Friday, July 31, 2009

Weed wacked the lots

After a week in San Miguel and 3 weeks up north I came back to grass (wild) and weeds almost 3 feet tall. Two days with my Ryobi weed wacker in this heat got most of it. Still have two rooms to go since they have no floors.

Double lot forsale in Pinal Villa - Just outside Melaque

Monday, June 1, 2009

The new lawn

Well the yard is cleaned up, gravel and sand moved, septic covered and pretty much leveled to handle some heavy rain. I was thinking about bringing in some turf of the Bermuda or St. Augustine type but it would just be ruined if and when construction ever starts again. So I cut a bunch of plugs out of my garden and planted them around the septic to both hold the earth and mark it's location (no vehicles). For the last three weeks we've had water all day - every day, and sure enough when the grass goes in - no water. I've been taking those five gallon jugs of water out every day .... because stupid me drained the tinaco.

Here I go again with another bottle and see if we have water yet ....

The new lawn (pasto)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Front gates installed

The front gates were installed yesterday and only the two front window bars remain for next week. They came late on Friday to install but we are only setup for 110 volts and their welder is 220v. Yesterday they climbed the wall and hooked directly to the incoming lines giving them the 220v.

Definitely not the strongest protection in the world but we can always beef it up later. This will work to deter people with a minor interest in looking around but there will be little there to see - kids have used it as a playground.

I've been moving the stacks of brick and block over to the side so we can level the lot and cover the septic. Still have to move a large pile of gravel and then a much larger pile of dirt .... so will probably enlist a neighbor for that. I want the lot level with a slight slope towards the street before the rains. Not ready for turf yet so may bring some grass seed to hold things together

I think on the last post I called the fencing material Maya Ciclon but on the ferretería bill it was called Malla Ciclon. Pronounced the same but interesting

Installers putting in the last section

Complete from the outside

Added the window bars this morning (the 5th)

Villa Pinal, Melaque, Costalegre

Monday, April 27, 2009

The septic tank is finished

Chui is just filling in around the sides today. They finished the top Saturday working pretty late (well almost). After the cement pour, it needs to dry for two hours before putting a cement wash over as a sealer. We had borrowed a neighbor for the cement mixing and for two hours we drank caguamas along with a few other neighbors. Saturdays are usually half days but we finished up after 4 PM.

The top will sit for a week before covering to allow it to dry ... and doused with water so it dries slowly. The registro shown below is the connection box and also a cleanout. Not sure if a registro is a fall back to pre-plastic days when joining a bunch of pipes was difficult but it was insisted upon. We also added a capped pipe to the street in the event we get a sewer system in Pinal

I found a guy for gates and windows today so that's the next project before we close up shop for however long. Might as well secure the place. Just decided on metal frames for the gates with Cyclone fencing (maya ciclon) welded on. Will have normal bars on the two front house windows

Building the box

The registro or connection box for pipes

Wood forms and rebar (varilla) for the top

Starting the pour

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

House project put on hold

Sadly the project is being put on hold. Someone with keys to my house has relieved me of about 15,000 pesos ($11-1200 dollars). Mari had the keys but was not guarding them well so I have to assume it's someone in the family. Going to give it a couple of months and let the feelings work themselves out.

We will finish the septic tank since the hole would collapse in the rain and that will take a few weeks. I'll post on the progress of that .... and then, quit for awhile.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Electric installed and Septic dug - Week 23

Another week of not getting a lot done as far as man hours but still major accomplishments. Went into CFE (electric company) on Monday and they had the service installed the next morning. I paid nothing up front and told to just pay the first bill.

Was supposed to get the septic dug Thursday afternoon but the guy came up on his scooter and said his machine had a flat. Made an appointment for 8:30 Friday morning and he showed up about 10:30. When he moved the gravel he broke the water line but we'll fix that next week.

Still not sure about Chui so next week Pedro, Jorge and I will be working on cutting the brick for electrical and incoming water (you have to inlay the pipes in the wall)

Slow house building in Mexico

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Electric and Drainage - Week 22

Chui is still not feeling well enough to get back to work after his fall and may require next week off as well. This week I got the plumber/electrician out and we put in the drainage for 3.5 bathrooms (outside wash basin below the stairs and a toilet under them).

I was advised to buy a 4 meter pole for the electrical hookup but it turns out is was too long and wouldn't be well supported. We cut it back to almost 3 meters and cemented the castillo (column) around it. Then installed the two meter bases (basos) and installed a main breaker for each meter behind the wall. Also one outlet so have electric on the site. Will be headed for the CFE office in Cihuatlan next week to apply for installation from the pole.

Drainage plumbing runs along the outside of the house to a connection box (registro)

Breakers and an outlet

Two meter bases (basos)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I guess this is week 21

We have just been finishing up walls around the lots so not much there. My albañil fell off the scaffolding on Monday from 2 meters up. Nothing broken but scraped and bruised. Doctor told him to take 3 days off and we've since decided the whole weeks rest is better.

Next week we will be working on the electric pole, the support castillo, meter base, a breaker and plug. If we have time will start on the septic and drainage lines

The septic (fosa septica) will look something like this

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Walls and Gates - Week Nineteen

The foundation is in around the lot and walls are one meter high. Driveway and gate opening are lower for drainage. Going to have two people gates in case there is ever a privacy divider between the two lots. Mari has no car and doesn't expect to get one but you never know. Still she opted for no vehicle entrance on their side.

