In the end, due to delays I don’t even want to get into right now, Jamie and Carlos had to wait for a couple more months before moving into their new home. That happened at the end of July/beginning of August. Selfishly, this has been one of the best things that have happened since we left Quito, as my sweet daughter is now only 20 minutes away and I get to see her on average twice a week. Such a blessing!
The very week Jamie and Carlos moved, construction on my own house began! And this has kept me busy… and interested! This is a very different type of construction. In fact, it is the first of its kind in this particular town where I am now living. Because I really wanted to make sure to leave the lowest ecological footprint behind in this project, the decision was basically to build a mud house. Or, more elegantly put, a rammed earth house. So all the material for the walls has come from the property itself, and other eco-friendly materials are purchased locally.
The first step was to clear the site.
The ground was leveled…
And the dirt that would go into the walls was then piled up.
Next, the foundation was laid.
Wood molds are set up over the foundations, then the dirt is poured in and pounded in 15 cm increments. (That’s my lead architect, Pascual, on the right). 🙂
The walls are built in three sections, each 1 m high (3.28 feet). So the walls will be nice and high – 3 meters high altogether (9.84 feet). As of today, the second of the three sections has almost been completed. the plan is to have all the walls finished by the end of the month. (Still wet wall below. The color gets lighter as it dries.)
That initial pile of dirt has now been reduced to this.
This is a 4-bedroom, 5-bathroom house. With a swimming pool. 🙂 So with three guest rooms, I sure expect you all to visit!
A (somewhat) aerial view so far… To the left, sewing studio, laundry, and my bedroom, with a small sun porch. In the middle, living/dining/kitchen (both ends will be enclosed with huge windows). To the right, the guest rooms. The walls for the first guest room (toward the right front) are just now going up and will be finished this week.
I’m pretty happy seeing my dream house going up!
The other reason why it has taken me so long to post has been because I recently suffered another (for me) deep loss in my life this year. In late June my 11+-year-old Golden Retriever, Josie, started limping suddenly. I took her to the local vet who told me it was arthritis, but no medicine seemed to help. Called in our regular vet who ran a battery of tests, including an MRI that uncovered a large inoperable tumor in her chest. As you may know, Golden Retrievers are the breed with the highest incidence of cancer, especially as they grow older.
I knew the day was coming. I just didn’t expect it that soon, or that suddenly. I rearranged the house, moved my office to the living room and basically lived and slept there for three weeks so I could stay close to her. She deteriorated very quickly, until I faced the reality I would have to put her down. She must have known how hard that was for me, because in the wee hours of the morning that I had scheduled to put her to sleep, she died on her own.
As anyone who loves a pet, and particularly when you have had one as long as I had her, you understand this is indeed a deep loss. She was my constant companion, day in and day out, for nearly twelve years, and I miss her terribly. Plus this came months after having lost Jamie’s Labrador… two pets in less than a year felt like too much.
That was four months ago. I thought I would give myself more time – maybe until I moved into my new house – before bringing another pet into my life (I still have my brave guard dog, Marley, and valiant cat Remi). About a month ago, however, my vet let me know about another Golden Retriever that was up for adoption. This is the breed I love, and I knew it would be difficult to find another one easily, so I said yes.
Enter Oliver Sinclair.
Hmmmm. Notice anything striking about this dog? Well, when I went to pick him up, I was startled by how much he looked like my Josie. It disconcerted me so much, I didn’t know initially if I would be able to connect with him. As it turns out, the resemblance ended there… his personality is very different. He’s still young (9 moths), so he’s pretty rambunctious and just a wee bit crazy. I imagine that will change as he grows older. He also arrived with a few bad habits, like jumping on people and tables, counters, etc. So his lordship has been subjected to boot camp since he arrived. And little by little I am learning to connect with him.
We will get there. 🙂 I’d say we are more than halfway there, in fact!