Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rain and Winged Things

Up until a week ago, we had a steady six weeks to two months of very hot, very dry weather. Temps were in the 90s most days, everything had turned brown, everything was dusty, and the ground was rock hard. The dry season last year was about the same length, but when it broke last year, it did it in fits and starts. We had lightening in the distance for a couple of weeks, then some distant thunder, but no rain until June 1, when it arrived right on schedule. Last year, however, we were broken in to the rainy season since it started to rain some, but only showers here and there. It seemed that usually either the morning or the afternoon was nice and sunny, but we’d get the much needed rain for part of the day, and after all the heat and dryness, it was really very nice. This year, there was no breaking in for the wet season – one shower last Saturday night, a full week ahead of schedule, and then on Wednesday night the heavens opened and it rained pretty much nonstop from Wednesday night through Monday morning. I have no idea whether last year or this year is more typical; we’ll just have to stay here for at least another twenty years or so and figure that out.

Up here in the mountains, we just had rain over the weekend. We’re not near any rivers or streams, so although everything was soaked and muddy, the roads are awful, and the orange reaping was miserable, it didn’t seem all that bad. We’d checked the weather and knew it was Alma/Arthur causing the rain and we knew it was a lot of rain, but we didn’t realize how seriously parts of Belize were being affected. Then, on Monday, I checked the news and realized that parts of Belize, specifically the southern and northern parts, were in the midst of a serious emergency. Here’s the link to some pictures of the flooding disaster, along with NEMO press releases with up to the minute information on what’s happening: Belize Floods.

As I said, we’re fine, and the worst of it for us is that the winged termites made their appearance, which, on the grand scale of things, isn’t bad at all. A few of them were out at the end of last week when it first started to rain, but then on Friday night they came with a vengeance. Inside the house, I could see them swarming at the windows, and even with pretty good screens quite a few were getting in through the wallboards and dropping their wings. Shane and Monique were out for a walk, and they said they could see them coming out of the ground. They’re very annoying, but they don’t bite or sting or do anything to hurt you; they just fly in, land on something, drop their wings, and crawl away. It’s the dropped wings that are the pain, because they’re everywhere and they’re completely unmanageable. They stick to the wood walls, they stick in cobwebs (yes, I have cobwebs in the house), they land on every flat surface, and there’s really no good way to get rid of them. When you sweep them with a dry broom, you get some of them, but they’re so light they become airborne and just swirl above the broom and land on the floor again when you pass. If you try to wipe them with a damp mop or towel, they get wet and sticky and stick to everything except the mop or towel, and then it’s completely impossible to get rid of them. The only good thing about my ongoing effort at cleaning up the wings is that after all the dry weather, everything in the house was very dusty. I have open cabinets because I don’t like being surprised by creepie crawlie things, but that means that every jar, every glass, every dish, every can, and every everything on my shelves gets dusty. So, I took the opportunity of the wing dropping to first dust off and then wipe down just about everything in the house. It took a couple of days, but now everything looks brand spanking new, and I forgot how good giving the house a good spring cleaning can feel!

The other thing that has happened is that the June bugs are out, and while they don’t leave their wings, they’re almost everywhere too. We had at least 50 of them on the 2’x2’ kitchen window last night. I don’t know if they’re here because of the weather or just because it’s June, and they are, after all, June bugs. While we’ve had a lot less rain over the past couple of days than we did over the weekend, it’s still been raining enough that we can’t tell if the weather is bringing them. The rain will go away sooner or later, and hopefully before the end of June, so I guess we’ll see.

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