Thursday March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011

Today was a big work day. First on the list was to rebuild two planting beds 20 feet long by excavation and then replacing it with layers of soil, compost, chicken manure, cow manure, more soil, and then more compost. Second was to build a planter box from scrap wood for the edge of the yard for roses and ornamentals.

I started work on my painting today, mixing up a small batch of material for the texture and delivering it to the surface of the panel. It didn’t go as well as hoped. The reason is that the acrylic resin I got here is a strange variation of admix that doesn’t work at all the way the same product I get at home works. It’s going to be disappointing if I can’t get the mix to be the consistency I need. Also, I just checked it and now, 4 hours later it still hasn’t set up. This is in a way good, as it will make a harder final texture. But if it doesn’t dry in a couple of days, it will mean that the whole process will be slowed down considerably. I can’t deliver it all in one sitting so it means that I’ll have to wait a couple of days to re-engage the process when it’s dry enough not to get bunged up while I work.

I am beginning to find myself anxious to get home. I am describing a wave that isn’t big enough to swamp my canoe. But it is a feeling that this time in Costa Rica will be nothing more than an adventure, a journey, and I feel that there is no time to waste on journeys and adventures. I feel a need to initiate and  engage projects and flesh out ideas at a pace enabled by technology, in spite of the bliss of being beyond it’s tentacles here. Contrarily I also want to live life simply, consciously and deliberately, without compromises (here we produce almost no garbage, fully recycling every ounce of input into compost, most of what we eat is locally grown, and zero processed foods and certainly no high fructose corn syrup) inherent in urban life in the USA. At the same time, I want to manifest a host of projects only possible by having no obstacles and continual flow. I could be so much more productive than I am, I am obstructed by isolation here in moving on ideas. It’s a great place to work them out, however… I’m just venting.

I’m frustrated today if it isn’t obvious already. I want the past to resurrect itself in a metamorphosized and perfected version of itself. But it’s gone and I am beyond, out where the sea dragons on maps are drawn. I am floating aimlessly in a sea calm as a rust-welded lugnut.

I long to hear her laughter and the sound of her voice and her quickly delivered refutations of some crafty floating boloney spewed as a means of dredging up something luminescent. She’s a bird with exotic calls and blue -green  feathers, like a Quetzal perched in the penthouse of a twenty story tree in the courtyard of a temple built to make sense of me, and attract her divinity.

So what. The bird flew off and the priest thought she’d be back and then he died and the people forgot and nobody cared about the temple anymore and then they all died of festering skin diseases in a matter of days and their bones melted into rock and the sun swallowed the earth just before the black hole at the center of the galaxy had had enough to eat and imploded to a singularity and then exploded in a supernova and wiped the milky way mass away like ants in a tornado and nothing ever mattered again because it only matters if we ARE. And WE really means YOU. And that pronoun is really ME, bobbing aimlessly in a monkey bladder. Today. But I am GRATEFUL FOR LEMONS, LIMES, PLANTAINS,  ORANGES, AND PINNACLE OF ALL, CACAO. I am so grateful for cacao. And my family. And Mary. And the Choza and all who have made this a possibility for someone like me to experience and process and evolve and become…thanks.

Wednesday March 23, 2011

I’m here in what is considered the dry season, which happens generally from January through May. I was told today by Anita that there is a stretch of four to seven  days known as the  ‘little dry season’ in the middle of the rainy winter. Locals here have, until the last few years been able to bank on it. When it occurs, it is common for a house to be over-run by a swarm of voracious army ants which consume everything in their path including all the spiders, beetles, scorpions, etc. and do a deep cleaning that forces the inhabitants out until they have done their work. So intriguing. I asked a local named Solin whether his house had been swarmed recently and he said yes, a few months ago. Can you imagine? I want to see it happen.

