Monday, May 22, 2017

Vallarta Botanical Gardens and Lunch at Hacienda de Oro

One of the Pleasures of Life in Mexico

Hacienda de Oro Restaurant at Vallarta Botanical Gardens

     Visiting the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and having lunch at the restaurant in the Garden, Hacienda de Oro, has been on my Bucket List for years. I'm so glad we finally planned a day trip to go there!
Beautiful Orchids Under One of Two Shade Covers
     I wrote about our first, failed attempt to tour this botanical garden in my book, "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" . We were driving our motorhome south along the coast of mainland Mexico, leaving the Puerto Vallarta area on Hwy 200. I was so excited to visit the Gardens that day! We had it programmed into our GPS and had planned our trip to arrive in time for lunch at the Hacienda de Oro. But when we slowed to turn into the gate, we could see there was no place to park our motorhome. We were forced to drive on by and keep the Vallarta Botanical Gardens on our Bucket List for another year.
Hacienda de Oro Restaurant and Coy Pond
     This time, I wanted to be sure there were no glitches in our plan to visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Checking their website, I could see the Gardens were open. I called them the morning of our trip to ask if the restaurant would be open that day. We didn't want to arrive hungry, only to find the restaurant closed. I had read an article years ago that said the dining experience is half the fun of going to the Gardens, so I was hopeful they would be open. Unfortunately, no one answered the phone, so we ate a light lunch at a beach restaurant in Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone before walking to catch the bus that goes to the Gardens. That worked out for the best! The restaurant was open, but we weren't hungry when we arrived about 1:00, so we hiked five of the many trails, looked at endless exotic plants, and worked up a good appetite. By 4:00, we were ready for refreshments. The restaurant closes at 5:00, so we had plenty of time for a delicious Margarita and a Caesar Salad with Large Shrimp, all beautifully served, decorated with colorful, edible flowers. I was happy that we were able to dine at the lovely restaurant, half of the reason to visit the Gardens!
So Many Colorful, Exotic Rock Garden Plants


     One trail led from the Hacienda de Oro through a delightful rock garden with colorful, exotic tropical plants that I had never seen before. Many were labeled with their botanical names.
The Orchid Conservatory Is Amazing!



     The Orchid Conservatory was my favorite area of the Gardens. Not only were we surrounded by gorgeous orchids and other tropical plants, soothing music played through high quality speakers, enticing us to find a couple of chairs and relax here for a while. The only thing I wished for at that moment was a waiter to appear offering me a cold Mojito. I imagine if you hold your wedding there, that would be part of the package. What a treat that would be!
View From the Orchid Conservatory
     After sitting for a while in the center of the Orchid Conservatory, we realized how warm and humid it was surrounded by the tropical plants, even with large fans blowing the air through the open-air building. So we dragged our chairs over to the top of the stairs next to the entry where a nice breeze was blowing in from the valley below. The view looking outside was just as enjoyable, with several varieties of palm trees, lush green grass, and sun-tolerant blossoming plants. What a peaceful place it is; the only sounds were the music in the conservatory behind us and the tropical birds singing in front of us.
These Hanging Baskets Decorated Every Building

Swimming is Allowed in the Emerald Pools of the River
     We walked the popular trail down to the river that runs through the property. We dipped our hands in the refreshing water and enjoyed the shade for a few minutes before attacking the steep hike back to the Hacienda. By then we were ready for our Margaritas.
Jon and Terry in La Hacienda de Oro Restaurant

     We dined on the balcony of the restaurant, overlooking the river, the jungle, and the valley. The breeze coming up the river was cool and refreshing, a perfect way to relax after hiking in this wonderful botanical garden.     
Jon at One of the Two Shade Cover Areas for Plants

     On our way out, we couldn't help but take one more walk through the shade cover areas to admire the orchids and other tropical plants again. A young couple approached us, all smiles, and asked if we could take their photo. The beaming young lady held up her left hand to show off her new diamond ring and said, "We just got engaged!" I told them, "Congratulations! You look so happy", as I took their photo. A beautiful memory for them as they start their life together.
Orchids, Orchids, Everywhere!
     For more information on the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, how to catch the bus or taxi to the Gardens, holding weddings and events there, and to see the restaurant menu (small button in the upper right corner), see http://www.vbgardens.org .


