I’ve been feeding our guests out of our very small kitchen in our house since we opened for business. It works, but it’s so small that I can’t get any help even when I need it, because only one person fits in the kitchen. Tom and I agreed that the next thing we need to improve our business is a bigger kitchen and a dining room. Around here, most people have their kitchens in separate buildings from the rest of the house. We thought this was strange at first – definitely not what we were used to – but after living here for almost four years, we’ve learned that like most customs around here, it makes sense for a bunch of reasons, with the primary reason being that getting the stove out of the house gets a big heat producer out of the house.
So, last week we cleared an area in our yard. It was a little bit of a challenge finding a big enough area in a spot where we didn’t have to cut down any of our fruit trees, but we did it.
We’re going to have the building mostly screened, and with an open thatch roof – again, in an attempt to keep the air moving so it doesn’t get too hot. The thatch roof will be built on a frame of trees, so Tom and Julio broke ground, digging holes to fill with concrete for the footers.
We made a couple of interesting discoveries as construction started. The first was that the area we selected for the kitchen is apparently a Maya house mound, since Tom was pulling bunches of pot sherds out of the ground.
The second was that sometime in the past, one of the previous owners of this property attempted to drill a well. Tom, Julio, and Marvin were collecting big rocks around the property to use as part of the foundation, and when they moved a rock in our front horse pasture, they found that it covered this drilled well. Julio tied a rock to the end of a 300 foot spool of fishing line to see how deep it is, and it fell off the spool and kept falling at the end of the 300 feet – so it’s pretty deep. The rock covering the well is not going to be part of the kitchen foundation since it’s back where it was to keep the hole covered.
After collecting the rocks, they piled them around the holes dug for the footers, and filled the holes and the rock edging with cage material before pouring in the concrete.
Mixing the concrete is a tough job, and given the relatively small scale of this project, they’re doing it by hand. We had a dump truck load of sand delivered, and Little Blue was called into heavy service bringing about 1000 pounds of cement from San Ignacio. Marvin, being the youngest of the three working on the project, got the honor of mixing the cement, sand, and water on an old concrete slab, and then helping Tom shovel it into buckets so Tom could wheel the buckets to Julio, who poured it into the footer holes.
The next step is to build the walls and create the cavity to be filled for the floor. The front corner is about a foot and a half lower than the opposite back corner, so we’re going to need quite a bit of fill, and it will be obviously built up on the side nearest the house. Looks like Tom and the guys will be out collecting more rocks this next week!