Tag Archives: living in rural Mexico

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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This post was proofread by Grammarly.

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Surving an EMP Attack in La Yacata

electricty quote

Up until recently, I was completely oblivious as to what an EMP attack was. (See Dirty and Ragged) So for starters, an EMP is an Electro Magnetic Pulse that could be caused by solar flares or by various weapons that have been developed by a variety of nations. The result of this pulse would be irreparable damage to electronic devices. Preppers predict the lack of electricity power will cause complete societal collapse. I’m not buying that. Societies have existed prior to electronics, so there is no reason why they could not continue to exist, just altered. But then, I’m not a full-fledged Prepper, so maybe there’s something they know that they aren’t sharing. Maybe.

Regardless, I recommend La Yacata as the place to be for surviving an EMP attack. After all, we don’t have electricity and have been managing just fine so far.

Just looking at the list of recommendations from a variety of sites will show how perfect La Yacata is for surviving this event:

Buy a bike and learn to use it. There here is a no brainer. Each of us in La Yacata not only has a bike but know how to ride it.

Get a horse but don’t try to ride a horse without proper training. Since the expected result of an EMP is the return to the pre-industrial age, horses will again become a major means of transportation. We have horses in La Yacata (See A horse is a horse). Our neighbors also have horses in La Yacata (See Hate thy neighbor). The Lienzo Charro (See Jaripeo) is right across the street from La Yacata. I think we’ve got this one covered.

Assemble a survival group. Not all of our neighbors are rateros (thieves) (See Good Fences Make good neighbors–unless your neighbor steals it) We have several neighbors that have skills that would come in useful after the EMP attack. There are the plomero (plumber), the herrero (metal worker), the carpintero (carpenter), and my husband the albañil (bricklayer). There’s also Super Prez who is a constructor (builder), several campesinos (farmers) and even a few puerqueros (pig keepers), chiveros (goatherds) and polleros (chicken keepers).

Avoid large cities. La Yacata doesn’t even qualify as a village, so it’s not on anyone’s first attack list. While we aren’t so very far from Moroleon, which has delusions of grandeur and believes itself to be a city, we’re far enough outside the boundaries that we have no public utilities, hence, not a place where people would think to flee. We’re good with that.

Don’t wait for the government to save you. We’ve already experienced first-hand the mechanisms of local government here. (See Pleading in the Presidencia and Justice for All?) There’s no reason to expect that anything would change in the event of an EMP attack. It’s every man, woman, and child for himself or herself these days.

Use up all your cash. We do have some cash but don’t have it stashed away in a bank account, which in the event of an EMP attack would be zapped anyway. Cash will not hold its value very long after the EMP thingy, so knowing how to barter is a far better currency. This we can do. We have traded a horse for wood rental for construction (See Up on the Roof that nearly wasn’t), traded goats for pacas (alfalfa bales), traded chickens for harnesses, traded classes for a bicycle, and so on.

Move away from nuclear reactors. The only nuclear power plant in Mexico is in Veracruz, far, far away from La Yacata. In the event of electronic discompuesto (breaking down), radioactive contamination should be minimum in La Yacata.

Farm at home. We do this. (See Sharecropping and Container Gardening). We’ve even won an honorable mention from Mother Earth News for Star Modern Homesteaders in 2014. No worries here.

Do laundry off the grid.We can hand wash in our laundry room or go to the arroyo (stream) and wash there. (See After Ecstasy, the Laundry and Water Woes) We are in a better position not to become dirty and ragged as so many will do after their washing machines go caput.

Go low tech.The more electronic devices you are dependent upon, the more you will end up losing after the EMP attack. Our kitchen is completely electricity free. (See No Spark–All Sizzle). Our hand tools are just that, hand tools. We like to watch a movie or two but are perfectly capable of creating our own fun if needed. My son has been learning the guitar, non-electric good times there! I even have a treadle sewing machine that provides me with hours of creative entertainment.

