Friday, December 30, 2011


Digger and I spend quite a bit of time in La Paz and I realized you haven't seen the town. It is a major metropolis in the corridor between Cuenca and Loja, probably 50 families in a 6 mile radius. A regular tourist trap with three pigs being worked on every day and a fruit and veggie sales day on Sunday.
This is the whole town, busses run through town day and night from Cuenca to Loja and points south.
On the south end of town is the block maker - he's not making blocks today, he just butchered a hog for his wife who has a space in the middle of town selling pork. She goes through 2 pigs a week.

Heading north through town the hardware store is on the left with a dental office on the second floor. The hardware guy speaks some English and I speak some Spanish so I can pretty much get anything I need here.
My favorite convience store with a place to eat right next door - the mother runs the store and the daughter runs the resturant.
Across the street they are adding a forth floor to an apartment building, some one is moving into town.

At the North end of town is the school.

And across the street is the church.

Just out of town heading north is the gas station and a resturant. Digger's friend Lu Lu the Saint Bernard lives here. Lu Lu would like to have Digger for lunch, literally but they have a good time barking at each other.

That's the nickel tour, it really is a great place to live. As far as I know I am the only gringo around.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

T'was the day before Christmas and all through the house, was the sound of stripping lumber, hand planning and sanding throughout.

The tradition in our house at Christmas time is to build Barbara a piece of furniture. I think I may have waited a little too long to start this project. This years piece is a hunt board.

It takes a little longer to make furniture in Ecuador because the lumber is all rough cut and you need to air dry it for a while before you can work it.

There are two different types of eucalyptus going into to this piece. The regular white and some that was grown in a high iron content soil, the more you wet it the redder it gets.

Ofcourse all the help is already on vacation, Digger is just hanging around to steal my sand paper when I am not looking.

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.Remember, no fires in the fireplace on Christmas eve.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Not the brightest bulb in the box.

I think I owe some of you good folks an apology. I have been responding to comments on my blog using my e-mail account because the comments are fowarded there. I noticed today that my reply gets sent to a no reply address, so I guess I am e-mailing into a vacuum in cyber space. I operate in a partial vacuum anyway.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows I'm not too smart, never have been. I feel bad that you have taken the time to read an obscure blog and gone to the trouble of making a comment and don't get any response. For that I apologize. I will reply to comments in the comment section of the blog - it will say "Barbara said" because I don't know how to fix that either.

There are just some things in life that it is too late for me to learn, I don't think I have enough brain cells left to learn anyway. I've been hit in the head so many times it's a wonder I can remember to breath. What other explaination is there - I have been writing on this blog site since May and I just now figure this out.

Thank you for your patronage and patience, and thanks for your vote in 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Knew it.

Last week I was saying that Barb had discovered glass building blocks, this week she has a design she wants
incorporated into the guest house - if it's not to much trouble. Now what do you think that means ?
It means I better put it in - here's half of the design.

Four straight days of rain and the locals talking about how cold it is, of course I don't know the difference. Rain in the morning or afternoon for a couple hours is okay but all day and all night is getting to be a real pain. There is a good side to all the rain, Digger the dog really likes it.
What, you think you're going to melt ? Come out and play.

Last week's blog post brought some written comments and some in person. So I guess I will follow through with a new project. Let's see how good you are at reading between the lines. Good clean water is a fundamental requirement for life, so in addition to a slow sand filter for my water supply I will be building a water distiller ( a still ) to boil water and condense the vapor. On another front I have decided to plant an additional quarter acre of corn, some rye and a little more barley for chicken feed. In the garden I have decided to grow several varieties of potatoes. All the things you've heard or surmised about me are true.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Glass blocks.

Since Barb won't be teaching anymore after next semester she is becoming more interested in things outside of academia. She is learning about position trading on the stock market and has discovered glass blocks, the kind used in buildings. I am holding my breath.

I saw a program segment on TV the other day about the health benefits of red wine. The only thing I know about wine is that it is made from grapes - moonshine is a different matter, I've been distilling spirits since I was 12 years old. At any rate today I figured I'd give red wine a try. We are already at Coral, Barb is exploring the world of glass blocks - they have wine here. There is a bunch of different names I guess for a bunch of different types of both red and white wines, it's a little too complicated for me. For all I know if you take grape juice and mix it with grain alcohol in the proportion to get a 12% alcohol level won't that be close to wine ?  Barb says it's a good thing I'm not trying to fly a plane. She can't help me because she doesn't drink. Okay, so I am in the wine section of Coral and can't  figure it out so I head to the boxed wine and pick out a nice $2 box of red wine. Now I am not totally inept, I grew up in the Catholic Church but they make the wine taste bad so you won't drink a bunch of it at Communion, don't they ? I know the answer  to that question. This stuff isn't very good, who drinks this stuff, are you sure they use grapes to make it, is the church getting a share of the profits ??? I guess this is what I get for trying something from the milder, more civilized side of life.

Now I know there has to be some wine out there that is palatable and that there are a lot of nice folks who would gladly straighten me out about wine selection. I am not of the intellect to be a wine connoisseur, what I like is double distilled corn liquor that takes your breath away before it passes your lips.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A little more.

Over the years we all develope preferences, some folks like Fords, some like lima beans. I like hand tools and have preferences and reasons for what I like. Recently I have changed my preference for masonary trowels.

My normal taste is to use a London style trowel with a flexible blade ( on the right ) but recently I have switched to a Philadephia style trowel with a thicker blade. I can dress the blocks faster and get a longer draw with the mortar. I have a preference for trowel manufacturers too but that went out the window when we moved to Ecuador.

There has been some progress on the addition to the guest house. The first arched window is bricked in.

I am using used bricks for the arch - I just like the look and a cement key at the top.

I got the Direct TV dish pointed in the right direction - finally.

Yes, I smoke like a chimney and I like Ecuadorian cigarettes.