Mexican life

From grass to stone

done
Work all done in one freaking week. Grass gone, maguey too.

MY PROJECT of removing grass and installing stone and concrete has finished its first phase, its first 25 percent. More to come next year.

The guys loaded up their pickup truck with leftovers and trash this morning, and headed off down the street 7,000 pesos richer than when they began last Monday. The cost of materials was 7,735 pesos, plus I tipped them 600 pesos due to rapid efficient work and their endless good humor.

At today’s exchange rate, that’s about 800 U.S. dollars for everything.

Here’s how the project looked along the way:

before
The beginning: ugly grass and ornery maguey, top left.
guys
Grass piled up, and maguey’s still rooted but sans angry fronds!
middle
Stones arrive. Grass piled up, uprooted maguey base sits on its side.
Mexican life

A better way for water

filter
The new compact system.

THE HACIENDA has come into the 21st Century, water-wise.

After 18 years of hauling heavy, five-gallon, plastic jugs here, there, everywhere, we have retired the longstanding Mexican tradition of getting purified water via the big bottles and kitchen dispensers of various sorts.

bottles
The old cumbersome system.

Instead, we have the little blue thing you see up top. It has three filters inside. If you’re interested in buying one you can go to Amazon or directly to the company itself.

Not visible in the photo is a little knob where you can easily switch from drinking water to normal water for washing dishes, etc.

We’ve installed the new filter here where we live, in the separate pastry workshop and in the Downtown Casita. The next time we head to Mexico City, we’ll take yet another to install in our condo there.

This change was inspired by my back trouble a month ago, which I detailed here. I could not lift one of the big bottles, and my problem lasted two weeks. Painful as those two weeks were, I’m almost grateful due to its bringing about this new system.

Change comes to the Hacienda slowly, but it comes.

My child bride now informs me that when she was an actual child, her family did not buy bottled water but instead had a filter attached to the kitchen sink. It took her almost 16 years of watching me haul big jugs to tell me that, and she only told me after I switched to the new system. Sometimes you gotta wonder about folks.

Even the one you’re married to.

 

Mexican life

Sometimes there’s just too much

rock
About half finished with this year’s section. Photo from this morning.

I’M A LAID-BACK kind of guy. Don’t like having lots on my plate. Prefer having my feet up on the desk, or up on the table on the Jesus Patio. I’ve always been this way. Some call it lazy. I call it relaxed.

So I’m on edge of late. The biggest bother is the guys out in the yard. They arrive every morning about 8. We hardly have time to eat our bagels before the doorbell is clanging, which means I have to move the cars from Point A to Point B because the guys mix cement in Point B. The Honda goes out to the street for the day.

As I’ve dreamed of doing for years, I’ve begun the process of eliminating most grass from the yard and replacing it with stone and concrete, a process called empedrado, very common in these Mexican parts.

Looks nice and doesn’t need mowing.

The work being done this year will uproot about a fourth of the grass that will be uprooted when all is done in three more years. A big semicircle in the middle of the yard will stay put, the only grass I’m keeping. I’m doing the work in stages every winter.

That’s one thing on my mind. Another is that renters arrive to the Downtown Casita on Friday, and I want to get some plumbing and electrical work done there first. It could wait, but just this morning the Hacienda’s solar water heater sprang a leak, so I called the plumber. Maybe he can do the work here and at the Downtown Casita in one fell swoop.

Or not at all. You never know.

Retirement is supposed to be easier than this. I want the workmen done and gone. I want the solar heater to quit leaking. And I want my feet up somewhere with not a care in the world, reading my Kindle and dozing off now and then.

Now that’s the good life.