Tag: landscaping

The patio with no name

bench1

bench2

whole

bench

THROUGHOUT MY recent struggles with a head cold and a very bloody nose, the guys continued toiling in the yard. They have finished.

The scraggly, 15-year-old, stone-and-concrete Jesus Patio has been replaced with a sleek, sturdier surface that includes a concrete bench topped by talavera tile. The labor ran me the peso equivalent of about $600 U.S., and the material totalled about $350.

But the old name, the Jesus Patio, inspired by a zealous workman’s unsolicited placement of a Christian cross on the patio’s surface, no longer applies. The cross is gone. Forgive me, Jesus!

I need a new name, and I’m open to suggestions. I’m leaning toward something that has to do with Buddha.

Our changing world

THERE GOES the cursed peach tree! Oh, happy day!

The guys arrived quite early today and got to work. Their task was to remove the Jesus Patio, preparing it for a larger and much nicer replacement, and to cut down the tree. They wasted no time.

intact
The Jesus Patio as it looked for 16 years. It’s where the glass table and web chairs lived. I spent many a peaceful morning and afternoon here.
partial
Partial destruction.
chaos
Rubble chaos. And the tree is gone.
tree
The peach tree takes it on the chin.

This is the second phase of renovation we have scheduled. More phases are en route. Stay tuned! It will be very exciting.

Facing springtime with trepidation

fruit
Banana trees making their annual comeback after being whacked back to nubs.

WITH LUCK, winter and its too-frequent overnight freezes is behind us, not officially, of course. That happens later this month.

As challenging as winter can be — we have no reliable heating system — the real bear is springtime, specifically the months of April and May. It gets stuffy in the house in the evenings, particularly upstairs where we wind down the day with Netflix and munch our salads in recliners like old people.

As we have no reliable heating system, we have no cooling system whatsoever. Of course, the upside to this situation is that our electric bills year-round are the peso equivalent of about ten U.S. bucks per month.

Bet you’re not feeling sorry for us now, huh?

Sometimes in the evenings of April and May it gets so stuffy upstairs that we turn off Netflix early and flee downstairs where it’s always cooler due mostly to the considerably higher ceilings, especially in the living room.

We have a fancy ceiling fan in the bedroom that we only installed about five years ago. Aside from looking elegant, it does squat. It’s only usable at the lowest speed because higher speeds make lots of racket, and that interferes with sleep.

Last year I said: I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not taking it anymore. Just before the cooling, summer rains arrived, I purchased one of those tower fans that sits on the floor. It does all manner of fancy stuff, but it’s still a fan. We’ll use that downstairs instead of the elegant ceiling fan.

That leaves the more serious problem of upstairs. A fan helps, but not much. I’m going to buy one of those “coolers,” which appears to be a fan with some sort of water system. Some you can even drop ice into them somehow.

Buy a room air-conditioner, you say? No way, José. It would murder our electricity bill. I’m assuming the cooler won’t do that, and if it does, it won’t be as bad.

I’d never heard of these coolers till last year when I noticed them in our only department store here on the mountaintop. The store is Coppel, a Mexican chain. I’m leaning toward a cooler made by Symphony. If you have any experience with coolers, I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile, spring inches closer. The grass, in spite of some rare winter rainfalls, is turning brown and crunchy. I took the photo above this morning. The banana trees are making their annual comeback. They’ll grow high, eight to ten feet.

I used to have three batches of banana trees, but I had two removed and the area cemented. Otherwise, the bananas would have returned like the living dead. Below is a rock-and-concrete table where a batch of overbearing bananas lived for years.

esquina
This mesa is about 15 inches high. No bananas can break through that, amigo.

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.