Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Send Cards

Buen dia! Have you been to my sister's blog? http://kattzcottage.blogspot.com/
She has this lovely old cottage in Texas and she is always posting these pretty pictures of stuff in her house, stuff in her yard, stuff in her little Joey camper, stuff, stuff, stuff.

Well, I like stuff, too and now, I live in a very old little place, but all my stuff is in boxes, still packed away.

But I do have a new Katrina. I got her in El Fuerte, so here is my picture of my stuff on the table.
Don't you love her watermelon purse? Now, below is my stuff on the bed. A very nice lady called me up and asked if I would be interested in helping put together one of the Day of the Dead altars in the museum. If you recall, last year I helped with the Casa de la Cultura altar. It was great fun and after going up there twice this week, I could not find anyone working on any altar projects, so I was happy to help with this one.

The project focuses on Ida Louise Franklin, a woman who came to Alamos in the early 50's and renovated a very old ruin near the cemetery. She lived to be a hundred and is buried in the cemetery. She wrote several books while living here, and I understand she loved to entertain and have lavish dinner parties.

This altar will be dedicated to her.

The project pans out here, on my side of the bed, as senor is on the other trying to snooze while I rip tape and cut with scissors and glue away. Then you see Ida Louise, and the ruin and the renovation.



While I am waiting for all this glue to dry, I am crocheting a necklace. Tomorrow the altar will go up and I will get a picture for you to see.
A cold front has come through and the temperature has not gone above seventy-five today. We are freezing. Senor says..............see how well we are acclimated now.................

Speaking of Senor, it is his birthday!!! We are grilling mean rib eye steaks tonight and celebrating. I bought him a little silver fork with onyx on the handle. It is about two inches long. I have no idea what he will use it for, but it was cute and the only thing I could find in town for a guy. He doesn't really need a saddle or boots or a cowboy hat, so he is getting a fork.

When Senor was sixteen, he needed his birth certificate so he could go study in France. His birth certificate came, but he noticed the birthdate was wrong. So, he went to his mom and told her it was wrong. She agreed, but told him it was recorded in the family bible anyway. So Senor went and took a look and found out his birthday, which had been celebrated for sixteen years on October 30, was really October 29. So in the thirty five or so years I have known him, he starts celebrating his birthday around October 23 to make up for all the lost years he was blowing out candles on the wrong day.

I have to go put on my fleece jacket.

Now, Dias de Los Muertes is coming up. Saturday night will be the celebration of the loss of the children and Sunday will be the fiesta for the adults. It is very much a family time in Alamos.

I will be off early manana to work on the altar. Now it is time for carne!!

If you want to send Senor a birthday card, you can send it to:

Apartado Postal #71

Alamos, 85760

Sonora, Mexico

He will probably still be celebrating when it finally gets here! adios! Linda Lou

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Progress

Hola! hola! hola! Look at my little marigold garden. Is that cute or what?

Last winter Umberto brought four little marigold plants and he planted them here. After they seeded in the summer I sprinkled the seeds and now, I have around twenty little plants.
Very fragrant. Very colorful. Very nice. They are planted in the old well and surrounded by the Huatabampito seashell collection.
But this post is really about something else................ something called progress..............wait, let me turn down the FREE aol broadband. I was listening to a Texas station and the Neil Sperry 'gardening show' which is what prompted me to show you my cute marigolds.

Now Senor Sabe le Todo says hurry up and get done with this writing business because football is coming on and if you recall, he likes to 'read' college football online on Saturday afternoons.
So I told him what I was planning to write about and asked him if he thought I would be able to tackle the subject. He one worded me.............no.


Here goes the progress:
WE HAVE ONE ROOF ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???????????
The room is below. It will one day be a closet ( I can see this day coming). It is off the master bedroom and used to be a bathroom. Look inside.









Now, look up........................










Isn't that awesome? Those are the varra blancas Senor has been cutting for several weeks and fitting into place on top of the vigas I painted. He then mortared over the tops of them. All of our ceilings will have varra blancas.

Now this is probably where he thinks I will get it all wrong, but I have practiced the layering process, in my mind and on paper. I think I can do it.

Over the mortar there...............................dadgummit, wait....................I have to go ask him one thing.
He one worded me again..........
Okay, I have it now.
Over the varra blancas and mortar goes one inch of plaster.
Over the plaster goes one inch of concrete that has been mixed with this secret waterproofing ingredient that Senor had shipped to Tucson. I think it has something to do with NASA, maybe it is an ingredient they discovered and now it is used commercially????


