Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another Maestro

We are truly blessed to have such talented people working with us. As y'all may know, Mike and I are dreamers...we rarely have found people who can make our dreams into reality, until we moved to Ecuador!

Last year our first encounter with the local welder, Rene was when I wanted to make the driftwood Christmas tree. We met with him, gave him our sketch, and within one day had our wish realized. Again it happened with the grill we asked him to fabricate, little did we know then that it would become Mike's kiln...

Recently our quest for Rene was more Christmas trees, smaller this time....indeed he brought us what we asked for, but also something he made he thought we might like, and we did! 

I will decorate it somehow, needs a topper for sure, and maybe paint, but super cute!

And a sneak peek at the smaller versions of last years tree.

They also will get decorations, and toppers, and be sold at the Art Event coming up in Nov.

BUT the real reason for the post...drum roll!!! We asked Rene for a cart to use on the beach for scavenging. We again, sketched a picture, and he measured the gate for size restrictions, and ....

OMG!! Did he not do the BEST JOB!! Check it out! The handle has a pin that can make it stand, or remove the pin and it pulls. And the recycling of the ironing board is simply genius! We could not be happier with his rendition of our vision, now if the lake would just dry up, so we can get out!

The cart only cost us $50 and was done within a couple days. Rene is truly a maestro, and a pleasure to know, this won't be the last you see of his work. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pizza de Nexar

Ever since our friendship with Nexar the bread man began we have toyed with the idea of buying dough from him. He IS the maestro, why should I struggle, when he makes the best? The other day when we were having coffee with him, Mike told him he used to make pizza, and would Nexar be interested in making pizza in his bread oven? Nexar got really excited, and the wheels started turning, we decided we needed a trial run, so he asked us to come back at 2pm.

We went home, made sauce, thawed the pepperoni, shredded cheese and charged the camera. When we arrived, Nexar had the dough making table ready, but Mike realized it had been too long since he made pizza, so Nexar and his wife Maria conferred and made a dough for the crust.

Here Nexar is telling Mike to take over to make the pizza crust

Mike's pizza crust...

And...the maestro! Haha, we just let Nexar do it! Many laughs were had at this point.

Time to dress them. We did two large pizzas, we stayed simple and did vegetarian sauce, topped with pepperoni and mozzarella/Parmesan cheese blend.

Into the oven they go...and we wait

While we waited, Nexar and Maria continued to do their afternoon chores, we sat and watched our town.

Finally done!! It turned out very good, was tasty and not bad for a trial run. We gave some pieces away to get feedback, and when we go for breakfast this morning we will see if he wants to do it again for sale this weekend.

So...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lakefront property...again

Sometimes as often as once a month, the ocean has an extremely high tide, and water gets trapped in front of our house. The high tides last a couple of days, and then it's back to normal.

We used to have to just grin and bear it, and get wet. Wade thru the lake, but when my mom and aunt visited and THEY had to wade thru the lake...well we needed an alternate route. Mom and aunt didnt mind, they chocked it up to living on the beach in Ecuador, but other visitors may not want to wade thru knee high water to get to my house.

Recently we needed work on our water pump, and decided that if the pump was moved, we could use the little walkway between houses as an alternate route if needed. So, we had Johnny move the pump and hose, and added an outlet for our fishermen friends to use. (all for $50 I might add)

So, now we have an emergency walkway, need a gate build, and maybe a step stool to get over the wall, but we can get to the street without getting wet.

So many things in the works, can't wait to share everything with you. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Day old bread

With a husband who is a bread fiend, we often have day old bread around, and bread pudding is one dessert I can do in the crockpot. Last time I made it, I snapped some pictures and will walk you thru it. 

It all started with my need for cinnamon. In Spanish cinnamon is Canela, and when I was looking to refill my empty shaker jar, I came across a couple different options in town. The polvo (powdered) is what I was looking for, but the "shreds" I thought could come in handy as well. 

Grease the inside of the crock with butter, tear up six slices of bread, sometimes I add a sliced banana, and it's just a hint of banana flavor. (Other fruit would be wonderful too)

Whisk sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg (if desired) vanilla, milk, and eggs. Since living in South America, where desserts are not as sweet as the US, I have cut the sugar in the recipe. (I use only 1cup brown sugar)

Pour mixture over torn bread, poking all bread down into liquid. Cover and cook low for 3-4 hours. 

So good! I made some and took to Nexar at the bakery and also served it for dessert once when the family came for lunch. I'm sure he wondered where all the bread went we bought! 

Recipe as written...

Hope you are all well, thanks for joining us on our adventure...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Rebuilding has begun

All week we have been trying to get to Rene's to talk with him about a welding project, yesterday we made it. While we were walking thru the neighborhood we were very happy to see numerous houses being built! We got confirmation, that these new houses were indeed coming from the municipality, help from the earthquake, rebuilding in just 5 months, not bad...

