Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Waters in Town

Hola. No water on the official day that begins the rainy season, not a single drop. To fool the palms and reassure them that yes there will be rain, I treated them all to a good drenching with the spray nozzle on the hose. They seemed real perky after that and slept well through the night.

We are still getting water in the mornings and Senor cleverly installed a couple of float valves in the eljibe, so we no longer have to turn the water on or off from the city. The valves take care of all of that for us, so no chance that 'one of us' can leave the hose on and accidentally over run the cistern and waste water.

Just to show you how lush the watered, shaded things are, here is the planting area around the mesquite. If you recall, this was thick with beautiful trailing nasturtiums from October to May. Of course, then it got too hot for them to stick around. There is now a lot of asparagus fern, little areca palms, succulents, marigolds and mothers in law tongues among other things. Most of these were in other places in the yard and because of the water shortage I tried to consolidate them into one area. The water shortage remains a mystery to many people. Four casas up the street from us there is no water coming in. The homes on the hillside leading to the mirador are still not receiving water. There are few homes on Loma Guadalupe that are not receiving water. No one has any idea what determines who has it and who doesn't. But most people would probably agree that the situation is much, much better than several months ago.

Which brings me to an observation. In the past few months three new fountains have been erected locally and they all have running water. So there are certainly funds available for fountains and city beautification. It also makes me think that the city may have been, and still is, just drastically conserving water in certain areas out of real neccessity and not because water lines were missing or pumps were stolen. Because if those scenarios had been true then surely the city would have spent funds on new pipes and pumps instead of the fountains. Okay, that makes sense to me, but maybe not in Mexico...............

I am excited about these new fountains. These fountains are absolutely gorgeous and this beautification of Alamos project, whatever it may actually be, is wonderful. Alamos is becoming more and more popular, especially with the Telenovella planning to continue filming its series here indefinitely. School is out. Summer is here, and soon, Alamos will be filled with Mexican summer tourists who all want to see the historical places where the filming has occurred. Town will look gorgeous to them because it is.


Below is the new fountain at the airport............... beautiful.



I talked to one of the workers this morning and he said the water works and will be turned on permanently next week. He also told me that he is doing three other new fountains in town, but I didn't understand where they were going to be. I don't believe he makes these stone fountains, just installs them.



Here is the new fountain at the old 'Black Cat Market'. This is right across the street from the IMSS (medical clinic).



Many years ago, the two arroyos, La Aduana and Escondido met in front of this old place. It was the commercial center of town and the mercado was here. The iron black cat sculpture is above the second story door.


The fountain below and courtyard are several kilometers outside of Alamos, but when coming in by bus or car, you would certainly see it. Built by the Municipio of Alamos, it is in a small town called Minas Nuevas.


When I was here, the workers had just turned off the water to make an adjustment. I went by there the other day and the two fountains are gushing beautiful cool water and the cottonwoods planted nearby are already offering shade to this beautiful new park. It is much greener and prettier now than in the photo.

Again, I don't know where the other fountains will be, but I would love to see the fountain in the Alameda working again. Fountains in the Plaza would be wonderful.


Okay time for me to get busy. We watched the U17 Boys World Cup soccer match on the computer yesterday, and Mexico beat Netherlands. The Cup is being played in Mexico, and this game was at the huge stadium in Monterrey. Today the U17 US team plays and we hope to pull that up on the computer as well around two or three pm. So lots to get done before that......got to feed the cat.


Que tengas buen dia!




Friday, June 24, 2011

Old Friends

Buen dia. It is a wonderful breezy day here and we are hoping for a good storm. If you entered the 'Big Rain' Contest, I can report, we have not had it. However, we had a little chipichipi, which is a light rain, on both Wednesday and Thursday, late in the evening. We may have received around fifty raindrops at our house. It is the start of something big and that is what we are waiting for. Not to minimize the chipichipi, but the contest is about the big stuff.

Today is the twenty fourth, the official day the rains begin in the state of Sonora. It is known as Dia de San Juan Bautista.
Below is a photo of last night's brilliant sunset. When the horizon starts to get cloudy, the sunsets are remarkable.

