Oct 13, 2011 – First day in the Yucatan

It has been, as usual, a whirlwind since arriving in Cancun on Wednesday evening. Danny picked me up at the airport and we drove to his house in Valladolid. I will try to relate the high points of each day to give you a taste of the operations of our company, Organica Maya, and for you to make your own conclusions about how crazy Danny and I are together.

Wednesday evening, over shots of a bottle of tequila I bought him from the airport store, we started planning all the work needed in the coming 2 weeks of my stay, especially in relation to our second lamb roasting party coming up on Saturday, October 22nd. The other main focus was the transition from Pedro managing the sheep herd to Jorge, the local vet, taking over many of those tasks. And this had to be done before Pedro left for Chile on October 20th.

Another important aspect to all our plans was the rain in the forecast over the coming days. Difficult for some of the work to be accomplished when it is pouring, such as the weeding of the agave fields, which is in progress and the welders can’t weld when it is raining. Not to mention the mud and roads, etc. There are several storms forecast to keep the skies gray and the rain to come on and off and we will be dealing with this reality for at least the next 4-5 days. We hope it clears up for our party on the 22nd.

Thursday morning out the door at 7am, kind of late for Danny, we dropped his daughter Fer at school in town and drove down to Susula to check out things and figure out how to get one of our local stone masons to start working in the picnic area on stone walls and other stuff. The picnic area was selected because of the large “pich” trees (pronounced like peach) in the center creating a good amount of shade. We have to build a fire pit and since the ground is all limestone we figured we would get Filipe, our main stone mason, to build a fire pit above ground from stone and cement. He was not at home, off working in Playa, so we arranged with our shepherd Luciano, for Antonio, another stone mason, to start working in the picnic area on Friday.

Luciano our #1 shepherd

Picnic area grown up over the summer

Driving down to Susula on the dirt local road in the forest we always are passing Mayans on bicycles with loads of wood, shotguns for hunting and sometimes coming from working on their family land. Sometimes Danny knows them and this morning we stopped and talked to a neighbor who was carrying a sack of food on his back. He immediately offered us each an ear of roasted corn and some Mayan flat  corn bread that he cooked on his land and voila, we had breakfast on the run. Very interesting and delicious chewy roasted corn and great corn “tortilla.”

On the way down we also contacted our welder, Poncho, to organize the building of the birthing shed for the sheep. The foundation was build already, 2/3 of the area for 16 birthing stalls and 1/3 for storage of tools and equipment and a work bench to fix and sharpen tools. The rains did not come until later in the day and Poncho and crew were able to start welding the metal frame into place.

Back side of corral shed to be new shed for birthing stalls and tool workshop

Then we designed what we needed to do to finish the solar fan powered composting toilet next to the palapa so that our lamb roast visitors would have a private toilet to use for the party. I had brought the solar fan unit on a previous trip and the “closet” was built but no vent or door or toilet seat.

Great to see our sheep again and some of the offspring of our registered ram “Chan Hugo”. They are healthy and much larger and stronger looking than other lambs, and also very curious when I came over to their pen in the protection of the shed.

Sweet lamb of "Chan Hugo"

Sweet lamb of "Chan Hugo"

Curious lambs of "Chan Hugo"

Then back to Valladolid to do errands and finalize plans before leaving for Merida in the morning. Suddenly Danny’s boot sole was flopping in the wind so off to the shoe repair shop where he already had another pair waiting for him.

Shoe Repair Shop in Valladolid

Danny switching boots at the shoe repair shop

Then off to the hardware store for parts for making the door for the composting toilet closet.

Valladolid's largest hardware store

But I also found out that Fran, whose family owns and runs this largest hardware and paint store in Valladolid, is also a teacher and trainer on how to make organic herb products. She teaches classes and we look forward to her leading classes for Friends With Pishan when we have tours where groups are interested in this knowledge.  We purchased from her a jar of bug repellent made from Neem oil and tobacco and scented with citronella. Very interesting smell and very curious how well it works for us “gringos.”

Fran and Danny at the hardward store counter

Then we picked up Jorge, our new Vet and sheep manager, and his wife Nidia and our task was to pick up a generator for the welders to use in the coming days. We took it to one of Danny’s local mechanics to fix a few things and then we all to the small village of Tekom where the welder has his shop and home to leave the welder with him.

Jorge and Danny with generator

Mechanics working on generator

Okay, I think that is enough for my first day with Danny. Crashing late after final plans and calls ordering metal for the welders and getting ready for our trip to the big city of Merida in the morning.

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