Don't Fence Me In - La Colina Project
Jungle Journal

Don’t Fence Me In

Stunning start to New Year. Have our first random booking and preparing for life to change as we take on guests and visitors in large numbers over the next weeks and months. We have a facebook page now. Please do all the likey & sharey things which apparently helps us greatly. 

We give ourselves permission to stay up and see the New Year in at the beach like proper grown ups. We meet up with friends and eat early to avoid the crowds and head to our favorite bar and settle in. A DJ is playing mellow tunes and it is some hours before we notice that the beach is now home to a mixed crowd of about 1000 highly enthusiastic but ever so well-behaved folk. We have accidentally secured prime spot and allow the year to pass gracefully by making a terrible job at spinning three-foot long sparklers that we bought from an arms/firework dealer at the traffic lights. Amazingly no one is burned. We head for home by moonlight and stop on the way to accept invited tequila slugs from the bottle from our neighbours. Rude not to. My legs somehow are on a different time zone to the rest of me and that makes for some interesting balance issues, which are noticed by all. I am dispatched home.

2018 feels strange. I wake up with my tongue stuck to my eye. It takes a good few hours to get much into focus. Rehydration via buckets of tea helps considerably. It appears I am not the grown up I wanted to be. Guilt is forcing us to be productive. I soon find myself up to my eyes in plumbing and window construction. And so the year begins.

We are stuck in a long line of traffic again. It’s not a good feeling to be crawling along slowly knowing that at some point you will see why. There is so much carnage on these roads that you see things too often you don’t want to. In this case it’s not so bad. A milk truck has overturned and the road is getting decidedly yoghurty. We return home eventually to the news of another crashed milk truck 20 miles up the road the other way. Not a good day for milk.

Our Sayulita work party has arrived. Two guys, keen as can be, prepared to knock off all the jobs we put off last year. They dutifully scrub and seal the wood on the outside shower. They repair and replace stairs all the way up the hill, which will make falling off much less likely. They relocate tinacos and plumb them into the well awaiting pump and power. They move all the bloody useless bamboo to a new storage area out of sight. Much distraction as a small boa constrictor is found to be resident in the bamboo pile. It’s a beautiful thing.

We also have an entirely unsuccessful first attempt at putting up the solar panel holder. The 3.6M legs that need bolting to the top 6M x 4M frame are a challenge. Much buggering about fails to produce any useful progress and breaks two of the legs. We postpone the project. All in all it’s been a very useful few days of work and singing. The older of the Sayulita blokes sings songs that he makes up all day long. He tells stories of the songs he created for lost loves many years ago and serenades Jayne at least once a day. Jayne is very impressed as her own attempts at singing are rarely appreciated.

   

Music is a missing element from our daily lives, which we are addressing. As part of the gifts we took away from our visit to Chapala was a large box of CDs. They were gifted by some generous senior folk. Our truck (which is now again with Jesus having it’s transmission healed) has practically no reliable parts except a CD player which was hidden and we just found it ! This has allowed us to trawl the box and find out what musical treats we can expect. It’s an eclectic bunch of CDs that I suspect are from releases that are all considerably older than me. Bing Crosby is my current favorite with Frank Sinatra and Lou Armstrong following close behind. I am surprisingly entertained by singing loudly to Bing Crosby-“Don’t fence me in“ while driving a dodgy pick up truck back from Jesus’s place.

Our ability to power up our house and charge up devices with magic boxes attached to our truck (or generator) has allowed the introduction of playlists through phones/laptops to add to the mix. I spend a rather pleasant sunny afternoon painting the gypsy cabin listening to Frank Zappa, John Otway, Captain Hot-knifes and Ella Fitzgerald.

We have made a move to promote ourselves and put a bit of extra pressure on. We have listed the gypsy cabin on Airbnb . We are offering a rustic and unique outside shower (which is not quite finished and has no water), a toilet block for sink and composting loo (with no floor, water or power), and a kitchen area (with no kitchen in it yet). This is designed to incentivise us into getting things done. It’s working. We get our first enquiry and shoot into action trying to get all the stuff not done done. We have our first booking. Two Americans for 11 days in March. It’s a start.

