New Children’s Book Release!!

And I’m starting off my 2023 year of “COMPLETE” with my first completion. I’m delighted to announce the first in what will hopefully be a series about 5-year-old Lupita. Claudia Guzes was, of course, the fantastic illustrator for these. 

Meet 5-year-old Lupita. Lupita lives in rural central Mexico y está muy emocionada to share her family’s special events contigo. Today, Lupita and her Abuelita are making a Rosca de Reyes and se están preparando para la llegada de Los Reyes Magos.

In celebration, both the Spanish and bilingual versions are FREE for the next few days. Pick up your copy and enjoy! (If you feel so inclined to leave a review, that would be so appreciated!!)

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Filed under Mexican Cultural Stories

Bruce Goodboy and the Puppers Move House

A few months ago, my husband decided that Bruce needed to move out of my sister-in-law’s backyard, where he’d been living since he found and adopted us earlier in the year. It’s not that she minded. In fact, she liked having a dog around, discouraging “rateros” from any B&E. She hasn’t moved out to La Yacata yet, and the house, nearing compilation, is sitting empty. And Bruce, well, he’s imposing, to say the least. His bark is resounding, his size is eye-widening, and anyone who didn’t know any better would think he’s a threat to their safety and wellbeing.

However, we know that Bruce is a good boy and isn’t interested in attacking anyone. 

Anyway, my husband would do things like take the house keys, which are supposed to be hanging in the kitchen, so we couldn’t get in to feed, water, or walk Bruce. After about a week of these shenanigans, we moved Bruce over to my son’s house. 

That, of course, caused even more lamentations because now, how could my husband possibly cook on his barrica (barrel) stove with a DOG on the premises? Whatever.

His next rant was about Fred and George Pupper in the backyard. They’d been living there for more than five years, but now all of a sudden, it was an issue. If my husband couldn’t cook at my son’s, then he’d move the barrica to the backyard and cook there, but the dogs had to go. It’s not like we don’t have a perfectly servable kitchen AND a grill area on the back porch upstairs or anything. 

Ok. Fine. Fred and George moved over to my son’s house too. No barrica has been installed for cooking in the backyard because the CHICKENS shit all over the place. But whatever.

Walk-time became more complicated. Now, when the boys go out for their promenade, it’s like the three-headed Cerberus emerging from Hell. Bruce, being really still a puppy, is so impatient and pulls at the leash, which disturbs the sanctity of the walk imposed by George and interferes with Fred sniffing new scents along the way. I’m sure though, everyone will get the hang of walking in tandem eventually. 

There have been some mishaps as well. George fell off the roof and onto the first-floor ledge and had to be coaxed back in. Bruce fell out the second-floor window onto the ground but was fine. Fred is mighty cautious and hasn’t fallen yet, but he did drop his skunk toy on the ledge and whined until it was returned to him. 

They also had to go “camping” back in my sister-in-law’s yard while the steps to the roof were being installed. However, all things considered, it’s been a positive change. The Puppers don’t have to deal with all the chickens crowding them out of their house. Bruce isn’t by himself anymore. Everyone got a thorough bathing before the move to the FLEA-FREE abode and are a lot more comfortable because of that. 

There’s been some fighting, mostly over my son’s attention when he’s over there. Everybody wants head pats and to crawl into his lap, although no one fits anymore and hasn’t for some time. In the early evenings, my son takes his guitar over and treats the boys to some music while they dine. 

My son has even introduced his boys to the girl he is sort of dating. Bruce behaved so well that it was like he was a different dog. He sat and allowed his leash to be put on, and on the walk, he didn’t pull at all. He’s such a good boy, you see! 

As it will probably take another year to complete the house, having the boys there isn’t a problem. Once the doors and windows go on though, some housebreaking might be in order. I’ve tried to encourage my son to start on that now, but he hasn’t. Oh well, he’ll have to do the cleanup.

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You know you want to read more about our animals!! And you can in the Animal Antics South of the Border series.

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Filed under Animal Husbandry

Natural Healing — Tomatillo

Photo credit: Stefan.lefnaer

Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa or Physalis philadelphica) is also known as tomate fresadilla (tomate de fresadilla), tomate de cáscara, tomate milpero, miltomate (from the Nahuatl mjltomatl field tomato), farolito, and tomate verde or just tomate. In contrast, the term jitomate is used for red tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) from the word XĪTOMA-TL, while these small husked fruits’ name comes from the Nahuatl term TOMA-TL.

Although best known for adding the delicious sour taste to salsa verde, tomatillo has also been used medicinally at least since the time of the Aztecs. Traditionally, this fruit which can be found in yellow, orange, green, and purple, has been used for headaches, infections, fever, stomach ailments, and diabetes although there has been no scientific evidence supporting the plant’s hypoglycemic action

On the other hand, the calyx, leaf, fruit, and stem have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, with the husk having the highest concentrations. Additionally, the sticky part of the calyx has anti-inflammatory properties. The fruit has been shown to aid in digestion and is high in antioxidants. Extracts have shown promise in inhibiting pancreatic tumor growth and cancer chemopreventive properties as well.

The toasted fruit is mashed with salt and applied externally for earaches, headaches, and sore throats. Sweetened juice is prescribed for sore throats. Boiling the husk with pericón (Tagetes lucida) is recommended to make a tea to ease a sore throat and hoarseness. 

Stomach ailments caused by bilis (excess rage believed to acculumate in the liver) are treated with an infusion made from nopal root (Opuntia ficus-indica) and the leaves from albahaca (Ocimum basilicum), tomatillo, estafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana), yerba buena (Mentha spicata), and orégano de monte (Lippia graveolens). Simmer the ingredients for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink one cup a day on an empty stomach for 9 days.

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Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.

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Filed under Alternative Farming, Health, Native fauna and flora, Natural Healing