Tag Archives: living in rural Mexico

Mid-month Updates

2020 has been a rough start, but nothing we can’t handle. So here’s the latest from the Flores ranchito.

Vehicles

January 1 my new-to-me motorcycle decided it wasn’t going to start. It was something electrical, but what it is specifically had him baffled for two weeks. It turns out, the previous owner had done some electrical “upgrades” that crossed some wires. Taking those out and replacing the box where all the wires meet seems to have done the job. It still needs a new front light and gas gauge, but it runs yet again.

January means paying for the “contribución materia vehicular impuesto” or vehicle tax. In comparison to last month, this month was a walk in a park. All we had to do was take our tarjetas de circulacion to the Institute de Seguridad Social del Estado de Guanajuato (ISSEG) pharmacy. Each moto costs $135 pesos this year and the truck was $487. It goes up every year.

Inflation

Speaking of things going up, the garafon (jug) of water from Santorini now costs $36 pesos, 2 pesos more than December and 6 pesos more than last January. Those refillable water stations that are springing up all over town are looking more and more attractive at 12 pesos a refill. However, I just don’t know how filtered the water is and where the water comes from in the first place. Is it hooked up to the town water supply? Because that water runs through miles of hot copper pipes isn’t drinkable at all! 

The internet also went up with no notification whatsoever. That meant we had to make two trips to town to pay the bill since our payment didn’t cover the increase the first time around. Our Blue Satellite internet fee is now $399 pesos. The satellite internet is under a 2-year contract, so theoretically it shouldn’t go up until the end of that period, but who knows? 

Stores in town are charging for plastic bags now as well. It’s nominal, at the most $1 peso per bag, but I wasn’t prepared my first day shopping of the new year and hadn’t brought my own. I’ll know better for next time. Some places, like Mexico City, have prohibited the use of single use bags, which is a good thing overall.

Gas has gone up. Soda will now cost 1.26 per liter. Alcohol prices will go up an estimated 4.5% excluding beer, aguamiel and pulque. It will cost more to ride the bus and leave Mexico by plane. But it’s just how things work–the hike in the daily minimum salary to $123.22 pesos ($6.50 USD) has to be balanced out somehow. 

I’m not an economist but speaking from experience, it’s awfully hard to manage on $123.22 pesos per day.

Animals

The last baby goat of this batch was born the first week of January. The moms of the kids born in December have gone into heat, at least if Stinky Chivo’s romancing is any indication. So we expect another crop of goats in June or so. 

We still have too many animals. Terry and George are still not friends. My husband didn’t prepare as well as he normally does regarding food during the long, dry season, so that’s been a weekly expense. 

Health Care

As it is now a new year, I needed to go and make an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor in May. I’m not sure how things will go when it’s time for my appointment since INSABI took over for both IMSS and Seguro Popular on January 1. There have been reports of formerly covered individuals needing to pay from everything from gauze to surgeries once covered by the national healthcare policies. 

If it comes down to it, I’ll be able to piece together something by getting my own lab work done at a private lab and having the doctors next to the pharmacy write me a prescription if I need a dosage change. Otherwise, I can buy my medication over the counter at Farmacias Similares. It will add to expenses, and we’ll have to cut other things out, but I’ll make it.   

So I’m feeling a bit frazzled and it’s only mid-January. I’ll need to take some time out and set up a more restricted budget for this year. How are things where you live?

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Filed under Animal Husbandry, Driving Hazards, Economics, Health

Showering in Rural Mexico

Today I’d like to talk about showering in Mexico because odds are you won’t get the luxury of a bath unless you are willing to sit in a horse trough in rural Mexico. 

We have a shower and we have hot water, but that hasn’t always been the case. So here are some showering things you might need to know about before stripping down.

C on the shower knob stands for caliente (hot) and F is frio (cold). And even though the hot water control should be on the left side and the cold on the right, that may not be true for the shower you are using. 

bathtub ledge

Showers are often built with small ledges that you can trip over if you aren’t careful. This is so water doesn’t spill out onto the floor. Our shower has a sort of reverse engineering. The shower is slightly lower than the bathroom floor and the floor is angled toward the center drain. Not all showers have that sloping and sometimes you can get quite a bit of water build up around your feet.

If you run out of water during your shower, mid-shampoo, hopefully, there is a barrica (barrel) of rainwater that someone can bring you a bucketful of to rinse out those soapy locks. Running out of water happens more often than you might imagine.

tinaco

Houses have tinacos (those ugly black round storage containers on the roof) that if you are connected to the town water supply will fill when the water is on. The thing is, water may only run two or three days per week. The tinaco is supposed to store enough water to get you to the next delivery. That’s not always the case. 

