Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project 365, Week 2

It's wonderful that so many are participating in Project 365 this year!

Can you believe we've been home two whole weeks already?! This week started to feel a bit more "normal" -- as normal as any week ever feels here, since it's nigh unto impossible to accurately plan anything or count on your schedule remaining the same :)

Ivan spent three mornings trying (and finally succeeding!) in paying the back taxes on the property we bought; they hadn't been paid in seven years. The system for paying taxes is rather...(ahem) involved, shall we say. For just the provincial (state) taxes Ivan had to:
1) Go to the tax office first and have them calculate what was owed. For some reason they had to do it in three separate statements, rather than one.
2) Go to the police station to get a form he had to sign. BUT before he could sign the form, he was given another form to pay the fee in order to sign the first form. Confused yet? Oh, but there's more!
3) Then he had to go to the bank to pay the fee (apparently the police were too often pocketing the fees so in order to prevent that they went to this system of paying at the bank...and this wasn't a localized problem, this is a nationwide system)
4) NOW go back to the police station and have them witness him signing that first form. Which, by the way, merely certifies his signature!
5) But that is necessary before he's allowed to actually pay the taxes. Which requires another trip to the bank. Of course :)

[And the reason it took three mornings is because the banks are only open in the mornings and there were loooooong lines everywhere he went...tax office, police station and bank.]

So let's get on to the photos of the week!

Monday afternoon the rain cleared and we went to the property to fix the hole in the wall of the casita (that I talked about last week). Ivan just mixed the mud (cement mixture) in a bucket, by hand, since it was a fairly small project.
After talking with several builder friends this week, we've decided to add another, thick layer of plaster (cement) to the exterior of this wall. The problem is that whoever built this used half blocks instead of whole ones, so they're only 15 cm thick, making the wall easy to breach. But more about that later...

The lake, we are happy to report, did not dry up this summer!
In fact, we've had rain almost every day; sometimes a storm just blows in and dumps a lot of rain in a short amount of time, and other days it rains on and off all day.

The rain hasn't kept away the tourists though! Our town is besieged with thousands of them right now, making life a little more challenging. Everything takes more time because of the sheer number of people and increased volume of traffic. The noise factor increased substantially too. Our neighbors must all have family and friends visiting because our barrio is suddenly very LOUD...with music and laughter (and the occasional leftover holiday fireworks) until the wee hours of the morning.

The reason I mention this is to introduce this next photo, which is actually the cover of a local health insurance magazine featuring a picture of tourists flocking to Rio San Antonio. Our property is next to that river in the picture!
So when we eventually build and move over there, we'll go from living by the lake to living by the river :)

Wednesday we went to visit different folks. One couple had their grandson for the evening and I snapped some photos. He's such a cutey!

Ivan picked peaches off the ground on Thursday. Our tree is loaded again, and they started to drop even though they weren't quite ripe.
He left them to ripen in a bowl -- until last night when he made some uber-delicious slushies with them (just peaches, ice and a little sugar).

Late Friday evening I decided to make one quilt block to make sure my calculations were right (because I'm using half square triangle units).
Then off and on Saturday, as I had time, I began cutting out the rest of the fabric. Not the ideal way to do it! I can't tell you how many times I'd go back to do a little cutting, forget where I was at, and end up cutting the wrong piece -- or the wrong size :(  But at least I made a little progress.

I bought a couple yards of this monkey print years ago and LOVE it! I've used it in I don't know how many baby quilts :)  I'd love to find more of it, and while several internet searches have yielded lots of other monkey prints, I haven't been able to find this one. The other pinwheel blocks will incorporate these same colors. It should be a very happy, vibrant baby quilt when it's done!

Back to the casita issue... knowing that we wanted to add extra cement -- and having no desire to mix THAT much cement by hand! -- Ivan tracked down and bought a used cement mixer. It was a mess! He spent several days soaking it with some kind of acid mixture and then scraping off as much of the gunk as he could, inside and out. He painted the frame once it was as clean as he could get it. Here he is doing some patch welding on the drum portion (which will also receive a coat of paint)...
He's rather particular about his tools :)  He likes to keep them well maintained and in proper working order. The purpose of the paint is more of a pro-active theft-deterrent though. He's using a creamy yellow (leftover from another project), and not one of the factory colors you typically see (bright orange, green or blue). So a thief might think twice about stealing an easy-to-spot butter-colored mixer :)

14 comments:

Mari said...

I love that picture of the river. Such a lovely spot to live near. The peaches look so good, and I think Ivans idea of painting the cement mixer yellow is a good one!

sara said...

I remember the pictures of the lake all dried up...so glad it is not happening this year!

I wish I had those peaches!!! I just opened my last jar of peach jam that we made over the summer. :(

Amy said...

My goodness to have a peach right now would be heaven. Looks like Ivan is going to be very busy for a while. I always love looking at your pictures.

Have a great week.

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Those peaches looked delish. I love fresh peaches and would love one right now. We are waiting for ice and snow...so no peaches here til late April.

RaD said...

Your quilts always look so awesome! I can't wait to see this one completed :)

So, does the river dry up like the lake sometimes does or does it keep flowing all year long?

Mimi said...

What a beautiful place you live in. I hope the work on the house goes well.

Hugs & love,
Mimi

rita said...

Great photos and great stories.
Talk about reeeeeeeeeed tape, never ending!
We've exhausted our supply of peaches from summer pickins. All the frozen ones are gone. Please send some ;)
Love the last photo and Ivan's resourcefulness and thoroughness.

Kathy said...

Wow, who knew it could be so difficult to pay back taxes???

I enjoyed all of your photos and news. I love your stories each week.

Angie said...

I always enjoy sitting in my chilly house during the winter months and living vicariously through your warm toasty summers. The fruit looks delicious! We used frozen fruits to make smoothies for my daughter's slumber party and they were a big hit.

You all have quite the challenges and I enjoy hearing about the differences of our cultures. It makes me appreciate all the conveniences I have. Thanks! :)

Great week!

rita said...

Wow! Now I'm inspired to change my blog background!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh my stars all the construction makes me exhausted just looking at it!

Glad your lake still has water!!!

Great week, what a sweet little boy!

We have 8' of snow this morning!
Blessings
R

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Oh and fresh peaches...totally jealous!

R

The Bug said...

I am EXHAUSTED by the rigamarole to get the taxes paid! Ivan must be a super patient person...

I think the quilt will be super cute when it's completed - can't wait to see it!

Oldfangled said...

Oh, I'm so envious of your fresh peaches!