One More Phase of Remodeling Finished!

For the past 5 or 6 weeks our place has been taken over by workers making some changes to our outside space and inside working on our kitchen.

Finally all is completed and Joe and I can start to clean up the dust that was left behind while they worked.

IMG_2936We had the bamboo fence added to two walls and it has turned a beautiful tan color. It was treated for bugs and then varnished.

IMG_2937Our driveway was plain concrete so we had that resurfaced and topped with granito and then varnished.

IMG_2938We also had the one section of our back yard covered in cement and they topped that with large outdoor ceramic tiles and granito to make a nice patio.IMG_2939I hated the way the top of the cistern looked so we had them put the granito on that as well.

IMG_2945The last item was the new gate with a built in door and a roof to protect it which was just completed this past Saturday.

Now everything needs a nice coat of white paint.  Well not right now, we need a break from workers.  ja ja

Tropical Garden

We have several projects going at our home in the past few weeks. Last week the bamboo fence around the yard was completed. Billy and his son worked hard to get it just right and we bid farewell to these wonderful craftsmen.


Over the past week the bamboo has soften to a beautiful tan color from the original green from the fresh bamboo.  Billy and his son sprayed it for bugs and then sprayed it with a varnish.


Investing in the Local Economy

Ever since we moved here to San Clemente our neighbor David Zambrano has helped us with so many jobs around this house I can no longer remember all of them.  While we were staying in Manta, David took care of our home, our yard and our plants.  When we came back my plants were more beautiful and lush than I could ever had gotten them.  I do feel he has a green thumb.

David is great with electrical or plumbing problems but on occasion he has done some small woodworking for me as well as small concrete jobs along with a bit of painting. If he cannot do it he will find someone who can.

When the earthquake hit on April 16th, Joe got me out of the house but we were in shock, we just sat on lawn chairs out on the driveway.  David and his brother Pilli made a quick check of all the neighbors and then came back to get Joe and I.  They walked us through our house sweeping a path through the debris as they got us into our bedroom and found us shoes, shirts and flashlights. They found two folding chairs on our patio and walked us down the street to a waiting car, where we were treated like royalty and taken up the hill to Pepita’s home to wait out the tsunami warning.  David came back several hours later and took us to our home. Again, he needed to sweep a path to be able to get to the bathroom and into bed.  I cannot explain how much this meant to Joe and I.  It took us days to stop trembling when we felt an aftershock and some of those aftershocks measured over 6.

Now we are starting the work that we have been planning for the house for the past year.  This is the time to do it, this is the time to invest in this community so it can heal. If you have projects that you are looking to do in the next year, I ask that you do those projects now, infusing money into the local economy.

So far we have contracted to have wood cabinets built for our kitchen, a block and concrete wall built at the back of our property and bamboo fencing for two additional walls in our yard. This is not replacement for damage done it is all new items that we were planning to add over the next several years. Next we will be hiring maestros to build two doors for the back walkway as well as a new wood gate for our drive.

Many people are not working right now, have no income coming in and have damage to their own property. If you are living in Ecuador and are thinking about investing in your property and can give work to those in your community please do it now.

It will make a difference in the quality of life right here in Ecuador.



Building a Finca – Update

Back in December of last year our neighbors Ivan and Max allowed me to visit their finca and post about their work. See Building a Finca, December 1, 2012.  Max was kind enough to come by with some beautiful papaya from the farm and he took me back for an update.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 045Joe and Max are examining the bounty on this one type of papaya. Different varieties of papaya have been planted to see which variety is better suited to this climate. Max is experimenting with the Hawaiian Papayas as well as the locally grown variety. His focus has been fruit that has a high sugar content with low maintenance and water consumption. The papaya trees that have been planted are producing but the focus of the farm is the production of tamarind.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 064San Clemente 10.31.2013 035These tamarind trees were started from seeds and have grown to over three feet in less than a year in the ground. It is a beautiful property with spectacular views of the ocean from almost any spot.

As we were leaving Max jumped out of the car and put several huge squash in the back seat, the one he gave me made several squash breads that I shared with the neighbors.

San Clemente 10.31.2013 040Since my first visit electricity has been brought to the property, roads and planting fields have been cleared and construction has been started on the first all bamboo home.

Good luck, buena suerte!

Bamboo Construction

Joe and I have thought about adding a ramada to our garden area. Every time we pass this second story construction going out-of-town we stop to take in the details that these workman have added to make this not just a porch but a real tropical retreat.

San Clemente 8.31.2013 001

The detail is exceptional. I am not sure if we can build this a full two stories just bamboo and have it strong enough but I am sure willing to check it out.

San Clemente 8.31.2013 001 (3) San Clemente 8.31.2013 001 (2)Just look at the detail work. I am so amazed at what you can do with bamboo.

EDIT TO ORIGINAL POST:Received this email from our friend Jackie Ross and wanted to share it with all of you:

Hi Nancy–just saw your blog re: bamboo.  Thought that I would let you know that we found out last Fri at lunch that the bamboo construction cost $30,000.   The workers and I all almost fell out of our chairs.  So before you decide that you want the same thing, just wanted to give you a heads up.  However, it is beautiful.  Everytime the workers and I drive past, we comment on it and think it is absolutely fabulous.  But after we heard the price tag decided it was definitely out of my budget.   Jackie   

and ours as well, thanks Jackie for the information, Nancy

Sonia’s Ramada

Earlier this week I heard some work going on up the street and found out that Sonia had decided to add a ramada to her backyard. In two days the building itself was completed and today they are leveling the soil and cleaning up.

San Clemente 8.31.2013 004 San Clemente 8.31.2013 003

I can see the hammocks lined up now, with Sonia and her son enjoying the freshness under this wonderful ramada.  Beautiful addition to this lovely home. Fiesta anyone?

Swiss Family Robinson or What?

Totally built from bamboo with a palm frond roof. This is like Swiss Family Robinson the only thing needed are the removable ladders, pulleys to bring food and supplies to the living area and a some vine-covered trees close to the house. I am positive Joe and I could not live in a house that had no screens let alone no walls. We are assuming the upper floor is the bedroom and imagine that the view from up their out to the water is fabulous but…just a bit to rustic for us!