Looking to next year

Every second morning, more or less, after biscuits, honey and café Americano negro, I head outside to sweep and view the dawning day, which is most always a pleasant sensation. Today was no exception, cool, clear and blue.

I stood on the yard patio and looked up at the house, parts of which have not been painted in 17 years. The area up there, around the glass-brick windows, has the original paint, and it looks better in the photo than it does in real life.

The main reason that has not been repainted is its relative inaccessibility. You cannot walk up there without removing the clay tiles which, now that I think about it, also need to be taken up, cleaned and replaced. And some are broken, and they need replacing with new ones. This work would disturb the bats and the workmen who find them.

Renovation work here almost invariably takes place in December through May, which is to say when it is not raining every day, so I’m thinking about this now.

Perhaps even more than the paint and tile, I want to remove this section of grass below and replace it with concrete and something or other that has yet to be decided, anything but the grass and weeds currently in residence.

I really want to do this, but I really do not want the hassle and disorder it will require for a couple of weeks, guys coming every morning and hanging around most of the day.

But it will happen. Some things are inevitable.

Might even install a fountain there. That would look snappy.

I would keep the aloe vera and philodendron.

By the way, yesterday’s post about having to put comments into full moderation has been deleted because the problem has been solved. FYI.

A nice, tidy roof

Before I swept yesterday. The darker part is rainwater stain.

At least 17 years passed in which I never swept the roof of the dining room/kitchen. It was too much trouble because there was no easy way to get up there. But that changed a couple of years ago when we installed a steel stairway.

And that altered everything, access-wise. And then last spring I hired a painter who came with a pressure-spray machine. He blasted off years of grime, and laid a coat of red, waterproofing paint.

Before the restoration and waterproofing, the roof was brown from grime. It was so dreadful that there was something like algae growing around the edge. I’m amazed cacti didn’t sprout as I’ve seen quite often on roofs in Mexico, usually when they’re clay tile.

Before the stairwell was added, the only way to get to that roof was by ladder, and the ladder had to be set almost vertically, so it was a perilous challenge for an increasingly elderly dude, i.e. me.

You’ll notice a circular stairwell that goes up higher to the second-story roof. That stairway was on the upstairs terraza for 16 years until I had it moved to its current location so the upstairs terraza could be covered completely by the steel-and-glass roof it sports now.

And just visible on the second-story roof is our solar water heater, the second we’ve owned. The first wasn’t worth warm spit, and the manufacturer gave me a refund after about four years. The current one, a different company, has been there five years or so, and it’s defective too. Sometimes it forces scalding water through both the hot and cold faucets.

Yesterday, after bolting out of the upstairs shower stall, screaming, I climbed up and disconnected it entirely, and that’s how it’s going to stay. No more solar.

We’ll remain old-school. It’s not like propane costs a fortune.

A story of water

filters
Ready for another year.

PLOmero
Earlier, when the plumber was doing his work.

DON’T DRINK the water, we tell tourists, and it’s true almost everywhere.

Most Mexicans get their drinking water from those five-gallon bottles, which are all plastic down here. I’ve never seen a glass one. Trucks drive around neighborhoods delivering and picking up those bottles, which are darn heavy.

It’s the heaviness plus my advancing age that inspired me two years ago to abandon the bottle method and install a filtration system that delivers water through a dedicated faucet on the kitchen sink. It’s the only source of drinking water in the house.

There is another out near the street in my child bride’s pastry kitchen. And there is a third installed in our Downtown Casita. I don’t fight with those ponderous water bottles anywhere anymore, thank the Goddess.

The system includes three filtration cartridges and an ultraviolet light that, or so they tell me, kills bacteria. The cartridges and the light are replaced annually. That happened here today. Last year I did it myself. It’s quite a struggle to get under the sink, so I decided that once was enough. It’s why God made plumbers.

Nondrinking water for bathing, washing dishes, mopping, everything else, comes down from a tank on the roof, delivered by gravity. It gets up there via a pump from the underground tank beneath the garden patio. And the water in that buried tank comes from underground springs in the area, delivered via the municipal pipes.

For that we pay a set monthly fee, the peso equivalent of about $3.25 U.S.

The Un-greening of Felipe

willy2
The Before Shot.

THE CREW came this morning with machetes and a chain saw, a pickup too.

1
Guys at work.

2
Wielding the axe.

last
No more aloe vera, at least not on that spot.

They got the stump almost level with the ground, so now the question is if it will try to pop up again. Probably. I’ve seen people pour motor oil on stumps in these situations, but I hope not to have to do that.

Background on this work can be seen here.

This ongoing process I dub the Un-greening of Felipe. When the Hacienda was young, and I looked at the yard with the attitude I developed in Houston, I made mistakes. I planted things thinking they would grow as they grew in Houston, a little bit or not at all.

But Lordy! I am now running in reverse. We had three stands of banana trees, and now we have one. We had three monster magueys, and now we have none. We had a towering nopal, and now we have none. We had a trash-tossing peach tree, a pear and a loquat. Now we have none. We had three aloe veras. Now we have one.

The un-greening, still ongoing, makes life easier, and ease is what I crave.