A better way for water

filter
The new compact system.

THE HACIENDA has come into the 21st Century, water-wise.

After 18 years of hauling heavy, five-gallon, plastic jugs here, there, everywhere, we have retired the longstanding Mexican tradition of getting purified water via the big bottles and kitchen dispensers of various sorts.

bottles
The old cumbersome system.

Instead, we have the little blue thing you see up top. It has three filters inside. If you’re interested in buying one you can go to Amazon or directly to the company itself.

Not visible in the photo is a little knob where you can easily switch from drinking water to normal water for washing dishes, etc.

We’ve installed the new filter here where we live, in the separate pastry workshop and in the Downtown Casita. The next time we head to Mexico City, we’ll take yet another to install in our condo there.

This change was inspired by my back trouble a month ago, which I detailed here. I could not lift one of the big bottles, and my problem lasted two weeks. Painful as those two weeks were, I’m almost grateful due to its bringing about this new system.

Change comes to the Hacienda slowly, but it comes.

My child bride now informs me that when she was an actual child, her family did not buy bottled water but instead had a filter attached to the kitchen sink. It took her almost 16 years of watching me haul big jugs to tell me that, and she only told me after I switched to the new system. Sometimes you gotta wonder about folks.

Even the one you’re married to.

 

Standing in the sunshine

EARLY IN DECEMBER we had a number of overnight freezes, not typical of the month. But it passed, and since mid-December things have returned to normal, more or less, perhaps even a bit nicer than normal.

But that’s not to say it’s comfortable in the mornings, far from it. And how do we mountaintop Mexicans deal with the morning chill? We go outside and stand in the sunshine. This is very common. I do it myself.

This morning I went for my usual exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza. A fellow who runs a little store on the corner was standing on the sidewalk, sunning himself. He frequently does that.

New ImageOn the walk up to the plaza I spotted another guy standing in the sunshine. I also saw a hog, which isn’t common. That same fellow had the hog on a rope that was tied around a light post. Pet or future lunch? Who knows?

On returning from the plaza, heading back home, I saw the hog walking alone down the street with the rope trailing behind. His owner was nowhere in sight. The moral to that yarn is that if you’re gonna tie a pig to a post, do it tight.

On getting home, here’s what I saw: Guys in the yard digging up grass and the sole remaining giant maguey. Yes, after years of thinking on it and talking about it, I’ve begun the process of replacing grass with concrete and stone.

I have a four-year plan and with luck I’ll live long enough to complete it. The fourth year would have me older than my father was when he kicked the bucket in Atlanta at age 75. It’s preferable to think positively.

7501022019009The guys say the work will take a week, and that means it likely will be two weeks. I’ll have photos later. Stay tuned. We are also, after 15 years at the Hacienda, in the process of abandoning five-gallon jugs of purified water. Stay tuned about that too. January is a month of much activity at the Hacienda.

Now I’m heading back outside to stand in the sunshine.

Time for lime

MAY IS THE warmest month of the year here, some might even call it hot, depending on where you’re standing.

In the evenings, upstairs at the Hacienda where, alas, live the Samsung Smart TV and the computers, it can get unpleasant in the late afternoon and early evening.

It’s even been known to chase us downstairs prematurely when we’re trying to relax with Netflix.

And, of course, we have no air-conditioning because 99 percent of the time, it’s not necessary.

Most of downstairs, however, never gets hot due to the high ceiling in the living room. In the bedroom, which has a somewhat lower ceiling, it gets a bit stuffy at times.

We have a ceiling fan in the bedroom, the sole ceiling fan at the Hacienda if you don’t count the fan in the ceiling of my child bride’s pastry kitchen, which stands apart.

May is our worst month. There is the “heat,” the dust, the dead grass in the  yard. May is just a period that one must endure  in order to enjoy the other 11 months.

One way we endure May is by making limeade.

The first limeades of 2017 were made this morning, a little tardy this year due to this May’s being somewhat less stuffy than the average. We’ve been lucking out.

That’s our limeade station in the photo. One nice limeade requires three limes, three tablespoons of barroom sweetener, water and ice. That’s it. Stir and serve.

Those limes are called lemons down here, limones. What the Gringos call lemons are rarely seen. The yellow things.

Doesn’t matter. Limes do the trick. Every May. Until it starts raining daily in early June.

Then you don’t hanker for limeade anymore.

The water gatherer

barrow
Ready for the ride up the sidewalk.

DON’T DRINK the water.

That’s what they say about Mexico, and it’s wise advice. Tap water, that is. It’s been so long since I last drank tap water that seeing it done on Gringo TV now seems strange.

I began thinking of this matter yesterday while I was driving back from a small store down the street with two big bottles of purified water beside me.

We use a brand called Santorini, which is part of the Pepsi Corp. A large truck drives our streets regularly with these huge jugs, which are called garrafones in Spanish.

It’s like the five-gallon bottle used for water coolers in the United States, though I don’t know if our garrafones hold exactly five gallons. And they are plastic, not glass.

The driver and helper bellow agua in the street and also ring doorbells. I’m sure they earn commissions. If you respond to their yelling, they’ll bring the bottles right into your kitchen, and you hand over the empties.

A full bottle costs 25 pesos, which is about $1.30 U.S. these days. If you don’t hand over an empty, the price is way higher. I forget how much higher. I always have empties.

We once got door delivery, but you have to be home, and I found that doing it myself when we need it is more convenient. The store is just four blocks up the street.

And it’s exercise. Weight-lifting.

Arriving home with the two blue bottles, I heave them into a wheelbarrow for the brief trip around the Romance Sidewalk to the Hacienda’s front door.

This routine is not very difficult, but I wonder how many more years will pass before it will be physically beyond me. Then I’ll have the guys bring it into the kitchen for a sweet tip.

People drink bottled water in America because it’s stylish. We do it here because it’s the smart thing to do.

And it’s darn cheap.

car
Just in from the store up the street.