Bringing Our Boats In: Nica Nugget #92

Last weekend’s weather forecast called for a severe storm. Fishermen brought their boats in. The severe storm missed us, lashing out at El Salvador to the north of us instead. But our waves were big and loud. And our high tide was very high. The rains came and the brown of landscape turned a glorious riotous green. Workers with machinery arrived at the estuary and punched a channel out from the river to the sea. So the river could easily flow with the rains and not get all choked up. In my home country, the United States, the forecast is …

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Water For 80 Households: Nica Nugget #91

One year ago, John and I rented a car and headed north past Managua, past Matagalpa, past Esteli and Ocotal and up into the pine forests to the town of Jalapa which sits just shy of the Honduran border. We spent the night in the countryside, although it was accessed from right in town. Hotel Campestre El Patano. A German man and his blonde-haired, blue-eyed teenage son ran the place, which normally (read: during non-crisis years) is bustling, he said, with mission groups running projects nearby. On this day we were the only ones there. The next morning a gentleman …

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First Gifts of Rain: Nica Nugget #90

My neighbor, Juaquin, calls them Papallomollo, the flying creatures that dropped their wings at my door last night and began their terrestrial existence. The crabs, I don’t know their name nor where they have been all of dry season, but today I saw them on the road at the top of Pacific Marlin by Cristo. And later along the scree where the hillside turns into the beach. And the brilliance of the air and sea! As if rain drops could settle the dust down to the bottom of the sea. And Nella. She finally, after months, left the shady bush …

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The Ark of Waiting: Nica Nugget #89

Today I am practicing waiting. I am waiting for the rain.I am waiting for the new green leaves, for the dull dryness of the hills to turn to juice. I am waiting for the sweltering heat to abate, for the dogs to come out from under the shady bush. I wait for the threat of Covid-19 to go away. For my fear for my neighbors – for Mary and Hector, who’ve been keeping their store Stop y Buy open across the street, for our cuidador Juaquin and his extended family who have all moved back in with him, and for …

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Monkeys…And Who Are We?: Nica Nugget #88

Yesterday, John and I came upon a troop of over 30 monkeys during our morning walk up and over the Cristo headland. I’d never seen such a large troop. John had only seen that plentitude a few weeks earlier and near the same location. Monkeys live lives separate from us. Well, for that matter…Iguanas live lives separate from us. Bee colonies. Ant colonies. Anteaters. Crabs. Salps. Tarpon. Crocodiles. Magnificent Frigatebirds. Fungi. Fireflies. Trees. Yes, Trees, with their magical subterranean roots and their leaves which manifest food out of nothing more than sun and air and a bit of water and …

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April Nature Sightings: Nica Nugget #87

In the mornings a pair of Turquoise-browed Motmots has been nearing our porch. Likewise, we’ve been seeing them regularly during our evening stroll up the shallow canyon by our house. Locally common, they are much easier to spot now, at the tail end of dry season, than they will be after the rains start up soon and the barren landscape explodes into jungle. Squirrel Cuckoos have also been coming around. As well as Streak-backed Orioles. The resident howler monkeys are also much easier to spot now while the trees are barren and so many flowers and berries are luring them …

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April Heat: Nica Nugget #86

This morning at 6:30 when I stepped outside I was hit in the face with the heat. It was a full body slam actually, an enveloping. It’s April, the hottest month of the year here. I sit in my rocking chair and my forehead glistens with sweat like a water glass covered in condensation. The cooling winds of January and February are gone. And the rain clouds of May through November just start to build, practicing for their awaited arrival. We clean our gutter of leaves and dust. We paint over the rust on our roof. We install a better …

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Holy Week During Covid-19: Nica Nugget #85

This morning at 9 am, the day before Easter. This morning normally on the day before Easter, the beach would be packed, shoulder to shoulder. Or so I’ve been told, because despite living here for four years this is our first Holy Week here. But this morning at 9 am, when John and I and the dogs walked the length of the beach like we do most mornings, we found it empty. Except for the groups of lifeguards, who are just here for this week, with no one to save. And the beach toy vendors, who are here most Nicaraguan …

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Some Mornings: Nica Nugget #84

Some mornings I wake up to a flooded house…during the dry season … when it hasn’t even rained. Some mornings I wake up to a large scorpion on my chair where I was about to put my hand…even when I haven’t seen a scorpion in months. This morning was that morning. For both. Time for a cup of coffee. Sigh. And some mornings, additionally, the electricity goes out. Like, just now…

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Selva Negra and Hammonia Farm: Nica Nugget #83

It’s coffee harvest time in the mountains of Nicaragua. One young man traveled from his home near the Miskito coast, inland up the Coco River which borders Honduras and then on from there by bus to Selva Negra north of Matagalpa to pick coffee at the Hammonia Farm. He spoke to me in halting Spanish, maybe partly from shyness and partly because his native tongue is an Indian dialect. I was on a coffee tour there last month with my husband and two close friends visiting us from their home in France. We stayed at the Selva Negra Ecolodge, in …

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