Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hot Sandy Beaches and cool Margaritas.....Not.

Most of the time when people ask where I'm at? This is because the VOIP telephone connection seems to stutter and spit, especially during afternoon hours when kids come home from school and start downloading the history home work assignments, checking out scientific relativity to post study theories and such, or perhaps the latest video of their idols.....eh , who knows.

Anyway, they are always surprised that I tell them I am in the smack dab middle of Mexico. Sitting amongst pine trees at 8600 ft above sea level.

For some reason most people perceive Mexico and warm sandy beaches where you see two chaise lounges with a small table hosting a bottle of Dos Equis or Corona........

Or the other picture is cacti abound with skeletons of an old cow or horse head with buzzards flying around in circles, heat mirage rippling in the foreground.

Not so.........

Last night it was one of the cooler evenings and we had a light fog descend down on the mountain top, bringing some moisture and requiring tossing a few logs in the living room fireplace.

We have tons of pine trees, but do not burn too much of them because the sap wood and the composition of the soft pine, plug up the chimney very quick.

We learned that lesson about 10 or so years ago, a lesson well learned.

We do use the small kindling of the sap wood to start the fire. The locals call it ocote, if you have never seen what Ocote looks like my blogger friend Mexico Bob did a story on Ocote here. It is a natural way to start fires, instead of dousing it with expensive and polluting liquid fire starter.

Anyway, we started the fire, and within minutes our two family members, moved into the spotlight.

The doggie on the left is our new female Daisy Girl, we got her about 9 months ago. Taz is our old man of the family now, he's pushing about 13 years..... We had our other old boy, Woody, leave us back in July, reducing our Wiener Dog pack down to two.....
One thing about Wiener dogs, is they love heat. Whether it be under the blanket at our feet, or in a warm car while the sun is out on a cool winter day.
It was the perfect picture, a family picture sort of.

So, I read many stories of people living in Mexico, sweating , trying to keep cool, walking around with parasols or getting a sun burn from falling asleep on the beach while sweating.....not a pretty picture. Well for us, it's keeping warm about 50% of the time, the other 50% is just perfect. So that's the picture of my Mexico......eat your hearts out you sweaty warmth lovers..........

18 comments:

Dan in NC said...

Tancho,
Loved the photo of the mutts getting comfy! Did you get the insert (very practical and efficient) locally or lug it down from one of the trips NOB?
Cheers!
Dan in NC

Tancho said...

Thanks Dan, when we started building the house I knew we needed heat. Fireplaces at that time were non-existent in Mexico... (except those clay things that crack under a big fire) We had a big load of stuff including roofing insulation shipped through freight forwarders. The inserts where actually made in Canada. At the time we were building, there were not any Home Depot stores in Mexico. Every trip down we toted down stuff like Romex, grounded outlet plugs, bathroom exhaust fans, tools etc. It was an experience!

Leah said...

Your pictures looks a lot better than mine. I am more comfortable with firewood and warm blankets than sweat and AC. I'll either get used to the tropical heat or be forced to move for health reasons. Hopefully sooner than later.

Bob Mrotek said...

Tancho,

Next year you should go and see the festival of "Candiles" in Uriangato which is not far from you. Each year on September 21 to 29 they hold a celebration in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel where they light bonfires of ocote in the streets every night. If you want to buy ocote right about now is a good time to go to Uriangato to buy the leftovers. It is also fun to go to MoroleĆ³n - Uriangato on the weekends for all of the factory outlet clothing sales. You literally "shop until you drop".

Calypso said...

Purrrfect weather here amigo - high 70's and sunny - nights about 60. But we are at 4300' Come on down.

Steve Cotton said...

Well, I just came in from the hot tub on a pleasantly brisk October night here in Oregon. I will miss that when I head south. But there are good days ahead, as well.

Tancho said...

Hi Leah,
Me too! I love the beach and surf, about a week at a time. Then to return to a crackling fire now and then, warm blanket, crisp cool evenings...nothing better. That's one of the reasons we choose this spot in the Sierra Madres.. If I lived on the coast, my AC bill would probably bankrupt me...

Thanks Bob, I will check it out next year....I don't think I'll be buying any Ocote at that spot...maybe haul a pickup load to sell maybe....

