Category Archives: Homesteading

Oh Boy! More Boys!

I haven’t been able to share many animal antics lately because not much has been going on the Flores Ranchito. That all changed towards the end of November with the arrival of Zombie’s first offsprings, the Borrego Boys, white, fuzzy twins, who are healthy and fit with the exception of some sort of weird second set of eyes (but what can you expect from a zombie/sheep hybrid).

With their birth, my husband went a little crazy and started buying up pregnant goats hither and yon. Before we knew it, we had another set of white twins, the Chivo boys.

Then La Gritona (Miss Shouter so named because of all her carrying on) gave birth very vocally one Sunday in the middle of one of my online classes. (Noise? What noise? Now, back to the difference between in, at and on.)  Her little chivito is called Payaso (clown), since he’s often up to no good, knocking off the lamp, climbing the woodpile and so on.

The next set of twins were born before my husband could seal the deal of the borrega/chiva exchange with the owner. So mama and twin boys, Salt and Pepper came to live with us in December.

Fuzzy the sheep gave birth the next day to Zombeta, the first female offspring of the bunch. Fuzzy, a first-time mom, is quite the nervous Nellie. She doesn’t want to leave the corral without Zombeta, who really is too small to keep up with the herd/flock just yet, leading my husband on fun-filled romps around La Yacata in her efforts to get back to her little one. She also hollers throughout the day when Zombeta is out of sight, curled up with one of the other kids or lambs or just jumping about on the other side of the food trough.

Zombeta’s birth brought our baby population up to 8 running, frisky little fellas in under 2 weeks. But the population explosion wasn’t done yet!

The following week another little kid was born, Chiveta. Of course, this was the only goat that my husband wanted a boy birth since the mama was a Boer goat, but alas, a girl.

One sheep is still preggers but it will be a few months until she’s ready to give birth. I’d say we have our hands full as it is though, don’t you think?

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Do you want to read more about our animal adventures?

Check out more stories in Wascally Wabbits and Zombie Babies,

now available on Amazon.

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

Doing the laundry in Mexico

Looking at CFE accounts, they would have you believe that 98% of Mexico has electricity even though 15% of the time there are unstable power outputs or loss of service for hours or days at a time. According to the 2016 census in Mexico, there are more than 500,000 homes without electricity.  Nearly 16% of the total population with access to water do not have water installed in their homes. Only 26% of the population of the state of Guerrero have daily access to water. Nearly 7,000,000 Mexicans live in isolated communities without adequate access to water and electricity.  Having limited or no access to electricity or water means doing the laundry can be a challenge in many areas of Mexico.

I don’t mind doing laundry. Hands down, I prefer it to doing the dishes. However, with not having electricity at our house for so long, we’ve had to be proactive about doing laundry. I mean, we couldn’t just throw it in the machine and let it wash itself now, could we?

laundry area

Our pre-remodel second-floor laundry area, complete with hand pump connected to the ajibe (dry well).

Necessity meant we found alternatives. One alternative is hand washing. Almost every house in Mexico has a built-in washboard just for that purpose. The raised cement ridges are just the thing for scrubbing stubborn stains. When the washboard isn’t quite up to the job, a bristle brush can be used to attack those manchas (spots). Clothes receive one-on-one personal attention and come out cleaner than regular ol’ machine washing. The drawback is that it uses a LOT of water. First, you have to soak the clothes, then scrub with soap, then rinse the soap off. Although we have our gray water running into the garden, it still was a major expense.

doing the laundry

My husband and father-in-law doing the wash.

The next laundry option is to go to the arroyo (stream) and wash. Water is limitless and the washboards angled to get a good suds on. Washing was much quicker with all hands on deck. Again, though, there were some drawbacks. Wet laundry is HEAVY and in order for it to dry properly, we had to haul it back to our house and hoist it up to the second floor where the clotheslines were. Then of course, occasionally, there were the lookie-loos who laughed at our public chonie washing. But what can you do?

IMG_20180727_104856There are other options should you not wish to air your dirty laundry in public and don’t mind other people touching your unmentionables. The washerwoman still can eek out a living here in Mexico. Just look for signs that say “se lava ropa ajena” (foreign clothes washed here).

