Can Get Really Cold In Mexico Too
By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
February 28, 2019
We felt really guilty last Christmas when the temperature
hit 84 degrees along the coast of the Sea of Cortez, and
we sailed out to a deserted island for a picnic lunch; however,
not one week later, the temperature hit 40 degrees at night,
and only managed to reach 60 degrees the next day.
Since most houses have no heat down here, and we only have
electricity from 10 a.m. in the morning to 10 a.m. at night,
things can get very cold.
We are more fortunate than most as years ago we brought
down a little pot bellied stove, and when we are on beach
walks, we pick up pieces of driftwood to burn. We also have
burned cactus which makes a good fire.
Our pot bellied stove came from a yard sale in Merced,
and it was very old and not working when we bought it for
We had a welder work on it for another $25 to make it function,
and it has been working ever since.
There is one problem with the stove and that is it will
get too hot. One time it got so hot that it melted the tar
which was used to seal the stove pipe as it went up through
Since then, we have been more careful to not build that
big a fire.
Wood is hard to find down here. While driftwood is the
best, it is also in high demand as artistic pieces for the
gardens. One person make a driftwood Christmas Tree, and
we have some very nice pieces which we made into “talking
Wood at the hardware store is also very pricey, and we
pay twice the price for a 2x4 here in Mexico as we do in
the states. The quality is also very poor, and the last
time we bought 2x4s, the hardware store owner was so embarrassed
she gave it to us at half price.
For this reason wood is not the building material of choice.
Most homes are built out of concrete block and stone. Even
some kitchen cabinets are built out of concrete, and when
polished the counter tops are quite beautiful.
Even the wood which exists in this part of Mexico is not
always legal to cut. We wanted a banister to be made of
wood called “Ironwood.” There are only two places
in Mexico where this wood can be found; our area and in
The wood is like ebony, very heavy and almost black at
the center. Wood carvers use it almost exclusively and we
have been told that it is against the law to cut down ironwood
We asked one of the local Mexicans if we could get a long
piece of ironwood for our banister, and he said he would
have to go high in the mountains. Several days later he
showed up with what looked like tree tied to the top of
his car. It weighed almost 300 pounds, and it wasn’t
what we had in mind.
Still it would do and could be worked down to the size
we wanted. It took over a month to actually carve it down
to size, and now it sets off our staircase as a main attraction
in the living room.
And the wood we trimmed off the banister, well you guessed
it, kept us warm that winter.