The short answer is not as much as I had hoped but we are moving right along. Let me hit some random points.
It has finally started. Last December I had a “roof” built on the garage. The word here is loza and it is a reinforced concrete one that can be built on. It doesn’t block the view from the B&B and offers me a space to store my stuff and have a workshop for carpentry, electronics and so much more. Big (about 5 by 8 meters) and convenient.
I wasn’t sure whether to make it out of concrete block or wood. Each had advantages and disadvantages. The decision to go with block was simple — people kept not getting back to me on construction quotes and start dates. Finally I met with an albañil (mason) on a Thursday. He promised a quote the next day and delivered. He then said construction could start on Monday and it did.
Rebecca (the Gringo in the picture trying on clothing that Maria Dulce is selling) complained that as nice as the photos she was taking looked, they just could not compare to actually being here. I guess that is the kind of complaint we can live with.
Note that this photo was taken in front of the church in the center of the San Antonio village, not here at Casa Colonial. And, yes, Rebecca did buy some things including the gǘipil (http://www.definiciones-de.com/Definicion/de/guipil.php) she has on. On the “how to bargain” end, she discovered that if you buy multiple items (she bought three) you can get a much better deal. How much better? Expect a 50% or more discount from the initial asking price.
The property is about 150 meters deep going up a hill, most of it above the irrigation water when runs across the property. While some trees have been planted up the hill, we want more and we want a garden. (My goal: virtually all we eat will come from the property.) My solution is a pump powered by a solar panel. It takes filtered irrigation water from the canal and pumps it up to a water tank about 50 meters up the hill.
Juan, the caretaker, made a flat spot for the tank and carried it up the hill. Then the plumber (that’s me) put in a pipe to bring the water up to the tank and a couple of pipes where hoses could be attached to water various areas including the new garden plot.
I am convinced Juan is part goat as he just casually walks on the dirt path — even with a water tank on his back. Phil the plumber pretty much had to crawl to some of the locations because it is so steep. But, while I was up there I did take some photos.
There is still lots more to do here including electrical work and planting the garden. But, it has been serious progress. Hopefully I can get a lot of stuff done before the Semana Santa busy week.