Thursday, March 15, 2018

Barging In!

Sitting here watching the dark clouds gather over the mountains and hoping that is might rain to ease the heat I am struck by how intrusive nature can be.

The heat and intense sun just barges in and set the tone for the day (not too much physical movement and the ceiling fans on high). 

At this time of the year, sun, heat and dusty roads are an expectation.  It is the unexpected that does shock and sometimes delight.

As for the shock:

#1 - coral snake came to visit - move slowly across the screen door at the front of the house, inspected the window, and left back into the grass - presumably it lives on the front slope under the ground cover.

#2 - Scorpion family - since the soil is not very good, much of the herb and vegetable gardening is done in containers - it let's us have them around the patio and allows us to move them as the sun and rain dictates - so the pots and soil and utensils have been relegated to a spot under the outdoor stair, and had become untidy and bothersome - so we bought two storage bins and I set to clearing all this up - come to learn that a pot with some dirt in it and something on top (like another pot) is the perfect home for scorpions - 1, 2 and then 3 - the first two were just normal things - but not #3 - a mommy with about a 100 babies on her back.

Finally got her out of the pot and into the ground cover on the slope, but she left some babies behind - wonder if the first two were relatives?

#3 - a little delight - came down this morning to a pool visitor - the little grasshopper fellow was taking a float - pulled him out and set him on a plant (more his domain!)

#4 - and finally - CICADAS! - Is there anything more ugly or annoying!?  They attach themselves to the wall or a tree and BUZZ - continuously - then they fly and bang into things, land on their back and stay there looking dead - in the morning you go to sweep them up and they fly and buzz some more!!! YUK!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Muchos Bananos!

After the bunch of bananas got chewed up by the pizote a few weeks back, I was watching the next bunch closely.

Our machete was really dull, so two weeks ago the gardeners took it away to sharpen it - of course, as soon as they left it was apparent that the bananas need to be cut.  Two weeks later - asked them to cut the now over due bunch, as well as the next bunch that is pretty much ready.

These have been chewed by something(s) - pizotes and birds - we will hack through a salvage what we can.

These are maybe a week early, but better this way than letting the wildlife at them.

So Lisle says this morning - I don't really like bananas - they are great for baking but not eating!  The one thing we can get to grow and fruit!  Sometimes no pleasing him!

Anyway - FYI - bananas aren't trees - vascular plants that fruit once and need to be cut down - each plant starts 'babies' before it fruits, so always more to come.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Feeling Bugged!

The last while, there seems to be more 'bugs' about.

We were at a local restaurant last evening and the owner clobbered a tarantula and carried it off the the garbage in the dustpan.  We had a similar creature in our living room 3 or 4 weeks ago.  I hit it with a pillow - it went defensive and curled up - I grabbed it with tongs and threw it off into the garden (the tarantulas here bite but are not deadly).

There seems to be a proliferation of caterpillars (nasty reaction if you touch them) - dragonflies (graceful and fascinating), butterflies (one landed on my leg yesterday while I was reading and just walked about for 5 or so minutes) - and the ever present black sticky bees (they don't sting but they insist on buzzing in your face and get stuck in your arm hair).  Not to mention the scorpion that likes to hide in the loops of the garden hose.

Then this morning a miniature walking stick climbed across my keyboard and up the computer screen.  Then there was this.

I thought it was a piece of gravel until it moved. Several legs - what appears to be a snout, and a little white thing on the other end that could be a tail.  Google images has no idea what it is (it said it was a leaf - a type of vegetation found on trees).  Getting a closer look, it seems the real thing is under all that stuff - almost transparent with a little ' nose'  - the stuff is like a house - sort of like a hermit crab!

Another amazing creature.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Forces of Nature

It never ceases to amaze me - the force of nature.

The power of water, the searing intensity of the sun, the force of the wind, the ability of the jungle to overrun a space in a matter of months.  Nature is determined to have its way.

