After the Rain: Did you know that….?


It’s the rainy season in Nicaragua. After the all day rain yesterday, I walked around our property to see how the people, plants, and insects reacted.  Did you know that…?

Butterflies dart into protective vegetation and scramble beneath leaves when dark skies, strong winds, and the first raindrops signal an imminent storm. Can you imagine weighing about 500 milligrams with a massive 70 milligram raindrop pelting you? It would be like trying to dodge a water balloon with twice the mass of a bowling ball.

IMG_8568
During the long dry season in Nicaragua, the cattle have very little to eat. But, after the rains start, the farmers plant a grass like sugarcane for their cattle to eat. I imagine the cows are salivating thinking of the nutritious grass growing in Rudy’s fields behind our house.

IMG_8635Pitaya or Dragon fruit begins flowering in June or July in the tropics, after the rainy season starts. The Pitaya flowers are only open for one night starting at 10 pm.  We missed the flowering of this Pitaya fruit, but we have many more fruits getting ready to flower.

Dragon fruit is normally  pollinated by moths that are active at night, but we are going to try to pollinate the flowers by using a small paintbrush to transfer pollen from the stamens to the stigmas inside the flowers.

IMG_8642The Nicaraguan fishermen know that right after a rain is a great time to cast their nets. The runoff carries insects, frogs, and other small prey, bringing the fish closer to the surface.
If it is a heavy rain, the lake will rise and the fish will make a strong move toward the banks.

IMG_8624There is a science of puddles. When I taught elementary school, we would go outside before a storm to predict the location of puddles. After the storm, we would map the puddles and collect data. What signs of life, plant and animal, can be found in a puddle? I inspect the puddle for mosquito larvae. No mosquito larvae in this puddle. Whew!

IMG_8643After the rain, the laucha chugs on the calm waters toward Moyogalpa. However, during a storm, the lake can become rough, the waves high, and the laucha can be tossed around like a toy boat. If you sit inside the launcha during heavy rains, you are sure to get soaked.

IMG_8648The sunsets are more dramatic after a storm. There’s often a slanting band of clouds on the back side of the departing weather system, and that can act as a sort of projection screen for the low-sun colors, better than a horizontal band would. The slant means it captures more of the orange and red light, and if the cloud is thin enough, it will reflect those colors down to you. Also, storms wash a lot of the big particles out of the air. I have hundreds of photos of our spectacular sunsets after the rain.

IMG_8662Sunsets tend to be most brilliant after a rain because the air has been washed of pollution, and there are many mid or high-level clouds for the sun’s rays to bounce off of.

IMG_8664After a rain, all of the elements come together to create a canvas of golden hues.

IMG_8673What do you see after a rain where you live? 

14 thoughts on “After the Rain: Did you know that….?

  1. Once before a rain, when the atmosphere was turning windy and electric, I stood in my backyard watching the world. Without warning, a swarm of dragonflies came hustling in, flying frantically all around me, everywhere at once, desperate for something and in a rush. There must have been a few hundred, and though they spun all around me, they never once flew into me. Then, like they were one, they decided to take cover in my little lime tree. They flew over to it and attached to the small limbs, hanging there like ornaments, waiting for the coming storm. It’s one of the best secrets I ever got to see.
    Beautiful pictures in your post!

  2. What a gorgeous post, Debbie, a sensory experience. Thanks, too for the science lesson. We often take nature for granted and forget there is a process. A heavy rain leaves our front yard partially flooded which attracts the ibis afterwards to wade through and look for food. Often there is a chorus of frogs in the proximity. Everything looks greener and cleaner. 🐸

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