Tag Archives: Laundry

A bit of remodeling–The Laundry Room

laundry area

The former second-floor laundry area, complete with hand pump connected to the ajibe (dry well).

Even though I now have a washer at the little house in Sunflower Valley, we opted to keep our laundry room in La Yacata with some improvements, that is.  I never minded hand washing and having a wash area is a good thing in the event of a variety of end of the world scenarios.  I wouldn’t want my family to be dirty and ragged now, would I?

We picked up a larger lavadera (washboard) when we picked up the toilet and sink.  I wanted one where the water from the hand pump would be on one side instead of the barrica (barrel) so that’s what we got.  

It was heavy and cumbersome to take upstairs.  The base that held the former washboard had to be altered to accommodate the new one.  My husband wanted to have it flush against the wall which required removing part of the washboard.  As we no longer had our power inverter to run the power tools, he tried using a hammer and chisel on it.  Well, it cracked.  After looking at it for about 10 minutes, he decided the only thing to do was to take it to the little house in Sunflower Valley, which has electricity and finish the job.

That meant carting it back downstairs, loading it onto the truck, driving to Sunflower Valley and using the power tool to cut that stubborn piece off.  Then we had to bring it back, haul it up the stairs again and reposition the monster.  A little bit of jiggling and a little more hammer and chiseling and it fell perfectly into position.

I also wanted a backsplash because I do tend to throw the suds around when I wash.  So using the leftover of tile, that’s what my husband did. He also painted a stripe.  He really likes painting stripes.  One time, I remember coming home from work in Virginia and found he had painted a green stripe all around the living room.  When I asked him why he had done that, he said he was bored.  This time I at least got to pick the color of the stripe.

The last bit was installing the double-sided mirror in the space that used to be a window.  The whole concept just seemed confusing to my son, but the end result is more light reflected back into both the laundry room and the main room.



Other room reflection

The laundry room isn’t quite finished.  The handpump will be moved downstairs to get water directly from the dry well. We still need to get a faucet and tinaco (water storage container) and then figure out how to get water to the second-floor roof.  But that’s a project for another day.


Filed under Construction

After ecstasy the laundry

local laundrymat

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

Laundry is another big water use.  We have a specially constructed laundry area on the second floor.  Instead of hauling buckets of water from the ajibe (dry well) we have a hand pump.  My mom sent it to us from the States as we were unable to find any sort of non-electric pump in the whole of México.  It’s wonderful!  My son’s job is to fill the barrica (barrel).  My job is to wash the clothes on the washboard using a Tupper ware container to scoop the water from the barrica (barrel).  My husband’s job is to wash the really heavy things, like blankets.  The wash water goes down another pipe into our garden and waters the plants.

laundry area

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

Sometimes, however, we are out of water at the house. This requires a trip to Quiahuyo. There is another natural spring there that has been divided into two area. One side feeds the lake, the other is diverted into a wash trough. The wash water goes to a swampy area near the lake and the plants filter the soap (which is typically biodegradable) from the water, which then runs into the lake.

Washing in the arroyo (stream) is not an easy task. Therefore, everyone has to pitch in and help. As it is uncommon to see men washing in the arroyo (stream) when my husband, son, and father-in-law come with me to wash, we are the object of mirth. The passers-by laugh, make comments about the gringa washing with the marimachos (men who are effeminate). Well, most of those comments come from the machismos (macho men) drinking their caguamas (beer) in the shade by the lake. The women who pass, however, say quietly in passing ‘que bueno’ referring both to my own industriousness and the fact that my men are assisting.

doing the laundry

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

everybody helps out

Everybody helps out.

Then the wet clothing is loaded back in the truck (or in our moto cart) and hauled back to the house, up to the second floor, and hung out to dry. Besides the fact that we don’t have electricity to run a dryer, clothes dryers are rare, even among the wealthy. The sun is all a body needs to dry. However, make sure the clothes are hung inside out to reduce the amount of sun bleaching.

moto cart

My husband converted an old bicycle trailer into this nifty moto cart.

On occasion, an article of clothing is needed and the sun hasn’t been shining. So, we improvise. A little fire and a few minutes and its dry enough to wear in a pinch.

the emergency dryer

A bit of fire and instant dryer.




Filed under La Yacata Revolution, Water issues