A Drier Than Usual Rainy Season in Costa Rica

This year's rainy season is trending mild, probably in large part due to the effects of El Niño. Certainly, it's not on track to be the soggy 2010 winter when we received a total of 200 inches of rain over 8 months and it seemed the whole country was slipping away into the Pacific.

rain gauge with a low readingWe didn't have a drop of precipitation from New Year's until the middle of April. April offered a meager total of 5 inches, followed by 17, 18, and 10.5 inches in the following three months. August seems  wetter, about 8 inches has fallen so far and the storms have been lively.

This rate of rain feels about right. There are consistenly sunny mornings, rain mid-afternoon give or take and often it lets up in the evening.

The reduction in rainfall, however, is not good news all over Costa Rica. For instance, they are still suffering drought conditions up in Guanacaste since 2011. A lot of ranchers are going broke as they have no feed and water for their cattle. Many planned residential subdivisions have been halted in their tracks due to insufficient water supplies.

large cane toad in dog's water bowl
Yuk! Could you take a bath somewhere else?
Nothing, animals nor plants, shuts down during our "winter"of course. In fact, they thrive and the countryside is drenched in a new biological cycle. Different mixes of birds perch in the trees, the moisture-loving sapos (cane toads) start rearing their unfortunately grisly visages, often in the dogs' water bowl or in a dark corner of a lower outside shelf where you're sure to be startled by their unsettling stillness and vacant, glistening eyes.

Somehow, I've managed to keep up with the "mowing" of the brush, weeds and grass with my big Shindaiwa trimmer, but it's a race I'm bound to lose in the end. I only finish the job after several outings and it's time to start over. In addition to the trimming, I've also cleaned out a lot of dead trees all over the finca. I take the pieces useful for leña (firewood) to neighbors or the Madre Tierra coffee co-op plant for their trapiche (sugar plant) for which the manager, Pablo, gifts me some organic raw sugar.

Tomorrow, the 15th, is Costa Rica's Mothers Day, which means no school, no banks, no P.O., but many stores are open. We'll celebrate by taking mom and her mom out for dinner at one of my wife's favortie eatiers, Bazookas. The place is pleasant, roomy and I enjoy their almost-American-as-apple-pie apple pie, alá mode of course. It is a good day to relax, reflect and settle in.

Life here seems to have found a groove. Not a well-worn one by any means, and we have a lot of projects and activities going on, but there is definitely a flow to our new life that the rainy season enhances with its daily, weekly and monthly cycles.

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Thanks so much for your comment! - Casey