Earlier yesterday, before the rain came, I was sitting on the windy terrace hoping a brave bird might come out. A couple of doves flew by, but this Great Kiskadee was the only one brave enough to land in my Guarumo Tree (Cecropia) with a pretty strong wind bringing that rain cloud we got later. Notice how the feathers are affected by the wind. Not a normal pose, but an interesting commentary on the windy day we had yesterday before the afternoon rain.
Read more about the Great Kiskadee on eBird. He is one of the most common birds here and his song or call sounds like his name, “Kiss – ka – deeeeeeee.” He is found almost everywhere in Central and South America, with only a few strays making it into the Southwestern U.S.
Biopsy Report in Tomorrow’s Post
It is intentional that I have been very honest and factual about my new adventure with cancer while living retired in Costa Rica. And I will continue to be. This afternoon at a 2 PM appointment with my surgeon in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica I will receive the biopsy report and his “plan of attack” including possible radiation treatments.
He doesn’t know that some of you have been praying for it to be benign or not a cancer and we might receive that surprise blessing this afternoon, but if it is like all the others he has removed similar to mine, then we will do whatever is necessary and still give God the praise anyway! 🙂 He’s going to see me through this!
I’m wearing an eye patch all the time now because it hurts to have an eye open that can’t blink or close. We will be discussing possible solutions to that also this afternoon and the left side of my mouth. But they are secondary to dealing with cancer.
And because several blog-followers are considering retirement in Costa Rica like I did, I am going to share the costs of this major surgery and what my other options could have been and discuss 3 or more options for radiation, whether needed or not.
A few readers know or remember that I once live in The Gambia, West Africa for three years with many experiences recorded on this same website found by following my AFRICA Travel Page links or going directly to pages for The Gambia and Senegal. I made both of the above photos in Dakar, Senegal.
I got one of my first shocks the first month there when I told the guards that it looked like a rain storm was coming from the north, even though it was “The Dry Season.” They laughed at me and explained that the first month of dry season was called Harmattan and was when the sand and dust from the Sahara Desert blew south and west and that we would soon be covered in dust and sand, thus close your windows. I closed them and it did not help much with everything in the little apartment covered in dust or sand. Incidentally, some years that same Harmattan blows part of the Sahara Desert all the way across the Atlantic to Costa Rica. Really! 🙂
In Costa Rica it is not called “Harmattan,” but we have a similar experience any time from late December to mid-March when the wind blows almost constantly and everything is dusty. It is not as heavy as West Africa, but it is for a longer period of time with just dust, not desert sand (usually)! It is worse if one of the volcanoes is erupting and we get the gray to black volcano soot like I’ve had a few times from Volcán Turrialba. 🙂
Thus when another WordPress Blogger posted this Poem by Danusha Lameris, I saved it to share right now during our “mini-harmattan” or windy weather or dusty season, none of which are titles Costa Rica brags about for our “Dry Season” (most popular tourist time). And incidentally, this years winds seem to be stronger and at night much cooler than the previous 6 Dry Seasons for me here. Now North Americans wouldn’t consider the low 60’s Fahrenheit cold, but that’s a “two-blanket night” here! 🙂
But that was only the case for an hour or so Sunday morning for my early breakfast around 6 AM. By 7:30 or 8:00 the wind was blowing like normal this time of year, It is windy mid-December to Mid-March or later and I’m guessing later this year because the wind has been stronger. Since the “Windy Season” overlaps the “Dry Season” it creates a recipe for brush or grass fires, especially later in the season like right now. We had our annual grass fires in Roca Verde a week or so ago, so not as much dry grass left to burn. (I water my grass!) And as usual, we were fortunate to have no house on fire. Our local Atenas Bomberos (Firemen) are super good at stopping the fires quickly.
And my four morning birds are just ones that are very common in my yard, but it was nice to see them in my Cecropia tree at breakfast for a change! Maybe I should eat earlier every morning since it is less windy early. 🙂 They were . . .
I don’t know for sure if the mother Inca Dove abandoned the nest or something happened to her, but by this morning she was gone and two eggs had rolled out of nest down the spine of the palm frond, with at least one egg cracked. An animal that would eat her would probably also eat the eggs and an iguana may eat the eggs yet. 61 mph winds could have done it!
Inca Dove on Nest She sat on this for about 3 days in terribly fierce winds, palm fronds like sails!
Empty Nest this Morning Was the wind too much? Did something happen to her? I never saw a mate and wondered where Daddy bird was!
Eggs Rolled down Palm Frond & Cracked I’m so sorry to miss the birth of two Inca Doves & Sorry for the Mom! I have no way to save them and doubt they could be.
Poor Choice of Nest Tree The nest is in this small palm surrounded by red/yellow crotons below my deck. Nest in lower of two fronds on the left, tiny gray spot halfway up.
