Tag Archives: cobblestones

Getting stoned

IF YOU’VE ever wondered what a cobblestone street in the making looks like, wonder no more. Behold!

For a few months now, major work has been under way on two streets radiating out from the southwest corner of our spectacular main plaza. It was supposed to be completed by Easter Week, but that’s not going to happen.

A major component of the labor is installing wider sidewalks. The sidewalk to the right side was about half as wide and, of course, that meant the street was wider.

Now the street will be narrower, a trade-off.

That sidewalk surface is just a concrete base now. Flat stone will be installed atop it. It will be quite snazzy.

The street itself won’t be smooth. Cobblestone streets never are, but newly installed ones are smoother than older ones.

Time takes its toll. After about a decade, driving on a cobblestone street goes something like this.

I’m not a fan of cobblestone streets. I prefer smooth concrete or, barring that, asphalt. But our town trades on tourism, and tourists like to see cobblestone streets.

They go nicely with our tile roofs of red clay.

The fact is that our mountaintop town improves yearly. And the same goes for our property values.

Happy Ville

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Happy Ville this very morning! Peach tree in foreground, winter foliage.

A FULL MOON hung over Happy Ville last night, but that’s not its lingering display through the peach branches at the top. That’s a new WiFi antenna.

Here at the Hacienda we woke in high spirits today, so we’ve temporarily — perhaps permanently — renamed our home Happy Ville or, if you prefer español, Villa Felíz.

But there was work to be done, as ever, and I’ve been doing it for days. It’s cutting back summer yard growth. If this is not done, things fly out of control.

I’ve whacked one of the two daturas back to the nub. Same for the roses, and reducing the towering nopal horizontally* is an ongoing chore. And I’ve removed a goodly number of fronds from the big, malicious maguey.

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Growing cull pile.

I’m dumping my culls out back in the Garden Patio. Already included are lots of aloe vera, the aforementioned maguey and assorted odds and ends. The pile will grow.

When I’m finished, I’ll hire Abel the Deadpan Yardman to wheelbarrow it down to the ravine out back.

* * * *

Morning Walk

It was such a lovely morning, I decided to take the longer route for my morning exercise walk. This took me to the far end of the barrio where, oddly, a snazzy, four-lane boulevard of cobblestone is being constructed.

One can enter our hardscrabble barrio principally from two directions. This is the direction we rarely use, mostly because it was a potholed nightmare.

This renovation is welcomed, but I wonder why it’s being done so elegantly. I mean, really, four lanes? This stretch is only about a quarter of a mile and funnels into another narrow, two-lane, cobblestone street.

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Another two lanes planned for the left side. New sidewalks too!

It would have been sweet if they’d made this short boulevard just two lanes instead of four and used the leftover money to build a bicycle lane from here to downtown. We’ve written the mayor about that. He’s ignored us.

No matter. It’s another fine day at Happy Ville.

* * * *

* Trimming it vertically is out of the question now.

Cobblestone cowboys

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Looking uphill.

BEING A GUY, I like to watch construction. I prefer watching to actually doing,  It’s hard work, and I’ve done it.

For instance, I was a minor player in the wiring installation throughout an entire Schwegmann’s supermarket in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in the mid-1980s.

Yes, I used to be an electrician.

But watching construction is more fun than participating in the work, and I’ve been watching this construction for weeks. It holds special interest because of two factors:

One, it’s a taco’s toss from our Downtown Casita.

Two, this is a wide, major street that was almost impossible to navigate due to its steep incline and mass of potholes.

Here’s the thing about cobblestones. They look cute and historic, but when they go bad, they are a nightmare. Give me a smooth, concrete, street surface any day.

Our downtown has more cobblestones than I like. It’s done because we are a tourist attraction, and it’s what people expect to see in a 500-year-old town in Mexico.

Laying cobblestone is labor-intensive. There’s no cobblestone-laying machine. It’s done strictly by hand.

If the street is long and/or wide, and you want to get it done with a minimum of delay, you better hire lots of guys, which is not difficult hereabouts because lots of guys didn’t see the value in finishing high school.

In this project, the stepped sidewalks on both sides also are receiving a makeover, at some points getting wrought-iron railings to reduce the chance of plunging from the sidewalk to your death on the cobblestones far below.

Yes, I enjoy watching construction. I never saw anyone laying a cobblestone street in Houston or even in New Orleans where you might expect to find them. But you don’t.

Maybe if someone invented a cobblestone-laying machine.

cobble
From top looking down. Cobblestones are new and smooth in foreground.

Chicken neighbors

himherDUE TO WORK out back on what I once dubbed Mud Street, work I’m underwriting personally — a sidewalk — I’ve been out there watching the labor and meeting neighbors.

Here are two of those neighbors, a Mexican rooster and his woman. Actually, he has a number of women because he’s Mexican — and an amoral chicken.

Mud Street reverted to its actual name a few years back due to its being cobblestoned. Before it was dirt, becoming mud in the five-month rainy season. About the only time I go out there is to take garbage bags to the trash truck on the corner.

Maybe with the new sidewalk I’m installing, it will be prettier. Perhaps I’ll step out the back more often. Maybe I’ll meet more neighbors in that direction, both human, canine and fowl.

You never know.