If you aren’t comfortable taking your wash to someone else’s home, you can have a cha-cha (muchacha) come in and do the washing for you. These girls often come from very small towns and take the bus every morning to their jobs, usually one or two days per week in each home. They take care of everything, the laundry, beating out carpets, general and deep cleaning, minding the children, cooking, even dog grooming, so that the lady of the house is free to devote her time to other things. Pay is dependant on the number of hours and a chore list and can be quite affordable.

IMG_20180416_123629There are also lavanderías, but not the laundromats that you may be used to with quarter slots and TVs and dryers. These laundromats are drop-off service. They have one or two machines in the back and will wash and dry your clothes for pick up. This is a good option for blankets and comforters which are nearly impossible to wrangle clean in the arroyo (stream). Some lavanderías offer ironing services and small clothing repairs, like sewing on buttons or patching garments.

Another option for those special care items is the tintorería (dry-cleaners). Our local dry-cleaner even offers a pick-up/drop-off service.

round-washer

Knowing the pros and cons of hand washing, it’s more and more common for the lady of the house to request a lavadora for Mother’s Day. There are several options available. The most popular is the chaca-chaca machine. It’s a round drum that agitates the clothes clean and makes a chaca-chaca sound. On either side of the spectrum is the mini-washer which holds a maximum of 2 pairs of pants but would work well for undergarments and baby clothes and the modern washer with all the bells and whistles.

I opted for the later and have been blissfully using it at the Little House in Sunflower Valley for over a year now. We made an attempt to move it to La Yacata after we got the 3000 power inverter but unfortunately it didn’t work. It seems our power inverter uses a modified sine wave rather than pure sine wave and the washer wasn’t happy with the power output. So for the moment, it remains washing merrily in Sunflower Valley.

hanging laundry

No electricity = no dryer

As for drying options, dryers are quite rare, so sun-drying is the most popular option. Lines are usually made of a special wire that doesn’t rust instead of clothesline, although I have seen plastic clotheslines for sale. Make sure your line is sturdy and anchored well. It’s not fun when your freshly laundered clothing falls into a mud puddle on the ground. In the event that you don’t have a line, fences and cactus will hold your clothes nicely. Remember to turn your clothes inside out so as to minimize sun bleaching. And make sure the clothespin is clipped securely. Flying underwear has been known to cause a death or two (Motorizado se accidenta por calzón volador en La Ceiba).

local laundrymat

A local laundry mat, although not the one we use.

Now that you armed with this laundry knowledge, I give you the domestic goddess blessing “Go Forth and Clean!”

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Filed under Electricity issues, Homesteading, Small Business in Mexico

Back to Basics Bundle Flash Sale

I can’t say how much I love these ebook bundles!  This is one of my favorites by far. Just look at what you get!

This year’s bundle includes over 59 resources to help you get back to basics and will help you:

  • Cook from scratch using nourishing real food
  • Plant and harvest your own vegetables
  • Learn what it means to live a simpler life without stress
  • Create a wholesome, healthy food storage
  • Learn how to create and use natural remedies
  • Plus learn how to live a more frugal life, do more things yourself, manage a small homestead, and much much more!

If you were to buy each of these resources separately you’d pay over $500, but for this short sale it’s 92% off!

The bundle is only available for a few days: August 25 – 27

Click here to find out more! I know you won’t be disappointed! I sure wasn’t!

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Grow Your Own Food Workshop

let's grow

You know I’m all about free education.  Here’s yet another opportunity you won’t want to miss!

The Grow Your Own Food Workshop hosted by SRS Online Events starts on April 3.  

Over 15 Master Gardeners will be teaching:

  • ​​Seed Saving
  • Companion Planting
  • ​Vertical Gardening
  • ​Composting
  • Growing ​Herbs
  • Raised Bed Gardening
  • ​Vermicomposting
  • Gardening Basics
  • Basics of Organic Gardening
  • Growing ​3 Medicinal Herbs
  • Growing A Year’s Worth Of Food
  • ​Growing Tropical Plants
  • Which Gardening Method Is Best For You
  • Getting Started With Hydroponics
  • Starting Seeds Indoors

…and MORE!!!

If register now you’ll also get a Grow Your Own Food Quick Start Guide and Planning Calculator just for signing up. Since it’s free, what have you got to lose?  Register here.

I think the best part of these online workshops is that you can pick and choose the topics that most interest you.  Don’t worry, I’ll be reviewing my favorites down the line in case you aren’t able to attend. But my favorites might not be what you are interested in.  Sign up for FREE access.  I know I’m looking forward the event! 

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