Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Getting some of the shadows I was hoping for. The afternoon light does nice things. They did the finish coat of stucco on this section yesterday and it is almost dry to an even color. Would make a good paint color I think. The suggestion is to varnish the vent bricks/tiles and leave the natural color

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Posada after work

Carne asada, friends and music. We quit work around 2 yesterday and started up the bar-b-que. Hugo brought over a bottle of Tequila, I bought some beer and people started to arrive. Didn't party late as many wanted to spend the evening with family

Friday, December 24, 2010

The workers diet

The workers diet is generally not very good and they eat a lot of it. Chicharron is a favorite and is cooked up every morning in multiple places around Melaque in these large vats. Wednesday is beef day at this Jaluco butcher shop ... along with the usual pork. You usually have to get there before 10am or it will be gone ... or at least the best parts of meat. Chicharrón is mainly skin but also any tender part of the animal ... cooked until it is unrecognizable and crunchy. One kilo of tortillas and a large bottle of Coke makes breakfast.

Carnitas is another breakfast favorite and these stores/restaurants usually close by noon. Carnitas (little meats) is boiled pork that can be ordered as meat only or about 1/4 fat. Carnitas usually come with tortillas and salsa.

The exceptions to this heavy, greasy diet are when one of the workers wife makes something at home and she brings it over. They live just a block away and often there are nice surprises. Still the large bottle of Coke is required.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Virgen de Guadalupe dance in Villa Pinal

I was out at the house today puttering around and our local taco lady came over to say her two girls were dancing in the Virgen de Guadalupe dance just down the street. Went over and was offered a seat (old folks you know) and a glass of juice while we watched.

The best I can say about these things is it's a study of indurance. The music doesn't change much, the dance steps do ... but they do this half hour dance a couple times a day over the celebration ... and will join the big parade tonight in Melaque

Want a shelf, these guys can build it

They are finishing up the bodega/workshop and I wanted a storage shelf around the room. This will also be the safe storage room for valuable stuff when I'm away. I put up a second layer of bricks on the outside walls up to the 2 meter level and this shelf sits on top of the second wall.

Then the re-bar to hold the cement together and the wood supports to hold it up for a day. They used 2" PVC cut in half as a mold for the front cap on the shelf. Very nice work, I'm really impressed

Hugo (Jugo) finishing the cement support

Oscar filling it

Finished shelf

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Military giving out Mexican flags

Thursday the military were all over the area giving out Mexican flags but they missed our place. The workers found a couple extras and mounted this one on my tinaco yesterday morning. They found one for Jimmy's place so we both proudly fly the green, white and red.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunset from Pinal Villa

We get much prettier sunsets when we have a few clouds but lately there have been none. These are a couple shots from the second floor

Pinal Villa, Melaque Mexico

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Chiticahua are here

Chiticahua is what the migrant workers are called by all the locals, supposedly from the state of Guerrero. They are basically gypsies following the crops and December is chili season - weeding, thinning and picking in a few weeks. Pinal Villa and much of the Melaque area fills up with these people who have little money to pay rent.

Our neighbor two lots away has rented to a large family. His property has water and nothing else. The migrants sleep on the ground and use neighboring lots for their bathroom. Sandy, my Canadian neighbor, mentioned the other day she saw a woman heading for the lot next to me with a roll of toilet paper. Today I and 3 neighbors cleared and burned the lot of all the privacy providing tall grass and brush ... and then the adjoining lot so they didn't just move over a bit.

I feel sorry for the migrants but have no sympathy for land owners that can't provide the most basic facilities to their renters. Dig a frickin' hole and cover it when they leave at least !!

Lot next to mine

The second lot they cleared

Friday, December 03, 2010

Grey water and sewer

The last couple of days has been connecting the grey water from the upstairs laundry to a new fosa (septic) and registro (connection box). Since we don't have sewer in Pinal Villa everyone has septic tanks and it's not a good idea to mix laundry water with bathroom drainage. Also the house is 20 meters long and roof drainage may be an issue next summer. I may install an extra downspout beside the 3 roof drains in front.

