Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Work Begins....

When we bought our house we knew it had a septic tank in the back yard and it did not connect to the city sewer system.  Part of our negotiations were that the former owner would pay to have the connection put in, and that money was put into an escrow account, held by our Notario (lawyer).  We still don't have the final papers for ownership of our house, which we have to take to the "city" office to get the permit to connect to the city sewer system.  But we can have the work done at the house and when the paperwork is in order, all that has to be done is hook into their system.
We had the opportunity to hire the contractor who has been working next door and since we need both plumbing and electric upgrades, wanted to get started on the work.  Last week he told Bill he'd start on Monday.  Well, Monday was a National Holiday, so we didn't think he'd work.  However, a friend here said if Johnny (the contractor) said he'd be here, he would.  Another friend said something like.. "No way is anyone going to work on that holiday...  everyone is still celebrating!".
Guess who was right?  
Johnny and his helper showed up around 7:30 Tuesday morning.
 Bill has built a couple of houses and has always done our maintenance work.  He had some ideas of how he'd like the work to be done.  Johnny, who doesn't speak English, had his own ideas.  That's Armando, our next door neighbor and good friend, on the left.  Translating back and forth...  
I'm not going to say that Johnny totally had his own way (Bill can be very diplomatic) but there have been several times this week when Bill comes back into the house kinda shaking his head and muttering to himself.
Basically, the new sewer line will run alongside that fence line, with a junction close to where the wheelbarrow is sitting to connect the kitchen and laundry.  It will turn at the back, where the green grass is, and run along the sidewalk and connect the bathroom.  Currently we don't have hot water in the bathroom and so that needs work.  Our electric needs upgraded and while everything is dug up and trenches are open, Bill wanted conduit also put down for electric wire.  I'm simplifying it all, but this isn't an overnight job...  Johnny and his helper will probably be here for a few weeks.

 The work begins...
 That long brick and concrete flower bed was demolished and hauled off...

Then the concrete was jackhammered in pieces and the digging began!

After the trench was dug, (that's Johnny's helper) they had a unique way of determining "plumb".  They had a piece of hose;  poured water into it....  measured a spot on the wall...  and the guy on the other end saw where the water was in the hose on his end.  Sure, they had a plumb rule, but that was pretty neat!

They left the little planter at the gate since the electric is currently coming through there, and the box for the sewer connection is just on the other side of the gate.

This is the trench across the driveway that will house the pipes connecting the kitchen and laundry to the rest of the pipes.

What happened to all that broken concrete?  Well, here it's okay to just pile it in the street (or in this case, right across the street from our house) until you're done and then haul it all away.  A truck came and delivered a pile of sand (to mix concrete) which you can see at the left of the pile.

Still digging....  this is where the connection box will be.

The pipe is delivered!
Bill inspected it...  Hmmm...  not as heavy weight as he'd like.  The diameter is okay, but to get a heavier grade pipe it would have to be ordered from Guadalajara and would take several weeks to arrive.  This will do....

However...  another little conference...
Johnny wanted to put a clean-out box at the junction.  Since neither span is more than 50' Bill didn't want an extra concrete box in the driveway.  The work went on without the box.

A pile of fittings to connect the junction....

The guys threaded 2 new electric wires through that red pipe.  Bill has bought a new circuit breaker box to upgrade our electric.

The sewer line is underneath the electric conduit...  all ready to be covered with dirt. 

And at the street....  the pipe is ready for city connection.  But there'll be a lot more work here later...

I've been wanting a fountain in the yard - hopefully attract more birds and just for enjoyment.  Since we had such a big order from Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta that we knew we'd have to have delivered in some way, (there's only so much a person can carry home on the bus) we added this fountain to that order.  Bill set it up about where it will eventually be just to see if it works.  It just recycles water with a submersible pump, but will need an electric source when permanently there.

The 8 different colors of Bougainvillea are set into the trench, along with the Mexican petunias.  It will take a couple of years for them to really do their thing, but that's okay....  they are still quite attractive.

The lines are all buried, the plants are in place...  Bill's watering them to give them a good start.

The guys move into the back yard...  cut a trench for the bathroom sewer line...

The junction of the kitchen line into the main line...

Here is the bathroom sewer line all covered up.  That's an RV sewer hookup you see....  while we don't know if we'll be bringing our own motorhome down, we may have RVing friends visit and could use an RV dump.

Back to the street...
This brick box will have a concrete cover.  This is where the junction is that will hook us up to the city.  We would like to have a shut-off valve here, but Bill hasn't been able to find one yet.  We'll see...  

This is where the fountain will stay.  Although it will need more work to "permanentize" it, Bill had the guys go ahead and use some of the dirt here.  I'm already thinking of ways to make it more attractive...  but that's a "future" project.

After those 50+ photos in my last blog, I decided to limit this one - the work will continue, and I'll keep on documenting it with photos...  but...  for now, you get an idea of what's going on.  

That's All For Today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mexico Revolution Day!

