Thursday, November 01, 2007

Patzcuaro Day of the Dead Market

Over the last few days we have been busy purchasing local treasure to decorate our new home.
Artisans from all over Michoacan come to display and sell their works at the Day of the Dead market in Plaza Grande in Patzcuaro.

While, as you can see below, many villages in the area specialize in one craft or another.
Whereas Patzcuaro has a sampling of it all.

This is Mateo, manning his booth at the mercado. When the mercado closes on Sunday you will be able to find him and his wares in their regular location beside the Biblioteca near Plaza Chica.

Santa Fe de la Laguna.
At the north end of Lake Paztcuaro, just west of Quiroga, is the village of Santa Fe.
It is well know for its pottery, in a variety of styles and color, including the black ceramics seen here.


Tocuaro is a village on the south end of the lake very famous for its masks.
One of our favourite artists is Sra. Enenida Castillo.

We have many of her pieces in our new home.
If you are looking to obtain one of her pieces after the market is gone, you can find her across the street from the south end of Plaza Grande.


Unique in both size and shape, it can be hard to communitcate the grace of these vessels if you haven't seen them so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.


Capula is located about half way between Morelia and Quiroga.

Probably most well know for its Catrina (The iconic Day of the Dead figurines) you can find almost everything you want pottery wise from full sets of dishes, striking display plates or just some macetas (pots) for your plants.


Famous for its demon figurines, Ocumicho is nestled in the Purepecha Mesa.
I found the many scenes and figurines both eerie and intriguing.
To add to this atmosphere are the unique sounds of the Purepechan language, which you will find in may places in the area.

This is one piece that I had to get, I think I may have worked for her once!


About 45 kilometers north east of Morelia you will find the sleepy town of Zinapecuaro.
Yet another town know for its ceramics, but what makes their creations stand out from the others in Michoacan are two very distinctive styles.
The first is a stylized gourds, squashes and pumpkins, the second, the distinctive polychromic style indicative of prehispanic pottery.

San Jose de Gracia

Last but not least of the pottery villages is San Jose, located 20 kilometers south of Lake Chapala, on the Michoacan side of the lake.

The distinctive "Pineapple" pottery is easily recognized by the typical shape and the characteristic green colour as shown in the photo below.

Religious items

Like most of Mexico, there is a very strong catholic presence in Patzcuaro, as you can easily see in the items at theses booths.

Stay with me folks, we are in the home stretch now!

Just a few more pictures to show you some of the .....

Textile Arts

I have to say I was completely charmed by this young lady modeling her families rebozos.

While wandering through the center of Plaza Grande I came across a full size loom that they had setup for demonstration purposes.

And a little further on I discovered at the back of one booth, a woman working away at building more inventory.

I would like to thank you for coming on this tour of the market with me, and thank you for your patience. I am not an expert on mexican crafts, or this area (yet) but hopefully in a few years I will be. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these pictures as much as I did taking them.

Before I leave, I would like to share one more picture with you.

This is young Jose, one of the performers of the "Dance of the Little Old Men"
who kindly posed for me for "solo un refresco senior".

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Before and After!

Well, we have been in the house a number of months now.
Most of the furniture is in, and we are decorating with bits and pieces.
With many new items coming in the last day or so from the Day of the Dead market.

I have received a number of requests for updated pictures of the house and of the little kitten we found a year ago.

Our cat Diego has grown and thrived over the last year.
To see Diego's story check out these two posts listed below.

...Creeps in on little cat feet.

Smitten by the Kitten!

Here is one on my favorite pictures of Diego from about a year ago.
Its ironic as I was taking a picture of our pet rabbit, Larry.
While Larry was patiently posing, Diego, was silently creeping up in stalking mode.
About a 1/2 second after this picture was taken, Diego leaps through the air like a little Kittie ninja. So even though the kitten is almost hidden in the back, I think this picture really captures a cute moment.
And now here is Diego, a year later.

Now for all the requests on updated house pictures.
I have been waiting till all the landscaping has been done and the house decorated.
We have been buying a variety of things at the day of the dead market, and will have the interior decor done soon.
Till then here are a couple of pictures to tide you over.

Here is the lot in early October of last year.

And here is is a couple of days ago.

We still have a great deal of landscaping to do, the sod is about a month old, so it is still knitting together and greening up.

Yes, I have been a bad blogger.
I will do my best to make it up to you.
Withing day or so I will have a posting on the Day of the Dead Market.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Well, now that we are in the house, the yard will now need a great deal of attention.

It is a bit of a disaster area, but we hope to landscape it bit by bit.

Started last week by planting all along the fence line to cover up a less than attractive fence.
Went with what they call here "Zisus" which we think is Virginia creeper, alternating with Lantana.
so we get coverage and a little bit of colour.

We have also found an incredible nursery south of us in the near the town of Lombardia, and came across a really interesting cactus.

Maybe once I get the gardening going, we will have a separate blog for that, until then, here are a couple of pictures of todays purchase.

Perhaps related to "Chicks and Hens"?

Striking, Tiny Orange Blooms

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hogar Dulce Hogar!

Well, we have had our first night in our new home.

Buried in boxes, with much left to do, it's nice to be home.

Too tired to write much so let me leave you with a little haiku.
I should warn you, I am not much of a poet!

The old left behind
A transplant sprouting new roots

The house now a home

Monday, June 25, 2007

While you are waiting!

Sorry folks, but things have been a little crazy with the final stages of the house.
I have been neglecting the blog.

But by the end of the week we should be in the new house, and I will have more pictures and posts for you.

But until then, here are a couple of pictures I have taken of signs here that have given me a laugh.

Both these signs were mentioned to me by people who saw my " I M DUMB" post earlier this year.