Make the decision to survive and keep your spirits up.Yes, this is an actual tip. Attitude is everything. Despite the hardship, tragedy, and heartbreak that we’ve experienced in Mexico, we always try to look for the positive. It’s really our default family dynamic.

With all these things going for us in La Yacata, I think we’d survive an EMP attack and not take up cannibalism as society collapses around us.

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Surviving global Climate change in La Yacata

What-If-Its-A-Hoax
I’m not going to debate the fact that the earth is undergoing a global climate change.  The evidence is unrefutable. I’m not interested in laying the blame at anyone’s door. It’s really too late for that.

So provided global climate change is a given, what does this mean for the residents of this planet?

Believe it or not, many scientists predict an ice age. Our weather here in Mexico in March 2016 seems to support that theory.


Other scientists suggest changes that are just as catastrophic and that will continue beyond this century.

Rising temperatures

Changes in precipitation affecting the growing seasons. (See Also Extreme March Weather Pattern Yields Snow in Mexico, Historic Flooding in South and Record Northeast Heat)

Megadroughts

–Hurricanes and other storms increasing in intensity. (See Also Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: the threat of irreparable harm)

— Rise in sea level causing coastal flooding. (See Also No planet for optimists: coastal flooding may come sooner and bigger than we think)

According to some, global warming will have benefits for countries like Greenland, so you might want to pack your bags and head out.

However, I’d like to present La Yacata as an alternative to Greenland in the event of global climate change. After all, if those experts that predict an ice age are correct, Greenland is definitely not the place to be.

What do scientists suggest are the best characteristics of a good place to live in the event of global climate change?

Not on the coast. As the seal level rises, coastal areas will be underwater. I expect that holds true for some islands too. Fortunately, La Yacata is smack dab in the middle of Mexico, far, far away from the coastline.

Not in the forest. Drought from the change in precipitation will cause much of the forest to dry out. Dry areas with dry trees have a good chance of wildfire. Wildfire is not good for any crops you might have planted, animals you might have or houses you might have built. La Yacata is definitely not in a forested area.

Not in the mountains or the valleys. Superstorms and rapidly melting snows will cause mudslides. Drought will cause landslides. Being in the mountains during one of these events might result in your being found in the valley the next morning. Being at the base of the mountain during one of these events might result in your being buried the next morning. Technically, La Yacata is in the valley but situated far enough away from those rocky cliffs that the danger is minimal.

Not in the desert. Changes in precipitation will make desert regions dryer. Although by the same token, some areas that previously had low rainfall might just get a lot more. La Yacata isn’t at the top of the scale in this category because it tends to be very hot and very dry most of the year, but a dramatic climate change might just remedy that.

Not in urban sprawl. In urban areas, there are just too many people and too few resources. Quite a bit of usable dirt is under cement. Rooftop gardens are good, but not as prevalent as they could be. With global climate shifts changing the agricultural season, having access to cultivated organic food could be the difference between life and death. La Yacata is definitely not urban and there are plenty of nooks and crannies where container gardens can be grown. (See Container Gardening)

Not in an area prone to hurricanes, blizzards or tornados. With the increasing intensity of storms, areas that already have a history of hurricanes, blizzards, or tornados can expect to experience even more. Being so far inland, La Yacata is not likely to suffer much from the effects of a hurricane. It’s southern central area also precludes the likelihood of a blizzard, but in the event of one, the Flores family is prepared! Mexico, in general, does have tornados, an average of 10 per year, however, Guanajuato is not in the top states where a tornado is likely to form. If you are interested–the top four states where a tornado is likely to occur are Mexico State, Veracruz, Tlaxcala, and Chiapas. The most we ever get in La Yacata is remolinos (air swirls) that my husband swears will dissipate if you whistle loud enough. As long as he can pucker up, I expect we are safe enough here.

