On Friday, we went searching near La Granja, Guanajuato for what we were told was an old hacienda. We took a narrow, washboard, rutted, boulder-strewn “road” for 10 kilometers off the main highway to the supposed location.
Initially we didn’t see anything worth exploring, but after asking at a little family “store”, it turned out we were a few hundred feet from the hacienda. We drove up to the exterior walls and found a chapel, some outbuildings, old farm equipment, a corral, and a large “lawn” in front of a house attached to the chapel.
While Carol was taking photographs, a man came out of the house moving towards a truck that was parked out front. I was uncertain what to make of the situation, as we were on what was apparently private property. But I called out to the man and approached him, telling him my name, and saying we had heard about the hacienda and were curious about it.
I asked him if it was still a working hacienda, and he said “claro, que si” and pointed to all the machinery (OK, that was a dumb question on my part, but I wanted him to talk about the place). He didn’t look entirely convinced of what we were doing there, but when I asked him what he raised, he seemed to soften a bit, and proceeded to tell me about the cattle and goats, plus the fields he had planted with sorghum (a special strain from the states called “Kickapoo”) for the livestock, and maiz and frijoles.
Somewhere along the way we made a personal connection, and before we knew it, he was taking us on a full tour of the entire hacienda. We wound up spending 2 hours being led around the property, listening to stories of the history of the area. We listened to the life story of this man who bought the hacienda 18 years ago, and has been lovingly restoring it ever since.
By the time we were finished, we had met his family, exchanged phone numbers, and walked off with gift of 1.5+ kilos of home-made queso fresco.
Only in Mexico.
— Writing courtesy of my husband, Charles Vance.