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

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Ready for another year.

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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

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The Before Shot.

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

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Guys at work.

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Wielding the axe.

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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.

Days of our lives

YESTERDAY WE ate tuna lasagna in The Lasagna Factory in the nearby capital city. We wanted vegetarian, but none was available. So tuna it was, and it was good.

Then we visited Costco and Chedraui for various staples before heading home to our mountaintop abode where peace reigns.

This morning I stepped out to the service patio and noticed, just past the steel stairway to the kitchen roof, a sizable spray of bird crap and a baby bird, deceased. Crap! I uttered to no one in particular. I glanced up, way up, and saw no nest. Strange.

I swept up the birdie corpse, tossed it in the trash outside in the Garden Patio, returned and looked up again, which is when I saw movement. Here’s the situation: There is a huge wasp nest up there, long abandoned, and so high I had never knocked it down.

Swallows had somehow turned a part of the wasp nest, a part that was drooping, into a home of their own, and there’s a family there, minus the one who plunged to his demise. I’ll keep an eye on the situation, and when the little buggers bugger off, the extension ladder will put me within range to knock the whole shebang down, and I will.

Why can’t swallows mind their own business? Nest under bridges or in the house of the people out back who blare music too loud? Where is the justice?


Tomorrow will be a big day here. More plant murder is planned.

The monster aloe vera which resides at the bedroom corner in what I’ve long called the Willy Nilly Zone will be uprooted and toted to God knows where.

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That aloe vera will go, but the datura will stay.

We once had three of these big babies, but Abel the Deadpan Yardman removed one a few years back. It was somewhat smaller than the one in the photo. I have a crew coming in the morning with machetes and a pickup truck.

It’s the same crew that removed the towering nopal, the monster bougainvillea and the annoying loquat tree.

After that’s done, Abel comes the following day, and I’m going to have him remove most everything in that area. It’s not clear from the photo, but there are tons of weeds. I will plant new stuff, but not plants that grow enormous.

More on this in a few days.


Our mayor has tested positive for the Kung Flu virus. He posted a video announcement on Facebook yesterday while sitting at a desk, which I assume is in his home, in normal clothes, wearing a facemask, to say he’s staying put for two weeks.

He’s a real glad-hander, so his getting Kung Flu is no shock. I wish him a speedy recovery, or maybe he’ll be one of those who never show symptoms, if such a thing exists.

He looked fine in the video.


In closing, here’s a little humor on the state of America. I might make this a recurring feature. Send me stuff.

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