It’s the height of summer here, and it’s HOT! I know many of you are looking forward to summer, but here we are looking forward to April and the return of the rains. Summer, or dry season here is December – April. December is nice. We got a few rain showers, and things still looked green and happy. It’s pleasant to be out in the evenings during the holiday season because you are unlikely to get rained on. January is very much the same, but rain showers are unlikely. February is getting hotter and dryer, and the trade winds blow more. We had maybe a couple sprinkles of rain, but nothing close to a shower. Plants are drying up, the grass is brown and crispy, and brush fires are possible.
People sometimes clear their land by burning but it’s easy for that to get out of control, especially on a windy day. The authorities are trying to stop the burning but what do you do if the culprits are long gone? We have been lucky so far (knock on wood) that fire hasn’t threatened our neighborhood, but the smoke of a fire nearby is very unpleasant.
Now it is March and I’m ready for summer to be over. I know we have many beautiful summer flowers and spectacular flowering trees which I enjoy, but this is enough summer for me.
Oh yes, I mentioned water also. There are a lot of problems with water here so we put in a reserve tank and a pump. Water problems are even more common in the dry summer, and I think we’ve had maybe two days in the last two months when we have had water all day (it’s usually out by noon and back by dark, give or take a few hours). Nobody knows if it’s water shortages, if they are fixing something, or what’s going on. Panamanians tend to be much more patient than we are, but I also notice almost every house in our neighborhood has a reserve tank now.
Don’t expect a nice cool afternoon shower from the reserve tank though, because the sun hits the tank all afternoon and warms it up well.
One morning I noticed a lot of ants on my outside table, and then I realized they were getting water from a glass I’d left on the table the night before. So, I took pity on them and put a bottle cap of water on the shelf next to my table, and it’s been used a lot. It’s not all the easy for the ants and other wildlife in the dry season either. There’s a river nearby, but it’s way too far away if you are a little ant.
We have so many different kinds of ants here. These particular ants are dark brown/black, on the small side, and it looks like they run around with their butts raised. They aren’t interested at all in sugar or the usual things that attract ants, but protein? oh yes! They hang out under the lamp on my shelf hoping to catch a bug. If there is any dead bug or lizard, they are all over it. I gave them a dead gecko one time and by the next day they had it down to the bones, and by that night the bones were also gone. They’ll also eat any meat or egg I give them, provided it’s soft enough to break up into little ant size pieces.
Yes I know I’m strange but I find them interesting. They don’t bite but they are very clingy. If you try to brush one off your hand, you will find it sticking to your other hand. They don’t go in the house and bother us. Their path goes up the side of the house to the roof, and from there I don’t know. There are also a lot of them in a nearby fruit tree but I don’t know if that is the same colony.
When I first moved here it seemed like things didn’t change much. It was always warm throughout the year. The length of the days is also almost the same all year. But after a while you notice the definite change of season, not only the rain or lack of, but the many different flowers and fruits that come in the dry season. The days are also getting longer. The sun has been setting around 6:40 rather than 6:30 of a few months ago.
But, an update. We had RAIN on Thursday, and more RAIN today! This is a month early but I’m definitely not complaining. I hope we get more, but if not this will at least help the plants and the environment while we wait out the rest of the summer.
Keep in mind what I say about the weather is here in David. In the mountains they get less heat, more wind, and a bit more rain. On the Caribbean side of Panama it can rain anytime in the year, or anytime in the day. (Here in rainy season it usually rains in the late afternoon). It’s interesting to be in such a small country but with so much variety.