Need or Want?

How much money can a person live comfortably on?  This is one of the big questions we will be exploring over the first year of living adventurously in Mexico; how much money do we really need?  And, what is the difference between a “want” and a “need”?  For example; currently I want a new pair of Doc Marten boots.  They look fabulous, last a long time, are durable….most of what I think I will “need” for Mexico.  But do I really need them?  I want them…..badly.  However, today I broke it down and analyzed the situation.

I NEED a pair of boots for working in the field and rainy season that keep out the water, thick enough so that thorns do not poke through the bottom, can be easily put on and taken off, are affordable and look good.  (That last item just snuck in there!).  Do only Doc Marten’s fit that list of needs?  Or, could other footwear also fit that list?  This is the process that it takes to support our desire to live frugally because Doc Martens’ are pricey and I am sure I can find a more affordable option.  I have decided that other boots, more affordable work boots, can and will work just fine.  Off to McLendons we go!

20140512_062801  20140512_062904

Boots: $25, Clogs: $23

Beer Brewing


Alaskan Amber
Alaskan Amber

Ana and I became interested in making beer a few years back but procrastinated on starting the learning adventure until our friend Cliff walked us through the process one step at a time (Thanks Cliff!)  FYI: Cliff has since retired from his city job and started a local brew company on Vashon Island, appropriately named “Cliff’s Beer” .  Last year, we brewed up our first ever batch of beer at home.  The quality was acceptable to drink but not quite flavorful in my opinion.  Since it was our first batch, and a test, we ordered the ingredients and equipment off an internet site.  We were not too excited after this first test but with a last Tamale Party on the horizon, we finally visited a local supply shop, “Larry’s” where we purchased fresh ingredients and some more equipment to make the process that much easier. FYI: the folks there are wonderful and extremely helpful.  We got a personal tour and assistance from one of the granddaughters of Larry (it’s a family business); she is wonderful and oh so sweet! 

In March we brewed up a 2nd batch using the recipe for “Alaskan Amber”; this time it was delicious and was consumed with tamales!  Fresh, quality ingredients are the key to success.  We have a 3rd batch, this time a Porter, in bottles aging for final consumption before we head off to Mexico (thank you to Gene for some lovely bottles).  Our plan is to grow some of the ingredients ourselves and then find a supplier in Guadalajara for other ingredients, if possible.  Since we are starting a small café/bar, wouldn’t it be fantastic to get the locals to love micro brews?  We also started a batch of alcoholic Ginger Beer to explore using easier to find ingredients; stay tuned for that outcome.  It could be fun to make brews using the local plants and fruits.

Prep: We started a batch of Ginger-Hibiscus Beer. Should be ready by the end of June. Update: The ginger beer was good but since we used champagne yeast, it came out too dry. Next time I will try a wine yeast to see if that changes the outcome.

Ginger Hibiscus Beer

After Arriving in Mexico, To-Do

Items to Complete: House and Cafe / B&B

  • Independent power?
  • More cisterns for collecting rain water
  • Gutters, downspouts, filters
  • Grey water system to pond?
  • Shaded area for the side yard, keep cool!
  • Kitchen door shade/rain guard for washing machine
  • Install clothes line
  • See about getting an internet connection
  • Living room furniture
  • Security system; what else to install?
  • Bancomer account to pay bills on line
  • Garden area for veggies
  • Driveway paving
  • Curtains upstairs; buy curtain pole hangers
  • Iron tape for hemming curtains
  • Light fixtures all inside and porch
  • Patio for front yard/paving bricks and paths?
  • Air circulation for loft, divert hot and stuffy air

Food Trees/bushes in yard:

  • Lime?
  • Guava
  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Plum
  • Pistachio (plant more)
  • Cherry
  • Grape (need more)
  • Avocado
  • Fennel
  • Artichoke

Do mexico 2014

  • Visit Vet: get scorpion meds!
  • Propane dryer (500)
  • Cell phone (120) bring free one?
  • Bathtub DIY (100)
  • Decoration
  • Finish restaurant; rooms
  • Truck
  • Insurance; home/auto/medical
  • Greenhouse structure?
  • Inquire on installing gutters and cisterns, price quotes
  • Shop for furniture; make some out of barrels
  • Curtain rods on porch; curtains
  • Sliding door for small bedroom downstairs
  • Bring heavy duty lock to mexico (pump)
  • Shop for cistern pump (bring one?)
  • Map out walking path on around property
  • Plant avocado tree?
  • Move trees?
  • Look for diatramaceous earth
  • Map out front yard, patio, mosaic
  • Kill ants


Moving Space (update below)


In our truck, this is all the available room for stuff, that’s it! Ana and I measured the bed dimensions of our truck, then replicated the space with blue masking tape on our dining room floor. This is how much room we will have to transport the rest of our items to Mexico. We will take a washing machine, 2 large heavy duty plastic bins (filled with items), a flat screen tv, large pots, a cart, trunk and a few other items tossed in here and there. Cats will fit in the back seat of the double cab.

Update: we made the trip with far more items than planned, of course.  We purchased a canopy, a container for the top of the cab and a rack that hung off the back end of truck.  What a haul!  This is how hot it was for most of the trip…..never move south in August.