We woke to a cool and cloudy morning. I am still going out early in the mornings. Day is breaking a little later, around four forty-five and I am usually out on the road by five. There's a place I like to go. The street is heavily cobblestoned and hard on new old bike so I usually make it part of my walking route. Two old friends. One on one side of the cobbles and one on the other side. They are like bookends that have been there for over a hundred years, separated only by a narrow cobblestone street.



Looking into the front door of Number 23, I can see the old vigas, the wood beams that are still remaining, varro blanco in horizontal patterns between the rotting wood.




Old iron scroll work and ladrillos, unfired bricks, still cover and outline the open windows.


A large overgrown yard backs up to the casa where the ladrillos have caved in after years of exposure to the elements and graffiti has covered what is intact.



Across the street, the friend sits still and quiet.






On the outside wall, triangles offer small glimpses into the casa and looking inside the wood framed window, there is evidence of this being a fine casa at one time. Lovely arched doorways lead from room to room and while the vigas have since fallen or rotted, their square openings can still be seen.



It is surrounded by crumbling walls. Its jardin, or garden, is filled with tall palms and mesquite trees and flowering bouganvillea.



Back inside, a newer brick wall was erected at some time.













When I stand near each of the casas I can feel the old energy, and I have my own story. Maybe these two little casas were once part of the the large hacienda next door. I think maybe ranch casa, like ours which was once a ranch house for the old tequila factory.


Two sisters and their large families. Children playing together in the cobblestone street, chasing dogs and chickens, tossing rocks and cans. The smell of wood smoke coming from the old ladrillo asador, the cooking grill, in the back yard of twenty-three. Young girls grinding corn and chopping onions, old grandmothers, in flowered aprons, frying tortillas on a comal, the griddle. Fathers and grandfathers coming home from working on the hacienda, training horses, feeding livestock, gathering water from the main well at the alameda.


Can you see it?


I love this walk, love standing in the street beween the two casas, letting my imagination go. Alamos is old, and it is full of stories and secrets. It just opens itself to imagination.


I still have time for a little siesta and maybe a nice dream about those two casas and what it might have been like long ago.


So, que le vaya bien, linda lou


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stuff

Hola, hola, hola. Here are the pillows I glue gunned up yesterday. They are the pillows on the backs of the chairs and are gold and rust. I know you have seen the chairs, perhaps even the fabric, but now the pillows are completed and they make the chairs nice and comfy. We keep the chairs in the fake kitchen, across from the Belgium chest, where we have the DVD player and the flat screen TV.

It has been too hot to watch a movie in there, so we are trying to figure out how to get the flat screen into the bedroom where the air conditioning is. Here is the chest and the covered flat screen and as expected, Senor is reflected in the mirror, back there, in one of his tool closets.





Another beautiful overcast morning and lots of fog in the foothills, but it is all burning off and we are fixing to have a very hot day. We are getting so close to Dia de San Juan Bautista and the official day of rain, and I have my fingers crossed.

We are still getting city water, every day, for several hours and it is enough to keep the tinnaco, the new junior tinnaco and the eljibe all full, enough to water everything we want, but I promise you, I am still selective and careful.



The mesquite man came yesterday. He comes and rakes up as much of the mesquite pods as he can. They are constantly dropping from the tree. Then he takes it in huge bags to his fields and feeds his cows. Not only do his cows like the seed pod, they like the leaves and branches as well.Below is a field down the street where piles of mesquite branches, leaves and pods feed the cows.If you liked my bench, you might like two of my new pendants I have put in my Etsy shop. I have to cut and fire again soon, as I said before. I will have a couple of bazaars this fall to attend as well as a few Open Houses here in Alamos and I need to get ready.









No, I am not so bored that I have to keep finding things to do. I have always been like this, I love to just make stuff. My sister is like this also, but she is the talented one. She can take a stick and turn it into something incredibly creative and decorative.


