It 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 $25.

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 the roof.

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 sticks.”

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 Sonora.

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 trees.

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.


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