¡Muy Importante!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2/14/2012 - Plumbing failure, cooking victory

I got started on the installation of the ceramic water filter today. Took me a couple of hours to get it all installed. These things take time when your work area is so limited. But, eventually it was all hooked up and ready to be tested.

I started pumping with the foot pump (we don't have an electric pump, by choice). First I had to work the air out of the system before water would actually pump. Well, I never did get all the air out and I'm not sure why. However, I was able to pump water albeit, damn little of it. Our foot pump is double-acting meaning that it pumps on both the downstroke and the upstroke. Only now it was only pumping on the downstroke. The return stroke was really slow as the spring just slowly overcame the resistance of the filter element. The flow on the downstroke was pathetically anemic. There was no way that Lulu was going to be able to put up with this. Rinsing dishes would be a long frustrating exercise. Hell, just filling the tea kettle would take over twice as long as it used to. Well, as the French say, "Crappáge!"

Okay, so maybe the suction on the pump is too weak to pull the water through the filter. But maybe the pressure from the pump would be enough to push the water through. So, I switched the hoses and tried again. Still didn't work very well and besides, now the pressure was enough to cause water to leak out around the o-rings on the swiveling outlet. "Crappáge deux!" Not sure what else to do, I yanked all the new stuff out and put it back together the way it was before. This was a little tricky since I had to cut some of the hoses to get them off the hose barbs and now one in particular was too short. And I didn't have a long enough replacement either. Fortunately, I did have a hose coupler.

So, now what to do? The best solution would be to use the ceramic filter as intended. That is, as a source of drinking water only. Switch a valve, pump the water and fill your cup. But that will require an impossible-to-find-in-Mexico 3-way valve. I guess I could have Lulu pick one up while she's in Iowa and I still may. But the real problem is where the heck would we put this stand-alone filter so that it was serviceable, didn't infringe on our already meager storage space in the galley, and still be handy for filling a cup?

I went to Home Depot again today and bought another filter housing and a couple of 5 micron filters to use on the tank-filling side of things. At this point I think I may at least try plumbing the 5 micron in series with the ceramic filter and run dock water through this combo before it enters the tank. Maybe the 5 micron will cut the cleaning of the ceramic filter down to a reasonable interval, like after each tank fill rather than 2 or 3 times during each fill. If that doesn't work I'm not sure what the next move will be.

So, somewhat dejected, I decided I needed something good for dinner. Didn't really want to go out. I hadn't eaten the leftover chicken yet since I was kind of full after having lunch at Yolanda's yesterday so I still had that to work with. I also didn't want to spend a long time preparing and cooking. Just wanted something good and easy. Decided on arroz con pollo (chicken with rice). I've cooked this before starting with raw chicken and it's really good. But my chicken was already cooked so here's what I did:

Easy Arroz con Pollo

Start with Mexican rice:

-In a saucepan, brown 1 cup of dry rice in about a tablespoon or so of oil, shortening, lard, bacon grease, whatever.
-Stir the rice periodically to keep it from burning.
-Add a chopped-up small onion and stir
-Add a de-seeded chopped up habanero pepper and stir
-Just before the rice is completely browned, add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, stir.-When the rice is mostly golden brown, add 2-1/2 cups of chicken broth and stir ONE LAST TIME!
-Bring to a boil and then lower heat so the mixture just simmers. DO NOT STIR!
-Continue simmering, uncovered, until most of the broth has boiled off. DO NOT STIR!
-Toss the chopped up, boned chicken pieces on top of the rice, cover the pan, lower the heat way down and start the timer for 20 minutes.
-When the timer goes off, turn the heat off, stir the chicken in and fluff up the rice. Cover the pan and let sit for 5 minutes or so. You'll notice when you go back and stir the rice again after the 5 minutes, that the stuff that was stuck to the bottom of the pan no longer is. The bottom is nice and clean. I don't know why this happens but it always does, at least for me.

That's it. Enjoy. I know I did and I will again tomorrow because there are leftovers. And by the way, the basic Mexican rice recipe is good w/o chicken as well. Add other vegetables to it if you want. Just remember to toast the rice and always use an onion and a flavorful broth. Everything else is optional and up to your imagination.

¡Buen provecho!