The nice thing about making stuff now is I can make all the fun stuff I want, and because I am so limited in the types of supplies I have here, it makes it that much more creative and fun.


In fact, now the pillows are done, I have something new to work on and I will show you soon.


I really need to get going though, get myself to the mercado before it gets to hot to put a foot out the door. Then this afternoon I plan to try and give up the nappie and work on my new project!


Hope you are having a great day today, doing whatever it is you are doing! linda lou

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Working Right Along

Buenos tardes.

Sorry, I have left you in the dark for a week, haven't I? I have been busy and so has Senor.
I have been very busy napping a lot. In fact, I just woke up from a two hour nap. Lately this has been the pattern and I am vowing to break the habit soon. It's just so darn hot in the afternoon. I start out with a nice book and think to myself..............i will read for an hour and then post to the blog....................soon, I am out like a light. Then it will take me an hour to actually wake up and snap back to life.

We had a good trip to Guaymas last Monday. Once there, it took them about thirty minutes to decide our Visas were ready. Only they were not really ready because it took another hour for them to do all the paperwork and copy all the paperwork and stamp all the paperwork and get our fingerprints and get our signatures, and attach our photos to the Visas and laminate them.
But, they were the nicest people we have dealt with yet in an immigration office, so we will go back next year and hope to have another nice experience.


Senor and Umberto spent this last week extending the beams of the portal. I hope you can tell by the photos how much progress they made. You can also see, I hope, what a gorgeous portal this is going to be. Long, long, long, sixty five feet long and twelve and a half feet deep. Lots of room for lots of stuff. Lots of places to stay dry when it rains and they even put in the foundation for the fireplace when it is cold.....nice, really nice.

Beyond where they are working, (and looking north) there is still about twenty five feet to finish. Looking to the south in the second photo, you can see the concrete sections (that will eventually become the floor) have been finished and filled in with dirt. Much easier to walk on now.

I have been busy in the mornings. Etsy has taken up a lot of my time and I now have over one hundred glass pieces listed in the shop. I keep saying I need to cut and fire again, but the room warms up pretty quickly in the mornings. I may temporarily move all my glass to another room and get some work done and then, fire at night.

I tackled the recovering of an old bench that I bought at a bazaar here in town. I paid about fifty pesos for it (less than four dollars). The fabric is old and torn and the wood is scraped and scuffed. The seat is a little crunchy when you sit down, but the wire underneath is heavy and strong.I added new fabric which was actually a roller shade I bought up in Tucson at Goodwill. I used my favorite tool, my heavy duty glue gun, to do the work.

I think it is an old bench and written on one of the boards when I ripped off some fabric was a signature and a date. As I worked I told myself, I have to go get a pencil and write this information down. Then something happened, and I forgot about it. I covered it right up. But still visible is a faded old tag with the number of the job order, the product order and a line for naming the finish is blank. So at least I have that.

I have yet another bench and am trying to decide what to do with it. I will show it to you soon and maybe you will have an idea.

In the meantime, I plan to finish up two pillows this afternoon as soon as my dead head wakes up and yes, the glue gun is heating up. I sewed three sides on each pillow and then decided it would be easier to finish it off with the glue gun. I am sure it will work fine.

Surely Senor shakes his head in disbelief as he toils out in the hot sun with heavy hot cement while I work away inside with nothing more important than a glue gun.....hmmmmm.

There are clouds billowing on the horizon and it is fairly windy, but otherwise we are getting nothing from the hurricane south near La Manzanillo. The mornings are cool and fresh around five when I go out on new old bike or for a walk, but it heats up fast.

Speaking of heating up, the glue pistola is ready and it is cool enough under the finished portal section to get to work on the pillows.

We are working right along, linda lou

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Now, Does That Make Sense?

Hola, this is what the locals are talking about. This is the little cloud that sits on top of Mt. Alamos before it should rain. This was on Thursday. I thought it would rain for sure. It smelled like rain.

The wind picked up and blew it away.