Composting loos and buckets of sawdust have now arrived in the orange toilet block, the bodega apartment (Selva Vista), and our treehouse. Three porcelain potties are relegated as planters. Design of loos is pretty much perfected and the composting areas to dump the results are allocated and ready to accept incoming buckets of “the good stuff”. This makes Jayne very happy.

We found a rusty metal gate in the middle of the land with no apparent purpose. It must have been a remnant of when the land was separated into sections but it’s not at all clear. We collect it and deposit it with our ironman with the solar frame legs to repair and strengthen. He is tasked to restore the gate to former glory, add a metal mosquito mesh and weld on some bits so we can set it in concrete and make a door for the Bodega apartment (Selva Vista). It works rather well.

The metal door for the battery house is on and finishing touches are in place. That is a solid little prison cell . Our crazy concrete man has done a great job and has actually slept in there the past few nights on one of the concrete battery shelves. If only we can find a way of assembling the solar frame we would be ready for the photon catching equipment delivery. It does not seem to be an issue as the delivery status is currently “in transit”. Takes that pressure off a little.

     

We are busy building toilets when groups of folk from Montreal pass by. Turns out that one of the girls lived on our land for many months some years ago and that her and her friend who is with her tried to buy it . Turns out they were the girls we were told of who put in an offer that was bettered by an American guy who almost completed on the deal but his boyfriend wouldn’t let him. We arrived a month after he pulled out. Timed it perfectly. We give the girls and their parents a tour of the land. Good to talk French for a while. In fact the girls give us a tour of the land and explain many things. They point out all the bits that are now missing or were planned and never finished. Our confusion as to how the stone cottage area worked is unsurprising. Turns out the building was purpose built as the ceremony area for the Ibogain ceremonies.

The moon is super. A “super moon”. One result is that the surf is lifted an extra few feet and crashed down on the shore with more gusto. It’s a proper noise that we can hear from right out here. Another result is being able to walk around without a torch after sundown between the moonlight shadows cast by the trees. It’s rather stunning. Seeing your own shadow cast down the beach by the moon is also worth seeing. Another one next month we are told. Super moon 2 coming soon.

My mouse catching skills have abandoned me. It’s been over a month since my peanut butter bait has lured a rodent into my trap cage. Maustrappe, however, has now bettered me. Three and half mice in the last few weeks. One of them was twice the size of her head which was a task to persuade her to let go of, under the bed, at 3 am. The last half a mouse was left as a gift next to my side of the bed exactly in the spot where my foot meets floor when I get up for a pee in the dark. I remain ungrateful for such gifts. So Maustrappe is beating me by a head (a bit of torso and two legs). Need to raise my game.

The machine has arrived. Properly and seriously arrived. We were teased by a 20 minute visit a few days ago before it departed in a hurry to where it should have been working. We watch hypnotised as massive chunks of earth are built up, removed, moved around and flattened. We watch as three huge spaces are cut into the hill around the BrickS*House. These will be home to our three new casitas. They will have stunning views from their elevated platforms. Our man and his family have been collecting wood for weeks for them and work starts now! Maquina man finishes off and tries to leave. It has taken months to get him here and so Jayne kidnaps the machine and refuses to let it leave. She agrees to take him home and collect him again in the morning but the machine stays!! He is stunned but surprisingly compliant.

  

The next morning we collect him and return him to his machine. The machine is then deployed creating us a new road out of the piles of clay that have been unearthed and a retorno on the hill in front of our house. He cleans up our access to the house to makes the hill considerably less treacherous to drive on and creates a new loop at the top of the hill which allows us to get up and down without the usual 5 point turn avoiding trees and roots. This will save us a heap of time. Bonus is that the loop has created a perfect central garden island and a new route to the pool. A couple of lovely flat areas are created for better parking and Jayne releases the machine from captivity and off it goes. We may never see it again but it was a very welcome visit.

Clay. We have uncovered many tons of yellow clay and many more tons of brown clay. This gives us excellent security when the rains come as when it dry’s it’s like concrete and avoids us building retaining walls. This amount of clay is probably why La Colina is still an impressive hill rather than a less impressive mound of mud after the rainy season. The newly cut clay faces will act as back walls in the casitas. We are told the quality of the brown clay is superb for pottery. Jayne is keen on cutting in a bread oven into one of our new clay walls. Endless clay based possibilities in our future.