Since we may have city sewer some day, the connection box will be used to redirect water to the street. The normal house drainage also has it's own connection box that can be directed to either the street or a separate septic. Both of these systems will meet next to the street in another connection box that the city will hook up to. A bit complicated but it should work well and I shouldn't have to re-engineer anything.

Six guys working on the house today kept me running!

Grey water fosa and registro

Putting a top on it

Connecting the house sewer to the grey water registro

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuccoing the second floor

Had to rent three sets of staging (andamios, torres) to safely stucco the 2nd floor of the laundry room. I was relieved that they were a sturdy as they were when locked together. Last thing we need is someone getting hurt. Oscar will do the 'fine' coat today so we can return the third andamio. The two remaining sets will be used by a neighbor who will start to stucco the front of the house and front walls.

Oscar almost finished with first coat of stucco

Friday, November 26, 2010

The stuccoing has started

They did the upstairs laundry room in the last few days and today the stairs. To do the outside wall of the wash area they need three sets of "staging" (andamios) and we won't have those until next week. Stairs look nice but this is not the final coat. Finished will be much smoother.

We're now talking about cutting air vents in every room, size they should be, where located and what tools we will need. Need to do that before stucco and the stucco needs to be finished before the wiring, electrical fixtures installed and bathrooms are finished. I'm thinking of using a ventilation block (design that air passes thru) and mosquito net behind it.

Jimmy, Sandy and I are going to Home Depot in Colima this Sunday to look at doors, tools and block designs. The two of my interior doors are going to be wood and I want to have one on hand to make an exact fit.

Stairs looking good

Roof area looking from front to back

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Painting rebar is my game

Painting rebar is my latest activity after cleaning up when the new roof supports where taken down yesterday. I was amazed at how much stuff was left either on the floor or still embedded in the ceiling. Half the rebar still there will be cut off because it won't be used to continue building but the other half needs paint or it will rust quickly.

Then there's the sand ... and lots of it. This time we ordered clean sand for less work 'screening' the rocks out of it. Not as important with cement but stucco needs a uniformly fine sand.

My rebar art

More sand

Stucco work on upstairs laundry room

Building a house in Melaque Mexico

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New walls around the roof and Jimmy's place

Got walls almost all around the roof area now. The last section needs castillos (posts) to support a future screened room plalapa and I picked up the materials for that last night. Even included two galvanized posts for a future clothes line.

We're hoping the guys that put up the wood supports for the roof will take them down today so we can start work inside the house next week. Lots of cleanup and wiring yet to do before any stucco work can be done.

The two fotos below are of Jimmy and Sandy's place behind me. The house represents about 6 weeks work. Still another course of bricks before he does the roof. Their garden is looking good and is about two years along. I still don't have room for much in the way of plants.

Yesterday Sandy was taking down clothes from the line when she was stung by a scorpion hiding in a clothes pin. They are here without a car so I drove them both to Centro de Salud to get the normal anti-venom injection and pain pill. Doctor said that getting her there within 20 minutes saved her from a major reaction. All is well

Roof walls and clothes line

Six weeks into Jimmy's house

Jimmy and Sandy's garden - they live in the garage on right

Monday, November 15, 2010

The roof, the wash area and the stairs

Today they finished putting up the Panel-MG for the hand rail (pasa mano) and started a one meter wall around edge of the roof. The wash area still has it's roof supports so work there will wait a few more days. The main roof still has a week to go before the supports come down.

I'm anxious to see the work on the handrail as I've never seem them work with the Styrofoam panel. We decided to put four cut-outs for looks and a little more light in the evening.

Sad to say we are stuck with Mexican steps (short run almost equal to the rise). One fewer step with more foot space on each would be nicer. The maestro has some good ideas for the steps but that's finish work and will have to wait.

The roof

Panel-MG on the stairs

The stairs and a bit of the upstairs wall

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Neighbor kids watching the roof pour

Watching a cement roof pour is interesting for everyone

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is all that gonna fit on my roof

Two loads of sand, one and a half loads of gravel and 100 bags of cement. Of all that we had about a half load of sand left, a quarter load of gravel and used exactly 100 bags of cement. There is also about 120 pieces of six meter rebar under the cement on a 120 square meter roof.

No cement pumpers used here - it was the bucket by bucket brigade up the street side of the house. Street was closed to all but bicycles for almost 4 hours. The roof foto only shows the beginning of the pour but it is all up there. My job now is to water the roof at sunrise and sunset so it dries slowly.

Sand and gravel in the street

100 bags of cement

About a quarter of the way thru the pour

Cement crew in the street

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Making a large throw net

Back in Melaque a little more than two weeks and just finished a full two weeks work on the house. Stefan, my neighbor across the street is a fisherman and has been working everyday on this throw net. It's a large one that can only be thrown from a boat and it takes him a month to finish. He's close to finish with this one. He made a small one for my Canadian neighbor but I was under the impression only Mexicans can use throw nets which are considered commercial ??

Stefan also plays guitar and sings and he was over last night serenading us while while the work crew, I and a few more neighbors finished off 3 cubetas of Coronitas (small beers - 24 per bucket). The buckets of beer is a sometimes thing at the end of a week or job.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodbye to Jocotepec

Had to take a last minute walk around town yesterday for a few fotos and last minute shopping. Sadly my favorite tortas filled with queso and jalepeno were not there in the market.

I thought they were re-painting the central area for the 2010 celebration but they are still working on parts of it. The buildings used to be a rather dull two-tone brown ... and I like the new white and grey. There was some plaster repair around the plaza ... but the Mercado got a whole new facade. Really nice.

So I'm off to Melaque for the winter and probably beyond. Got this house project I've been working on for over 2 years now if you can believe it. See ya there !!

New face on the central mercado

New paint on the Municipio Building

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Unhappy with my neighbors

About two weeks ago I found this little guy in my back yard crying his head off. With lots of food and attention he came around and will be a good cat. Because I'm moving and my two cats were not very happy with him I was planning on leaving him with a local animal shelter. Luckily the new renters had a neighbor that wanted him and he left yesterday in the arms of the neighbors very happy daughter.

The reason I'm unhappy is I woke this morning to another crying kitten. This one doesn't even have it's eyes open and can barely walk. No way he could have gotten into my yard by himself. Off to the animal shelter in a few hours !!

A plug for Anita's Animals in San Juan Cosala. Just got back from there and she say's she has a nursing mother that will probably accept this 3-4 day old kitten. She has more animals than she needs but won't turn any away. Sweet lady!! Anita's Animals is located on the east end of San Juan Cosala about half way up the entrance to the Racket Club. Turn left at the sign.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Concrete Canvas - Mexico City

Mexico, home to esteemed muralists such as Diego Rivera, Julian Beever attempts to create a work that captures the natural and surrealist beauty of Mexico.

I've seen a few of the YouTube videos of this guy from around the world but had not seen this one in Mexico City. Very different work and always interesting interactions with the crowds. In this case especially the police. This 3D drawing is of a Monarch butterfly on the Mexico City Zocolo. He also adds some documentation of the local street artists.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fiesta de Bautizo

Mi Bautizo (baptism) is what the card the neighborhood kids gave me because one of their moms would have a baby in a few days. At least that's what they used for an excuse for a fiesta. The card was actually from last May for another Bautizo at the church.

Why me? Because I have fruit for the pinata, maybe a gift and some money for globos (balloons). I let the kids in the yard to get some limones (limes) and guayabas then they noticed the ciruela (plum) tree. We had to place a ladder against the wall to get the ciruelas and nobody fell!! The ciruelas were just turning red so this is the first time I tried them. Very large pits.

They needed the balloons for decoration but also for the game of gallina where everyone ties a balloon around their ankle and take turns trying to stomp on the other persons balloon. Kinda like chicken fighting.

They also needed me for duct tape to make the pinata. Problem was it was so strong it wouldn't break so it was decided to throw the prizes off the a neighbor's roof. Not good for the fruit as they exploded on impact except for the limes. They did make a good cleanup crew using every broom in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood fiesta in Jocotepec, Jalisco Mexico
The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

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