We did, however, get water all day Thursday from the city pipes. Then we got it all day Friday. I got out of control and watered everything twice. We had to turn off the water because the cistern overflowed twice. Then, absolutely no water on Saturday. Again, water all day today. It makes no sense, but I am just so grateful to have water on some days and I hope it keeps up this way.

Tomorrow we return to Guaymas for our FM3s and we hope they are ready. It will have been a two week waiting period. The status can be checked online, but it doesn't make too much sense. It says, translated, our documents have been presented in the office and if changes are needed they can be done online. So, does that mean they are ready or not ready?

There is a telephone number you can call, but it just rings and rings and rings. That doesn't make any sense either. The day we were there we saw at least seven people working. A few of them were not really even working and I could hear the phone ringing. So, in the past we have returned in two weeks and decided to wait two weeks this time as well.

We were asked to supply a new and interesting document. A formal bank cover letter, called a Resumen de Cuenta. Fortunately she supplied it and did it at her own computer, but said we would need to do it next year. It is a paper with formatted boxes and columns and has our bank name on it, our names, address of the bank (this is our bank in the states), email and how much money was in our account during the months of January through April. I have no clue how to do that format. It makes no sense.

Of course, now that Calderon has signed a new immigration law, we probably will not need it next year. Now that is the good news and that is what is starting to make sense. Every year there will be a change and there is just no need to worry about whether what we did this year made sense or not. Now, does that make sense?

So, we are good, good to go up to Guaymas, at daybreak manana, have a K freeze on the way, enjoy the scenery and have a good time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

They Just Didn't Understand my Spanish

Hola, hola, hola.

I visited with a Mexicano friend this morning and told him I had asked the city to bring water and they did not come.

He came over to the house and made a phone call.
The city came right away with a big truck and we have a full tinaca and a full eljibe. I just can't begin to tell you how good that feels. The man that brought the water said the Senoras in the water oficina did not understand my Spanish. #**# #**# ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I just did two loads of colorful laundry. I was surprised to see it barely made a dent in the water level. So, after Senor does a load, I think I will do another.........we have not had enough water for laundry in about 2 months. I did a lot of washing last week in the hotel sink. There were no clouds last evening. A lot of wind, but nothing in the sky. We did go and fill our car tinaca twice, but most of the water went for cement mixing and watering and then, up to the house tinaca before the water man came.

I see the first Eastern Pacific hurricane is in route way down near Central America and that the forecast for Alamos is hot and dry.

The locals say that as soon as we see a significant cloud on the top of Mt. Alamos, it will rain. Here is the mountain this afternoon. Hot and dry, no little rain hat up there.
That photo is taken from the street, right outside our gate and to the south, so it is pretty easy for me to run and check the mountain throughout the day. We can also see it from inside the casa, but the spectacular view is at the gate.

We lost three small palm trees, but they were on their way out before we lost water. I think they were just getting too much sun and we couldn't save them from that. Everything else looks pretty good and I have only been watering twice a week, with the exception of potted palms and the roses and the fig. That is an every day event.

I have not watered the El Fuego trees in over a month and still they are blooming, opening outlandish, oversized bright orange flowers against the baby blue sky. The Plumerias are still blooming, their vanilla cinnamon scent is most powerful in the morning and evening, but the largest one is desparate for water.



So, Senor and the cat and I are hanging out inside the bedroom, waiting for the day to cool. Then we will make our evening trek over to the pump station and fill our car tinaca.


Wherever you are, I hope your water situation is good and if you are getting rain, try and save it in some big garbage cans or barrels, something....... I think when the rain gets here, we will be setting the car tinaca outside and just letting it fill. Maybe even buying a few large plastic garbage cans as well, five gallon buckets, whatever I can get my hands on..........


Okay, mi amigos, que tengas buen noche! linda lou





Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Water

Hola. Here is late yesterday's sky, right before twilight. The breeze really kicked in, the palms swayed and the clouds rolled.

Around this time we went to the pump station on Calle Chihuahua. I have no reason to be nervous, the city said we could get water as long as we could transport it. I guess the problem is, do I believe that? I just don't know. So, we went when it was cooler and when I thought less people would see us.