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Saturday, May 13, 2017

THANKFUL TO HAVE RETIRED IN MEXICO: The eBook About Our Journey

Out of the Rat Race and Into Paradise


eBook Now Available on Amazon!
     Jon and I are so thankful that we traveled throughout Mexico in our RV until we found the town we wanted to retire in. So I wrote this book about the transition from our hectic life in the U.S. to our relaxed life in Mexico. If you have considered moving to Mexico, or just getting out of the rat race early, you might like to take a look by clicking HERE
An Enjoyable Lunch at Hacienda de Oro in Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Book Description
     Terry and Jon found a way to escape the rat race, retire early, and to make their money go further. This story will inspire others to quit their jobs, retire earlier rather than later, and begin living a healthier life, while having more fun and doing what they enjoy. Why wait?
     Making the decision to retire early was the easy part. Deciding where to retire took more travel in their motorhome and lots of thought. The process of selling and giving away their excess possessions so they could begin living a simplified, healthier life was a journey in itself.
     Terry and Jon’s adventures while traveling in their motorhome are enough to entice one to go RV shopping immediately. Their decision to move to México may seem radical to some, but others may soon consider doing the same thing! The story of where they settled in México, and why, will make you wonder how soon you, too, will begin planning a similar escape from the chaos in the world to find your own piece of paradise in the sun.

"Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook
     Our search for sunshine and paradise started with a motorhome trip around mainland Mexico, focusing on the coastal areas. To check out the book about our six month adventure, click HERE
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bringing Your Pet into Mexico: New 2017 Laws are Being Enforced!

Avoid a 2-Hour Delay When Entering Mexico!

Bella is Ready to Get Out of Her Pet Carrier
     Flying into Mexico last week with Bella, our miniature dachshund, turned into a nightmare. We flew into the Puerto Vallarta International airport, as we have many times in the past 17 years, and proceeded, as always, to the Mexican Agricultural desk (zoo sanitary kiosk with the acronym SAGARPA) before entering Customs (Aduana). We presented the documents that have always been accepted, a current rabies vaccination certificate and a Health Certificate from a vet in the U.S. that had been prepared two days before travel. We have always successfully imported our dogs using these papers whether we flew or drove into Mexico, though they were rarely asked for when we drove across the border.
     Things aren’t that simple with dog and cat importation into Mexico anymore. We found out the hard way that there is a new, more stringent law regarding cats and dogs entering Mexico, effective January 1, 2017. Apparently, Mexico started enforcing the new requirements in February 2017 and neither our U.S. vet nor our Mexican vet in Sayulita knew about the changes because both of our current Health Certificates from these vets were unacceptable when we presented our documents to the SAGARPA agent at the Puerto Vallarta airport. It was going to be a long afternoon.
SAGARPA is the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture

     The Mexican Agriculture Department (SAGARPA) agent patiently explained the new requirements to us, then told us that we could not bring our dog into Mexico without obtaining a valid Health Certificate. In addition to the Rabies Vaccination certification, the vet must now certify (provide proof of) two additional health conditions:
    1.  The dog (or cat) is free from internal parasites (worms) and has been treated for these within 6 months of the date of travel. The products used must be reflected on the Health Certificate. We showed the SAGARPA agent the receipt from our vet in Oregon for our purchase of 12 doses of Heartguard Plus® to treat heartworms and other worms and told him that we administer it to Bella every 30 days. That wasn't good enough.
Heartworms are Spread by Mosquitoes