Soon will have to start thinking about gates (porton) and bars (reja). Something strong enough it can't be easily bent, not easily climbed and the locks out of reach. No I don't think it will look like the foto below.

Walls and gates across the front of the lot

Now what is that gate going to look like - this one, I don't think so

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Building a swimming pool in Mexico

This Pool project is shown from start to finish. Sadly Barbara and I had to move out of this place due to landlord problems after she paid for the entire construction. Another lesson to trusting gringos new to Mexico. There is a link to a complete foto set of the project at the bottom of this page. Not sure if we'll get around to a pool on our lot some day but we should have the room for a smaller one

Cement floor directly on the sand

Double rebar around the sides and in the second floor layer

Side walls getting finished

Grounting in the tiles

Link to more fotos of this swimming pool project

Week of rest and cleaning up - Week Eighteen

Three days of no workers because Chui took his kids to Guadalajara to visit family. I moved most of the rock pile that was partially buried from the cistern excavation and spread some dirt around. Finally hired a neighbor to move the heavier rocks and finish spreading dirt. I came back yesterday to rake it out.

Next week they should be finishing up the side wall and starting on the front where we need a large gate for vehicles, a people gate and an electric pole.

Lot from the street

Lot from the top of the back stairs

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cistern patio and walls - Week seventeen

The top of the cistern would have made a huge table but at only knee high we would have had to excavate for seating. Nope wasn't gonna work so I asked them to make a rectangle we could use it as a small patio - covered someday. Here they are blending the rectangle top with the circular one.

The bottom foto is the foundation for the lot sidewall. Just ordered another 1000 blocks for the front wall foundation and the septic tank.

Cistern patio from the corner of the lot

Sidewall foundation

Construction of small house in Pinal Villa, Costalegre

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Week Sixteen - Installing the Cistern

Brought in a backhoe on Monday to dig the hole for the cistern (fresh water holding tank) and the ditch for the wall foundation on side of lot. The tank is 2800 liters and cost $4000 pesos (less than $300us). At the bottom of the pit is a cement floor with rebar. They decided to put in 3 castillos (support posts) to tie it together. The form for the top is made a few feet away, also rebar reinforced. We'll see how easy it is to move next week.

It was the first time these guys had installed a plastic cistern (usually just a block box) so the plumbing presented a few new problems. We had conversations about venting, where the pipes go and height of the top above the tank. They had no problem with pipes coming out the top - but the top will be part of a patio. I talked them into another ring of block so pipes exit the side.

Next day I brought out our plumber and he had us turn the tank around so the 1" fitting aimed at where the pump will be. He also mounted the street shutoff on the front wall of the lot, made a spicket for garden water and ran the line back to the cistern. We then waited 'till after 1 pm for city water to start flowing

Building the container walls for the cisterna

Mixing cement for the lid - before the extra ring of blocks were added

Cisterna installed and plumbed with lid sitting in the background

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Week Fifteen - starting the front yard wall

The new project is the front yard wall with gate opening and space for air flow with security bars. Also installing drain pipes through the wall so rain water has a place to go without forming a lake. The driveway and gate on the second lot will have a low level entrance that will allow water to escape but don't want it collecting near the house. Yes, when it rains here it pours.

The stairs are finished in basic form so I've been studying finished steps in the area to see what we can do. The cover coat will be pure cement with a little sand for traction. You can make a 'bull nose' extension off the lip of the step formed with plastic pipe that looks very nice but may be trickier than I think.

Some second floor views and my neighbors progress on property walls.

Latest project is front wall and rain water drainage

Finished steps (basic form)

From top of steps looking towards the ocean and Melaque

Canadian neighbors progress - just walls this year

Pinal Villa house

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Week Fourteen - the Stairs

The stairs took a little over a week and are finally usable. I left the run and rise up to Chui and I would have been happier with a higher step and more foot room. Not sure if that could be done with one less step and make them all a little larger or if it's trickier than that. The next set of steps will be 12 inches wide at least. Going up is fine but coming down is when you need more foot space.

So anyway you see the 'ditch' cut in the brick for the bed of cement to sit on and the beginning of the forms. Next is the bed of cement. When putting in the steps, he starts at the top because he can't work on newly set bricks

Beginning of support forms

Cement bed to set the stairs

Stairs started from the top and small bodega below

Mexican stair construction in Pinal Villa

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lucky Week Thirteen

After a paid vacation over Christmas week and a paid New Years day the back of both lots are walled, a 5 meter lot divider almost finished and the stairs are started. The vacation was a kind of aguinaldo which is common in Mexico at the end of the year. Normally the aguinaldo is equivalent to 15 days pay if they have worked all year and is paid by the 20th of December for buying Xmas presents, food and fiesta.

We finally have a stair plan and that is up the back wall with a 2 step approach to a one meter landing. Under the stairs will be walled for a small bodega (storage). If any more stair work is done this week I'll add a few fotos at the bottom.

Back of lot walls, divider wall and 2 steps of the stairs

Platform at the beginning of stairway - one meter wide all the way up
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