Friday, May 4, 2007, Saturday, May 5, 2007, and Sunday, May 6, 2007
After Tom and Selwyn finished the slow work of the wall on Friday, they took a couple of hours to get something tangible done, and built the brace so the bathroom sink can be installed. They’re planning to put the wall board horizontally on the sides, and put a door in the front to finish it, but they won’t do that until after the plumbing is installed.
Tom was so inspired by the good feeling of progress after finishing the bathroom sink stand that he did the same thing for the kitchen sink on Saturday. After the plumbing is installed under this sink, he’s just going to put in a couple of shelves and leave it open. That’s my request – I don’t want to reach into a dark cabinet after a pot and grab something that moves and that isn’t made of metal. Plus, we’re planning to build a house and turn this kitchen into a bathroom for a fourth room, so there’s no sense doing anything fancy since the sink will have to be pulled out of here and installed more permanently in the house.
Tom and I built and hung the door to the shed on Sunday morning. Now we can move the horse feed out of the cabin and lock it in the shed where it should be safe from marauding pigs from next door. When we finish the two remaining windows and make it so we can lock them from the inside, the shed will actually be somewhat secure – just in case the pigs grow hands with opposable thumbs.
In his free time over the weekend, Tom took the circles they’ve drilled out of the doors for the locks and turned them into car wheels, and some scrap wedges became car bodies. Monday is Ali’s third birthday, so we were invited to Bol and Petranela’s house, where Hilda, Selwyn, and the rest of Selwyn’s family made a great barbecued chicken dinner. We were invited for Junior’s fourth birthday shortly after Selwyn started working here, and we weren’t sure what the local customs were for dinner guests. At that time, Selwyn told us not to bring anything, so we didn’t, but we knew this time that little gifts for the kids and a tray of brownies were acceptable contributions to the birthday party. Plus, we’ve found that everybody around here is very accommodating about our customs, and we’d probably have to work really hard to do something culturally taboo that would cause our hosts to gasp and whisper behind their hands. Showing up naked with our bodies spray painted in fluorescent colors might do it, but I’m not even sure if that would be enough.
We think that we’re learning about the local customs, but we’ve also noticed that the friends we’ve made here are, like our friends in NY, very considerate about accommodating everybody’s schedules. The birthday meal was planned for the evening, so we’d all have time to do everything else we wanted and needed to do on Sunday, just as dinners with horse friends were always planned for after everybody’s horses’ dinnertime. Here, Tom’s Energizer Bunny attitude has affected Selwyn, who is working hard to improve a piece of land near San Antonio so he can apply to the government for a long term lease on the land; Selwyn wanted as much of Sunday as possible so he could get a good start clearing the boundaries. It’s funny, because we noticed here that people don’t talk about land in lot sizes, it’s always referenced by its boundaries. For example, Tom and I walked our entire property line all at once for the first time on Saturday, and it took us two hours. That’s more significant than saying we walked the boundary of a 50 acre lot, and just saying the time to walk it tells people who know anything about the land here that our lot is longer than it is wide, and that it covers some hilly terrain. Selwyn showed us some pictures of his land, and explained how it lies by telling us that certain lines in the pictures took a certain time to walk. Now we just have to see if the images conjured in our heads by Selwyn’s description match what it really is when we see it.
On Monday morning, Tom and Selwyn got a good start on the ceiling in the first cabin. I actually got to help. It takes the two of them on ladders to fit the boards together and keep the lines straight as they hammer in the nails, so I had the task of cutting the boards and handing them up. This is all we got done because all the nail holes have to be pre-drilled, and they broke the last of the drill bits that were the correct size. Tom is going to Spanish Lookout tomorrow, so he’ll get enough drill bits that we can hopefully finish the rest of the ceiling, at least in this room of the cabin.
One day while Tom and Selwyn were working on the waterline, I took a pick ax to the garden plot and broke up the dirt. I bought some seeds when I was in San Ignacio last week, and planted them in these cardboard boxes towards the end of the week. The zucchini started to sprout within a day, and now the tomatoes are also sprouting. I’m still waiting for the peppers and watermelons, but I can see bits of green sprout in the dirt when I look closely at the peppers, and I’m sure the watermelon won’t be far behind. I guess I’ll be doing a little bit of transplanting towards the end of this week, and probably a bit more digging since my quarter ounces of seeds seem to have created a lot of baby plants.