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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