Tag Archives: building a house in Mexico

Quarantine Projects

While we were in quarantine, we decided to work on the outstanding projects we have on the Ol’ Flores Ranchito. Much like the quarantine, these projects have gone on and on with no sure end point in sight. 

We had purchased the materials for these projects earlier this year or as a last minute dash to the ferreteria the first week of the #QuedateEnCasa campaign since everything was still open. Little did we know that, just like the work on the house, businesses would be open and closed in fits and starts. 

Quarantine Project #1 Tejas

Putting tejas on the pestana (overhang) on the front of the house was actually begun in February but was interrupted by this and that and it still isn’t finished here in July. There are 3 tejas that need to be placed yet. So here’s how that project went.

If you’ll recall, one of my house goals of 2020 was to finish the front of the house decoratively. The ledge on the front of the house that serves as an overhang needed to be covered with roofing material. We hemmed and hawed whether to get the old fashioned tejas or the newer flat ones that come in more colors. To determine which would be more economical, we went to three different places that sold them in Moroleon.

The first one has the two browns and one orange I was considering. I thought if we had multiple colors it would tie in the color of the doors, the color of the chimney and whatever color we decided to paint the house (which is still under debate). For pricing purposes, we went to two other places and found that the tejas were $100 per square meter cheaper there. 

The next day we went to the closer of the two cheaper places to pick them up. Well, guess what? They didn’t have the color I wanted even though we had asked the day before. So we went to the farther place. They didn’t have the exact color, but one was close enough and in stock. I gave up on the three-toned design. I was tired of hunting stuff down. 

My husband had done the calculations and we bought the amount he had calculated. It took about two days for him to install the tejas on the pestana. Only, he hadn’t included the length of penstana on the animal side of our ranchito. And that meant another trip to the ladrilleria (brick and roofing tile place) 

Only by then, the first period of quarantine started so the tejas (roof tiles) sat in the garage for several months. Meanwhile, we started on the second project.


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Doors and Windows

The same ferretería guy who did the zaguán and front window was in charge of the back door and back window at my sister-in-law T’s house. It was a full two weeks before any progress was made. 

He went twice during that time to the tortillería to ask for more money to finish the job. My husband told his sister that she was not to give him any more money until the job was finished. More than half of the total price had already been paid, which was more than enough for the material needed. So she didn’t.

Of course, that just delayed things even longer. Every time my husband went to see what day to expect them for installation, it was always “mañana.”(tomorrow). Well, mañana is a long time coming here in Mexico. 

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They did finally arrive, the one day my husband couldn’t be here. So my son was in charge of supervision. The door was installed. As you can see from the picture, it’s quite a bit smaller than the frame and will need to be cemented in place.  

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Back yard view.

The window fit a little better, but the sliding track is bent or something. It is hard to open and close it. 

And the guy had the gall to say that T owed him yet another 500 pesos on top of the balance still owed. T paid up. He offered to do the bathroom window as well. T said that his work was disappointing and that he wouldn’t get any more work nor recommendations from her. My husband was a little less diplomatic with his thoughts on the workmanship when he saw him.

So the bathroom window, the handle for the zaguán, and the aluminum trim that holds the glass in place will be done by another ferretería (metalworking shop). Meanwhile, my husband is going to add some cement and rebar in order to fix the fitting of the back door.

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Greenhouse and Backyard

About a month ago, I noticed that they were opening up a road in San Lucas, a little town near us. I mentioned that it would be really nice if we could have some of that lovely black dirt to fill in our backyard. So my husband made a deal with the dump truck drivers. Two loads of rock-less dirt, $100 pesos a load, delivered right to our front door. Awesome.

He and my son spent several days moving the dirt one wheelbarrow at a time. The dirt is still bound together in bit clods yet but we expect once rainy season starts, that will fix itself. We added an apple tree, a lime tree, an avocado tree and a papaya tree to our mini-huerta (orchard). The chickens ate all the leaves off the papaya tree within the hour. Then Lil’ pup gnawed the trunk to the ground. So much for that tree.

Since the chickens are always a problem in the backyard no matter how many lectures I give them on not eating the plants, I thought we could make an upstairs porch specifically for plants. Therefore, that was the next project.

My husband and son made steps down to the area that had once been Joey’s roof. Then they did one full wall and two half-walls to enclose the area in. The herrero (ironworker) who made the solar panel base made two sets of bars for the front. I think we might get two more for the other side eventually because I’m still not happy with our security updates.

For the roof my husband wanted to put regular laminas (corrugated tin) but I insisted that for the good of the plants we needed the clear ones. Of course, they cost more. So we went to Salvatierra to a lamina warehouse to get them at a reduced rate. We got enough laminas to cover the area of 4 meters x 7 meters for $3000 pesos. Up they went.

Then another load of dirt to fill in the planting area. It’s still quite bare as we are waiting for the rainy season to plant more. Although the chickens won’t be able to get at these plants, Kitty has decided that this area was made for her exclusive use. She’s been laying on my strawberry plant and beneath the grape plant and using the other side as a litter box. This is infuriating to my husband. Now he knows how I feel about the chickens!

The last outdoor updates were the sidewalk from the backdoor to the animal area and the path to the ajibe (water storage area). I’ve been asking my husband for 10 years to made a walkway so that in the rainy season we can get to one area to another without tromping through the mud which is then tromped through the house. He finally did.

The chickens believe that this is their personal superhighway now. I think it’s time to reduce the flock. Chicken soup anyone?

The path to the ajibe he made from pieces of sidewalk that had been dumped in La Yacata. Works for me!


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