Monday, September 5, 2011

About My Humble Abode

Monday Morning, September 5th, 2011. A small earthquake shimmied me awake at 6:30 am. Natures’ call to get up and check out the clear morning-blue sky with a rapturous pink thundercloud off in the distance. The hummingbirds are busy and *Alexi is cooking rice in the fogon.

I finished my woven rag rug yesterday afternoon. It looks so great I couldn’t bring myself to put it on the floor. Mister helped me pound together a simple loom on Friday and I strung it up and started in with some scrap material I had been accumulating. I’ve been accumulating a lot of junk these past several months…coffee sticks and rocks to carve, bunches of dried mints and rosemary ( for something not yet imagined), old pieces of metal and knife blades from the fogon project, thick copper wire from the electric project, and the material scraps from a quilting class a friend teaches in Volcan. She does wonderful work with the local ladies. You can check out their projects at this Facebook link:!/pages/Volcan-Quilters-Las-Hermanas-de-Acolchado-de-Volcan/144391535625110> You can block and copy this, or just put Volcan Quilters in the search box.

So I have lots of stuff. And almost no place to put anything.
The “house” is a simple Panamanian house; the original part was built approximately 100 years ago (or fifteen…I am not an archeologist) and the kitchen and indoor bathroom added five or so years ago. It is a cement block and wood house; cement block up to about three feet, then clapboard up to the rafters. It is topped off with a tin roof. This makes for some interesting conversations (screaming) in the heavy seasonal rains. There is a small front porch that leads into what I like to refer to as my Living Room Hall. Off of this interesting room (which measures five or so feet by twelve feet, are two “bedrooms”. One bedroom is barely five feet by seven, the other, the Master Bedroom, is large enough for a queen-size bed shoved between two small bed-side stands, and THANK GOODNESS for flat-screen TV’s because this is stationed nicely against the far wall, one and a half foot from the end of the bed. We have room to navigate sideways which is better than not at all. Back in the Living Room Hall, you step down to the Dining Room Den which is open to the kitchen and adjacent to the bathroom. Not much interesting about the kitchen and bathroom except the flush toilet. A little clarification on that in a minute.

The entire house features a polished (waxed) cement floor. I swept, mopped and waxed the all 300 square feet of floors one time and we spent the next week trying to avoid hip fractures. A freak windstorm hit last week and the various bird nests in the rafters (all empty I hope) blew everywhere and I was put-upon to finally sweep and mop again. No waxing though, way too dangerous.

We have wonderful, excellent cold water to the house. It comes from high in the mountains and is untainted by chemicals, livestock by-products or any other contaminants. What it does have is lots of air in it so the toilet and kitchen sink blast and blow hard streams of cold, fizzy water. If you visit and use the toilet, you may want to flush while you are still sitting. It kind of breaks up the day and is refreshing. And wear a raincoat if you are kind enough to wash a few dishes. As for the shower…Mister is in there screaming as I type. Poor Mister.

We purchased two wooden rocking chairs for the front porch. That always makes it feel like home. Aside from the rockers, and a bed, the rest of the furniture is homey-made. The kitchen table, stools and benches are hatched from scrap wood, and delightfully painted by me in odd color combinations. I have thoughtfully decorated the walls with flat-panel wood carvings and set about home-made baskets. Tastefully Tacky, if I had to name the style.

Outside, Mister and I have put in eight different types of choleus, four types of hibiscus, four varieties of fuscia, a few locally common heliconia and an apricot tree a neighbor gave us. There is a chiote (type of squash) vine, rosemary, three types of mint not including a patch of stevia, and various pepper and some pre-existing ratty rose bushes. The entire farm is in coffee with plantain and banana plants here and there. The trees include a type of oak, pine, cedar, orange (one sour orange tree) and two grapefruit...a few unidentified trees that the parrots flock to. Down at the river we have a large parcel of mora berries (a large blackberry). I haven’t seen the mora berries yet as that would involve a considerable walk.

My domestic gardening has not been very successful. The corn drooped at a foot high and died. Insects ate all the cucumber and tomato vines. I left a starter tray of jalapenos seedlings out in the yard and a torrential rain beat them all to death. Sometimes I think of leaving Mister out in the yard, but that’s just on rare occasions. However, the snow peas did quite well as did the arugala. When we have an internet provider other than Fred Flintstone, I will have the opportunity to research safe pesticides and fungicides online. Until then we will enjoy pea and arugala salads.

So that’s about it. Thank you for taking a tour of my humble home…stead.

*about Alexi later…


Laura said...

Wonderful to read your writing again-I can picture it all, I think!

Margaret said...

Vicki! I have missed you and your stories about life in Patagonia. So glad to see you back and telling about life in Panama!