House Home

our first shower

our first shower in la tigra 🙂

 

In 2006 my husband Felipe and I packed two bags, fifty thousand dollars and the dream of a self sustainable life. We moved to his tiny home town in rural México. We were there almost nine years getting a whopping lesson in dream meets reality.

Four months ago, I packed one bag and left for Nicaragua. I had fifty bucks, and the idea that perhaps Felipe would join me. As followers of this blog know, he did; he came with one bag and 1500 dollars in the bank from selling our pigs.

This is to say, I know a little bit about up and moving to another country. You might guess the hardest part is making it happen, but in my experience, the difficulty is making it home.

When I moved into in my new apartment in Nicaragua I was elated. It was so clean! No crumbling  walls, no stumbling into the forest  before dawn due to broken plumbing, no corners of impenetrable grime. Seven years with no money for house maintenance = hovel. But after a few months of white walls and dark wood I missed character, even if that meant something beyond patina.

I wish I could say I remedied this deficit with something more apparently meaningful say… volunteering or starting to write  a new book, but…I went shopping, at the Nica version of home depot no less!

Pillows!

Pillows!

 

I bought pillows, and place mats, an apron and wineglasses and a vase! Best of all… I bought two big bright coffee mugs. They aren’t as grande as the big green mug that held my hand as I stuttered through my recitations last year, but  they’re an investment in wake up happy.

IMG_0438

Wake up happy!

 

Felipe visited the Pierda Rahda last week, I’m pleased to report he found River and Monty fat and wild, and our cats still inhabiting the adobe and turning there nose up at the food our caretaker puts down for them everyday. I could have asked him to bring my big green mug, but I feel better knowing it’s there, waiting for me to drink in sunrise under the amate someday.

I guess I am not yet totally here -but I’m closer.

What’s your first step in making a house a home?

The Road from Farm to Table

Self Sustainable. Organic. Farm to Table. Appealing words— admirable concepts. But  we seldom consider what it entails to bring such belief systems to fruition; how we navigate the road from farm…to table.

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

Farmer Chris and Sous Chef Adam on Machete Duty

This week at Rancho Santana’s chicken facility our farm and kitchen staff walked that path.

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Felipe and Omar Plucking

Melky and Justin Butchering

Melky and Justin Butchering

Hen to plate.

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

Sautéed Chicken Liver with Radish, Fennel Frond Salad

The next generation.

The next geration

Object, Action, Intent

 

Floppy hatSometimes, when I need a morale boost, I entertain myself with recollections of how we prepared for our move from Chicago. Of course it required shopping, a fundamental element of my life at the time. I bought myself a beautiful pair of handcrafted pearl earrings, $150.  Who knew when I would be able to afford such things again? I also succumbed to a craving for a pair of $80 espadrilles from Banana Republic, which I bought too small and never wore. I have no explanation for this but some weird small foot vanity. Then I trekked to J. Crew. These were places I rarely shopped. Mostly I resale shopped, but I had the idea that because I’d be denied  luxuries, I should stock up.  On what—useless overpriced things? As it turned out, I was stocking up on waste. At J. Crew I bought a $60 sunhat. Now surely, this was a needed item. It was grand, a lounging at the pool glamorous floppy hat to protect not only your face but your décolletage. I’ve never worn it. Why? Well, it’s huge, hot and impractical, you can barely see out from under it and I have no occasion to lounge around a pool. Did I mention it has some gold sequins on it? It really is a beautiful hat, scorpions enjoy nesting in it.

 

An excerpt from Dirty, Wet and Bitten, my memoir of moving to Mexico.

 

 Funny how objects and actions make their purposes known…eventually.

Master of the Night

Stairs at Escondido

This morning I walked to Playa Econdido, as I do most mornings. But today I hoped to see the turtles hatch and make their way into the sea. I sat on the stairs watching the tide, it was higher than I’d ever seen it. It almost slurped its way into the nests. I thought of the eggs and the tiny creature’s ancient instincts responding to the ocean’s pulse as I waited for the rangers.

When they arrived we made our way to the two nests due to hatch. They dug first with a shovel and then cupped hands, deep into the sand. The ranger pulled out something that looked like leaves.

La  cascara? I asked.

Si, se fue, he replied. They are gone.

I was thrilled to hear this. He thought my excitement odd. I explained that it made me happy they had done it on their own, and that the were probably stronger because they had dug themselves out.

Hatched

Hatched

Para es mas peligrosa, he said, waving to the seagulls.

Si, es verdad, I admitted it was true.

I thought of the duckling I lost to an eagle, I was three meters away when the bird caught my charge in its talons and flew away— the heartbreak and wonder of that moment.

Coincidently, I memorized this poem this week. I dedicate this recitation to the tortugitas, those that swam away…and the ones that flew.