The tail of October

Here’s my little pumpkin for Autumn 2020.

Back in my newspaper days in Texas, I always marked October’s arrival with a small pumpkin that I sat atop my office computer terminal. In time, even a few of my coworkers started doing the same. Well, one at least, that I recall.

Now I don’t have the fat computer console we used in the 1990s, so I sit my little October fruit atop the Epson printer just a tad to the left of my H-P screen.

Autumn brings changes, and one happened this morning as I told Abel the Deadpan Yardman that mowing is done for this year. The rain has ended, and some yellow spots are appearing in the grass. In time, the whole lawn will be brown, dead and crunchy.

I know Abel wasn’t happy with the news since it’s a good little chunk of change for less than two hours of relatively easy toil once a week. No matter. It had to be done.

He still has his day job, tooting a trumpet.

Speaking of toil, I enjoy witnessing the ongoing house construction across the street. You may recall that one guy alone is doing the work. Well, mostly. His wife shows up to tote some stuff for him, and a couple of times a month, a younger fellow chips in, but it’s primarily a one-man operation.

He was working this morning, but he took off for a spell. Noon shot.

A sharp eye will notice that he’s building his own wall to the left directly abutting the property wall of his neighbor, as he should. It would be cheaper and faster to just utilize the neighbor’s property wall. When the sex motel was built next to our house, the owner should have done the same, but he opted to take advantage of our property wall.

Our town is one of Mexico’s primary Day of the Dead destinations for tourists. Due to the Kung Flu, festivities were cancelled a month or two ago. Then, due to complaints from business owners because it’s a YUGE income generator, it was back on again. And now it’s off again.

The graveyards will be closed to tourists and, if I understand correctly, to the locals also. Sad situation, both spiritually and financially.

We’ve been told to build our altars in our homes. We usually do that anyway. Well, my child bride does while I sit, watch and offer moral support from the sofa.

It’s a lovely day here on the mountaintop. The sky is blue. The air is cool and breezy, and we’ll be dining this afternoon on ravioli from Costco. Yum!

High in the barrio

Photo from on high, kinda like a drone shot.

I climbed to the water-tank perch atop my child bride’s pastry kitchen yesterday, and my Fujifilm Finepix F850EXR tagged along. My wife and I had just returned from our morning exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza.

The guy building the home across the street, virtually single-handedly, was hard at work. His wife was assisting too. The foundation outline is complete, and some of the floor has been filled with dirt. Rebar columns soar upward. They may be hard to spot. They’ll be filled with cement. Obviously, the home will be brick. My wife and I complimented his work. I asked if they will be living there, and the answer was yes.

Coming back from the plaza, I took the following photo, not a very good one, but you get the idea. It’s our neighborhood general store, the door on the right. Mostly, we buy veggies there. It’s owned by a woman who’s the mother of the woman who lives next door to the Hacienda, the female half of the sourpuss couple. But mama’s just fine. She has one more daughter who has a severe case of Down Syndrome.

Store has no name, but everyone knows the place.

While atop the pastry kitchen, I turned 180 degrees to get a recent, aerial shot of the Hacienda. That’s how it looks in October of 2020 on a lovely autumnal day.

It ain’t Houston, Toto.

Fan palm ever higher, and monster aloe vera by bedroom is gone.

Adding a new hole

vista
Just after dawn today. Sweet. Cool too.

GUYS WILL ring the gate bell tomorrow about 8:30 a.m. — they wanted to come even earlier, but I said no — to add a drain hole to the upstairs terraza.

When the floor on the upstairs terraza was built in 2003, the then-guys were not aware that it would be an open space, so the floor is completely level. And then it was left open to the elements. When it rained, a sizable lake formed on the floor and stayed for months, which was one reason we decided to cover it entirely last year.

There have long been two drain holes, but they don’t work for two reasons. One is that they are tiny. The other is that the floor is level, not even slightly tilted to the drain holes. The glass roof has eliminated most of the flooding problem but not entirely, especially when the rain blows from the sole direction where there is no canvas curtain.

The direction you see in the top photo.

The guys will cut a low, 18-inch-wide space in the terraza’s brick wall at floor level, and that will let me sweep the rainwater to the other side where it will fall to the ground.

There is nothing a Mexican brick mason cannot make right.

hole
One of the two useless holes we now have.

Where water comes from

cistern
My child bride, sporting her Kung Flu mask, does the mopping.

THE MONTH OF MAY means the cistern must be swept and mopped. It’s the underground tank where the municipal water arrives daily and waits to be pumped to the roof tank from where it is distributed to the faucets inside the house via gravity.

We do this every year. Many people never do it, but we don’t live like that. This became doubly important a couple of years ago when we stopped using bottled drinking water and installed a filtration system under the kitchen sink. It has a separate faucet, and that’s our drinking water now, straight from this cistern.

The water that fills the cistern comes from an underground spring.

The tank, which is concrete, was built about 12 years ago, replacing a “modern” plastic job that was installed when the Hacienda was constructed in 2002-03. The plastic one collapsed in time because it was installed incorrectly, the only error the builder committed because he was “old school” and had no experience with plastic cisterns.

And by pure lousy luck, the day he installed it, we were in San Miguel de Allende. Had I been here, I would have noticed and corrected the bum installation. It was the only time we were out of town during the entire nine-month construction.

But all’s well that ends well, especially when it’s an actual well. This big baby — 9,000 liters — has never given us any problems.

You may be wondering, if the cistern is empty, where is our water coming from? There’s a separate, above-ground tank about half this size, just beyond the photo. We switch to it when the cistern is empty which only happens in May.

We have five tanks in all, but the cistern is the largest.

To empty the cistern, I shut the valve on the pipe from the street, and it takes about two weeks to empty. After the cleaning, the valve from the street is opened again, and it takes three or four days to refill. It’s quite low tech. Old school.