Nov 27, 2010

Fall Awakening...

As another example of the seasons being upside down, we have been rousing our winter home from its summer hibernation (?).
Most of the unpacking happened in the first days, and almost everything was in good order. Being so far away in Canada all summer, we could only imagine what was gong on in our absence. In fact we had some intruders -- mice had gotten in through a vent that I failed to screen off, and chewed up a few things. Nothing serious.
Many of the mechanicals -- water and electrical systems do not do well in this salt air and humid environment. Hot water tanks rarely last 4 or 5 years, just rusting away. Almost every palapa here has its own water pressure systems. These are common through much of Mexico, where low or unreliable water supply is banked in these cisterns (tanacas) on the roofs and then gravity-fed or pumped through the homes. Our tenaca sits in our upper part of the palapa on top of our bano. It is filled by the park’s low pressure cenote water and the metal parts - pumps and valves can build up with salts in the cenote water and seize up. We have been lucky with this so far. Our little pump keeps on pumping. Other metal parts, door knobs, sinks, and taps, etc, all deteriorate quickly. Once again, we oil what we think of to oil. Some people here regularly coat their appliances with car wax. Lights, lamps and electical cord all oxidize if not protected. The small window air conditioner that we had running all summer to keep the storage in the bodega dry and cool is still working, but the radiator grill has deteriorated quite a bit.
I was especially delighted that our (new last winter) kitchen cabinets and drawers opened and closed perfectly. Delighted because of my concern that the humidity could have affected the wood or worse, rusted the hinges and drawer slides. I am hoping that our careful construction and painting, as well as a thorough oiling did the trick, and will continue.
Summer weather had a harsh effect on the upper balcony and railings and they were in need of fresh varnish in less than two years.
Meanwhile the jungle that we originally carved back to create our garden, had re-encroached, and we had several loads of growth to extricate to bring it back into shape. Then the gardeners-in-chief, Susan and Dot, determined that new and different plants were needed (like bringing coals to Newcastle) and so several new palms, flowering shrubs and a whole bunch of little cactuses have been added. The garden will always be a work in progress, which is great because plants grow so willingly in this warm and humid climate.

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