Vendors Part 6: Freme our Water Man

Almost every day I hear the blast of a horn and know that it is Freme our water man delivering those 5 gallon blue bottles of drinking water to our neighborhood.

IMG_2995He sells water for $1 a bottle and brings it right into my kitchen for me. He always has a smile and a kind word. He is more than happy to take a few fallen guayaba (guava) from my yard for juice and I am more than happy for him to take them.

Yet one more wonderful vendor who helps make our neighborhood a very special place.

Adolfo our Tank Water Man

Municipal water is not always running for us here in Barrio Norte. So when the cistern starts to get low we need to call our trusty water man Adolfo.  In the past I have had our neighbor Paola call on my behalf but the past several months I have become braver and have started to call myself.  Speaking to someone in childlike Spanish who is standing in front of you is much easier than trying to talk on the phone.  But Adolfo is a kind and gentle man and makes it very easy for me to communicate with him. He recognizes my voice now and with very little words says he will be here in one hour.  And guess what?  He is here in one hour.

IMG_2948FYI our cistern is several thousand gallons and a tank truck fills it up for $15.  This will last us about 15 days depending upon how much watering in the garden I do. Municipal water is much cheaper at .80 cents per meter of water but like I said it is not always running.


This Morning on the Beach in San Clemente, EC

It was a perfect morning, cool breeze, bright sun and a high tide with great splashing waves. A thermos of coffee, Joe’s tea and our breakfast of encebollado, what more could we ask for.  God has blessed us and continues to do so.

We have had some pretty hot days the past few months, so this was a spectacular start to our day.


Fire Hydrant in San Clemente ???

I walked by this and said what? A fire hydrant in San Clemente?  I thought I was seeing things so decided to let you all see it for yourselves.

San Clemente 9.20.2014 024Just not sure why there would be a fire hydrant. San Clemente only has water service a few days a week, this fills our cisterns and is then turned off. Do you think we will be getting water service full-time?


Nuestros Perros de la Calle

There are three dogs that protect the street we live on, The alpha dog Café is not as sociable as the other two. Beethoven and Baby Dog (my name for him as he has none that I know of) will sometimes come with me on my walks. That can be a good or bad thing depending upon the other dogs that are out and about.

This picture was taken from an empty lot near our home that overlooks the water. Joe and I bring our coffee many mornings and sit here just enjoying the water. This day the fishermen were dragging in their nets and two of our street dogs were very interested in the catch – or could it have been the birds?

San Clemente 10.31.2013 031They are working dogs and do an excellent job of informing all the neighborhood if something is not right. I did find that they do not like yellow taxis, have a true hatred for certain cars or maybe a driver who is driving too fast. Caution is necessary as they are not friendly. A friend from San Jacinto dropped by to visit one day while Baby Dog was sitting at our gate – Ken went to pet the dog and was snapped at. Thank goodness his reaction was fast or he would have gotten bit.  Because we have been feeding them for some time these two are very friendly towards both Joe and I. As soon as they realize it is us walking the street or disembarking the dreaded yellow taxi, they stop their barking and go about their business. It is good to be accepted!


While living in Panama, I was given a gift of Kefir Grains. I did not know anything about kefir at the time but decided to try it. What a wonderful yogurt type drink it makes. I think it is more flavorful than anything you buy in the store. First I guess I need to explain that kefir is a probiotic beverage. I have purchased two types of grains: milk kefir grains and water kefir grains.The milk kefir grains can be used with cow milk, goat milk or coconut milk. The water kefir grains can be used with sugar-water, juice or coconut water but more on water kefir when I start working with that in a few weeks.

Kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term “kefir grains” describes the look of the culture only – it is not a grain at all.

San Clemente 8.18b.2013 002I purchased these grains from a company in the US and had a friend bring them with her when she visited the states last month. They come in a dehydrated state and need to be rehydrated with milk to work properly.

Kefir 8.11.2013 008 I have a supply of raw milk delivered to my door three times a week. For .60 cents I buy a quart of beautiful full fat milk that I have used for making puddings in the past. Now I am using it for my kefir. It will take up to 8 attempts to get my grains really producing. Right now I am only making one cup at a time to get the grains to multiply. Once they start to multiply I will have more grains than needed and will eventually be able to share with friends and neighbors.

Kefir 8.11.2013 011The result, using one cup of kefir with a half pint of fresh frozen strawberries, was two dessert dishes of almost soft-serve consistency. No sugar added just the fresh frozen berries with the tart kefir…it was a hit.

Water Pump (bomba)

One of the first things that we replaced in our house was the bomba. What came with the house was a concrete tank that was standing high above our cistern. It leaked, had pieces of concrete falling off it so Patricia and Fredy put in an electric pump system. Well actually Serrano put in the system, Patricia and Fredy purchased it.

They installed it in a small closet that they built on top of the cistern. It has worked perfectly since moving into the house. But…it does depend upon having electricity. For the past several days we have lost power every morning around 4am and it is not restored until mid morning. We can use the water but you should not use a great deal. For the past several days I have noticed that the pump would pump water for just a few seconds and then shut off, a few seconds later it would start up again. I know that that is not good. So I put a call into Patricia and later in the afternoon yesterday Serrano showed up to take care of the situation.

San Clemente 1.8.2013 006

He did something to turn off the pump under the grey cap on the top right hand side of the unit then he drained the tank by turning on our garden hose and pumped the water back into the cistern. Then he opened the valve at the bottom of the tank and attached a PVC pipe and drained the balance. I was just amazed at how much water was in that tank.

He closed everything back up and restarted the pump. It refilled and has been working properly since.

Obviously this is something that happens with an electric pump and having someone who knows how to handle this problem is invaluable. Thanks again Serrano, fine job!