That was made tangible in the past couple weeks in a small way.

Birds have decided to nest atop the sun drapes at the gazebo.

These flycatchers spend all day flying back and forth gathering stuff and putting it on top of the drapes (which are bunched up and next to the post which provides the perfect support and protection).  This started about two weeks ago.  They are very industrious and active - but they are very noisy and very messy (big purple blobs of poo!).  So, NO!  No nest right where we enter the gazebo.

We pulled down the various bits of grass and palm and coconut husk.  Within hours they had replaced much of what disappeared - and they were very vocal about it.  Took it down again and opened the drapes so the base would not be stable and the movement of the drapes in the wind might keep them away.  That stopped the building, but didn't stop them from arriving with materials and screeching their displeasure!

After a couple days they seemed to have relented, so closed the drapes and assumed all was well.

Two days later - an almost full nest in exactly the same spot.

We have repeated the same process, but they don't seem to be giving up, so this morning I unclipped the end of the drape and moved it all to the other side (which has the same condition of drapes and post but that they don't seem to have any interest in).  Clearly the persistence of nature is modifying my behaviour.  We will see if we can modify theirs.

Another form of the persistence of nature - the sun sets every night - sometimes it is beautiful, like this.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Back to it - Bananas and All

So I have been remiss in blogging - seems Facebook became an easier option, but I think I will try my hand back here and see how it goes.

We have a group of banana plants out back - 6 or so.  We have had fruit from them before, but at the moment, 3 of them are actively fruiting - one in particular is ready for cutting.

New Year's Eve I noticed the top bunch was turning yellow - I said to Lisle, we need to cut that one before the birds get them.

New Year's Day came and went - no, we weren't hungover - just occupied with other stuff - window washing etc.

This afternoon, the howler monkey started up about 1:00 pm.  It is an odd time for him to howl and he was very close, so I went to look out back.

Something was in the banana plant having a feast - thought it might have been a howler - turned out to be a Pizote.  The howler was probably screeching for him to get away from the feast.

About 1/3 of the bunch chewed on.

So we went out with the Machete and hacked at the tree.  The plan was I chopped and Lisle eased the tree to the ground -  well not quite.  I chopped - Lisle said it's coming down and pushed it away from him and it crashed to the ground - bunch of bananas first.  The ripe and half chewed ones sprayed everywhere.  Managed to save about 1/3 of the bunch.  I am sure the Pizote will be back to clean up.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Weather You Like It Or Not!

That's right - WEATHER!

You can't escape it.

It might be the sun and the wonderful breeze - or maybe a bolt of lightning, a crack of thunder and a tropical downpour.  Here, all of those things have greater relevance to what you do day-to-day, or when you do it.

So, the geekish person I am, I bought a weather station.  I know, if you want to know the weather, look outside - and I do that - in fact for the most part we live outside.  But I want to know - just how hot is it - just how much rain did we get yesterday - i was freezing last night, how low did the temperature go?

It is a great device - sits on a pole in the garden and measures temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction and rainfall.  It feeds it all to the internet where the history is stored.  AND, because I am a generous person, I can share it with everyone on Weather Underground.

So if you want to see what the weather is in Ojochal right now, take a peek at My Weather Station. Scroll down and you can see the history for the last week.
Or click on the Forecast for Osa link - it usually says the next 10 days are sunny and 33C!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yes, We Have No Bananas - STILL!!

So, the banana plant started to fruit - a big bunch.

It grew and then it just at there and, best I can tell, rotted.  Never big enough to eat, but so tantalizing!  The landscapers cut down the tree (they are only good for one bunch) and will let the 'baby' grow.

But there is still hope!  the banana plant next to it just sent out a bunch - guess we will have to see how this one goes.

And there is hope on other fronts - Blossoms!!
Citrus, and


Have some pineapples to plant, and the Papaya trees are 3 feet tall!!

Watch out Chiquita and Dole - our fruit empire is about to explode!!