This is a picture of the FART taxi, parked in front of the Basilica in Patzcuaro.
At first I was told they had disappeared, but this now seems to be a regular haunt for them in the morning.

Also, driving down to Uruapan, I came across this sign.
Roughly translated it means....

Please yield to vehicles without brakes.

I wonder how you tell the vehicles without brakes from the others? HMMMM....

Friday, May 18, 2007

Zorro I Am Not!

As most of you know, my first name is Todd. It is not a common name.

For most of my life, when introduced to someone, they will say one of three things.
1) Sorry, what was your name? or Could you say that again?
2) Tom?
3) Scott? ( I still don't understand that one!)

Well, it doesn't happen all the time about I would say about half.

Here in Mexico, for names that aren't the same, they have equivalents, and they are easy to figure out.

Fred = Frederico, John = Juan, Mark = Marcos

There is no equivalent for Todd.

Hmmm, what to do now. I have an idea!
I'll research the meaning of my name and find the Spanish word for that!
I found a website call where you can look up the meaning of your name.

The name Todd comes from the Middle English word Todde which means "Fox". The Spanish word for Fox is Zorro. Hmmm, time to go cape shopping? Maybe not.
I am not going to use it, at least not till the second half of the tequila bottle!

So after a bit of hunting and a little help from a gentleman in Eronga, I have decided on a new name for here in Mexico.
which is short for Teodoro, or in English, Theodore. It means "gift of god".
Please don't laugh.

It'll be a nice change, to tell you the truth, I've never met a Todd that wasn't a bit strange!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dia de la Cruz - Day of the Holy Cross

Last week, on May 3rd, here in Mexico, was Dia de la Cruz or day of the holy cross.
It is a very big day if you are in the construction industry.

May third is the feast day for those in the construction trades.

The day before a cross is made and taken to the church to be blessed.

May 3rd is generally a big fiesta at the construction site, with much drinking, eating and music.
The next day you will notice all the workers moving a little slower!

Here is a link to a story on Mexconnect that will give you a little more information.

As for Cinco De Mayo, it is almost non existent here south of the border, unless you are in Puebla, where they celebrate a victory over the French.
Well, at the very least it's nothing like it is north of the border.

The cross is generally posted high on the job site.
Here is a picture of ours, with the crepe paper blowing in the wind!

Oh, by the way, I have just started a new construction project.
We have gone down to Vista Del Rey, the local health club, and joined up.
So now we are going to get fit and lose some weight.
I guess that makes it a renovation not a new construction project!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Casa De Caca!

The house progresses!

Tiling has started on a number of the room.
The floor starts going in on Monday.

They have also started to put on the the brown finish that is standard here in the Corazon.
As we walked around our house after the end of the construction day, we noticed a strong smell.
Hmmm, maybe is the chemicals used to cure the mud or adobe or whatever it is that is in this finish.
But it does seem a little familiar.

This time I took a picture from the back yard so you can see the finish as it goes on, its not on the front yet.

Wait a second, now I recognize that smell.
I think you would also. This old post on our security might give you a clue!
Personel Intrustion Evaluation Sensors

BTW The security team member in the post listed above has now be promoted to another division. He is now the head of:
Surveillance Teams: Eavesdropping Evaluation and Reconnaissance.
(Thanks to John E. for the acronym)

Friday, March 09, 2007

House Update

Yes, I have been sadly not keeping up with the house pictures.
But as you can see, things are coming along.

Today we just got back from Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel.
Dealing with some custom tiles we are having made for the master bath, and looking at some travertine stone sinks!

Tomorrow, off to Morelia to order the Jacuzzi!

But through all the construction, debris and chaos, the hearty peach trees soldier on.
The pink blossoms of December have become the fuzzy green promise of peaches soon!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Non - Eclipse.

Last week there was a total lunar eclipse.

Things have been crazy with us in the later stages of the house.
Flooring, bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles, sinks, so much to do.
I have some serious updating to do to the blog, maybe a nice way to do that would be to get some cool pictures of the eclipse.

Okay, I know it will be out of totality by the time the moon rises here, but maybe I can still get some nice pictures.

All setup with the camera on the upstairs patio, a nice frosty beer on the table.
Diego the cat splitting his time between chasing Larry the rabbit and exploring the roof.

Poor Diego, we are not letting him roam outside till he gets his last shot (Rabies) and he gets fixed! Hopefully next week. He would really like to go outside and play.

As the sun sets I play with the camera, firing at will.

As the moon finally rises its big , bright and beautiful, but not very eclipsed!

Oh well, still a fine evening in Patzcuaro.
Maybe some of the other pictures will turn out.

I think I hear other cats out there!

Venus Rise Over Patzcuaro.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Am Dumb?

Heading back home from shopping in Morelia , just as we were leaving town I noticed a sign.
It was the sort of sign that you would see David Letterman holding up a picture of on the Late Show.

I don't know what the office is but it seem to be a municipal government office.
Now , back home, you wouldn't see any government office with the courage to put up a sign like that.

Who know maybe it's a support group for gringos like me that haven't learnt enough Spanish yet.
They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Different Sort Of Vacation.

Just got back from a short vacation on the Costa Alegre.
Spending time in Barra De Navidad, Melaque and Manzanillo.

Have a charming time meeting up with friends down from Canada for the New Years holiday.
While we were in Barra, we came across a turtle nursery, just while they were digging the cute little guys out!

Okay, which way to the Ocean????

Then the last few days we spent exploring Manazillo.

But what makes this the vacation different from any other we have ever taken?
Hmmm, well we have spend a fair number of years vacationing in Mexico, and loved every minute of it, so that's not it.

What makes this vacation different than any other is this time when its over it not back to the rat race to sit behind a desk for 10 hours a day, this time we get to go home to our Patzcuaro Paradise.

Life is good!


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