  

There has been some swearing and jiggling and fiddling but finally we persuade many meters of electric wire down some old water pipes we found on the path near the remaining bees. We connected one end to our first solar panel that is propped up in the sunniest spot we can find near the old metal gates to the gypsy cabin. The other end forms a collection of wires, pipes and rope that are attached to our well pump which is 25 meters down the well. The water has another 20m to get up to our tinacos . We watch the bubbles move up the clear pipe out of the well which happily confirms the pump is pumping and we take the trek up the hill to see what happens. We have water. Sun beams are pushing water from our well up the hill and are topping up our tinacos for free ! (except the cost of all the bits of course). This is a wonderful moment. One very important mission accomplished.

  

We plumb in everything we can think of. Outside shower, hand basin in orange block, outside tap above outside sink, gypsy cabin and the Bodega apartment plumbing system all have all the water they need. Excellent.

There is an opportunity we can’t miss. Our man has been tasked to take down a massive parota tree that is above the waterfalls and we are invited to spectate. Parota is protected so only dead trees can be felled. This one must have had a very good life. It’s huge and impressive. Our man with a very large chains saw is entirely dwarfed as he cuts away for best part of an hour before this immense lump of wood hits the ground. It has consumed a number of trees in its time so there is a hole running through it’s center. That ruins it for the big tables the owner wanted to make from the wide trunk. Still a number of truck loads of very excellent wood have just been made available.

  

We gather ourselves and direct our faith in our resourceful Mexican super heroes to get this bloody solar frame up. By standing on the newly built battery house and leaning a ladder at a stupid angle it is possible to persuade bolts through holes. Two newly strengthened legs are fixed. By a series of death defying circus feats involving a ladder and no fear the remaining legs are on. We tie the structure to two trees and call it a success. We tie a plumb line around the base to show the correct level and agree to concrete the legs in later. It’s hot as hell in that sunny spot. I’m soaked in sweat and a fetching shade of pink. From the top of the hill the shadows cast by the legs makes the structure look huge and broken.

The solar equipment we are told has landed in Mexico. The wrong end of Mexico but it’s getting closer.

Made the very last of our mosquito windows for the Bodega Apartment (Selva Vista) today. It is now an enclosed space with plumbing for two sinks & a shower. We have hot water. We also have a brown & concrete dust floor that is sufficiently dry enough to clean. Concrete man has spent the last 24 hours cleaning it up and sealing it . The wood is cut and treated to enclose the bathroom and we await a single length of gas pipe before we do that. The parota wood for the bathroom and kitchen counters are ready to install and we have Jayne’s sister here who is a cabinet maker who can get them fitted for us. Oh we are close.

    

We greet the day by the finding of the other half of the mouse this morning.

Delightful.

Beave

6 COMMENTS
  • Abi Fantastic
    Reply

    Amazing stuff guys! Loving reading about ur great progress and making me want to come out more and more!! Il be out at some point this year for sure! X love u both

  • Liz and Remy
    Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I just read your entire blog outloud to Remy. We laughed.
    It all makes sense to us only because we have been there.
    I can’t belive how much progress you have made!
    Keep working! We are coming back soon. Can I bring my hair dryer?!!

    1. Beave
      Reply

      Sure, you can swing it around by it’s cord and whack mice with your hair dryer. Can’t wait for you guys to come back! xox

  • Jeannie Dettori
    Reply

    That tree that was felled with a hole right down the middle would make some nice half moon wooden benches….every thing is looking good and taking shape…..

  • Linda Davidson
    Reply

    Ooh, Nana Mouskouri CD. Nice! Such a lot of progress, you are both so capable. Don’t know about the designs on the toilet seat covers though?! Well, well, daughter, you are getting quite assertive in your
    old age – taking captive a machine indeed!

  • Karen hutchins
    Reply

    Well I am sat up in the middle of the night reading your blogs, what an amazing adventure your having, so inspiring!! I have shared it with all I know and hope this goes some way to helping you get the word out there. Look forward to seeing more posts soon x nice to see your mum in the pics she’s looking incredibly well xx

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