The world of eccentrics collectively climaxed as Viggo Mortensen personified the holy spirit of renegade parenting. Campfire jam sessions after dissecting literature. Survivalist children referencing Trotsky. Harvests in vintage Mason on reclaimed plank shelving; is that spring water you sip from a chipped mug? This is the dream…
Sorry my satellite internet went out as it often does. I was saying…
This is the dream world where one gets lost in fantasies of a life purge and move to the wilderness with a vintage hardshell and turquoise typewriter. Just imagine the Instagram photo. So many likes.
Is it that minimalism convinced us that one spoon per person is the path to enlightenment? Perhaps Pinterest has brainwashed us to believe that life in a glowing elk skin yurt is the appropriate response to adulthood. Or maybe, in 2017, families are prioritizing self-reliance & simplicity over modern conveniences like organic gummy worms & indoor plumbing .
Whatever the motivation, it’s crucial to ask some very important questions before taking the first steps off grid. For starters, after the prayer flags are hung around the yurt, where are you going to poop? I´ll leave you to meditate on that.
Where it all started a year ago
Our family is about to celebrate our two-year anniversary in Mexico. The cotton anniversary.
These years in the foothills haven’t been without disasters; they made up the bulk of them, if being honest.
After living the 17 years prior in various state & national capitals in three different countries, I was buggin’ for an underwhelming country life.
Frustrations, failures, & machete wounds aside. Here are 17 things worth loving about life in Middle of Nowhere, Mexico.
- Mornings begin with daily announcements followed by birthday wishes for 1/365th of the population & an un-licensed Chipmunk’s version of las mañanitas coming from the town’s loudspeaker. Think middle school home room; All residents of Colonia del Burro Dormilon report with a shovel for committee at 4. Today Tia Migue is serving tacos de puerco y pollo.
- Sending the kids to the store to buy beer, mid-party. They are already playing in the street, so really it’s just sending the empties along with them. Their return is always joyous & they are received like heroes.
- Watching Kingfisher and Crab go about their lives while washing the weekly dirties. Soap nut trees conveniently located overhead.
rainy season makes for many lonely socks
- Children & adults address their elders as tío/a ~ uncle/aunt. Children are lovingly addressed as mijo/a ~ my child.
- Visitors bring fruit.
- Remember playing in the street unsupervised wearing patched-knee flood pants and outgrown tee-shirts with irrelevant cartoon characters along with packs of other children, all on ill-fitting bicycles? Mexico still makes childhood in that model.
- Pop-up goats.
- Rusted-out wheelbarrows get second life as a mobile stove in which clay pots of beans & herbs simmer over coals.
- Sometimes, adorable baby tarantula comes in with the laundry. Not-so-baby-tarantula has to stay outside.
local 8-footed traffic
- The hour it gauged by the sun. Never a clock.
- Current phase of the moon is more relevant than the day of the week. The exception being market day.
- Market day! The day of abundance takes the sting out of the week’s lack.
- Guadaña & hoz are common word-stock. (Scythe & sickle; near extinct English vocabulary.)
- A couple juice boxes and bag of candy is a satisfactory birthday present. Have you ever seen a 3-year-old disappointed with her own bag of marshmallows? No. It’ll never happen.
- Evening walks.
- Mushroom foraging after the rains.
- Nature’s water park. The theme of this ride: Absolute Freedom.
A month ago, Ramirez unloaded half of a corn field on our front porch.
Here’s truck load #1
And we’ve stopped counting. But apparently we were still smiling at this point.
Tens of thousands of ears of corn. Husked and shucked by hand.
There were the anticipated belles of the corn ball
and those who said “to hell” with industry standards. They came in Doc Martens.
This coincided with the jicama harvest just days before celebrating los Muertos.
Corn and crops aside, we have been busy tending to the flock’s new arrivals,
with impromptu expedition,
and with OHMYSTARS did I mention we got sheep!?
To ensure plenty of time for my happy place, while still answering everyone’s messages and emails, I will attempt to summarize the most FAQs about our life off-grid & share cultural nuances unique to a place with a buffer from the modern world.
If you’re itching to know more about life in rural Mexico, living off-grid, strategies for reducing waste, baby farm animal names of 2017, or the only way to kill a coyote (hint: it is nothing you would ever imagine so save your time guessing) then please post your questions below in the comments section. To anyone upset by snaring coyotes, knowing how to & actually killing a coyote are two entirely different things.
I not only lack the nerve but the basket I would use for the job is full of corn.