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!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

North American Consumptive Behaviour

People in big cities across North America think nothing about zipping to the store for whatever they need.  Shopping is a pastime.

Here, shopping is about the necessities - unless you go to San Jose.  We made such a pilgrimage this week.  48 hours of shopping, eating, driving, spending.

We went with specifics in mind - outdoor dining furniture, outdoor clothes dryer, water filter cartridges, sodastream, pendant lights for the kitchen, BBQ accessories, pressure sprayer, gas can, extension cords . . . . EPA, Walmart, PriceSmart, Cemaco

And there was also the mule list - the "oh, you're going to San Jose - can you get me a ..." list.  Never a bother to help the neighbours as they have helped you before and will again.

2 nights at a hotel (Studio Hotel in Santa Ana) and 2 nice meals (Lo Spago and the Studio Cafe, Bar and Grill) with the days filled with shopping.  All in all a productive but exhausting excursion.

Items of note - 

We wanted outdoor dining table and chairs for the gazebo.  A friend said to check out CR Patio.  It was near the hotel, and WAZE said to turn into this dirt drive off the highway (yes, the toll highway has all sorts of little drives and lanes on and off - we aren't talking offramps - a drive with potholes and ruts that you need to move through while trying to get your vehicle off the road where everyone else is going 100km).  Just off the road was a metal gate and guard.  We told the guard we were going to CR Patio.  He raised the gate and pointed around the side.  There was a giant transport truck parked and unloading patio furniture into a lot - no way in.  The guard motioned around the other side - the whole place was a equestrian center - or was at some point - paddocks, walking rings, jumping equipment, but no sign of horses or activity.  Another guard came out ahead and walked us through a set of gates and pointed down the stairs.  This place was obviously a clubhouse as some point, with what looked like a restaurant sitting on the second floor overlooking the action and the abandoned swimming pool down below.  Down the steps, a guy stopped unloading the truck and came over.  He took us into the "showroom" - clearly this place was not meant for public access, dusty and cluttered.  He showed us stuff - all intended for large spaces - all high end Castelle furniture for what seemed like a steal.  We didn't buy anything, but it was well worth the experience.

We wanted a SodaStream (beverage carbonation system).  Until recently they were not available in Costa Rica, but I found a place online and had connected with a representative.  With rough directions we tried to find the place without success.  A phone call the next day got us better directions, so off we went.  The company was in Pavas - one of the San Jose suburbs, near the National Stadium.  We drove around and finally found the landmark - the Pizza Hut corporate office - it was supposed to be in front of this - no obvious sign of Pura Vida Co2.  Another call - there is a drive and a chain next to the Koehler showroom - tell the guard you want Bodega 12.  Ok - a whole warehouse complex - no obvious signs for any of the businesses - we ask one of the many people coming and going - #12 is pointed out - a half-full warehouse - plywood and such - an office on one side - oh yes, this is the place - turns out SodaStream is a side business for a custom melamine cutting company (state of the art computerized cuts for homes condos and resorts).  A cup of coffee - conversation with the owner - a tour of the plant - we leave with our SodaStream.

Just 2 adventures in our retail therapy!  Not just another trip to the mall.