Okay I just went to him again and he said.................no, that's your dichroic glass that was created by NASA....................................i said, i know that, but wasn't this waterproofing stuff from there, too...............................nope...............he said....................i told you, you couldn't write about this.

(okay, got it. it is called sodium silicate and is mixed into the cement, not from NASA, can be bought anywhere. well, la-dee-dah.)
The comes the styrofoam, a one inch sheet, called cerco de hielo in spanish, which means dry ice..........whatever.
On top of the styrofoam is a layer of old rusted looking wire mesh.
On top of that is a three inch layer of cement, again mixed with the sodium silicate.
Then to finish it off there will be a white waterproofing painted on. (this is the stuff Senor put on our two good roofs before Norbert hit last fall).
There, I think I explained that perfectly. I am sure he will let us know if anything is incorrect.


Okay, gotta hurry, some big game is going to start.
You can see all of my explanation in the photos below.

An extra worker helped with the cement mixing. After it was mixed, a half full bucket of cement was lifted up to Senor, who then spread it out. That is alot of buckets of cement......................


I have also been busy! I am building the coyote fence. Don't ask why it is called that.
That is what Senor says it is..................I am using the same varra blancas for the fence, but they are the rejects from the indoor roofing project. Below I am just coming up to Jesus's little house. You can see his tv antenna on the left. Behind his little place is another casa that has been built from the ground up. The workers started this house last year and are now getting to the roof. We should have a roof race...................
How about all this for progress? I am very excited.
Around four this afternoon we plan to put a BIG chicken on the spit and roast it. I might make a little cabbage and beet and blue cheese salad. YUM!
Time for football.......................adios, linda lou

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Las Barrancas del Cobre

Hola! Let's go to Las Barrancas del Cobre, also known as the Copper Canyon.
We are going to drive about three hours south west of Alamos, on Highway Fifteen, to the town of El Fuerte. This old colonial town is on the edge of the Sierra Madre, where the Copper Canyon begins.

Our drive gets us out of rainy Alamos and after checking in to the La Choza Hotel, we have time to explore El Fuerte. We have picked La Choza, not only because it is a beautiful hotel, full of humming birds in the restaurant, fish in the ponds and soccer on the television, but also because by staying here the night before the train departs and the night we return, we are able to keep the truck here while we are on our trip.





The malecon follows the river through town and we enjoy a nice afternoon, watching fishermen and listening to the sounds coming from the casas on the hillsides above.




In the mercado, we discover most merchants have taken siesta, but this man is selling snake and fox skins...........................

and snake meat........................ We decide we do not really need to buy any today..................As La Choza is across the street from the plaza, we listen well into the night to a mariachi band and young people laughing and dancing.We have arranged, for a driver to take us the the 'El Chepe' train station in the morning. 'El Chepe' is rarely on time, but we are, and we do alot of people and burro watching. Below, Jenny waits patiently for the train to arrive.We are going to be boarding the first class train. We think we have reservations, but we are not really sure. Several weeks ago, after deciding to not pay an agency fifteen dollars to book each of us, Jenny emailed the train company directly at http://www.ferromex.com.mex/ and gave them our names and asked for resevations on the first class train and gave them the dates. They pretty much emailed her back with one word...............okay.The train is very comfortable and we find a lounge car and a dining car, but like many other people, we will spend much of this train ride, hanging out the windows between the cars, taking photographs.



