Busting Butt and a Reprieve

23 May

Completed flagstone patio

The last few months have been intensely busy completing client projects. No time to ride the motorcycles, no hikes, no work on our own place. We underestimated the time to complete the largest undertaking, building a 480 square foot flagstone patio. That was after building the bar (stuccoed cinder blocks with cement and tiled counter) on one side of the patio. But they are both done. We all celebrated its completion last weekend with margaritas and lounge chairs.

Ed welding purloins for roof.

Then we could concentrate on a few high-priority projects at home: spray paint the barn, place and plumb the two new water tanks, buy steel and erect a roofed structure connected to the barn for shade and protection from the upcoming monsoons. I even spray painted two of the water tanks. We applied a clay slip to the exterior of the ramada adobe wall. Neighbor Doc commented it looked thick enough to be cake icing, to which I added, ‘Hmm…. Mocha icing!”. I didn’t have enough time to put together a lime wash as I intended, but the thick clay slip hopefully will protect the adobe and mortar from deterioration during summer storms.

We were under a time crunch and the pressure was obvious every day. But the important projects are done and we are enjoying some time off during the summer to relax and do activities we haven’t been able to in months. I miss riding my motorcycles and hiking. So the next few months will provide us opportunities to do so. I also hope to take time to begin developing a website devoted to topics of scientific interest. I look forward to promoting participation from folks and collaborating with others in content, including kids. I have two guinea pig girls that I hope will kick-start the kids’ section with questions, reports on observations and home experiments.

Hike up Black Creek Draw.

Meanwhile, Mother’s Day was the best in years with a visit from a family beginning an adventure in off-grid self-sustainability in the Terlingua area. While Chris and Ed worked on playing with steel, Nicole and their two girls joined me in a hike up Black Creek Draw. We explored fossils, rocks, plants, and tracks. The day was topped off with homemade grilled chicken enchiladas and my green chile sauce. I hope to share similar days like that in the future!

Ed and I took most of a day off to attend a historic occasion in Big Bend La Frontera: Voices from Both Sides. For the first time since closing of all non-essential border crossings into Mexico from Texas eleven years ago, people on both sides of the Rio del Norte (Rio Grande) joined voices, hands and food again. Starting with music, then mingling in the river water, the border disappeared by hands and voices together, and hugs across water, across politics, and across cultures to become one again. “The river does not divide us.” Only those that live along the borders, on both sides, know the meaning of this. I even noticed smiles and nods from faces of the Border Patrol personnel present.

Yes, not all life in La Frontera is as benign. But there are places where goodwill still exists, as it has at times in the past and, hopefully, will again. As a reporter wrote, “To this observer, a new Texan of a mere 20 years, the event was a joyous success, proving that those elsewhere in the USA shouting for ever higher walls along the border, just don’t understand the binding force of family and culture, which links the people here on both sides of the Rio Grande.” It was truly heartwarming for all of us, on both sides. Viva La Frontera!

Voices, hands and fellowship across the river and across borders.

Happy summer to you all, and, to all, a good night.

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2 Responses to “Busting Butt and a Reprieve”

  1. Phlegmfatale July 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    That flagstone patio is absolutely gorgeous. You should be very proud.

    • Macrobe July 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Thank you! I look forward to doing more rock and clay work in the fall.

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