Our nights drop down cooler than yours Calypso, but our days are probably like yours.. never too hot.. still good beer drinking weather.
I thought of a hot tub up here Steve...then figured that it would cost a fortune to keep it hot, based on the CFE rates... I'll use one when we visit somewhere, although I do remember how great one feels after a long soak...Maybe I can figure out a solar way to keep it going.....

Don Cuevas said...

I was reading an article recently, I think in the NY Times online, about a couple who'd installed a traditional wooden, wood fired hot tub. That saves on your electric bill but the disadvantage is that you have to plan ahead to build the fire.

It used an submergible burner. I found the article: http://tinyurl.com/29hhb2b

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

PS: By coincidence, today's Secret Word is "sumizzle".

Tancho said...

Well, Sr Cuevas, A wood fired heater would be the answer, and God knows we have enough wood here.... I may do some checking on the subject here, and see if there is anyone to build a cedar hot tub around here. I'll have to figure out how many BTU's it will take to heat the water to a nice 104 degrees....
Another project.....

Steve Cotton said...

At my age, I find that by the time a wiood fire would heat up the tub, my fire would be ebbing.

Bob Mrotek said...

Water is very hard to heat. It takes an enormous amount if energy. A 40,000 BTU/h heater takes about 25 minutes to raise the temperature of 40 gallons of 55 degree Fahrenheit water to 105 degree Fahrenheit water. To raise the temperature of 400 gallons of 55 degree water to 105 degrees in the same amount of time would require 400,000 BTU. A wood boiler of that size would be an industrial grade boiler and take a small forest of trees to feed it. Most wood boilers aren't much bigger than 150,000 BTU and one of those would cost around three thousand dollars. Better stick with a 400,000 BTU gas heater (two thousand dollars) and pay the five dollars or so for the gas to heat your tub each time you want to use it.

Tancho said...

Five bucks to heat the hot tub??/ Yikes... I think I will postpone that project until my lottery ticket pays off...
If I use the tub twice a week or so, that is going to run at least 50 bucks a month..
A bottle of Don Julio will keep me as warm for half that price...

Bob Mrotek said...

Actually it may even cost a little more, Tancho, depending upon how much you pay for propane and how long it takes you to wrinkle. Here are my "scribble" numbers:

24170 BTU per liquid litre
2 liquid litres per kilogram
50,000 BTU per kilo
8 kilos per hot tub initial heating plus 1 to maintain temperature until you wrinkle.
9 kilos @ approx 10.5 pesos per kilo = 94.50 pesos = $7.56

You could probably hold this down to five bucks a pop if you used the sun to preheat your water...and don't forget your rubber ducky :)

Don Cuevas said...

Bob's calculations are classic! LOL!

Saludos,
Don Cuevas

Today's secret word: reway

Tancho said...

I never realized of how expensive it could be to heat a hot tub... Maybe I'll just fill up the bathtub with hot water and try and get in there.
Which brings to mind a funny story.
Years ago, about 25, we rented a house in Palm Springs for a weekend getaway. They had a hot tub and a pool. They had some confusing directions of closing and opening the valves to heat the hot tub. Figuring it would be nice, I changed the valves and we went to dinner. Upon our return I checked the temp in the hot tub... it was about 85, but the 8X16 pool was a nice 100. So we got in the pool...I would have loved to seen the look on the owners face when they got the next months power bill. ( Power was cheaper then, and I am sure he rewrote the instructions to be clearer)

Calypso said...

Tancho - I have plans for a solar hot tub that a guy made for $100 bucks total.

Realistically you can make a solar hot tub for about 600 US and never pay anything to heat it.

Our neighbor here in Xico is a pool builder - he has a good size pool in his backyard that he heats totally with solar. Last time I was there (a few days ago) it was 82 in that pool.

BTW the hundred dollar effort was in Pueblo, Colorado NOT Merida ;-)

Pat said...

Remember the house in Laurel Canyon? We turned the pool into a giant hot tub, once I found a way to circumvent the pool heater security. Wonder what that utility bill was.
Considering what we paid, we didn't feel too bad about hacking their pool...

Can't wait to meet Daisy!

Tancho said...

Pat.. I almost forgot about that one, hey for what we paid for that house, he could afford the tank of gas.....
That was a nice house, and pool with a great view....maybe one of these days....
Na...couldn't afford it nowadays...