useful plant ever since pre-hispanic times. The Aztec created a special goddess called Mayahuel whose job it was to supervise everything associated with the plant. Fibers stripped from the adult leaves were used to make string, ropes, sandals and cloth. The spine found at the end of each leaf was used as a needle. The heart of the maguey is edible and has been used since ancient times to produce the mildly intoxicating drink called pulque. In modern times, pulque has been eclipsed by beer, but it is still popular in the Mexican countryside. When the Spanish came, they distilled maguey heart's juice into the powerful alcoholic drink called mezcal. A close relative of the maguey, called blue agave, is used to make Mexico's world-famous tequila.
Pine sap can be used to make sealants, rosin, and cleaning products. In addition, it can also be distilled into turpentine. This particular collection method looked pretty rustic, so I imagine that it is being collected by locals for their own use rather than for large-scale commercial purposes.
Into the woods
Ganoderma applanatum. They grow on the bark of both living and dead trees. When they occur on living trees, they are parasites. Unlike many other mushrooms, Artists Conk grows year round.
French legend that four thieves were captured ransacking the homes of those who had died of the plague. People were desperate to ward off the plague and the robbers obviously had not been infected by close proximity with the dead. The authorities offered to spare the thieves if they gave up the secret of their immunity. The culprits claimed that they marinated sage in vinegar and rubbed the result all over their bodies. It was not recorded whether this worked for anyone else.
Virgin of Zapopan is venerated in Jalisco and throughout Mexico. Zapopan was originally a separate pueblo to the west of Guadalajara but has been swallowed up in the metropolitan area. In the 16th century, Antonio de Segovia was the Franciscan friar assigned to the area. He presented an image of the Virgin to the indigenous people of the pueblo. The legend of the Virgin's statue began when the Franciscan took it along when he met with local people who were revolting against the Spanish during the Mixton Rebellion of 1541. According to the story, the indigenous warriors saw luminous rays emanating from the statue and decided to surrender. Over more than 200 years, a number of other incidents relating to the statue were reported. In 1653, Bishop Don Juan Ruiz Colmenero of Guadalajara declared the statue to be "miraculous". He set December 18 as the Feast Day for the Virgin of Zapopan. Her fiesta has become a huge event drawing more than 1 million people to the annual parade when she is taken from Guadalajara's Cathedral to the Basilica of Zapopan.
Ranches & Farms
Herefords, raised for beef. The breed originated in Herefordshire in England during the 18th century. The breed has spread across most of the world because the cattle are hardy and can stand radically different climates.
The Tipping Rock and the Return