Category Archives: Electricity issues

Outdoor cooking

We use a gas stove and gas hot water heater since we do not have electricity in La Yacata.  However, with the price of a tank of gas skyrocketing to $477 pesos in January, it was time to take some preventative actions.  

We had an extra bag of cement left over from the last project and my husband came across a grill top in one of his treasure hunts, so he determined that now that our porch was covered, it was time to make that outside cooking area he’d been promising for 10 years.

So that’s what he did.  He went back and forth as to whether he’d make it all out of cement or frame it with bricks, but as we were out of bricks, he went with the cement model.

It took 2 days to complete.  We were having carne asada (grilled steak) before you know it.

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Of course, it was time to get some new cast iron pans.  Cooking over the open flame makes tasty food, but sure does smoke the pans up.  So I ordered some at Amazon Mexico.  They arrived a week later.  My husband is incredibly happy with the pots. He’s even requested a large soup pot for other dishes he has in mind.  

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Maybe it’s time to search out a cast iron tea kettle for the morning coffee!

With the price of gas increasing yet again in February, pretty soon we’ll be heating our bath water over the open flames too!

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Lighting up the night with solar

Our longed for solar power system has not become manifest yet.  We continue to use our non-electric or rechargeable devices. (See Dirty and Ragged and There is still no electricity in La Yacata) For evening illumination, we have the moon and the stars and candles.

Since Chokis untimely murder (See Chokis) nighttime thefts in La Yacata have increased.  We aren’t ready to risk another dog, so we needed something in the way of a deterrent that could not be poisoned. I took a chance on ordering motion activated solar lights, and we have instantly become the talk of the settlement.

front-light

I ordered one from Amazon Mexico and had my husband install it over the front door.  It certainly makes it easier to unlock the door after dark.  No more fumbling for keys or scraping around the lock.  And it turns on whenever anything moves within 20 feet of the sensor.  It’s nearly as good an alarm as Chokis was.  You should see people scramble away from its light as if they might get burned.

side-light

We liked it so much that I ordered some more.  The second light is outside the front door porch upstairs.  It’s strategically located so that more area is encompassed in light should anyone pass and illuminates the porch if we (or the cats) head out onto the porch.  

back-light

 

The third light is out back.  It’s particularly useful when we have to make a late-night bucket run to the aljibe (dry well).  No more stumbling around in the dark.

Several of the neighbors have requested sensor lights for their own homes.  I’m making another order soon, so we’ll see how well this little resell business goes.  Meanwhile, I’m still looking into a full solar system.  It’s gonna happen soon, I just know it!

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Window Installation

Little by little our house is getting done.  We finally had enough to have the windows installed.  So that became the summer project.  Houses in Mexico typically have windows that are made of metal and involve bars on the outside to keep intruders and thieves out.  Knowing our neighbors, bars are a good idea.

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As this was more than my husband could manage, we went to see G, the secretary of the now inactive Mesa Directiva (Board of directors) of La Yacata who just so happens to be a herrero (blacksmith).  His prices were about 5,000 pesos less than the other two estimates we got.  We knew him and his work personally as well, so more inspired confidence.  We made a downpayment and he started work on the 4 windows and 2 doors needed.  One door leads to the back porch.  The other door leads to  Joey’s roof, which one day will be another porch. Or so my husband says.

 

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The door over Joey’s room

 

We arranged for them to be finished by my next quincena (2 week-paycheck) and installation to occur the following quincena so that there would be enough money for the installation and any last minute issues.  Things are never as easy as they appear at first here in Mexico.

My husband rented a generator and welding machine for the day. Between G and my husband, everything was installed that same day.  Of course, the installation wouldn’t be complete until all the gaps in the frames were filled in, but that was a project for another day.

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tinted front window

Glass installation was not included in the work G did.  So we called a vidriero (glass installer) and had tinted glass put in the front windows and flowered patterned frosted glass put in the doors and other 2 windows.

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bathroom window

I wasn’t quite satisfied with the amount of light that reached the intended second-floor bathroom.  Since we still have no idea how long it will be until we can either connect up to the landline or purchase a solar powered system, natural light is absolutely necessary.

I bugged and bugged until my husband suggested glass bricks for the bathroom.  At 55 pesos each, we could have a new window for under $300 pesos.  Fabulous!  

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Making the hole for the glass brick window

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Installing them required a bit of hammering and cementing, but it was done in less than a day.  

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Let there be light!

Next project–patching the walls!

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Surviving a Solar storm in La Yacata

A solar flare is evident when there is a flash of brightness near the Sun’s surface. This flare causes a number of types energy emissions that often send out clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms into space, reaching Earth up to 2 days after the initial event. These flares can affect Earth’s ionosphere and interfere with radio communications.

Nanahuatzin

Nanahuatzin The Fifth Aztec Sun god

A solar flare can escalate in intensity and become a solar storm. Solar storms have been on record since 2225 B.C.E. The Aztecs are thought to have personified solar storms with their sun god Nanahuatzin, who being full of sores, periodically flaked skin away. Incidentally, Nanahuatzin was considered The Fifth Sun, the god whose demise would bring on the Aztec apocalypse with his death.

Scientists have been able to measure the effects of solar storms on the Earth since 1859. The potential for devastation can not be over emphasized. Solar flares can emit energy equivalent to a billion hydrogen bombs and are difficult to predict with any accuracy.

While most scientists agree that a solar storm would not destroy Earth, it definitely would destroy the world as we know it, technologically wise, at least for a time.  In 1859, a solar storm hit the Earth’s magnetosphere and caused one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. In addition to intense auroras, bright enough to read a newspaper by, telegraphs operators were shocked and telegraph paper set on fire.  A similarly powerful storm was detected in 2012 and missed Earth by a period of nine days.

Because the intensity of a solar storm could melt copper wires that are part of the power distribution system, a large storm would cause massive power outages. This would affect the internet, any grid-tied device, many urban water and sewer systems, gas pumps, medical equipment and so on.  It might take years to repair and reestablish the electric grid network.

In the case of a solar storm, La Yacata is the perfect place to be. We have no electricity, so grid-down would not adversely affect our daily life. (See Cooking without electricity) Of course, without the internet, I wouldn’t be able to write these blog posts you enjoy so much, nor would you be able to read them, so there is that. But overall, it’s a completely survivable event, at least in our case.

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