While we were pumping a government ruck went by. A water truck went by. No one stopped.


I showed you the station yesterday. Here is the switch.




The pump below and then, the opening to the well.








A truck with a really small tinaca pulled up behind us.

Senor positioned the hose. It would not fit through the back, so he put it through the window. Turn on the switch, he yelled............turn off the switch he yelled.


He had forgotten to close the little valve he constructed and attached to the tinaca. So I was already trying to take photos and ran to the switch as water came out into the car. The lady waiting in the truck behind us came running to help and then I guess she just liked holding the hose because when I asked if she wanted me to take over, she said no.Meanwhile, her esposo was leaning against his truck, laughing a little, I don't know, at her? At us?

I asked her if she had water at her casa. Not for three months she said.

We made two trips.

Back home, Senor is so proud of himself even though I am the one who discovered we can use this well and pump station.


He is proud that he thought to buy a little tinaca and that he hooked up the system needed to get the water from the car to the cistern.










So, while the sun set behind us over beautiful Mt Cacharamba, water poured into the cistern.










We stayed up way too late in the evening, pleased as punch with our succes.

We we saw lightning flare in the eastern sky, but it never worked its way very close to us. The wind stayed steady and calm.


I think in a few hours we will make another trip to the pump station. It would be wonderful to get enough water to do some laundry manana.............


adios, linda lou

Monday, June 6, 2011

Taking Matters into our Own Hands

Buenos tardes! Wow, did it get hot here fast. Around one we lock everything up and hide out in the bedroom with the mini split that really is not a mini split, but thank goodness it is the air conditioning unit and not just a heater. It is hard to even come back out around five pm because the bedroom is so wonderfully cool.

By five the heat has subsided a little and when we came out yesterday, this is what we saw. Beautiful, dark, billowing clouds. By nightfall, the wind had blown them off to the north over into the Copper Canyon. But it was a brief glimpse of what is coming.Last Tuesday, I went to the Palacio to pay the fifty peso water bill. Roughly three something in US dollars. Hey, city, i said.............hey, i have not had a single drop of water at my house for three whole weeks now.............where do you live? she asked................well, she had the water bill and address in her hand, but i told her anyway...............we will bring you water on Lunas....................free, gratis agua? i asked.....................si, gratis, Lunas.


I got up at five am this morning, I wanted to be ready in case they came that early. Well, it is now almost noon and I have yet to see the water truck. I knew she was lying to me. I knew it, but I really did want to believe her. I am pretty sure we are not going to get any water from the city.

I have noticed that there are a few trucks now and then at the water station on Calle Chihuahua. Ordinary people like Senor and me seem to be in waiting lines to get water. I asked city water lady about this and she told me that as long as we can transport it, we can go there and get water.

Senor and I missed the truck so bad, but decided we could transport water in the car, with a very small tinnaca, so he bought one. If the city does not bring the water by six pm, we will be taking matters into our own hands and driving to the little station. Here is the station. Inside that little black box is a small switch. A Mexicano friend told me you just flip the switch and get all the water you want. My guess is we will be testing out that switch later today. If we have to keep buying tinnacas full of water from our friend, Ramon, who has a never ending water supply from three wells, we will go broke before too long.The 'Rain Contest' is in full swing, on both the Glasspondstudio Facebook page and my personal page. It just better rain soon or I will go absolutely mad.

I am keeping busy, lots of beautiful new glass is listed in my Etsy shop. http://glasspondstudio.etsy.com/ and even more fun, is all this ridiculous talavera painting I am doing. Here is the bread box. I am liking it a lot, but have no place to put it. Guess I will put it away in a box with the talavera papier mache' cake cover I made.


Senor just finally came in from working out all morning in the hot sun. Time for cold air and a good book.


If you haven't guessed a day and time for the rain to start, go ahead and do it. I will keep the contest open for a few more days.


I will try and get photos later of our water gathering and let you know how it went.

siesta............