While we were over at some friends place down the road just before Christmas, SU marveled on how beautiful their landscaping was. The house is just down the calle from us and is a typical Panamanian concrete house with a drop ceiling that has been nicely renovated with minimum expenses in mind. The difference in this house is that the owners also purchased the lot behind them that has a tiny tipico concrete block house, thereby doubling the size of their lot. They’ve also renovated the smaller house for use as a rental. Our friends are also building a lovely big home on a hill down the coast around Dusty and El Gordo’s house and didn’t have a lot of time to spend on yard maintenance for the house in town and so created a lovely oasis with concrete curbs, rocks and plants.
We both became quite enamored with the garden and SU decided that he would like to recreate it on a smaller scale in our backyard. He thought that working on it during Carnaval would be a good idea because there would be so much going on in town that we wouldn’t want to leave the casa anyway. On the Tuesday before Carnaval started he went and ordered the materials and was told that delivery would take place on Thursday. Perfecto! That works out well, he thought. On Wednesday one day earlier than promised he received the sand and rock. He’d already begun to remove some of the landscaping materials he’d previously installed and dug the trenches that for the curbs and he was getting anxious to get going on the project.
By Thursday he had pretty much completed all the preparation required to get his project going and he was looking forward to putting the concrete blocks in and levelling them all. But of course no blocks appeared on Thursday despite his many visits to Moreno’s. Friday entailed three more visits to Moreno’s wondering where his concrete blocks were. When I left for my habla clase on Friday afternoon, the rest of the materials had not been delivered. When I came down the calle after class I was a little worried that SU might have stormed Moreno’s looking for his materials. Luckily he had received the concrete and was just waiting for the bloques to arrive. Success! He would probably have had to wait until after Carnaval for the rest of his materials to arrive so he had started to panic.
Saturday the bloques were installed and leveled and I took the opportunity to do some housework and then wander down to el parque central to take a look at the festivities. The bloques were cemented in at the bottom on Sunday. Vecino came over to help with this part of the job and Vecino Jr. pitched in for about an hour also. I took the chance to drive down the coast to spend the day with Dusty and El Gordo. Dusty and I spent about three hours fishing down at the mouth of River Oria where Dusty caught a blow-fish and I caught a stick; but it was lovely and relaxing to listen to the waves of the ocean and enjoy the breeze. We spent the rest of the afternoon floating in the pool before I headed home where, to my delight SU had supper all ready to go.
Monday was when the job began in earnest and for three days SU put repello on the bloques. (If you remember from a earlier post repello is a type of concrete stucco that is put over blocks to make a smooth surface.) By Thursday he was ready to do some clean up and remove some of the burrs from the concrete by using a smooth rock like sandpaper on the curbs.
Friday was our first day back to Spanish lesson after the Carnaval holiday. After our class and before my habla clase we went down to the beach to find some large flat ocean rocks to add a bit of interest to the garden path. While I was away exercising my brain SU was exercising his muscles and digging the rocks into place. Saturday SU placed some of the concrete slabs that we had in front of the step into placed and then laid the smaller rocks in. We will still need to backfill around the outside of the curbs but we have to get some dirt from the vivero. We’re also going to put some potted plants by the depósito, water tank and in some of the curves of the path and we’ve noticed that some of the grass isn’t doing so well in dry season so it’s still a bit of a work in progress.
I have to admit, it does look quite nice. I’m glad that we were able to reuse some of the materials that we had around the house and ocean rocks similar to what we have in the front and back jardin. Next, SU will be making a curb across the front jardin to keep the rocas from migrating into the flowerbed. SU has admitted that it was hard work and he has a new respect for the Panameño trabajadoras that only earn $20.00 a day for similar jobs.