The celebrated porch project continues with one (of four) sections almost complete. I elected to tackle the most complicated section first - the benches - and thanks to our friend Darren's assistance, have made excellent progress and can report it almost complete. My injured hand still lacks the strength for holding the Skil saw properly so his assistance on the long plywood cuts was invaluable. By the end of this week I should be well along, if not done, with the second section - a simple wall at one of the long ends of the porch.
In the spirit of full disclosure I had to make another run to Belize for parts. It seems the quality of lag shield anchors here in Chetumal is just not up to par with what's available in the rest of the free world so a few hours and a couple of dollars later I had a bag of parts to continue the porch project. Custom's on the Mexican side had no problem with my stash when I explained it was to build a structure for our Mexican homeowners.
My weekend blog writing was also delayed by the necessary recovery from our attendance at another Quince Anos celebration for our friend Yina (prounced "Gina"). Equivalent to the US "Sweet Sixteen" coming out party, we attended the church service - quite well done - and the reception. But I had to leave when the music got loud. I just can't handle the loud noise anymore and, besides, it was celebration for the kids so I left them to it. Well-attended by a large contingent of friends and family, everyone had a great time.
Last night several of us got together to wish our friend Jerry a safe voyage back to Canada. He is a snowbird and spends six months here and six months there. Best of both world's as it were. He'll leave at dawn tomorrow and spend the next 8 or 9 days on the road north to central Saskatchewan. Quite the character, we'll miss him.
Two other friends will be leaving us in the next 6 months and we'll be sorry to see them go. Darren and his family will be off to the USofA to raise his three young sons and offer them a better option for education. Marvin, another Canadian who has moved down here permanently will be off to someplace new in Mexico, we know not yet just where but further north on the Yucatan peninsula seems most likely. That will bring the Calderitas Gringo population down to a manageable 5 or so. Just about right.
The puppies are growing and fast approaching their 6-week vet check. Poor Joey isn't a great mother and having trouble nursing what with the puppy claws and teeth. Poor gal. Amy, the Belizean potlicker import, has assumed the role of nurse and does help to heard the pups when we take them out into the grass. Wifey is near at wits end trying to keep up with them and can't wait until they pass their vet check and are transported to new owners. Any thoughts of establishing an animal rehab/shelter have now been completely quenched.
The city of Merida just reported a record high temperature of 41.5C (106.7F)! A beautiful city but much too far inland for my tastes and obviously a place better visited during the "winter" months. Hopefully they'll get some relief from the next "cold" front.
With that kind of heat one needs to stay hydrated. Although there's nothing wrong with a cold brewski especially given the exceptional selection here, there is a typically Mexican drink called "agua fresca" which literally translates to "fresh water" but is made with pulverized fruit be it watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydews, strawberries, tamarind, peaches, pineapples, mango, papaya or cucumbers. Good to drink right away, they improve with age and a few hours in the refrigerator gives time for the flavors to really shine.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
½ cup water
½ cup white sugar, or to taste
4 slices lime
24 fresh mint leaves
Purée the watermelon and water in a blender until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Cut the lime slices in half. Place half a lime slice into each of 8 glasses along with 3 mint leaves. Crush with a cocktail muddler, then fill each glass with ice. Pour in the watermelon juice and stir before serving.
Strawberry Agua Fresca
4 cups water
½ cup sugar
6 cups hulled strawberries
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
Combine water and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place strawberries in a blender, processing until smooth. Combine the sugar mixture with the strawberry purée and lime juice. Stir well and serve.
Cucumber Agua Fresca
From Bon Appétit magazine.
4½ cups coarsely chopped, seeded and peeled cucumbers (about 4 medium), divided
4 cups cold water, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
½ cup-plus fresh lime juice, divided
1 pinch of salt
Combine 2¼ cups of the chopped cucumber, 2 cups of water, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup lime juice, salt and 1 cup ice cubes in a blender. Blend until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth but slushy, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining cucumbers, 2 cups water, sugar, lime juice and 1 cup ice cubes. Fill 8 glasses with ice cubes and pour in the cucumber drink.
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower)
From mexicoinmykitchen.com. Hibiscus flowers are available in Latin grocery stores and most herb/spice shops.
1¼ cup dried jamaica/hibiscus flowers
3 cups water
4 cups of water to make 2 quarts of the final drink
½ cup sugar
Place the flowers in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Set aside for at least 4 hours to steep. (You can also do this overnight.) Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add the 4 cups of water and sugar. You can adjust the water if it tastes too tart. Stir, add ice cubes and let chill.