Check out our Weather and note that right now the wind is at 42 mph with gusts to 61 mph. The poor bird never had a chance! January-February is the usual windy time, but last year was never with as strong a wind as we’ve had this year. and it is still blowing strong into March, but hopefully dying down soon! Then a couple of months of windless, hot, dry days before the rain starts, May-Oct.
POSTSCRIPT: Before dark I checked the palm again and both eggs were gone, maybe by wind or maybe by an animal.
PS again: Today I finished my Income Tax with only one call to the TurboTax help desk! 🙂 The problem was not with the form but getting past their security into my file online. It seems that I had two accounts with them with two different user names and passwords and I was mixing them up. Crazy! But done now!
See how the big Cecropia or Guarumo Tree leaves are blown hard to the left? Hard to photograph wind! This is from one my rocking chairs on the terrace. It is not constant wind, but gusts and occasional periods of light wind.
All my googling gives me no good reason for the usual December-January wind though Angelfire calls it the “trade winds” from the east (the same thing that brings rain in May-Oct.):
“The warm moist air driven westward by the trade winds loses its moisture as it crosses the cordilleras and the resulting dry air gusts down the Pacific slopes drying out everything in its path. With such low moisture content, few clouds form to block the sunshine and the prevailing winds keep Pacific breezes from bringing moisture onshore, thus, further promoting the dryness.” -Angelfire
Although Costa Rica is a small country in terms of area, there is a lot going on here in terms of weather in Costa Rica. With a climate that is diverse and varied, Costa Rica can be divided into several climatic zones, each of which are distinct and individual. Though generally classified as a tropical country because of its close proximity to the equator, Costa Rica has no real winter period, and the sun shines here throughout the year. In general the weather can be classified as a dry or high season and a wet or green season. With over 12 hours of sunshine a day, the sun rises at about 5:45 am and sets at about 5:45 pm consistently throughout the year. The main reason for the diversity in Costa Rica lies in the fact that Costa Rica has an ocean and a sea relatively close to each other, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Of course elevation does also take part in the diversity of weather as well. For example Guanacaste which is next to the Pacific Ocean has a dry climate where there are many tropical dry forests, while Tortuguero which is on the Caribbean Ocean that is only about 130 miles or 210 km away (as the crow flies) has very humid and wet weather with rain throughout much of the year. The Central Valley with San Jose (ATENAS) enjoys the best climate in the country as the weather here has an average of 22 degrees Celsius or 72 degrees Fahrenheit and is tempered with a cool coastal breeze. In the highlands the temperature averages 13 degree Celsius, while in the lowlands or at sea level the temperature stays at around 26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with hot days and sultry evenings. In Costa Rica the average annual temperature is around 21 to 27 degrees Celsius or 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit and the coolest months of the year are November, December and January. The months March through May are the hottest months of the year, so make sure you protect yourself from the sun. There is no real summer or winter in Costa Rica and the rainy season here lasts from May to November, with the months of December through April having little to no rain and September and October being the heaviest rain period. While the average rainfall in the country is around 100 inches, some mountainous areas get as much as 25 feet of rainfall on a yearly basis. Also remember to keep in mind as we mentioned before that Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is rather unique and has its own microclimate. With tradewinds keeping the weather hot and humid most of the year, there is no real dry season out here and it rains very often.
I often debate myself about using Spanish in this blog, but as I use it more daily I will probably include more here just for “color” if no other reason. You probably know that the above title “Mi Oficina” is Spanish for “My Office.” Though I have already pointed to a gallery with photos of my apartment, I am now adding to that gallery and will start featuring one room every few days with multiple photos, since I figure most of you don’t want to go to a gallery. So first off is my office which doubles as a guest room.
Desk Converts to Bed
That fold-out desk folds back up against the mirror. Then the entire beautiful wood panel folds down to the floor and makes into a queen size bed with mattress all hiding behind that wall. The depth is the same as the closet which is next to the bed/desk. Pretty cool, especially for someone who will not really have that many overnight guests. And if there is a third person, the living room couch is a wonderfully comfortable twin bed, though not made for sheets to fit well.
Printer on left on my cardboard box table, laptop on desk & supplies in closet.
Because window is open more than a/c on, and it is dry season with wind,
dust blows in the window. Thus $8 twin-bed sheet set provides table cloth
for cardboard box table AND the cover for printer when not being used. The
matching pillow case provides a dust cover for computer when not in use.
Since front faces west, blinds are closed in afternoons and some hot days
when working in office in afternoon I use the air conditioner for that room.
The louvered door on right with calendar is one of two closet doors in room.
There is a large air conditioner in the living room/dining room and a smaller one in each bedroom which this office is one. Because I often use the office in the hot afternoon, this a/c is used the most. But my first electric bill was only $22 and others have said theirs is often around $30 which is not bad. I never need a/c at night, sleeping with windows open under a heavy comforter. The great weather here helps save on electricity! The dry season dust is something I got used to in The Gambia which was much worse with sand storms blowing in sand there. I’m in a green neighborhood and 200 meters off the road, so dust is light, but still happens.