Wednesday, April 9, 2008

La Lluvia

The rains have arrived--not necessarily early but steadily. We've had rain in the afternoon almost every day since the first of April.

Great for the plants! And I'm in full swing as far as setting out new ones are concerned. To date, I've managed to get into the ground 2 nice-sized bougainvillea, 3 papaya trees and one mamon chino.

It also looks like the preliminary work on stopping the roof leaks has been successful. We really had a downpour--an aguacero--a few days ago, and the usual places were either dry or had just a few drops. Now to get the other half of the roof.

Anyone who was here during last year's rainy season I'm sure remembers the problems from the unusually heavy rains we had then. There were floods in parts of Panama that hadn't seen any in a hundred years. October, our wettest month here, was particularly bad last year. The photo on the upper left was taken on October 15, while it was still raining, from just outside our side door. There's a bit of a gully not that far away from the house; there's a culvert over the driveway. The picture shows the veritable little river of water pouring dow through the culvert to spread out and saturate the land on the other side of the driveway--it became a swamp last year. While we always have some outflow, this was particularly impressive.

The 2nd picture was taken on the other side of the house, from just inside the covered area of the dog run, and shows the torrent that was pouring down the other gully we have. Last year was so bad that for the first time we had erosion in that area. I've already taken steps to prevent more; the scoured ditch has been filled with small stones and we've dumped dirt on top. That system works very well.

To my amazement, we had a flash flood in the quebrada that borders the pine woods that we used to walk through with the dogs. Actually, there were probably 2 or 3. They took out the bridge, just washing away the fill and hard pack and exposing the concrete tubos that serve as a culvert. That quebrada is NOT a year-round creek. We don't normally see water in it until September. But on at least two back-to-back days, 15+ feet of water came roaring down that little gully, taking away almost everything except the hundred-lb rocks and the concrete tubos. It did at least leave behind a perfectly useless retaining wall.

We had to wait until January of this year for that bridge to be rebuilt--which it was, in the same exact manner that washed out before. But that's Panamá. They just gamble that the rain won't be as bad this year as it was last year. And who knows--maybe it won't.

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