Unknown said...

Hi Steve,
I've just started to enjoy your great blog. Keith and Kay of s/v Chamisa referred us. Well, you're killing me! We were supposed to be in Mexico by now, and you're not making the waiting any easier. Right now we're stuck in San Diego waiting for my wife's shoulder to heal and for me to get the major projects finished. I'm trying to catch up on the blog in reverse order. So far, I've made it through January 2012, but it took a shot of Tequila, after reading the Los Osuna post, to finish the month.
Time to do the dishes... I'll be back tomorrow. THANKS!

Steve and Lulu said...

Welcome aboard. Lots of reading to do if you go all the way to the beginning. I'm a little concerned about the tequila, though. If you're that susceptible to suggestions it's going to take a really long time to read all the entries as you'll have to keep stopping to get a hamburger or a couple of tacos or quesadillas or something. But, what fun!

I completely empathize with the "stuck in San Diego" thing. When you get back to September of 2009 you'll find us "stuck in Newport, OR". But, the time passed, some of the to-dos got done (some still haven't gotten done and likely never will), and eventually we were on our way and now, here we are. At least you don't have that nasty trip down the Oregon coast to contend with. You're practically here, so that's a good thing.

Anyway, good to have you aboard and hope you enjoy reading your way through my ramblings.


Anonymous said...


What about all the beer he is going to have to walk 2 miles uphill both ways to catch up with the reading.... Sounds like a good prectice to the life you live now? FI

Keith and Kay Schardein said...

Ola' from La Paz!

Glad to hear you are keeping busy, and that our friends from S/V Vivacia who are "stuck" in San Diego with same issue which had us "stuck" in Alameda are now reading your blog and finding it as much fun as we are!

Two notes:
1) will follow your water system solution with interest. I argue that I "see" floaters, he swears it's "safe" with no filtering from the dock spigots!

2) Keith was astounded that you had even thought of passing up the soup yesterday as "not being hungry"...he thought an imposter was writing! ;) We got a superb recipe for Sopa de Albondigas from the cooking class I took....will email it to you...think you would enjoy it. k

Steve and Lulu said...

I tend to agree with Keith re: dock water quality. All of this filtration is mostly to keep Lulu happy and, I'll admit that the 5 micron filter element looks a little funky when we change it. But, the obvious solution is to not have it so you never have to change it. Right? But, as usual, Lulu is probably right. She was right about getting a watermaker but not (in my humble opinion) for the reason she thought. She was afraid of running out of fresh water. I just appreciate not having to lug jerry cans of water out to the boat.

Looking forward to the sopa de albondigas recipe. Yolanda actually served sopa de albondigas a couple weeks ago. It was quite good.


Anonymous said...

Steve - Where in Mazatlan did you purchase your filter?

Can you provide a like to those cermaic filters that your friend used to filter the water before putting in the tank?

Thanks George

Steve and Lulu said...

I bought my ceramic filter(s) at "Albercas, Filtros, y something else" aka "The Filter Store". It's on Buelna a couple blocks up past Mega on the same side of the street. I have since purchased the same kind of filter that Dave bought. Once Lulu gets back with the hose adapters and I out it all together, I'll explain why.

Here's a link to the kind of filter that Dave bought. Hopefully you either speak Spanish or your browser will translate for you (Google Chrome does).


Are you in Mazatlan?


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marjfries said...

Hi Steve, Just a few comments on the ceramic water filter. We are now docked at Paradise Village Marina, Nuevo Vallarta. Report here is that the dock water is good to drink. Nevertheless, I used the ceramic filter to refill the tanks. I got 160 gal through the filter with no cleaning. Seems the water here is relatively cleaner than in Mazatlan, where we were cleaning the filter every 30 gal or so. The water pressure is better also. I was getting a flow of 1 gal every 2 min vs. 1 gal in 5 min at Mazatlaan.
We are in this marina one more day, then off to anchor at La Cruz and to explore the rest of Bandaras Bay. We are trying to catch up on our blog, so stay tuned.
Dave and Marj; S/V Kievit

Beverly said...

Stephen, I'm going to try your Mexican rice recipe with some kielbasa. Never thought about browning rice first, but sounds like a good idea. Love you.