This last year of rain was incredibly intense for this region of Costa Rica. Kimmy says that it downpoured torrentially for six days and nights straight on a few occasions. On the way here I saw evidence of roads freshly reconstructed from major landslide and washouts. In the steep hills from Puriscal to Mastatal,  many slopes were massively eroded and slumped,  patches the whole height of the mountain had given way revealing the red clay soil. Some of these had displaced people. In most cases it is a direct result of slash and burn  practices, cattle overgrazing and deforestation. Without the matrix of tree roots to hold the hillside together, it gets saturated , liquifies and destabilizes. We are in a region that is extremely mountainous, at about 1000 feet above sea level, in a maze of deep ravines and pointed peaks bristling with incredible flora and fauna. Many of the most unusual insects will be seen once and never again. I am thinking of the Praying Mantis that looked like a crumpled up leaf in particular that I saw on the road to Mastatal a few days ago and, according to Annie, who spent at least four months in one stretch here at Choza del Mundo, said it’s true. There is such an incredible diversity of life Costa Rica that fill extremely narrow niches and have done long enough to become truly strange. Unlike in many bioregions, the sheer diversity here means that no one species has worked out a monopoly in it’s niche. It is hard to comprehend until you see it for yourself, or when you happen upon the strangest stickbug you can imagine. It is likely that it represents a population that is unique to the very ravine you are hiking through. Some people live a long time and never see a particular animal known to live in their area, like myself and Desert Mountain Goats (UNTIL 2 YEARS AGO). But here, it can happen daily and multiple times daily if you slow down and take the time to observe.

A Scarlet Dragonfly from across the road

The girls are talking about relationships they’ve had while traveling and it makes me nostalgic for the past, and at the same time, curious about what lies ahead. I am not interested in love at the moment, but you never know when you will meet that individual that will cause your own landslide and displacement of all your wits and turn you into a passion infused hyperactive love-drug addled monkey.

Katie made dinner and it was an amazing concoction of Pineapple, Tomatoes, Basil, Chayote (sp? a zucchini like vegetable a little bigger than a mango and light green) over rice with a side of beans. It was delicious. I really enjoy seeing what can be done with food, learning from others’ repertoire of tricks and incorporating the tropical fruit and vegetable possibilities. Cuisine here has been off the charts, Brian, and all cooked in a basic kitchen.

Monday Joel Visits and Earthquake Hysteria

When Joel showed up around noon yesterday I was ecstatic. He brought our fixed fridge and two panel doors I had picked out in San Jose at EPA hardware store on a previous trip. He also had some coconut seedlings and ten bags of chicken shit for the garden. We unloaded it all and then decided to drive up the road 4 Km to Zapotan village, which I had never been to. Katie came along for the ride, neither of us knowing what to expect. When we pulled up to a tiny market at the edge of the road we both were thinking, wow, this is it? The village is larger than Mastatal by 6 or seven houses, for a total of maybe 15. I asked Joel if they had an ATM, to which he laughed heartily. It’s perched at the top of a ridge like a tightrope walker, steep slopes on either side and make it quite obviously a death zone in a powerful earthquake.

Earthquakes are on my mind so much lately. Of course due to the correlation I am researching between (Earth directed) Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) or Solar Flares and two to three days later major geological plate shifts on Earth. It is true the 9.0 off the coast of Honshu, Japan was preceded by an X1.5 CME that was earth directed two and a half days before:

FAST CORONAL MASS EJECTION: A coronal mass ejection (CME) exploded from the vicinity of sunspot 1164 during the late hours of March 7th. It leapt away from the sun traveling ~2200 km/s, making it the fastest CME since Sept. 2005. A movie of the cloud prepared by Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab shows a possibly substantial Earth-directed component. This CME and at least one other could brush against Earth’s magnetic field on March 9th or 10th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

– from spaceweather.com on march 9, then on March 10th:

CME IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field on March 10th around 0630 UT. The impact, albeit weak, did provoke geomagnetic activity around the poles. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.

impact images: from Zoltan Kenwell near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; from Warren Gammel of Fairbanks, Alaska; from Joseph Shaw of Poker Flat Research Range, Alaska; from William Helms of Fairbanks, Alaska;

X-FLARE: March 9th ended with a powerful solar flare. Earth-orbiting satellites detected an X1.5-class explosion from behemoth sunspot 1166 around 2323 UT. A movie from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a bright flash of UV radiation plus some material being hurled away from the blast site:

Theoretically the solar wind and charged particle or plasma blast hits the electromagnetic torus that protects us from such events and warps the field, compressing the lines of gravity and creating anomalous fluxes in geomagnetism, effecting the mantle of the earth’s molten iron, altering the flux, causing plate tensions and shifts, including releases of built up pressures via major earthquakes…We are witnessing the escalation of solar activity as the Sun moves into it’s phase of hyperactivity known as Solar Maximum. It should peak in late 2012. So watching these events are tied to my interest in any validity to the 2012 Mayan Calendar predictions. Anyway…
I frequently visit spaceweather.com and correlate CME events reported there by SOHO live feed data and the USGS.gov earthquake map. Spaceweather.com a couple days after the Japan quake addressed concerns from site viewers that there was a correlation, stating that there was none. I disagree with that assessment.

