Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Chacala Home

It’s been fun setting up the kitchen/eating/laundry/hanging out area of my new place in Chacala. I have been here at Dona Lupe’s for a little more than a month. I lived here during my second winter in Chacala, and struggled quite a bit to be comfortable here. But it's much easier and nicer this year. I am really happy here. The view is lovely and I can garden in the dirt, and there's plenty of good water.The Chacala town water system was very erratic here until about five months ago. And it usually had muddy stream water coming in. Now we have clean looking water for three or four hours every day. Well, most days, anyway. Enough to keep the water supply in the tinaco on the roof full, and ready to serve the toilets and showers in this house. One each upstairs and downstairs.

That year I had to buy all my water for cooking, dishes, laundry and housing cleaning in five gallon jugs. It was expensive. I had to fill my bucket from the house when I used house water for cleaning. So I rarely washed the patio floor. But now I wash it every day and I like it a lot better. Things should be okay in the water department until the gated “community” succeeds in stealing Chacala’s water. Again.

And now the walls in my room, which were bright pink, are white and clean looking. I love the space.

The trickiest thing has to been to figure out how to keep the sun off the eating and cooking areas on the patio. Especially where the refrigerator and food are sitting. The sun comes pouring in for a couple of hours in the morning, and then again in the later afternoon. My fridge can barely keep up with the heat here, so I can’t have the sun shining on it.

If I had tons of money in my decorating budget, I would have bought a bunch of those reed curtains with cords to roll them up and down. But they are pretty expensive here, and they require a level place to hang from, which I don’t have.
For part of the east and south facing open areas, I used reed mats for shade and privacy. They are $2.70US each. They don’t roll up so they are hanging “permanently”, to block the sun and view from a neighboring house. For the rest of the south facing area I have some quadruple layer mosquito netting attached to the edge of the roof, which blocks the sun most of the day. It just comes down a foot or so, but it’s enough to keep the sun off most of the patio.
For the west wall, I have tried several versions of hanging old sheets up to block the sun. It’s so blindingly bright on the patio in the late afternoon, I wanted block most of the area, at least during the afternoon. The rest of the day I roll the sheets up and clip them in place with clothes pins. It took me awhile to realize I could attached the top edge of the sheets to the angled roof piece with a long piece of old garden house. It blocks the sun along the roof line completely, and keeps the sun out all afternoon.Eventually I am going to buy a blue plastic tarp, my landlady’s choice. In place of my old sheets. Blue plastic tarps reminds me of junky yards around parked motor homes in poor rural neighborhoods in the U.S. Not my favorite image. But it will surely look better than old sheets.
I have a table for eating and sitting around talking to people. And a table for washing dishes, and storing them. And a stool for the clothes washing tub, and two tables for cooking, with a two burner gas stove, and my food boxes. I use the top of the fridge for my vitamins, sunscreen, and other little things.I guess my patio looks strange to visitors, but it’s working great for me. I am very content here. The main downside is having animals attempt to visit in the night. I now have a big piece of hardware cloth to block the staircase, and that seems to be working. At least for now.

If I am going to be home when I think the town water may come on, I go down to the street and turn on the town faucet. And then the faucet to my hose. The town water line goes directly to my tinaco on the roof, with the one faucet for a hose. I have a string tied around the hose and the other end to a post on the patio.Then I pull the open end of the water hose up onto my patio, so I can hear or see the water went it starts running. Then I fill my water containers and wash clothes etc. Then I let the hose down and run downstairs in the yard and fill the watering container and hand water the plants. And then turn the water off. Works okay. I love being able to count on regular water, and clear water at that.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Looks good and comfy. Amazing what a different color of paint can do for you, isn't it?
Just a thought here; but if those mats blow in the breeze and get in you face when you are sitting at the table, you could run a line of wire across the bottom and tie them to it, the way you tied the top to the hose.
Merry Christmas. Brenda