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The new year starts with the foundations and footings in place.
This process has taken two months and is right on schedule.
Now the process of building up the first floor begins.
The black stuff is a barrier to stop the wicking of silatrates or minerals up through the walls.
Below-The Castillios go up where there are vertical supports. Within these also are conduits for electrical and water.
January 9th- One week later. The walls going up quite quickly. Now it is really taking shape, taking form, becoming real.Below-looking from bedroom into bathroom and closet. Utility room and kitchen further.
January 16th. Two weeks into this year and the walls are almost at second floor.
Below -You can see how the arches over doors and windows are constructed.
January 27th. The arches for the terrace taking shape.
Below-The staircase to upper floor being started.
A very complicated project for the bricklayer with curves and precise placement to arrive at an exact place in space.
The guy in blue above pulled out of his shirt pocket two very ancient 500 year old plus pre Columbian small clay sacrificial bowls that were used by the Indians to make offerings to the Goddess of the lake called Ollitas. Various stories are told as to their precise function. Some say blood from the earlobe was placed in the jars and either thrown or lowered into the Lake. He said he found them close to the Lake on another project. These are hard to find now as most are in museums or on collectors shelves. We were very happy to be given these and will find a place for them in the new home.
Below- The way the arches are formed.
Feb 12th. Now the outside stairs are in place and most of the arches have been completed.
Next a cap is put over the top of the walls prior to the next floor being laid.
Our view. In the distance the greenhouses of Rancho La Salud organic farm.
All looks much the same from a distance until one goes inside….
…where there is a forest of supports holding up a temporary roof.
Above that on what will be the second floor are concrete blocks laid out slightly regularly with re-bar and tubing.
The tubing will hold electrical wiring and there will also be tubing for plumbing- all of which will be threaded around the blocks.
The rebar is around the perimeter and in the middle for a load bearing wall. The white tubes are to take the roof water down into a collecting cistern.
Next a big cement truck will come to cover all that in to make the secundo piso.
Here Pepe the builder standing on rebar which supports an interior load bearing wall.
February 26th .
A big day when the second floor gets it’s concrete laid.
Below- the bricks stacked ready to build up the walls.
February 28th.-The second storey walls go up !
The ceilings will be only ten feet high on this floor instead of the eleven below.
Below- One can see how the electrical lines are put in. The chisel away a groove for the tubing.
Below- How the arches are made for windows.
Below- the roof beams now are laid….
And the then the ceiling is put into place.
The i beams have a slot and the bricks are wedged into it and then laid across with a curved metal template. This is a typical method is this area.
Below- The view north of the mountains from my new studio window.
Now the ceilings are being put in place.
Below- the “canon” or barrel roof style of the entry hall.
Below-The metal template used to define the curve of the bricks.
Below- From the other side.
Below- The view from the upstairs studio.
April 11th.They are now working top down inside and out. The walls are being plastered and primed.
The barrel vault ceiling is in the entry hall.
Below-The view from the upper Mirador. The cocktail hour place.
Now the interiors are plastered and the exterior is being applied.
Below-The skylights on the south terrace which allow winter Sun to penetrate and warm the interior and keep the hot summer sun out.
Below-The moulding around windows is being applied.
Below- The east facing guest room windows.
Yes this could be your view in the mornings.
Saturday May 2nd We noticed a blue cross was erected.
May Day is a big holiday here in Mexico so we were told the workers would be finishing up and going home.
They did indeed stop work about noon and cleaned up the site as they do every Saturday but they also set up a barbecue under the big tree and invited us to join them. Pepe the builder being the Grand Jefe brings in the beer and meat. We sat under the big tree with them and learned their individual nicknames such as “Crocodile” and Gonza”. Banda music played on the boombox and we ate with them thin sliced meat wrapped in warm tortillas washed down with beer. It was another of those rituals that pepper the days or are excuses for another fiesta. I was just reading this page in On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan where he writes of his experiences converting an old house in San Miguel.
“Yesterday a lone worker came early in the morning and built an altar around a blue cross on the roof …for Albiniles Day, which is Masons Day’.
“The party was all men, all masons. They barbecued steak and sausage they called Barcelonesa. Lots of tortillas and beer.