There are over eighty-seven tunnels and thirty-nine bridges between the eastern departure city of Los Mochis and the final destination of Chihuahua. We have chosen Bahuichivo as our destination, partly because of time constraints, but also because the train ride between El Fuerte and Bahuichivo is reportedly, the most scenic.We will travel through hot and lush tropical areas as we begin to climb and after several hours, we will be up in cool forested pines. We will ascend from two hundred and forty feet to six thousand during our five hour trip.In Bahuichivo, we are met by a driver from the Paraiso del Oso Lodge, which is located in Cerocahui, about ten kilometers from the train station. The lodge gets its name, which translated means Paradise of the Bear, from the wonderful rock formations that are on the cliffs above the valley. The owner, Doug Rhodes, will be giving us a few tours while we are here for four days, but we are also planning on some sit and read time. So, if you brought your book, you can sit out in the courtyard and read and watch the hummingbirds fly by. You can take a few short walks and smell the fresh cool air or you can take a peaceful nap.Below, you can see the bear rock formation.Three rivers join across the road from the lodge.Accomodations here are very comfortable, with three meals a day included in your ticket price. You can settle into the cozy bar with Culver and Jenny, in the photo below, for a free nightly maragarita. Country music and an occasional Garrison Keilor commentary from the satelite radio will keep you pleasantly amused.You have alot of choices. You can do some hiking up to the caves, or along the river. You can hire a driver and take a tour. We are going to saddle up for a two hour horseback ride along the river.After a good long day, we are going have a fire cooked meal of chicken, salsa and tortillas.Below, Culver waits patiently for his chicken. The smell from the pan is tantalizing and we sit around the fire, watching the cook stir the pan. It is chilly enough to get out your fleece.In the morning we decide to ride with Doug, up to Cerro del Gallego. The view from here is supposed to be breathtaking. Some say it is more spectacular than the fifteen minute stop at Divisadero, on the train ride beyond our stop.I do not think we will be dissappointed.Below, we have stopped along the road to take some photos before getting to the Gallego. In the very center of the ridge below, there is a small Tarahumara house, all alone. A long trail, across the ridge, leads to the house. We are on the rim of the Urique Canyon, one of the many canyons that make up the Copper Canyon. Urique Canyon drops over six thousand feet to the Urique river and the small town of Urique. There is a semi-tropical environment at the bottom. A tour from Doug will take you down to Urique. It will take you most of the day. We are going to stay up on top and explore.

A Tarahumara Indian family recently vacated this cave and moved into the hills.



Doug explains to Culver and Senor that the volcanic peaks of the canyon rise to more than ten thousand feet in some areas. The average height is around eight thousand. Four of the canyons are deeper than the Grand Canyon in the USA. You can stand in the back, like me, if you want to. The view is just as good!



We are walking up to another viewing area at the rim. A Tarahumara woman lives here with her children. The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico are related to Arizona's Pima Indians. Their livestyles remain very traditional and they are a very shy and quiet people. They do not live in groups, prefering instead to live in remote adobe huts or even caves. Many of the homes are perched out on ledges or ridges, like the one we saw in the photo above. An older Tarahumara brother gives a younger one a ride on the rocky ledge. A group of riders has just come up from the Urique Canyon.We have told Doug that we would like to buy some baskets that are woven, by the Tarahumara women, from the five-needle pine. He is going to take us to a Tarahumara family home.

We are going to buy several baskets from this woman. The baskets smell like fresh pine.

But, now we have to buy several baskets from this woman also. She is the mother in law.




Soon we are going to leave the rim and visit the town of Cerocahui.At the small town plaza we take in a few photos.Across the street is the Mision San Franscisco Javier.

An old organ sits, unused, in a corner of the church loft.

Cerocahui has a small girls' school. Many of the girls live at the school, but alot of the girls are Tarahumara and some of them walk six hours each day to get to the school.
Below is the room where the girls shower and wash their own clothes by hand.

Right now, they have finished cooking their meal over a wood stove and are in the dining hall.



After awhile a few of them come outside to see what we are doing.



A woman brings in a sack of potatoes for the next meal.




Back at the lodge, there will be time for napping, exploring or taking photos. There are flowers in most of the fields in October, so if flowers are your thing, you might get some very nice shots.

All too quickly, it is time to leave. We get to the train station in plenty of time, but again, 'El Chepe' is late. It is allright with us, it is very peaceful and quiet and we are not in a hurry to go.




Senor and Culver discuss why the train is almost always reportedly late.

Finally a train arrrives, but it is the second class or economica train. It is very crowded, standing room only as it picks up more passengers and departs.



We are glad we have chosen to go first class.
Finally we are off, once again, through secret dark tunnels and over creaky bridges, alongside cascading waterfalls and steep cliffs. We find ourselves hanging out of the windows and looking at the scenery as though we have not seen it before. We pass by small huts where people come out to wave and we wave back. We watch as cool pine forests become lush and tropical and below, rivers and creeks rush by.







As we travel, clouds fill the sky and soon it is dark and the rain starts. We finally decide it is too wet to continue hanging out the windows, but it is hard to stop. The smell of good 'El Chepe' food takes over and we enjoy a last Copper Canyon meal. Before we know it, the whistle is blowing in El Fuerte.