Friday, December 29, 2017

REDUCING OUR TRASH--PLAN #1 FOR THE NEW YEAR: Composting at Home in Mexico

It's Not Stinky After All!

Jon Drilled Many Holes for Air Flow
       I am proud of the many ways we have simplified our lives here in México and, in so doing, have reduced our carbon footprint on our earth. But, after recently attending a meeting about the new Recycling Center in our village and the need to reduce the town’s trash production from 50 tons per day to 14 tons per day, I realized I needed to do more. A lot more! A recycling pickup program was needed in our town, obviously, but that’s a project for another day. What about composting at home to help decrease the amount of trash dumped in the landfill?
The Sayulita Nursery (Vivero Sayulita) Sells Wonderful Compost
     The Sayulita Nursery (Vivero Sayulita) has wonderful compost that I buy for my garden. Why do I need to get into the messy, time-consuming business of composting? The main reason is to reduce our trash production and the volume dumped into landfills. A second reason is that I would avoid purchasing one more product that is packaged in a plastic bag.
     I have to admit that I have come up with multiple excuses for not composting at home when we moved to México. I used a commercially built composter in Oregon, but we lived on one acre and I had plenty of room to set it up where I didn’t have to smell it. Our casita has a very small garden, so where was I going to place it so that I didn’t have to smell the stench? My online research blew that excuse out of the water. I discovered an article that stated if your compost smells, the balance is off, so add more dry material such as leaves or shredded paper, and some soil. Also, never add meat, dairy products, or animal feces. Okay, maybe I could do that…
This Rubbermaid Container Wasn't Being Used for Anything Anyway
     But what would I use for my composter? I refused to purchase anything new for it, because part of reducing our carbon footprint is to recycle and reuse, whenever possible. Purchasing new things, especially plastic items, would contribute to new items being manufactured, increasing our carbon footprint. After viewing DIY composting ideas online, I remembered that I had a large gray Rubbermaid® container with a lid that was holding nothing but air. It was just the right size for my small composting needs, and not too obtrusive sitting in the far side of the yard under the banana tree.  
Bricks Set Under the Compost Bin Allows Air Flow into the Bottom
     But it needed air holes in the sides, bottom, and top of the plastic bin in order for the composting process to work. I just needed to convince my husband, Jon, to drill the air holes. He’s a good sport, happy to give me whatever I want, so he agreed. Dragging him away from reading his Western novel was the hardest part. The best part of retirement in México is that life is simple and we have time to do whatever we want, all day, every day. We both love it. Jon would just prefer it if I didn’t come up with so many ideas for projects so I wouldn’t interrupt his reading so often.
A Wooden Crate Lined with Used Paper Set Inside the Bin
     But what about the insects? Adjusting to all the insects in this tropical area we live in has been hard enough. Do I really want to attract more bugs to our yard with a stinky composter? I reminded myself that if it smells bad, the balance is off. And adding some earth worms will help. Enough excuses. Enough "Buts". It was time to get on with this science experiment. 
A Layer of Soil (Compost from the Nursery) Was Added
A Layer of Shredded Paper Was Added to the Crate
Leaves, Mango Peel, and Used Coffee Grounds Were Added
     Don't forget to add a couple of earth worms and some soil!
Layer Dried Leaves and Flower Blossoms on Top
Rubbermaid Container's Lid in Place, Composting Begins!
Summary of the Steps I Used to Build My Simple Home Composter:
1.     Jon drilled holes in sides, top, and bottom of the Rubbermaid® bin
2.     Bricks set under the compost bin to allow air flow into the bottom
3.     A wooden crate was set inside the bin—it wedged in the Rubbermaid bin before hitting the bottom, allowing air to circulate under the crate.
4.     A layer of paper in the wooden crate keeps fine compost from falling through the bottom slats.
5.     A layer of soil (compost from the nursery) was added to the wooden crate.
6.     Leaves, mango peel, and used coffee grounds were added
7.     Layer Dried Leaves and Flower Blossoms on Top
8.     Add a little more soil and a couple of earth worms from the garden
9.     I keep a large yogurt container under the kitchen sink to put my produce scraps and coffee grounds in throughout the day, then empty it into the composter every day or two.
10.  I rinse the yogurt container and pour the water over the compost. Stir compost then layer dry leaves on top. (Some water is needed to keep the compost “cooking”.)
11.  One tip I discovered, chopping or shredding the items to be composted into smaller pieces speeds the process of decay.
12.  It’s been ten days since I first filled the composter and there has been no smell and seldom any fruit flies. The leaves and paper are decomposing. The coffee grounds seem to be the best ingredient for speeding the transition from garbage to soil. The layer of small dry bougainvillea leaves and flowers on top keeps the smell and bugs away. It’s working!

