Jose Appleseed

Posted by on Dec 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Our family made our annual trip to Mexico this Thanksgiving and, rather than just relax at sea level (like we usually do), we hit the road for a couple of days and headed straight up 9k feet into the mountains to visit our friend, Jose Luis Alvarez. We have dubbed this amigo, the Dos Equis guy. We went to stay in his 500 year-old hacienda so we could go with him to see the monarch butterflies. Not only does this most interesting man in the world take the likes of scientists, senators and National Geographic photographers to the butterflies’ hang out, he is also knee-deep in saplings —acres and acres of them— which he gives to farmers to encourage reforestation in the mountains. Between the bark beetle and the local woodchoppers, it’s looking a bit spotty up at 13k feet where the butterflies congregate. I’m going to show you where huge numbers of monarch butterflies float between the trees while wintering in Mexico next week. This week I thought you’d like to see where Jose lives.


Jose leading the way through his front door


All fifteen of us follow him inside


Door detail


And we’re inside Jose’s hacienda


The hacienda is an open courtyard with rooms running the length of the two side walls


The courtyard is filled with fruit trees, palms and lots of stuff you’d never expect


The top of this urn is covered with antique irons


This is the hacienda’s “backyard”. Note the oxen yokes decorating the back walls and the antique Renault


Mr Dos Equis said it’s the only Renault in Mexico


This carriage and carved ox cart are parked against the front wall


The back door to the dining room


These guys flank one of the outdoor corridors leading to the kitchen


These outside stairs lead to the second floor…and the roof


This is a detail of those stairs. Note the water pots… and that mural!


According to Jose, the water in this pot is the real “Smart Water”. You half bury these pots filled with water and cover the opening with fabric. The ground keeps the water cold and the pot keeps the water aerated.


I ventured out onto the roof and found I wasn’t alone.


A view from the roof


Another roof view


On a lower portion of the roof I spotted this sink made out of a Singer sewing machine base


Found this carved cactus chair in a canvas-covered area in the back of the hacienda — a treasure trove of pieces parts of furniture and art


Doors leading to the dining room, which, according to Jose, were made by Frank Lloyd Wright


Dining room fireplace… big enough for all 15 of us to get warm while waiting for dinner


Looking into the kitchen from outside


Cooks in the kitchen. With 15 guests, Jose called in two friends from nearby Patzcuaro (more on this city in another post).. one runs a taco truck and the other is an expat from California


So many rooms in this place, why not dedicate one to Jose’s collection of stirrups?


Random exterior wall vignette


View from a second floor window


Small bedroom door with pressed monarch butterflies


Detail of the door


Peeling paint in the living room reveals the original mud walls


Another shot of these walls… no way to duplicate this


Great prints, charmingly water damaged


And random little sketches


Found these when I was lost in some back hall


View from my bedroom


View from my bathroom… yes, that is a copper bathtub, and carved copper molding around the window


When Jose told us that he had built a jacuzzi in his living room and it was under the rug we were standing on, my 15 year-old nephew turned to us and said, “I feel like such an under-achiever”.

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