Yesterday was the day Mexico celebrates the start of the Mexican Revolution.  A struggle  that lasted over 10 years in all, to overthrow the dictator and gain political independence.  While officially the day is November 20, the 3rd Monday in November is the day the schools and government offices close as well as many businesses.  But the holiday is celebrated all weekend...  at least here in this area.  You can feel the holiday spirit on Friday...  the parties have begun.  On Sunday, here in Lo de Marcos, there is a huge parade.  The parade starts at the school, goes down several blocks towards the highway, crosses over a side street, then goes back up the main street towards the plaza.  At the plaza there are food vendors, music, games for kids, dancing, music, lots of photos taken...  more music...   and did I mention there's lots of alcohol involved?

So, this post is mostly photos...  lots and lots of photos.  You can stop now...  or you can scroll quickly through...  or you can even stop and read some of the captions.  It was a very festive day...  so much going on.... the parade and then the dancing horse competition....  it was wonderful!

 The Parade Begins!        
All the schools participated in the parade...   some in their school colors...

Some dressed as they would have during the Revolution...

Lots of signs depicting the principal people involved...  as well as important dates to remember.

Lots of portrayals of those who fought the fight...

These are obviously very important men who were involved...

More kids in character...  note the bandoliers...   

I saw several "Pancho Villas"....  

Same little kids...  but I just loved this little girls expression!

Some dancing to celebrate the end of the revolution...

Even the soldiers need a drink of water....

There were a lot of Moms and Dads seeing that their kids walked all those city blocks without mishap.  And lots of teachers directing the action!

Look at all the mustaches and beards!

The parade started with the little kids and moved up in age as it progressed...
These kids are high school age...  looks like they did well in their Mexican History class!

This group of girls show us that it wasn't just the men who fought for their independence...

In fact, they did a Re-enactment of battles between the different sides...

This is probably the "new" president, elected after the dictatorship fell.

This group of horses and riders were also "soldiers"....

A more "up-to-date" group of girls, I think a gymnastic group...

These boys stopped several times along the parade route and performed gymnastic feats!

All festivals need a Queen...  and this little lady was a very regal princess!

More sports...  these boys had boxing matches along the route.  They had a good time feinting and ducking..  and laughing!

Now...  along came the adults.  This band played traditional music and were joined by friends and family.

I really don't know if this is the Queen float...  these ladies were not teenagers.  But they definitely were regal!

And following them was this group of guys.  Maybe local ranchers?  Maybe a social group?  I don't know, but they shuffled along to the very end.

The Mariachi Band!
Great music!  And, an important role later as they played the music for the Dancing Horses.

These are those horses and their riders!  After the parade and many photos are taken, they'll perform - and compete - showing off their fancy footwork.

This photo shows how big and massive these horses are...  (later, when I was looking down from a balcony taking photos, the perspective makes them look smaller than they really are)
This little guy didn't participate in the dancing horse competition, but isn't he cute!

I've shown mostly the parade folks...  but the sidewalks were lined with people and many of them dressed in traditional Mexican attire...  and so colorful!

The parade ended at the Plaza....   you can see some of the horses at the far left lined up getting their photo taken.  Those golf carts were in the parade, carrying little princesses and other folks along the route.

On the plaza there were activities for kids...  like this plaster and paint project.

And...  all kinds of food!

We even saw this vendor...  selling Tuba, a drink made from the palm tree.  - I still don't know what part.

This guy is selling oysters on the half shell...
Looked pretty good, but I was up on a balcony and he was too far below.

This is our friend Molly and one of her neighborhood kids.  She is our Spanish teacher for our Wednesday lessons...  but she also teaches the kids (and now teaches adults) English.  
Molly and her husband Sasha, teach yoga, languages, meditation and have other projects going...  and just opened their coffee shop...  which is where the balcony is where I am taking the horse photos.

And here's Memo with Christian standing behind him.  
We caught up with them during the parade and a bunch of us all headed to the coffee shop to watch the festivities from above.

The Dancing Horses!
What was really interesting here is that while the man in the grey suit was performing, the horse in the foreground (who doesn't even have a mount) heard the music and danced the whole time it played.  He competed later, but he certainly put on a show all by himself!

I can't even begin to capture the movements this horse did...  

Again...  I tried....  it was just amazing.  I have no idea how these horses are trained, but to be honest, they seemed to enjoy performing.

You can see the band in the background playing while this lady rode.

A collage of hooves!
I can almost hear them on those cobblestones!

Yep...  you're seeing this man give his horse a beer.  Guess even horses get thirsty doing all that work!

The beer and tequilla flowed freely!
In fact, this guy dropped his tequilla bottle...  quickly picked it up and saw the bottom had broken.  He poured what was left into a paper cup...  there had to be glass slivers in it....  and just kept on drinking.

Some of the folks who were watching the dancing horses.

The parade started at 9 am....  we watched it at it's beginning area, then after it passed, we walked to the other side of the block and watched it all over again.  We thought the festivities were over, but found they were just beginning!  We spent the next couple of hours wandering around the plaza, watching the horses and just watching the people.

Yes, they sure know how to celebrate their Revolution!

That's All For Today!