Old-style living

line

I WAS HANGING these socks, jeans and towels on the clothesline today when it occurred to me that people north of the Rio Bravo likely don’t do this anymore. You’re all modern and such. Got your gadgets.

When we built the house, we had a gas connection installed there in what Mexicans call the “service patio” in case we ever bought a gas dryer, but we’ve never bought a dryer, 15 years now. We line-dry.

It’s no big deal, and it’s free.

We do have a washer. Same one we purchased 15 years ago.

Sharp eyes may notice two propane tanks. The big one was installed when we built the house, but about two years ago it developed issues, so we bought a new one, the smaller. Next January, we’ll have the big one hauled away.

It’s 99 percent empty.

The manufacturers recommend a shelf date for those things, about a decade. That surprised me. I thought they were good indefinitely, and they likely are used indefinitely by most people if there are no problems.

But we had problems.

When I was a kid in Florida, I recall my mother hanging clothes on a line in the backyard. We had no dryer. I don’t recall a washer either. She must have done them by hand. It was nice seeing white sheets blowing in the wind.

Like in the movies.

Doing the propane shuffle

gas
“The guy” and his son install the new propane tank, left, on Friday.

I’M A GAS MAN, and I’ve been a gas man since long before I flew over the Rio Bravo to settle down. I don’t like electric stoves, for instance, and can’t imagine why anyone would use one when there is a gas option.

Gas is cheaper, and you can fine-tune the gas flame far better than you can adjust the heat on an electric burner. Quicker too.

When I lived in Texas, our house received gas from God knows where via buried pipes. Water came the same way. Both were metered, and you paid for what you used.

In Texas, and New Orleans before that, my stoves were gas as were space heaters and water heaters. Gas is the way to go. Cheap, clean, explosive. Nothing’s perfect.

When we constructed the Hacienda 15 years ago, I bought about the biggest residential propane tank you ever see. It holds 500 liters. I filled it when it needed filling, but otherwise I gave the thing little thought.

About a year ago, the gizmo that measures how much gas is in the tank decided to quit working. This is problematical. I began winging it, guessing. Recently, I had a plumber over, told him about the issue, and he asked how old the tank was.

He said that it’s a good idea to replace them every 10 to 15 years, something about the interior welding that can go bad. So instead of replacing the meter, which would have been a special order, time-consuming, and the tank was nearly empty, I bought a new tank.

They’re not that expensive.

It’s smaller, holding 300 liters instead of the 500 the bigger tank holds.

I’ll be using the smaller tank exclusively, so I can either let the big one sit there forever, or I can have it removed. I’ll likely do the latter although that’s going to be a bear. The only way out is through the kitchen, dining room and living room.

The tanks are in an interior patio.

I’d prefer to have the big tank empty before hauling it through the house. Since the meter is broken, the only way to judge the quantity is by knocking on the side with your knuckles. It’s sounded empty for weeks, but we’re still using its gas.

But it will run out one day soon, and I’ll just switch to the other tank, which I had filled yesterday from a tanker truck.

The plumber rigged the copper pipes and connections so that I can fill either tank separately from an outside connection on the street, and I can send the gas into the house from either tank too, separately.

Excellent Mexican design.

Bougainvillea butchery

clip

THAT’S ABEL the deadpan yardman cutting the bougainvillea down to size, or at least less large, last Saturday.

He also mowed the lawn. It probably was the final mow of the season because it has stopped raining. In the summer it rains every day, every freaking day.

November is our loveliest month, incomparable. The sky is blue. The air is cool. The mountains are green. The birds sing. You really cannot beat November in these parts.

No later than January, we’ll be taking out the grass to the left of the sidewalk, part of a project to eliminate all grass except in the middle semicircle. The green-and-yellow maguey you see on the left will be removed and trashed. All the area beyond the sidewalk will become stone and concrete.

The grass at the bottom right of the photo will remain. It’s part of the semicircle in the middle of the lawn.

That maguey’s removal will be the final one. We had five. Three were of the sort you see in the photo, which grow to monster size. The other two were smaller tequila magueys. I planted them all when they were little, thinking they were cute. They became a colossal nuisance. I am to blame.

We have others that are confined in planters. You see one there in the middle of the photo. Word to the wise: Never let a maguey escape from a planter. It will turn on you.

It will not show you love.

But November is here, and it is beautiful.

The long table

kitchenBW

SEE THAT CHAIR down there, just opposite? That’s my chair, and it’s where I sit when I eat a morning bagel or an afternoon pozole. The King’s Chair, and I’m the King.

The Queen sits to my right. The Princess and her Prince by marriage live in Georgia and have yet to visit the castle.

Perhaps one day.

Nobody sits at this table for the evening meal, which at the Hacienda is always a green salad with diced chicken on top. I make that, and we go upstairs and watch something on Mexican Netflix, a great service.

We have side-by-side recliners separated by a tiny table.

But this is a view I rarely see, which is why I photographed it. What I always see is what’s behind the photographer’s back. That would be me at this moment.

There’s a big window to the left, and another behind, both of which provide great outdoor views.

But it’s uplifting to view life from a different perspective now and then. I think so, and I want to stay uplifted.