If you know ahead of time that there isn’t any water for a shower, you can take a bucket bath. When the occasion calls for it, my husband has been kind enough to heat water on the stove to take the chill off my bucket bath. Most homes have at least one enormous aluminum pot that will quickly heat water for your absolutions. Some have electric water heating devices. Just make sure to unplug it before testing the water temperature with your hand.

heating up water

The typical water application device for a bucket bath is a plastic bowl that we call a scooper. It’s the same plastic container that is used for washing clothes when it’s done with a washboard setup. 

water heater

If you have enough water for showering, then you’ll need to decide if it’s worth the effort to turn on the boila (gas hot water heater) or not. I’m a little afraid of it, having had my eyebrows singed before. 

The procedure for lighting the boila is as follows:

  • Turn the red switch to Piloto (pilot).
  • Push down the red button 10 or 15 times in rapid succession.
  • Open the portal.
  • Light a match.
  • Hold down the red button.
  • Wave the match around inside near the pilot light contraption until it whooshes. 
  • Slowly release the button. 
  • If the flame begins to waver, press the red button firmly down again.
  • When the flame is steady, turn the red switch to Abierto (open)
  • Close the portal.
  • Back away quickly.

After you have successfully lit the boila, then you need to wait around for about 20 minutes until enough water is warm enough for a shower. 

Make sure to turn the boila off after your shower. The contraption is gas-powered. If it is not vented properly, the gas can kill you or at the very least cause carbon dioxide poisoning if left on for an extended period of time.

electric water heater

I’ve also had the dubious pleasure of showering under an electric shower head. Although I loved every minute of the hot water on demand, it still made me very nervous. Water and electricity aren’t exactly the best of friends. However, if it is installed correctly and in working order, then there is no risk of electrocution. 

solar heater

The newest rage in our area is the solar water heater. It mounts on the roof and connects both to the tinaco and pipes that lead into the house. Many people who have this setup say that the water comes out boiling and even the knobs are too hot to touch. Yikes! We choose not to get a solar water heater because there are occasions when we don’t have water in the tinaco. If there isn’t water to run through the solar heater at all times, it can burn up the components. 

If it seems too much effort to get hot water, take heart. If your black tinaco is on the roof, the water is a comfortable shower temperature in the early afternoon. 

Most showers are set up on a gravity system. If the tinaco isn’t far enough from the showerhead, you may not get a lot of water pressure. Rinsing long hair might be complicated with the trickle-down effect. During the rainy season, the rain may be coming down harder than the water comes out of the showerhead. Feel free to take advantage of the heavenly shower Mother Nature has provided outdoors. 

rub a dub dub

Bathing children is somewhat simpler. Babies can fit into the sink off the side of the lavadora (washboard). Small children can splash about in the laundry tub. And several children fit nicely in a horse trough, which comes in metal and plastic for your bathing pleasure. 

Now I’ve heard that there are hot water on demand setups, but I’ve never been to a house that has one. I’ve also been to a plomería that had not just bathtubs, but jacuzzis, so they do exist too. These are just things outside of my own experience in this area of Mexico. 

So there you go! Tips for showing in rural Mexico. Follow these and you’ll be squeaky clean in no time!

Tell me, how do you shower?

 

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Filed under Construction, Cultural Challenges, Homesteading, Water issues

A Horse of Many Colors

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Cookie waited until we had left for the U.S. last month to have her anxiously awaited baby. My husband was over the moon that it was a boy and promptly named him Red, although I’m not sure the name quite fits him. He’s a mahogany color if anything, with yellow socks and a black muzzle with what looks like mascara rings around his eyes. Horsey people say that the color the hairs around the mouth are will determine what the final coat color the horse will be. So I guess we’ll just wait and see with little Red.

He’s friendly and smart and thinks he’s a dog. This angered Puppy so much that he ran away for a few days right after Red arrived. Puppy wasn’t interested in yet another new friend. He got over it and came back though he has made his new hideyhole where the food is kept because Red can’t get in there. 

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Cookie is an excellent mama, if maybe a little too protective of her son. One day the little Chivita (one of the triplets) managed to get into the stall with Cookie and Red, only mama wasn’t having any of that. She bit Chivita’s tail clean off. Needless to say, Chivita isn’t as curious about the new arrival as she was before. Her tail healed up just fine as well.

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About a week after our return, we had our one and only baby goat of the year. I think she was premature because she was just so small and wasn’t up and around as soon as most of our little ones. She’s doing fine now though, so it’s all good. We haven’t come up with a name though. Suggestions?

Some of our goats are in heat now and our hunka hunka burning love macho goat can’t seem to handle all the hormones in the air. He’s become aggressive. He’s butted the door until it has come off its hinges. He’s butted the wall between the goats and Lady until it fell over. If this keeps up too much longer, it might be time to trade for a new macho.

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