Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This post is a little late although it is still Christmas, today. Yesterday I spent all day in the kitchen preparing for our Christmas Eve dinner, that is celebrated in Mexico. This was the first time our three sons and their families were together with us on Christmas Eve, since they married. They usually take turns, one year with us and one the parents of their wives. The mother of my DIL Paola, very generously changed their celebration at noon so they could be with us at night. It will be my turn to do the same, next year.

Our menu was turkey with bread stuffing the way my mom used to make it, cranberry sauce which I can't be without at Christmas, and our Mexican Christmas Eve menu of Bacalao (cod fish) a la Viscaina, white rice and Christmas apple salad. As dessert we had natilla de almendra, turron from Spain, fruit cake and of course all of the nuts and dried fruits.

Our son Luis and his family came over from Aguascalientes where they live, so they were staying with us here at the house, but our son Juan Carlos and wife decided it would be a fun idea for them to spend the night also so that all the small grandkids could rush to our Christmas tree to see if Santa had brought them those long awaited gifts. To watch the excitement was a gift in itself for me.

I wish all of you and your families the best of the Holidays, whatever it be that you celebrate, and my best wishes for this coming year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cactus fencing

I was hoping to have a session with Michael before posting any of the recent work I have done, but it hasn't been possible, so I'll take the risk of posting something that might need a lot of correcting.

Robin Neudorfer mentioned in her very interesting and descriptive posts in her blog about the Plein Air workshop in Mexico, the fact that many of the village people in rural Mexico, use cacti to fence in, their houses. It is very true and unfortuantely a custom that is being lost. This type of cacti is so hardy and grows so easily from a prune that they won't be easily extinct. They are a Stenocereus cacti and have branches that come straight up from the stem and can be as tall as a medium size tree. If the branches are cut at the stem this serves as a prune that helps the plant, then branches are lined up on the ground to cut them the same size. After two weeks of laying in the sun to hea the cut part, they are then planted in the ground to use as fencing. If they are close enough together they eventually close the gaps between them and not only protect from intruders, but also make a nice wind barrier.

At the ranch we have a stucco wall surrounding most of the area but we only had a barbed wire fence that did not look very nice, surrounding part of the front and one side so we decided to wall in that area with cactus fencing. We have just recently done this, so I decided I would give it a try to paint the inside of the fencing on one side in my most recent Plein Air painting.

This fencing was possible with the generosity of the people living in the village who contributed with the pruning of their fences and with expertise of one of our faithful workers, Mayo and his father.