    2.  The dog (or cat) is free from external parasites (fleas/ticks) and has been treated for these within 6 months of the date of travel. The products used must be reflected on the Health Certificate. We told the SAGARPA agent that our vet in Sayulita, Mexico could verify over the phone that we buy Bravecto® from him to treat fleas and ticks and that we administer it to Bella every 12 weeks. That wasn't good enough. 
Bravecto® Treats Fleas, these Ticks, and Others

     The Agriculture agent continued explaining that he could call a vet from Puerto Vallarta and ask him or her to come to the airport and prepare a valid Health Certificate for us. This was the only option if we were going to leave the airport with Bella. So, I spoke on the phone with the friendly female vet (luckily, she spoke more English than I speak Spanish) and we agreed upon a price of 800 pesos ($45 U.S.) for her to drive to the airport, examine our dog, and complete a Health Certificate. She added that she might have to administer a medication on site to be in compliance and this would be included in the price.
Waiting at the Airport Gives Bella "Bad Hair"

     While we were waiting for the vet to arrive, the Agriculture Department Agent showed us a correctly completed Health Certificate and suggested that we take a photo of it for future reference. We were glad we did, because all of the information had become very confusing at this point. I later found additional information on Mexico Pet Import Regulations at: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Mexico.cfm
Health Certificate Requirement #1 is Unchanged

Health Certificate Requirements #3 is New in 2017

     We were exhausted from traveling, hungry, and ready to go to our home in Sayulita. The extra time this caused was difficult to handle, though we were glad the friendly vet came to the airport quickly. She gave Bella a tablet of a medication that she said would treat against both internal and external parasites and then completed a hand-written Health Certificate that the SAGARPA agent accepted as valid. We then had to wait while the Agriculture agent created and printed 2 copies of an official SAGARPA “Certificado Zoosanitario Para Importatión", one for our records and one to give to Customs as we exited the airport. We were finally on our way! 
Traveling in Our RV is Much More Comfortable than Flying!

     Next time we won’t fly into Mexico; we’ll drive our motorhome across the border. The final question to be determined: When we are ready to drive to Mexico, crossing at Nogales, AZ, we will find a vet in Arizona to do a Health Certificate. How can a vet in the U.S. who is not familiar with Bella certify that our dog is free of internal and external parasites and list the products we used? My conclusion is that I will use Frontline Plus monthly on Bella during the few months we are in the U.S. and hold her Bravecto® tablet (for fleas and ticks). Just before we plan to drive across the border, I will take Bella to a vet for her Health Certificate and have the vet administer her Bravecto® tablet and her Heartguard Plus® (for heartworms and other worms) at the time of her examination. I will probably need to be prepared for the vet to require blood and/or stool tests before administering the medications (more money and time). Then, I will make sure the vet completes the Health Certificate as required by the Mexican Agriculture Department. We’ll see how that works. We’ll also see if anyone asks for Bella’s Health Certificate at the Mexico border. They haven’t in the past, but this might be the year that they start requiring them when driving into Mexico. Anyone else have another idea?
     Edited 5/4/17: A helpful reader, Byron, supplied me with this link for current requirement for traveling with a pet to Mexico.  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico . When you reach this page, click on the BAR at the bottom of the page for Dogs and Cats. The Certificate Template under Option B is the one the vet can complete using their computer and then sign by hand. 
     Visit my website: www.HealthyLivingandTravelinginMexico. com for more articles about our adventures and life in Mexico.
     For more information on healthy living and traveling in Mexico, take a look at my two eBooks, available on Amazon:
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  • New Book Release Notices
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     Terry
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

FIGHTING MOSQUITOES: Preventing the Spread of Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, & Zika

We Had Chikungunya in 2015; Now We are on a Mission to Fight Mosquitoes and Mosquito Bites!