Not in a society dependent on Mono-crop Agriculture or Fossil Fuels. While that statement seems to include pretty much of the known world, it’s important to remember that there are still pockets of societies that live in harmony with nature. Those societies will be the go-to guys in the event of catastrophic climate change. Third world countries will probably fair better than quite a number of first world civilizations just because the average person still remembers how to do things for him or herself. (See Also How Climate change affects world society and The impacts on society due to climate change)

By the same token, La Yacata meets several of the qualifications of places you should consider in the event of global climate change.

Experts suggest a place that is:

Self-sufficient. Survival is more likely in a self-sufficient agriculturally based community where livestock feed is grown, topsoil maintained, and crop diversity is encouraged. So the Amish might be a good community to join. Or La Yacata. (See Let’s talk about food)

High elevation. Living at a higher elevation would reduce both the effects of drought and flooding. La Yacata is 1848 m (6063 ft) above sea level. Not as high as Los Amoles, but less chance of snow.

Off-grid. Flooding, superstorms, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards and other weather phenomenon will affect public services, especially electricity. I remember when Hurrican Isabel hit the area where we were living in Virginia. We were without electricity for nearly a month. In La Yacata, we have no public utilities, so in the event of a power outage, we’d be just fine. (See There is still no Electricity)

Diverse and Resilient environment. Being in an environment that can withstand the elements will be essential in the event of global climate change. I can honestly say that La Yacata does just that. Every year, someone lights a fire in La Yacata and the mesquite and cactus have been able to recover each time. In fact, quite a bit of the vegetation comes back stronger. (See Also Humans survived the last ice age by sheltering in a Garden of Eden)

Ample water supply. With changes in precipitation, water sources might dry up. La Yacata is not the best place to be for this category. We have a hole that poses as a pozo (well) but no way to access the water. (See Water Woes) On the other hand, the communities just up the road from us have their own water source from underground springs. We do collect rainwater and are very conscious of our water use, though, so just maybe it will be ok.

Ample food sources. Crop failure will be rampant. Most agricultural these days is limited rather than diverse. Mexico has such a wide range of corn that grows in such diverse areas that odds are, some certainly will survive climate change. Unfortunately, Monsanto has been trying to take over down here and it’s hard to say how long Mexico has before their maize heritage is destroyed as well. Here in La Yacata, we are able to grow our own organic foodstuff AND have a plethora of foraged foods available. (See Let’s Talk about Food in La Yacata)

So, as you can see, La Yacata definitely meets some of the requirements for a place to be in the event of global climate change.  Even the movie The Day After Tomorrow recommends heading to Mexico!

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Knockout

My baby is growing up!

The other day my son left school as usual. A girl in his class was running on the other side of the street, but couldn’t keep her eyes off my son. She ran smack dab into an electric post, knocking herself out. She was taken to the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) to be checked out.

Girls in the upper-class hover near my son during the lunch break. He’s busy minding his own business or horsing around with friends when the girls start with their “pst, pst” so that he looks in their direction.  This seems a bit rude in my opinion–sort of the equivalent of construction worker catcalls, but hey, maybe their mothers didn’t teach them any better.

The boys in my son’s class call him “Steroids” because of the muscles in his biceps. He doesn’t actually take steroids (as if I have to clarify that) but daily living in La Yacata makes sure he’s not a floppy string bean–which apparently is so much out of the norm these days that both boys and girls in his class (and in other grades) have noticed as you can see.

Here are some of  his daily exercises:

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Pumping iron

cam04405.jpgThe garafon lunge
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cam04426.jpgGoat sprinting
cam04417.jpgHay bale lifts

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and a little parkour thrown in just for fun

And every now and then, an hour of moto pushing from Moroleon to La Yacata when the moto is descompuesta (broke down)

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It’s no wonder my son has become quite the ladykiller. By the way, the girl that knocked herself out was just fine. She recovered enough to go to the movies with the class and snagged the seat next to my son, goose egg on her forehead and all.

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