Interestingly, I recently watched an X2 class CME that was earth directed case a ripple of geological activity starting in the Aleutians near the Arctic Circle and flowing down the perimeter of the Pacific Rim (The Ring of fire), ending in New Zealand and then rippling back up, petering out in Japan and California simultaneously. None of the earthquake events were greater than 5.4, and most were in the 3.0 range but there were a host of them, enough that hour by hour, there was a visible flow of events north to south and then north again. Fascinating if you ask me. This occurred just 6 days before the Christchurch, New Zealand quake. And a friend of mine , Crystal Nikita Summer linked a report by the Russian Institute of Physics that stated a warning about a cataclysmic quake coming to the Americas, North or Central or along the Andes faults that could come in the next two weeks.

here: http://www.realnewsreporter.com/?p=843

I wonder what their data is based on, since it doesn’t look like any of the sunspots present at the moment have any likelihood of causing an earth directed CME in the near future. We’ll see.

A day to note -Sunday March 20, 2011

Sunday night. Beans are cooking in an iron pot over a fire ten feet from the base of the giant mango tree. Katie is playing her guitar next to the fire, which she started, and was her first ever so she’s making up a song about it and throwing in the Bufo toad event that occurred earlier, singing about my telling her not to touch it, the damned thing is poisonous, but she already had. The dog, Milo, lays on the concrete at the edge of the porch a few feet to my right staring at the fire and looking forlorn as I swing in the hammock and type this up. Kimmy is in the kitchen, I can see her head only over the window ledge and she’s washing the stove top, in her own world created by the space between the earbuds spilling out tunes from her ipod. The washing machine is cycling and humming and draining in harmony to the woop woop of the frogs across the road. It was a great day of creativity. Katie puts down the guitar and proclaims she’s going to make a pot of rice. Then the moon pops out, two days from full and it’s peeking through the knifey mango leaves almost directly over the fire.

Katie by the fire

Tomorrow I am thinking I’ll go to town, take the early bus at 5:30 in the morning, do some banking in Puriscal, buy more tuna, the smoked variety I had the other night when Joel came through with supplies for the patio extension. Over rice it hits the spot and my mouth waters even now just thinking about it. Kimmy just put on some Norah Jones and she’s humming to it while Katie chops something on the cutting board. Kimmy tells me Joel will be here again tomorrow, bringing my panels for artwork I’ve got planned. Now the dog decides to lick and chew my big toe on the foot I’m using to push my hammock to and fro. It just doesn’t get any richer. Homemade bread is rising on the window ledge too, to be baked fresh in the morning for breakfast with cacao – home made chocolate spread, like we had today at lunch in an avocado skin. Kimmy is such a great cook it’s truly heaven to experience her every next creation. Do you have any idea how mindblowingly delicious the fresh pineapple is here? Norah Jones – “The Nearness of You” is playing now. And it makes me feel saudade for a girl I once knew…hell, I know her still. But she isn’t mine any more. And I spin into a longing for all the people I know, and for the way things were.

So I was craving something on the order of dessert. I found a plantain, perfectly ripe. Heated a pan with a bit of coconut oil in it, enough to deep fry the oval cut plantain slices. While they deep fried I cut some hardened cane sugar from the block it comes in here and put it in a sauce pan with a little butter. I caramelized it, turned the plantain chips over and took the caramel off the heat. I added a little water to make a thick syrup and placed the plantain chips on a paper towel to wick off the excess oil. I grabbed the cinnamon and set it to the side of a fresh plate. I placed the plantain chips in an array around it and drizzled the caramel along the inner ring of the chips. Then I sprinkled cinnamon over the syrup and took it out to the girls. Can I tell you that the crispy sweet tangy flavor blast with spice was orgasmic? You would believe me if you had heard their groans of pleasure. Another chapter in the annals of Sunday the 20th of March, 2011.

The dutch oven black beans are almost done. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT DELICIOUS MEAL THEY BECOME A PART OF! These are the simple pleasures of what is essentially a camping experience in the jungle of Costa Rica. Am I ever going to go home? I wonder. I wonder…

The nightly symphony of Frogs and Cicadas