Aedes aegypti Mosquito Transmits Chikungunya & Dengue viruses
     We've all heard about Zika. But what about Chikungunya and Dengue? All three of these viral infections are spread by mosquitoes in many parts of the world. The Aedes mosquitoes, when infected with Chikungunya or Dengue viruses can transmit these illnesses to people through mosquito bites. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), local transmissions of these viruses have been reported throughout the Americas, including Mexico. The CDC also reports that mosquitoes infected with Zika virus are in Mexico and spreading it to people. There are two ways to battle the spread of these viral illnesses. First, minimize the reproduction of mosquitoes. Secondly, prevent mosquito bites to minimize the transmission of the virus and spread of the infection.
Ready for Our First Christmas, the Exterior Wall was So Pretty

     It happened the first week in December 2015, a week after we moved into our casita (little house) in Mexico. Jon spent an afternoon scrubbing the exterior of our garden wall so it would be nice and clean when he put up the Christmas lights. They looked so pretty and we were excited about spending our first Christmas in "paradise". 
     The next morning Jon awoke stiff and sore, his joints aching, and he thought he had just overdone it with his wall-scrubbing the day before. The following day, he didn't get out of bed, the pain and fever were debilitating. I kept him supplied with ibuprofen, chicken broth, and purified drinking water. (We later learned that acetaminophen is the pain reliever of choice until Dengue fever can be ruled out, in order to avoid internal bleeding.) For the next week, he rarely got out of bed. From internet research, I determined that Jon probably had either Dengue Fever or Chikungunya, both transmitted by mosquitoes. Had he been bitten while working around the garden plants? He hadn't noticed any mosquitoes and didn't find any bites, but it was the logical conclusion that one of the tiny mosquitoes that carry Chikungunya had gotten him. Was our beautiful garden and the nearby jungle to blame for bringing mosquitoes to our new home?
Was Our Beautiful Garden to Blame?

     Getting up to go to the bathroom was a major ordeal because his ankles and the joints in his feet seemed to be affected the most. Standing up wasn't too bad, but walking was excruciatingly painful. We had learned that this is one common symptom of Chikungunya, so we self-diagnosed the illness. The inflammation and stiffness (arthritis) in the feet was so painful that he walked with a flat-footed shuffle, as though the ankles and feet couldn't flex. We named this duck-like way of walking the "Chikungunya Shuffle", and tried to laugh about it to lighten our moods.
     I wasn't laughing any longer when I developed the same symptoms a week later. The joint pain was right up there with the level of a childbirth contraction, except it didn't let up, even while taking 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours. The itchy rash on my torso was just an annoyance compared to the joint pain. Thank goodness, Jon had mostly recovered and could now take care of me.
Was the Jungle Next to Our Yard Bringing Mosquitoes?