      An added bonus has been to keep the produce scraps out of the trash can in the kitchen, lessening the fruit flies and smell in the house. Why didn’t I think of this two years ago when we moved here?
      I have plenty of time now that I am retired to tweak and perfect my composting project. It’s fun to give the pile a stir and see if the worms are reproducing and whether the biological debris is looking and smelling like soil yet. I’m also glad that I have time to write about my home composting project, in hopes of helping others realize that they, too, can compost at home, reducing the amount of trash dumped in landfills.
     Read about other ways we are reducing our carbon footprint in my article: ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: 10 Ways We Reduced Ours When We Retired in Mexico .

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Friday, December 22, 2017


Watching Our Pueblo Mágico Become More Upscale

Beautiful El Pueblito Sayulita Just Opened
     Since we moved to Mexico over two years ago, we’ve been watching our Pueblo Mágico become more upscale. Word of mouth is the best way to find new establishments in our small magical village, Sayulita. That’s how we happened to discover the gorgeous new development, El Pueblito Sayulita, a collection of large, beautifully furnished units available for rent short or long-term. We had heard from a friend about a wonderful new restaurant, Ximenaz, and wanted to try it for breakfast. We discovered it tucked inside the courtyard of El Pueblito. Located on Calle Playa Azul across from the baseball field, it seems to be in an unlikely location. But once inside, you only know you are in "Somewhere Relaxing", México. The dining area overlooks the crystal-clear swimming pool, lush garden, and rich colors of the condos. We enjoyed our breakfast and then were invited to tour several rooms. They were lovely and clean, with that “Just Opened” smell and feel.     
Breakfast at Ximenaz in El Pueblito de Sayulita
     As we walk from our casita in Sayulita into downtown, we pass four major construction projects that have been ongoing for a year now. The first is Casa de la Ballena (Whale House), a hotel resort that you can’t miss—it has a beautiful new mural of a colorful whale on the exterior wall facing Niños Heroes, created by artist, Maria Canfield. View her art and videos of her in action at We enjoyed watching her create her artwork in the evenings over a period of several weeks. This hotel has off-street parking, a real novelty and advantage in Sayulita for those with a car or golf cart, and a sidewalk along the Niños Heroes, which we really appreciate. You can follow the progress on this hotel by viewing photos on the building contractor’s Facebook page It’s worth a stroll up Niños Heroes to the corner of Primavera, just to view the whale mural.
Mural on Casa de la Ballena (Whale House), Ninos Heroes
     Another yet unfinished project is an eight-unit condominium, Casa Galería, that looks like it will be open in early to mid-2018. The units appear spacious and brightly lit with large windows looking out over the pretty pool. The sidewalks added in front of their privacy wall along Niños Heroes are great for all of the foot traffic on this narrow street. While the construction phase has created some extra truck traffic and debris, in the long run I believe it will help clean up this street. The best part is that Yah-Yah Café, a favorite in Sayulita, is moving into condo unit #1. It will be the first café tourists and residents will see as they venture down from barrio Bugambillia (Bougainvillea neighborhood) toward centro. For more information, see the listing website at
Casa Galería Condominium Has 2 of 8 Units Available
