Monday, January 30, 2012


We have two types of farming here, Dairy farming and corn farming.  There are other crops  grown here,but it seems like 90% of what I see are these two types.  The following photos were taken along the 5 mile loop.
The soil in the fields is clay and is perfectly suited to growing corn.  Notice how the fences are made.  These guys are really resourceful.  No cement in these post holes, but, they work just fine.
One of three Dairy's in the area.  Most work is done by hand.
All the horses in this area are very well fed.
The dried corn stalks are ground up, bagged, then sold as horse and cow food at feed stores.
The cows don't miss many meals either.
The fields have a gravity flow canal system that supplies water to the crops.
Most farmers hand plow just as they did centuries ago.

This is the biggest greenhouse I've ever seen.
A very rare sight indeed!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The 5 mile loop

I am an avid walker-hiker and my wife loves to ride horses.  She has had them ever since she was a teenager.  My favorite trail has always been the Mount Whitney trail, tucked into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The trailhead elevation is 8000'.  The summit is 14,000'.  The distance is 11 miles up and, 11 miles back down.  Most people spend the night at one of several base camps.  I hiked this trail on a day hike when I was in my forties.  I departed at 5 in the morning, reached the summit at 2 in the afternoon and returned to the trailhead at 9 that night.  It is a grueling day hike.  I'm thinking about doing it again now that I am in my sixties.

Well anyway, it turns out that we have some of the best hiking and riding trails right here in San Nicolas.  There are probably 10 different trails that start outside our front door!  The one we have been doing lately is what we call the 5 mile loop.  We do this 3 times a week.  Debbi rides, I walk.  I will have future discussions about the other scenic trails that are close to our home.
Starting of the 5 mile loop.  It's just an old dirt road that few people use.  

The San Nicololas lagoon with the town of Chapala in the background.        
This is as peaceful as it gets around here.  
One of Diablo's favorite walks, also.  Too far for Peso.    
The rainy season turns this into a gorgeous canopy.  
Santa Cruz  
Every community has a soccer field.  This is Santa Cruz's. 
Solitude is bliss.  
Huge Green Houses that grow tomatoes. 
Corn feed for the cows and horses harvested in farms along  the trail.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pan American Games

The Pan American games were held in Guadalajara in 2011.  The water sports, wake boarding, single skiing and the ski jump, were held at a little lagoon 2 miles from our home in San Nicolas.  Our friend J. C. bought tickets to the finals scheduled for October, 2011.  The cost was only 5 dollars each.  What a bargain!  Only a handful of Gringos attended this event.  Oh well, we still cheered on the Americans.  USA, USA, USA.  The photo above is the wakeboarding event.
The bleacher crowd
Look toward the empty bleachers and you'll see the jumper.
They had numerous booths for refreshments and souvenirs.
The crowd across the lagoon
The winner's lap
Entrance to the lagoon.  All tickets sold out.

Tight security for these sporting events.

More government troops equals more security.  They really don't like to be photographed.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Soriana is a  grocery store chain about the size of Walmart.  We have found food prices here to be about half of what they are in the States.  Food quality is equal.  That's me in the background.
Inside Soriana.  You won't find a cleaner grocery store anywhere else in the world!!
The Saturday vegetable market in the village.  All of the vegetables shown here are about  30 cents a pound.
Santiago works at one of the two carnicerias in the village.  The meat here is fresh every day.  He has no refrigeration.
He will custom cut the meat.  Hamburger is 2 dollars per pound, Pork is 2.50 per pound, and Beef is 3 dollars per pound.
Outside picture of Santiago's meat market.
We have about 10 of these tiendas in the pueblo.  Abarrotes means groceries.  The other name is usually the families name that owns the store.
Unlike 7-11 stores in the U. S.  These stores have to be very competitive to Soriana in price, or the locals will not buy products here.
Chapala has the biggest outdoor market in the Lakeside area.  It is only 5 miles from our home.
Open only on Mondays, you can buy fruits, vegetables and just about anything from A to Z.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guadalajara Zoo

Guadalajara is a one hour drive from our house.  Our friend, J. C. told us they have a world class Zoo there, so yesterday, we went.  Wow, we were really impressed.  Nice animal enclosures and very clean.  Admission is 5 dollars for adults, and 3 dollars for children.  You will need one to two days to see everything.

Debbi at the steps leading to the animal enclosures.
Lots of  Boas and  venomous snakes in this reptile exhibit.
That's me with birds in the Aviary.  They were just inches away.
I don't know what this is, but it sure is pretty.
The sloth can hold this position for hours.  I think he's sleeping.
Up close and personal with the Giraffes.
This Rhino was huge.  Had to have weighed 3000 lbs!
We took a Safari bus through this area.  The animals roamed free for acres and acres.
The beautiful Flamingos.
Downtown Guadalajara is a nice place to wander around for 1-2 days.  And, more if you go to the Opera, the Symphony, or the Museums.  If you visit this city, make sure to put the Zoo on your list of things to do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pasos Milagrosos

Six years ago, Pablo and Elena Cooper started Pasos Milagrosos, Miraculous Steps.  They live here in San Nicolas. The goal of Pasos is to help special needs children through the magic of horses.                  

There are about 15 kids in the Lakeside area who come on Saturdays from 8 a.m. til 2 p.m.  Their parents bring them to the Ranch, or volunteers pick them up.  The Coopers have a perfect horse set-up for the kids.

Debbi wanted to volunteer for a horse related organization.  Pasos is less than a mile from our house.  She works with the kids every Saturday and, I do the clean-up when everyone is gone.

Pablo and Elena put their hearts and souls into Pasos.  There are many volunteers who help them, but, they are the glue that holds the project together.  Thank you Pablo and Elena for your dedication to these special children and the positive changes you have brought to their lives.  

Many expats look for a volunteering opportunity.  El Ojo Del Lago, the Eye of the Lake, is a monthly magazine.  On page 88, they list all of the opportunities for volunteer work in the Lakeside area.  The magazine is a treasure trove of information, and is printed in its entirety online.