This, the first one I saw, almost finished.

This is our friends the Romero's property. As we walked by we saw lots on construction materials, so walked over to talk, and found they were getting a new house built. 

Another lot in this same neighborhood, getting ready for building.

Another new one, up near Martha's restaurant and the main road E15

And ANOTHER one! It's such a good feeling to know that in just a little while, these people will be in a better house than they had before. I better get busy painting more "Bless this House" signs!

Because most of the demolition has taken place, the tent city has dwindled. These people either don't have land to put their tent, or else maybe they don't have leveled, flat ground, but most of the tents have been taken to the people's property.

Another house recently leveled...

A sign across from Fernando Father Fishermen's house. I saw they have construction going on too, fixing the walls inside the existing house, but maybe getting a new one too...wait and see

So good to see our friends and neighbors getting much deserved help. We indeed talked with our Welder, he will deliver his finished products today, I'm sure. We also stopped at Martha's restaurant and got ceviche to go, as it was only 10 am when we were there. Also bought a papaya at the fruit stand on E15.

These tiles are 12x12" and this papaya was $1

Another beautiful day, morning low tide, fresh bread, egg delivery man, fishermen having fun outside doing nets and I get to play with arts and crafts all day. Can't wait to see the things Rene the welder is stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Seashells by the seashore

Seashells by the seashore, isn't that part of a tongue twister we learned a long time ago? Well, anyway...this week I have been stringing shells and playing with driftwood. Mike has taken some of the painting away from me (not in a bad way) so I'm free to do other things. We have had beautiful sunny days and I've been working on my tan as I string.

This one has tagua beads for some color.

This one has some BlackHAND clay beads added for color and interest.

This next one, took a minute. I started strings outside, then did some more in front of the tv that night, and then put it all together outside in the sun yesterday. (since I don't have an oven, I use my muffin tin to hold my finished strings) Added more shells to dress up the wood hanger, and voila!

I have some others finished as well, but no pictures. You'll just have to wait and see...

Today is an overcast morning, maybe we will take advantage and go scavange some wood, we also said we would walk up to eat at Martha's the next overcast day, so maybe today. We do want to talk to our welder, and he is across the street, so...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Something new

This week we started something new...instead of me going to get bread in the morning, and bringing it back...WE took our coffee and went to Nexars. He has tables and chairs where we got to sit and watch our town come to life.

Muy Rico!!! We really believe his bread is the best we have ever eaten, just a hint of salt on the crust, and warm soft fluffy inside...oh my!

Almost like croissants, they are so yummy, but I know they aren't made with all that butter!

The little cupcakes are good, they stay moist for several days. The rolled up cake has dulce or flavored marmalade in the layers, just enough, never too sweet, and the donuts...I'm pretty sure are baked, I've never seen a fryer inside the shop.

He said recently he arrives at 5am and as we sit with him, we watch as he rotates the trays so every new customer is getting hot bread. I have found that means harder crusted bread, when I show up late to purchase, so I try to get there around 8 am. 

As we sit and watch our town, we get to say Good morning to everyone who comes to buy bread, walk past to the other stores, drive down the street, a very nice way to spend a couple hours. Joffre is across the street, and we saw him loafing the other morning. Mike couldn't resist taking his picture...

Neighbors Fernando Father Fishermen and his neito Zadkiel, son of Fernando Romero and Melissa showed up to buy bread for those working nets.

Such a cutie, he used to be sooooo shy, but now he knows us. Looks for us, when he is in front of our house, and if he sees me walk by his grandmothers house he yells, "hola Amiga".

Another new thing this week, Mike has a new fan, possibly an apprentice. Meet Luis, he showed up in the vacant lot the other afternoon, and just watched Mike sculpt over the fence. Mike tried to engage him, but apparently Luis is a boy of few words.

The next day he showed up again, and Mike asked him to come in. I personalized a ocean themed necklace and he promptly hung it around his neck. I'm sure if he shows up again, he will start to open up and be less shy, so more to come...

We moved Mike's table away from the fence, where small arms could reach over. Little by little we are getting the outside studio space set up. (His new apron, I painted for him.) Talking with Nexar, he asked us if we wanted to have a tent in front of his shop during the Art Event, heck yes!! I was going to ask Jenny if we could be in the small vacant lot next door to her tienda but Nexars is great!

So, with that, I must get busy. I'm concentrating on shell and driftwood things this week, want to have a good variety of things for sale. Mike has been busy with clay, and painting and coming up with new things to try. He is so talented! So...stay tuned, the adventure continues!