Apr 23, 2012

Juanacatlán – How Life Once Is - Day 7

In love, there is always one who kisses and
One who offers the cheek.
French Proverb 

She is beautiful
How Many Relatives Can One Have?

Today we walk over to see some great aunts of Chayo. The first one limps a little, no longer has the use of her right arm yet she lives alone with her chickens, dogs, garden, and is busy making cheeses to sell.

She gives us passion fruits to eat and make juices with and then shows us around where her water comes from up in the hills beyond. She is still extremely agile for being in probably her 80’s. I hope I am that way when I get to be her age. After holding up a couple strands of a barbed wire fence for us to pass through, we expected to say goodbye. The next thing we witnessed was her crawling under the lowest strand to join us!

Passion flower
Passion Fruit
Next we see two home sites being cleared and adobe bricks being made by the family members who will live there. Here however, the clay is much darker and redder than where I first danced in the clay.

Great Aunt showing us the way
Garden view of 84 and 2 years of age
We reached the end of the road and meet two more octogenarians (Maria de Jesus and Felix) who have been married for 59 years. We are offered Manzanita juice and then Mike and Chayo climb a 35-40’ avocado tree to pick about 40 avocados. They definitely aren’t following any OSHA approved safe way of climbing… Chayo offers them money but they refuse to take it.

This time it is Anna Rosa’s turn to be off-work and at home. When we return from our visits, we see she has cleaned the whole house and began the many loads of laundry needed to catch up with the growing pile of dirty clothes. She also makes tortillas for lunch and today we eat pipian with that. Pipian is a brown sauce made from roasted corn mixed with roasted squash or pumpkin seeds. It is delicious but can be a little heavy or strong for some. 

Feed barn
We are astounded by the many ways corn can be used. To date we’ve had atole (hot drink usually served with breakfast containing ground up corn, sugar, water and cinnamon), tortillas, tamales, Tejuino (fermented corn juice), tostadas (toasted tortillas), pipian (sauce), and popcorn, etc… There does not seem to be as much separation of food into ‘breakfast-lunch-dinner’ as we are used to. Tortillas with frijoles and queso (cheese) are for all three meals. Lunch seems to be the major meal, with dinner being simple tortillas and beans.

Mike spends a fair amount of time teaching Krystal 1 to 10 in English as well as a few colors: yellow, purple, blue, and red. She loves counting and saying blue. By the end of the week she does 1-10 in both Spanish and English flawlessly and without help. Mom is proud of her little girl. He also helps Jose Luis understand how to correctly connect some speakers via an old car radio so the whole house can listen to the music on his MP3.

Tonight as a snack before dinner we have what I would call pig ceviche… Mix together raw pig skin that has been soaked in vinegar for a day or two with raw carrots, some cucumbers, lime juice, salt, and hot sauce and serve over what they call duros (A type of Mexican puffed wheat pasta that is, you guessed it, fried in lard) and voilà!

Mike and Chayo up a very large avocado tree
Avocado tree in background

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