     I was probably bitten by a mosquito that had first bitten Jon, thereby transferring the virus to me. The typical incubation period for Chikungunya is 3 to 7 days but can be up to 12 days. The worst of my symptoms lasted about 10 days, through Christmas. I'm not a whiner, but this was miserable. At one point, I had the energy to go to the kitchen to make my own chicken broth. I squatted down to pick up the soup pan on the bottom shelf and my legs would not work to push myself upright again. I hung on to the edge of the counter and called for Jon to come help me. Once he hauled my body upright, I could stand and shuffle well enough to make my soup.
Was Our Little Water Fountain Breeding Mosquitoes?
      After a week, I had just enough energy to sit in front of my computer and begin researching mosquitoes and three of the viruses they carry, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and Zika. I was glad to learn that once you've had Chikungunya, you are unlikely to contract it again. Some people contract it and don't have symptoms. According to the CDC, the same type of mosquito transmits both Chikungunya and Dengue Fever and they bite day and night. But what had brought the mosquito to our yard? December is during the dry season, so there aren't many mosquitoes in the area. I wondered if our little water feature was attracting them or giving them a place to lay their eggs. The pump kept the water moving which is supposed to discourage mosquito breeding. Plus, I added bleach to the water periodically. But, I wasn't taking any chances. I had Jon dismantle the water fountain and empty the water. (Interestingly, after a year, that did not change the number of mosquitoes in the area, so we put it back up. We enjoy the sound of the softly trickling water and I believe it brings birds to our yard.)
     By New Years Eve, my Chikungunya Shuffle only appeared during the night when I got up to walk to the bathroom. But my energy level was still so low, we couldn't go out to celebrate New Year's Eve. A year-and-a-half later, I still have residual stiffness in my feet during the night and slight arthritis in a few joints, though possibly that is related to age (let's just say neither of us is 59 any longer). Jon and I both started taking Glucosamine 1500mg with Chondroitin 1200mg twice daily to battle the arthritis (joint inflammation). After six weeks, the arthritis began to improve so we continue to take it daily! I can teach Zumba in Sayulita with no arthritis problems!
Battling with a Battery Operated Mosquito Zapper
Now, we battle mosquitoes aggressively! 
Mosquitoes are not a major problem in Sayulita, but they do exist. If everyone uses precautions against the multiplication of mosquitoes and prevents mosquito bites, we will reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Here are the things we are doing to help prevent mosquito bites and mosquito reproduction, thereby helping prevent the spread of Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Zika. Battling mosquitoes and their bites will help prevent the spread of all three of these illnesses. The CDC does advise against women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant to travel to areas of Mexico below the elevation of 6500 feet because mosquitos infected with Zika virus do exist there.
1. Mosquito Racket Zappers-two of them, one in the bathroom, one near the kitchen since mosquitoes are attracted to the moisture in these rooms. Who needs to have a Wii-Tennis set-up? Just clear the house of mosquitoes each night before bedtime after closing the doors and windows for a little fun and exercise! We did learn that in this humid climate, these racket zappers only last for about a year before they corrode and stop zapping. A hand towel slapped at the wall when the mosquito lands works, too.
Aspectek Electric Bug Zapper
2. Electric Indoor Bug Zappers made by Aspectek®-we have two of these and they work great! We keep one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom at the opposite side of the house. Since we keep the doors of our casita open all day, these zappers do most of their work in the evening when we close the doors. They attract and then zap mosquitoes and flies, but leave the ants alone while they work to clean up the debris. Available from Amazon, the Aspectek Electronic Bug Zapper  is rated as safe and easy to clean. 
Jon Installed a Mini-Split AC for the Bedroom
3. Installed a Mini-Split air conditioner in the bedroom for those hot, humid months of June and July when the mosquito population increases. We are able to close the doors and windows and sleep comfortably knowing the bedrooms are free of mosquitoes. This helps prevent bites and spreading diseases. Otherwise, sleep under mosquito nets.
Jon Installed a New Fan When One Quit Working
4. Ceiling Fans in all rooms and on the outdoor patio keep the air moving and help keep mosquitoes from landing on us.
5. Seal cracks and use window screens: sealing around the exterior bathroom door with backer rod and putting screens in the windows helps prevent mosquitoes from coming in to search for water and humans to bite.
Ultrathon 12-hr Insect Repellent
6. Use mosquito repellent day and night when outdoors. Preventing mosquito bites prevents spreading diseases they carry. The CDC recommends using EPA-registered insect repellents containing higher percentages of DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE, also called para-menthane-diol [PMD]), IR3535, or 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone). Always use as directed and check safety in children under 9 years old. We use Off spray or lotion usually and switch to Ultrathon 12-hour cream when needed for all day protection against mosquito bites.
Changing a Flat Roof to a Sloped Roof so Water Doesn't Pool
7. Fixed the "flat" roof so it now slopes and will drain after it rains. What a puzzle for Jon to solve and what a nasty job for the Mexican man who fixed our roof, but he was a good, hard worker! Glad we got it done before the rain came so we don't have a mosquito larvae-filled swimming pool up there. 
8. Drill extra drain holes in all pots with potted plants so rain water doesn't pool.
Store Buckets Upside Down so They Don't Collect Rain Water
9. Eliminate any standing water: buckets left turned upside down to prevent collection of rain water, sweep patio upstairs after rain, pushing puddled water to the drain so the surface will dry.
10. Take B-100 (or thiamine 100mg which is Vitamin B-1) daily, to help prevent bites which then helps prevent the spread of diseases. Mosquitoes don't like the smell of thiamine secreted from our skin and are less likely to bite.
11. If you develop symptoms of Dengue Fever or Chikungunya, take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. If a mosquito bites you when you are ill with the virus, then it bites another person, it will spread the virus to that person.
12. Encourage bats to patrol at night since they eat mosquitoes and other insects. Bat populations decline when pesticides are used in the yard, so we do not fumigate or spray the air in the garden with insecticides. Bats can eat up to 600 mosquitoes per hour. We enjoy watching the bats swoop through our yard after sunset, knowing they are cleaning up the insects. Putting up a bat house and planting certain plants will attract bats to your yard.
Change Water in Vases Every Day or Two to Prevent Larvae

13. Change the water in flower vases every day or two. Even two inches of water in the bottom is enough to allow mosquito larvae to hatch. I also add a few drops of bleach to the water which seems to help.
Drip Irrigation Lines to & All Plants Prevents Pooling Water

14. I installed a drip irrigation system to water all pots and plants slowly so the water soaks into the soil, preventing pools of standing water.
15. Empty the dog's water dish every day and refill it with fresh purified water. Mosquito eggs that may have been laid will be dumped before they can hatch into larvae.
16. Allow geckos to live in the house (like we have a choice). They eat mosquitoes.
Burn Raid Mosquito Repellent Coils in the Evenings

17. We Burn Mosquito Coils in the evenings when we sit outside after dark to repel the insects.
18. Wear long pants and sleeves in the evening to help prevent bites.
19. Mosquito Dunks in my water feature and flower vases. One of my readers just told me about this item and I am very excited about it! a Dunk can be dropped in standing water to kill mosquito larvae before they hatch into mosquitoes. Each Dunk lasts 30 days. Available at Amazon.mx.
20. Plants that repel mosquitoes: I received this from one of my readers and had to add it, it's such a great idea! Here is the link: 6-mosquito-repellent-plants-keep-pests-away
     Traveling to and living in Mexico is fun. Don't let the mosquitoes keep you from visiting or moving here. If you come prepared to protect yourself against mosquito bites, especially during the rainy season, then there is minimal risk (unless you are a pregnant woman or might become pregnant). The rainy season in the state of Nayarit where we live starts in June and lasts into November. The rain is warm, though, and usually comes at night, clearing the air by morning, leaving everything fresh and clean.  Even the rainy season is beautiful here, just more warm and humid!
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Monday, March 20, 2017

PORCH SWING BIRD WATCHING IN MEXICO: Our Lazy Way Works Fine!

WE SIT & WAIT FOR THE BIRDS TO COME TO OUR YARD!

Rufous-Bellied Chachalaca
     We enjoy birds: listening to them, looking at them, even trying to identify them, though we seldom remember their proper names. We watch for birds constantly, but we would never be called true 'Bird Watchers'. We have gone on one birding tour in Ecuador so we could see the pink flamingos and we have taken Luis Morales' birding class in San Pancho, but we aren't serious birders. We don't regularly go out in search of interesting birds, but we do enjoy seeing the pretty ones that come to visit us at our home in Sayulita.
Our Porch Swing Bird Watching Area
     "Wine-O'Clock" seems to be the most common time for us to see birds come to visit our yard. Maybe it's just that 6:00 in the evening is when we settle into our porch swing for the next hour with our glass of wine and we sit still long enough to see the birds come to our area. Our yard is surrounded by mango and palm trees that are favorite gathering places for many interesting species as the time of sunset approaches. So we sit in our porch swing, binoculars and camera handy just in case, and wait for the birds to come to us. It seems to be working just fine. 
Chachalacas Land in Our Palm Tree to Eat Red Berries 
     The hardest part about "porch swing bird watching" for us is keeping Bella, our dachshund, quiet long enough to enjoy a bird that comes to perch in our tree or on our garden wall. If I notice a chachalaca that has just landed and point it out to Jon, Bella becomes jealous and starts barking at it in hopes of scaring it away. By now, most of our local birds are used to her and just turn their eye down and look at her as if to say, "What is your problem?"
Juan the Crested Guan Visits Often
Bella Barks at Juan But He Doesn't Mind
     Occasionally we see morning birds as we settle into our porch swing with our bowls of tropical fruit, granola, shredded coconut, and almonds or pecans. Of course, we don't get around to eating our breakfast until 10:00 most mornings, so we probably miss most of the birds that sing at sunrise. That's okay, though, because our sunrise birds are mostly the raucous chachalacas and the neighborhood roosters.
This Rooster Made the Mistake of Landing in Our Yard Once