     Two other mystery constructions projects along Niños Heroes are coming along more slowly, probably a year away from completion. The one at the top of the “Unnamed Road” one street above Los Cocos is a very tall building that appears to be apartments or condo units. Hopefully it will be pretty when it is finished. The other is across the street from the 8-unit condominium. As they are still completing block work on the first floor with rebar up to the second floor, it is still a mystery as to what the finished building will be, but likely will include at least one rental.
Mystery Project on Unnamed Road near top of Ninos Heroes
     Over the past two years, one by one, the bare lots and old, deteriorating home sites on Niños Heroes have been built out, upgrading the neighborhood. There are only two or three lots left on this street, with one ready to begin construction in the coming year. While the building process has caused trash messes, traffic snarls, and racket, leaving mud layered over our nice cobblestone road, we are hopeful that once finished, the street and area will be refreshed. The upscale look of the new buildings seems to be an improvement to the neighborhood. There definitely are more options for those choosing to buy or rent homes in Sayulita.
     Also upgrading the neighborhood is the new La Barka Restaurante Bar, opened this week on Niños Heroes. We were one of the first customers to enjoy their delicious, fresh food, peaceful ambience, and wonderful service. We will be regulars at this new establishment.
La Barka Restaurante Bar Newly Opened on Ninos Heroes
     Just a block off Niños Heroes, facing the ocean is another pretty 8-unit complex of one-bedroom furnished apartments, La Esquina. The units look over a large swimming pool, palm trees, and the south end of Sayulita beach.
La Esquina on Pescadores
     Newly remodeled Hotelito Los Sueños toward the north end of town, a couple of blocks away from the beach, is beautiful inside. Popular for yoga retreats, it is a wonderful place to take yoga classes, held in the spacious rooftop palapa. I am impressed with the quality of the new construction and decor. I look forward to trying one of their massages, currently priced at 350 pesos (about $18 U.S.). They now have two pretty swimming pools within the courtyards of the hotel, surrounded by tropical gardens. It’s easy walking distance to town and the beach. The only downsides I’ve seen to this location is that it’s located on dirt roads which get muddy when it rains, and it’s next to the elementary school which can be a bit noisy at times. Once inside the Los Sueños courtyard, the ambience is pleasant and restful.
 Newly remodeled Hotelito Los Sueños' Sign
     Recently completed and opened for business, the Hotel Boutique Oz Sayulita is upscale lodging, though not in an upscale neighborhood, located on Avenida Revolucion, away from the noise of the plaza in centro. In addition to a swimming pool on the property, there is a restaurant/bar and gift shop. The price is relatively high for Sayulita hotels, and it seems, so is its popularity during high season.
Entrance of the Boutique Hotel Oz Sayulita
     The south end of Sayulita is receiving a facelift. Since we purchased our casita two years ago, we have seen amazing changes in lodging choices. The town may still be dusty, as beach towns tend to be, but the new and remodeled hotels and condominiums are looking prettier every day.
     I admit, I am writing this article in hopes of enticing family and friends to come visit Sayulita, for my own selfish reasons. I miss them, especially my Mom, Michelle, Kevin, Bleu, and their spouses and children. My goal is to convince them that Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico is a classy place to visit. Even better, it's a wonderful place to live with many real estate options for purchase or rent. The lodging choices in this article just touch the tip of the iceberg. 
Terry L Turrell, Author
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

AN IDEAL MONDAY EVENING IN MEXICO: Football, Salsa Dancing, & a Cuban Band

Cuban Band Night at Don Pedro's

Cuban Band and Salsa Dancing Every Monday
      Retirement in México is bliss. There is always something fun to do, someplace enjoyable to go. December evenings in Sayulita are warm enough that we carry a jacket, just in case, but rarely need to wear it. Monday evenings at Don Pedro’s restaurant combine a perfect balance of enjoyable activities for Jon and me. It goes without saying that our meals and drinks are always awesome. But on top of that, they have Monday Night Football on the big screen TVs that Jon enjoys and Salsa dancing to Cuban music that makes me happy. Bliss.
Jon Likes his Front Row Seat to Watch Football
     We arrive at Don Pedro’s about 7:30 to get a prime seat at the bar. The waiters are very friendly and the service is prompt. They mix a first-class Margarita for Jon and he settles in to watch his favorite sport. He doesn’t even care who’s playing—he always roots for the underdogs anyway. But, wherever we go for dinner on Monday night, it must include Futbol Americano on the screen.   
When the Band Starts at 8:30, the Dancing Starts, Too
     The Cuban band starts playing about 8:30 and the dancers quickly fill the dance floor. Don Pedro's has a cover charge, but when we come early for dinner and football, we avoid paying the cover. A few warm-up songs into the playlist and the announcement is called for everyone to join the Salsa lesson. That's when I move onto the dance floor along with many others, men and women alike. The dance teachers, a couple of young men, dance in the front with their backs to the crowd, demonstrating basic Salsa steps while all the dancers, inexperienced and professional alike, follow their moves. Soon the dance teachers progress into some pretty fancy Salsa variations. Most of us in the crowd continue to attempt to reproduce their every move, though some drop out and just watch in amazement. Salsa dancing is not only fun, it's amazing exercise.
I Look Forward to the Salsa Dance Lessons--Great Fun!
     Jon would rather watch football than Salsa dance, so he has reconciled himself to watching from his seat, alternating between the screen and keeping an eye on the dance floor, while I dance with a few experienced Mexican men. Sometimes I will join a couple of women on the dance floor and we do some free-form Salsa dancing in a group. It’s all fun. My legs sure feel it the next day, especially since I also taught Zumba class that morning. No wonder my Fitbit reads over 14,000 steps for Monday!
December at Don Pedro's
     Mid-December, Don Pedro’s is already gearing up for Christmas dinner. We know they prepare wonderful holiday meals and reservations are a must. So, Jon made our reservation for dinner on Christmas day. They also serve holiday meals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Don Pedro’s is always our first choice for special occasions.     
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Terry L Turrell, Author

Friday, December 8, 2017

Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED: Healthy Living in Mexico #3 eBook Available on Amazon!

"Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED" eBook--Available on Amazon Worldwide

"Healthy Living in Mexico #3" Available Now!
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Book Description
In this continuation of Terry and Jon's story about moving to México they learn that, while their new lifestyle is everything they had hoped for (relaxing, full of adventures, and less expensive), some surprises and unexpected adjustments are also part of living there. Now residents of Mexico, they find it is not quite the same as taking a vacation to this beautiful country.
Lessons learned along the way, some shocking, came with their transition into expat life. The first two years included new adventures, some fun, others scary; unexpected experiences, some enlightening, others annoying; and new ways of getting things accomplished, some primitive, others simpler. Adapting to the quirks and eccentricities of life in México didn’t happen overnight. It was an evolution, a realization that came slowly with each new lesson, that life south of the border is more different than they had anticipated, and not for everyone. Jon and Terry found that they were tough enough to adjust to this new life, with some advice from Americans and Canadians who had lived there longer, and with some help from their friendly Mexican neighbors.
Terry and Jon love the benefits that drew them to México, the sunny pleasant weather, the sandy beaches and warm ocean, lower cost of living, friendly people, a great variety of fresh, tasty food, many opportunities to exercise and relax outdoors, the culture and history, and the lively colorful holiday traditions. Plus, it’s close and easy to travel to from the U.S. But no one told them about all of the lessons they would have to learn.
If you’ve already moved to México, you can probably relate to some of their culture shocks and adventures. If you’re planning to move south of the border, reading about their lessons before you move may help prepare you for the transition. It’s not a vacation—it’s better.

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

LOST IN MEXICO: What We Do When the GPS Doesn’t Help

The Road is Blocked—What Now?

Detour Sign in Mexico--But Where To?
     There have been multiple times during our travels in México that we were lost and didn’t know where to go. We always knew what town we were in, just not what road to turn down to get to our destination. While driving a 32-foot motorhome in small towns or big cities, turning down an unknown narrow road is almost always a mistake. Getting to a dead end and needing to turn around can sometimes be impossible. The GPS is not helpful at all when the friendly female voice repeatedly tells us to turn at the next corner, but when we look first before turning and find a narrow lane with no traffic visible, we finally mute it and pull to the side of the road to decide what to do. That’s when we find a friendly Mexican to help us out before we get into a mess like we did in downtown San Miguel de Allende, with the police involved. (You can read about that adventure in my eBook Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico available on Amazon)

Inviting a Mexican into Our Motorhome to Guide Us
Only a few miles from our destination for the day, Huatabampito, Sonora, we entered the small town of La Unión. The GPS told us to continue straight ahead through town, but didn’t account for a huge pile of rubble in the middle of the road where ditches had been dug across for new utilities. A Desviación (detour) sign diverted us into a neighborhood, but no other signs clued us about getting back on the main road to El Mirador RV Park at the beach. The GPS continued to tell us to turn right down dirt roads that didn’t look passable with our Class A motorhome. Each one was a narrow one-lane dirt road, lined with large trees on each side, and parked down each side with trucks and cars. So, we continued driving through the neighborhood, following the school bus, thinking the bus driver would lead us out of this mess. Then the bus reached the end of the road, did a three-point turn and headed back the way it had come, toward us. We let it pass and then did our own turn-around using the driveway of two homes. 
The GPS Said to Go Straight, But We Had to Turn
     By then, a large crowd of adults and children had gathered to watch us, wondering what this big brown coach with gringos inside was during in their barrio. They were all smiling and looked friendly so I hopped out of the motorhome to guide Jon while he backed it up, making sure to miss any dogs, children, and fences. A young man, dressed in dirty work clothes came up to me and started speaking in rapid Spanish. I said one of the few sentences I know, “No hablo Español.” He turned to the crowd and told them I didn’t speak Spanish. There was a lot of good-natured chuckling and chatter about the gringa that didn’t speak Spanish. I waved for him to come to the driver’s window so Jon could talk to him.
After a brief conversation in Spanish between Jon and the young man, Jon told me the man wanted to show us how to get through town, avoiding the road construction. I asked how much he wanted to charge us (I know how to say that in Spanish, at least). The young man said, “libre” (free). He just wanted to help. So, I said okay and waved him around to the door of the RV. Bella was barking, not liking a stranger to come into our casa rodante (literally means mobile home). The young man said something about the perro and seemed afraid of Bella, so I picked her up, sat on the couch behind the driver’s seat, and waved for him to sit in the RV passenger seat, up front with Jon. He chattered away to Jon the whole time he was directing us through turns that took us back toward town and neatly around the construction. We stopped at the Pemex gas station on the outskirts of town where he pointed down the road to la playa (the beach), the direction we should head. 
Jon and I decided to pay him 100 pesos (about $5 US) for his time and trouble, knowing he would have to walk the mile or so back to his home. We thanked him and he hopped out of the motorhome with a smile on his face. I think he would have been just as happy to help us for free, he seemed to enjoy the adventure so much. But it was well worth the money for the assistance he gave us, and we feel giving a small payment is the least we can do to help those who are less well-off than we are.
Relieved to make it out of the maze of roads in La Unión, we continued on the two-lane highway toward Huatabampito. The GPS seemed happy, as well, that we were finally on the correct road to the beach. El Mirador Hotel Restaurante y RV Park came into view as the GPS announced, “You have arrived at your destination.” We couldn’t wait to park next to the seawall, hook up utilities, and head to the restaurant for a fresh fish dinner and Margaritas.    
Happy to Arrive at El Mirador RV Park in Huatabampito
     On a previous trip, we were heading north, approaching the Nogales, México border crossing to find that construction had closed the bus and RV lane. A detour sign directed us off of Mex Hwy 15D and into the busy city of Nogales. We drove for several miles, the GPS continually ordering us to make a legal U-turn and return the way we had come. We muted her voice, knowing she wasn’t correct, but having no idea where to go. There didn’t see any more detour signs telling us where RV were supposed to go to cross into the U.S.
As the traffic became heavier and the lanes narrower, we knew we had missed a critical turn and needed help. We stopped at a red traffic light in a busy downtown area, vendors circulating between cars selling drinks, snacks, newspapers, and trinkets. Several vendors noticed us and started waving for us to go back. We looked at each other and said, “What do we do now?”
One of the newspaper vendors came to the driver’s window and Jon opened it to see what he had to say. The Mexican man told Jon that we had to go to the bus crossing in another part of town and he could show us how to get there. Jon asked him, “How much?” The Mexican said to pay whatever we thought was fair. Jon agreed and opened the motorhome door for him to climb in. He sat on the couch behind Jon and gave him directions through busy downtown Nogales. Several miles and turns later we arrived at the temporary crossing for buses and RVs. We thanked him profusely and paid him several hundred pesos (about $15 US), knowing he had to take buses or walk a long distance back to where we started that nerve-wracking journey. We were so grateful to have found a friendly man who could show us the way for a small fee. We would have never found the detour without someone’s help.

