inches of rain not long ago and down here, rain as almost always accompanied with wind. Two retama trees in the back of the garden were showing their age and sprawl and one of them sustained many broken branches. It was already way leaning over from the last flood so it had to go. The other retama was more upright but had broken branches stuck high up in it and it was hanging over our neighbor’s house and ours. We wanted it thinned out but still shaped like a tree. When you cut them it takes a few months to develop their feathery offshoots. When they bloom in the spring, they are spectacular.
The park was having a lot of tree work done and the park owner knew we wanted some work done; Juan did some for us a couple years ago. Several days went by. Juan was still working in the park all week so I left a note on his truck as a reminder and then spoke with him. This went on for a week. Finally on a Friday, he told me he would be back at 3 PM to estimate and do the work. He never came back. When I told the park owner that the first guy never came back she said he told her he would be back on Monday for us. But he never told me that. So I started calling around to get other estimates. Two companies came out and I was convinced that either one of them would do a good job. Only problem was that I forgot to ask if they were insured. Here in Northern Mexico stuff like that isn’t always routine and the park requires vendors to have insurance. Of course.
So I called another company. You have to make sure they speak English both on the phone and when they come to estimate. My Spanish isn’t good enough to conduct business with a contractor. When I asked if he was insured he said, “Of course.” He spoke English, came out and seemed knowledgeable and competent. When he texted me his estimate, I texted back WHOA! He was over twice as much as the other two. We talked him into a discount but he was still much higher. By this time I just wanted it done. We set it up for him to come on Monday and he texted and said it would be Tuesday. Northern Mexico again. I tried to get him to commit to a time but never heard back.
Then he called Tuesday morning and said he would be here Wednesday at 8:00 AM. What to do? He assured me they would come.
So at 8:00 AM I was up at the office waiting so everything could go smoothly. At 8:45 I called him and said “Please tell me that you’re still coming.” He said he was and he would be here in 20 minutes. Forty five minutes later he called and said fifteen minutes. Finally they came. Except the English speaking estimator wasn’t with them but a guy he brought to the estimate, Raul, was.
It is pretty close quarters in the garden and they understood that no plants (or houses) were to be damaged. The guy with the pole saw and the chain saw was a master. Retama is a very hard and thorny wood. The complete removal of the one tree went fine. He placed his ladder on the branch he was cutting with the chain saw and it came down in pieces. Then he used the pole saw from the ground. The second tree was a little more problematic but they handled it like the pros they obviously are. Even the overhanging branches were brought down safely with no mishaps. He would cut almost through the branch then catch it with the saw and bring it down. Raul gathered the brush and hauled it to the trailer. One large branch near the neighbor’s house required Raul to stand on the very top of the stepladder (the one that says NOT A STEP!) and catch it.
We need some sod behind the garden but that’s not our department. Once it gets laid though, I will keep it alive.
Next big project? On Thursday we are having a bunch of dirt and mulch delivered along with edging for the front by the street. When we get some cooler days I will tackle that. It’s been very hot for this time of year, around 95-100 degrees every day. Tuesday it is supposed to be down to 80. And maybe some rain, which we could really use.
Around the garden: