Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What in the world has Bill been doing????

and so you may ask this question after hearing about all my arts and crafts ........

Outside.................Bill has been grilling exciting stuff on the asadero.....Sonora is beef country and there are some very good cuts of meat and pork here. Chicken, which we buy by the kilo at the Sunday Tiangus (yes! the tiangus is still here, just not in the arroya! half of it has been moved to the alameda and the remainder is on the outskirts of town) is excellent. Our favorite, are huge fresh jumbo shrimp which come straight to town from the sea. It is all good, in part, because Bill is an excellent cook......

You can see in the photo below that we still need to get the countertop on and put in the sink. The iron worker down the street finished the grill grates and we have been grilling non-stop.

There are two grill grates; if used at the same time they are probably wide enough to put on a small cow, I guess we will have a huge fiesta one day.
Bill is using only one of the grill grates below. There are three more levels in the back. He designed it so he would be able to raise the grill higher in the back if he needed to.

Here is a photo of the two grates, before Bill added the extra ladrillo height to the sides and back.
Depending upon what he is grilling, he either builds the fire right on the cement slab or on top of a ladrillo. The ladrillos beneath the concrete slab below are now gone and that space is used for wood storage.

Inside.........he is busy shoring up everything. The room below which will become a bathroom has a ceiling that is caving in. This is the room where the washing machine is and if you recall, from earlier photos, the room floods during a rain. Now Bill has cleverly put in a large PVC pipe that collects the rain and runs off the window sill and into the yard.

During the shoring up, he discovered that our whole casa is built upon a pile of rocks.....but no problems, at significant corners of each wall, he and Umberto have dug down and poured concrete to strengthen it all.

Concrete at the edges of the thick adobe walls.

They have used more rocks, mixed in with the cement to make it stronger. This wall will be topped with a long beam that will span the length of two rooms, so the rebar is the structure behind the cement that will be poured here.

More rebar for more strengthening.

You'll have to adjust your head....but this is very cool...Bill built the wood forms, around the rebar form that he made. Then he poured concrete down the form and created a column that will help support the long beam. We are planning to use concrete beams because termites have become a serious problem in the Sonoran Desert.

I am going to show you some more house photos tomorrow. Bill has started building the kiva fireplace that will be in our bedroom.
Just quickly I am going to tell you how the Dia de las Muertes turned out. The Festival de Calaca is the actual name of the Casa de la Cultura festival I worked on. It is in conjunction with Dias de las Muertes...after all the skulls were completed, we met on Saturday morning to construct the altar and display the offrendas, in front of the church. I was in charge of paper cutting. So I cut about 30 little colored tissue flags........I cut out little birds and stars and hearts and attached them to the flags......aren't my birds cute? While I worked I talked to Freida Kahlo who was sitting next to me on the bench and to Diego Rivera, who was standing beside me.....Then I was asked to guard the percussions and some of the other bones that were just laying around the area. I did all this while other people drove back and forth to the Casa de la Cultura to pick up equipment. Finally, we put the altar together. That's me sitting in a chair below, holding my skull.

This is my skull!!!!!!!!!
Below is another altar that a different group displayed.
The Festival de Calaca (Festival of bones, or skeletons) originated in Guaymus, where there is a very large Casa de la Cultura. The signature skeleton of the festival is the katrina, which is a beautifully adorned skeleton lady that has always been associated with the day of the dead. She is sometimes depicted in very serious art drawings and sometimes, very comical cartoons.
The festival was brought to Alamos three years ago by the group from Guaymus.
Alot of members of that organization came down to help with ours. They brought musicians, dancers, a theatre troupe, and many artists. In the evenings, both Friday and Saturday, there was a lot of dancing and singing on the stage at Plaza de Armas. The artists drew beautiful lime paintings of the katrina on the street in front of the church.
Candles were lit was very pretty, really colorful, very festive and happy.
There was a huge wedding at the church on friday night which added to the festivities.
A photography workshop was held at the Casa de la Cultura the same weekend, and presentations and slides of the hurricane were given at the Palacio, and a photography showing was held there as well.
These activities are an example of just how back to normal things are beginning to get.....
And Alamos looks beautiful! Streets are clean, businesses are open, it's very filled with people and laughter and music! ...... lots of work is on going, especially in the harder hit barrios, and several of our beautiful old colonial hotels are still digging out the mud and debris, but downtown is gorgeous!
A huge tour bus came to town the day I was working on the altar. The people on board were from British Colombia and Seattle!!!! so, I was able to spend a little time with some folks who were very interested in my lifestyle here and why we chose to come here.
And when I look around at all the hard working people in this town , both mexican and foreign, who lost so much, but have bounced back so quickly, I know exactly why we came here.


Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Great post and pics! We're happy to hear Alamos is on the rebound.

Glenn Ian Huntington said...

Linda Lou,

Glad to see pictures of the progress on your house. How old is your house? There is a new book out about the historic architecture of Alamos. It mentions that most of the old brick buildings have stone foundations like your pictures reveal.

Also very glad to see the Day of the Dead pictures and to read that the people in Alamos are recuperating so quickly.