Hire a Taxi to Lead Us
On more than one occasion, we have been in a new city, trying to find the RV Park and the GPS had led us astray. When the streets started narrowing and the traffic got heavier, we suspected we had ventured too close to centro (downtown) and were in danger of getting stuck or receiving a driving citation from the police. Driving an RV into centro in any town in México is generally unwise and usually illegal. The first time this happened to us, we were in Patzcuaro. A taxi pulled up beside us and honked his horn. Jon opened his window to see what the driver had to say. He said he could lead us where we needed to go. The agreed on a price of 50 pesos to get us to the RV Park. It was well worth the small fee to avoid the stress of driving lost in a busy city.
Stuck Near Downtown San Miguel de Allende
That worked so well, we used the same technique when we ventured too close to downtown San Miguel de Allende. Thank goodness, we had hired a taxi driver to help us that time, too. He not only led us to our RV Park, he helped us deal with an unsavory police officer.

Hire a Mexican on a Bicycle to Show Us the Way
The GPS Took Us the Wrong Way to Catemaco
     Years ago, we decided to visit Catemaco. We trusted the GPS to tell us what highway to take to get there. We probably should have asked directions. When the two-lane road became a washed-out dirt path with a shaky-looking temporary bridge crossing the river, we knew we should have asked for help. But we crept slowly across the bridge in our motorhome, breathed a sigh of relief when it held, and kept driving over the washboard dirt road at about 15 miles per hour until we finally reached Catemaco hours later. It was worth the long, rough drive to be able to watch the annual El Brujo Festival that this city is famous for.
El Brujo Festival in Catemaco
     When we were exploring Catemaco on foot, trying to find a recommended restaurant, we had wandered for miles looking for it without any luck. Normally, when we stroll around a new city attempting to find a destination, we carry the GPS to give us directions. We don’t have Smart Phones, so our GPS is our navigation system when on foot or driving. But this time we didn’t have it with us. We didn’t really trust it much at this point in our trip, after it had led us astray so badly.
So, we flagged down a young Mexican riding by on his bicycle and asked if he knew where the restaurant was. He said he did and that he could lead us there. He walked ahead of us, pushing his bike the half-mile, until he pointed ahead at the sign, indicating that his job was finished. Jon handed him ten pesos for his time and thanked him. As the young man rode away, we felt good about financially helping a local Mexican, as well as discovering an easy way to find our way around a new town.
     In our travels throughout México, we have learned that the Mexican people are more than willing to help us find our way when we are lost. Their friendly, helpful, and trusting ways are a pleasure. We feel welcome and safe in México.

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Monday, November 27, 2017


How Many More Critters Do We Have to

Share Our House With, Living in Mexico?

This Crab has both Pincers UP and READY
     The first time I was gardening in Sayulita and turned over a trowel full of soil and something live ran out of it, I jumped up and screamed! My first thought was, "scorpion!" But, after I poked the critter gently with the tip of my trowel, I saw that it was a small crab. Probably harmless, I thought. In all of our travels, I have never seen such a thing! A crab that lives in garden soil. What next?
     I soon learned that these land crabs live in the soil in this area. Most of the year, we don't see a single one. They are burrowed down in the dirt, hibernating maybe, most of the year. But as soon as the rains start in May or June, they come out of the soil and we begin to see them in the yard. The rain is their signal to head to the beach where they will mate. We live 3/10 of a mile from the beach, so these crabs have a long hike through the jungle and over a large hill. They better start early if they plan to meet up with the other crabs who live near the beach!