     This beautiful rooster tried to fly into one of our trees near sunset one day and miscalculated his landing. When he missed his intended branch, he flapped down into our yard, and Bella was right on his heels. (Or would that be "right on his tail"?) The rooster ran back and forth in our yard, attempting to fly up onto our wall but missing repeatedly, squawking and flapping, barely outrunning Bella. I was yelling at Bella to come, Bella was barking and running, the rooster was squawking and flapping, and the neighbors probably thought we were crazy. All I could think was, 'how much would we have to pay our Mexican neighbors if Bella killed their prize rooster?' Luckily the rooster ran/hopped up our exterior stairs toward his original roosting tree, flew onto the garden wall, and made it safely into the tree. Whew! When Bella wouldn't stop barking, the rooster moved on to a different tree for some peace and quiet. Bella does help keep our exterior stairs clean by encouraging the birds to find new overnight roosting trees. Never a dull moment, living in Sayulita, Mexico!
A Rooster Fanning His Wings for a Nearby Hen
A Ring-Necked Dove Croons to Us
Pale-Billed Woodpecker Works on the Old Mango Tree
     Two species of Woodpeckers entertain us while we lounge in our porch swing. Last spring, it was fun to watch Mama and Papa Red-headed woodpeckers teach Junior where to peck for bugs in the giant palm tree nearby. Three woodpeckers marching up the palm tree single-file was quite a sight!
Golden-Cheeked Woodpeckers Visit Our Yard Frequently

     The Yellow-Winged Caciques are beautiful when they fly, flashing slashes of bright yellow on their tails and wings. We are entertained by these pretty birds often when they come to eat the ripe purple fruit on our tree, which I call plums but the Mexican neighbors call almonds.
Yellow-Winged Cacique Eat the "Plums" in Our Trees

     Species that we see but haven't captured in photos yet include Magpie Jay with their long, elegant blue and black tails, the Yellow Warbler, the Orange-Fronted Parakeet, the Mexican Parrotlet, the Cinnamon Hummingbird, the Black Vulture, and some kind of Hawk. Yesterday we spotted a bright orange male and his mate in the mango tree for the first time, but didn't get a close enough look to identify them, though we are pretty sure they weren't Orioles. When we take Wine:O'Clock chairs and refreshments to the beach, we see a completely different group of water birds. That's a story for another day.
     If I have misidentified any of these birds, please feel free to email me with the information at terrylturrell@gmail.com. Also, if you are interested in seeing the short video of Bella and Juan the Guan "visiting" at our gate, email me and I will post it again on Facebook. Thank you for reading my blog.
     I hope you will take a look at my newest eBook now available at Amazon. A recent review from Andrew Hallam, author, gives a concise and positive summary on Amazon.ca: "...This story is personal. It shows how one couple tossed conventional wisdom to the wind. They de-cluttered their lives, sold what they didn't need and bought a RV to travel the U.S. and Mexico. Their personal account of Mexico is fascinating. Eventually they decided to retire there. Their account of why they chose Sayulita over a series of other popular retirement locations is both personal and fascinating. They retired early and built a far healthier lifestyle. I kept thinking of the great book, Younger Next Year. Well...here's a couple that I think epitomises that message. Terry's story is an inspiration that's also filled with wisdom."
     Take a look at the eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" by clicking HERE
eBook Now Available on Amazon