     One day in May, when we let Bella, our dachshund, out in the morning, we soon heard a high-pitched barking that didn't stop. It wasn't her "watch out, there's a stranger in the neighborhood" bark. It was her "Come help me, I have a crab cornered!" bark. These little crabs, ranging from three to five inches in width across their backs, can take care of themselves--their pincers hurt like h--- when they get a hold of skin. Bella has found this out from experience, because once she came out of the garden shaking her head, with a crab claw still attached to her lower lip. The crab had clamped down on her mouth and then dropped his claw leg. The pincer stayed tightly clamped on her lip until Jon pulled it off. So, she knows to keep her distance from these little critters.

     But that doesn't stop Bella from hunting for crabs. She's a natural hunter, so she can't help herself. She corners one behind a garden sculpture, a potted plant, or hiding in a grouping of young palm trees. We would be perfectly content to leave these animals alone, except that Bella will bark incessantly when she finds one until we do something about it. So, I call Jon to come help. I'm not picking one up!

     Jon gets his thick leather gloves on and goes on crab-catching detail. He has been pinched several times before, right through the tough leather and knows how much it hurts. Jon has a high pain threshold, so if he says it hurts like he--, I believe him! He has perfected the technique of quickly capturing the fast critter while pinning his pincers at the same time. He knows he has to be gentle with the crabs or hear about it from me!

     Then, Jon takes the crab to the jungle across the street and gently releases him to be on his way to the beach. He has learned that if he doesn't take them far enough away, they find a way back into our yard, especially if the hard rains have not yet begun.

     Another morning, another crab-call from Bella, her high-pitched yap calling someone to come look at what she has found. There she is, in the garden, pointing at the crab. This one had BOTH pincers clamped onto Jon's leather glove after he caught it! That makes crab #10 removed from our small garden that spring and the downpours hadn't even started yet!

We decided to leave Sayulita in early July once the heat and humidity became uncomfortable. The crabs seemed to be gone from our yard, so we were pretty sure none would move into our house while we were away. But insects are another matter in the tropics. To keep the bugs out of things, we put all of our clean bedding, towels, and clothing into plastic bags, added one Bounce® dryer sheet to each bag, and tied it tightly closed. I sprayed a perimeter line of Home Defense® around the porch and across the doorways and we were ready to leave our home for a few months, sure that no critters would move in while we were away.
     The first thing I did when we returned to our casita in October was begin unpacking the clean towels and bedding. I pulled the black trash bag full of clean towels from beneath the bathroom sink and out from under the bag jumped six tiny black frogs. I screamed (why do I always have to scream when I’m startled?) and jumped back as six critters hopped around on the tile bathroom floor. I called for Jon, naturally. He is the catcher of all critters at our house. I wish I would have videoed him trying to catch those frisky little hopping things—it was a riot to watch. He finally caught each one in a section of paper towel and took them out to release them in our garden. Maybe that was the mistake.
                             Tiny Little Frog in My Kitchen Sink
For the past month, we have had at least one little frog in our shower or kitchen sink almost every morning. I haven’t figured out how they get into the house, up onto the kitchen counter and into the sink. But they obviously like places with water. I had to accept that I am capable of catching a little frog in my kitchen sink. I tried putting one into our little water feature in the yard, but he didn’t stay there. He must have preferred our kitchen sink. I really don’t mind the little frogs—they’re kind of cute, but what if someone comes to visit and sees frogs in our house? What will they think? I guess that’s the lesson learned—if we can get used to crabs in our garden and frogs in our sink, our friends and family members will have to, too. This is the tropics of México, after all. Life is different living here—never a dull moment around our house.

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