Hummingbird Moths, Motion, and Beauty in Imperfections

The beginning of Rainy Season means the arrival of some of the critters that disappear during Dry Season, most notably, critters of the insect variety. The other day I noticed three new arrivals by the bushes outside the kitchen window. I patiently watched them as they flitted about and realized that they were hummingbird moths.

The hummingbird moths are among my favourite insects, they fly and move just like hummingbirds. They can hover in the air in front of a flower while they unfold their long tongues and sip the nectar and if one listens closely, they sound just like a hummingbird.

The moths have an elongated, oval-shaped body, and their tail opens into a fan. The ones in our garden are of the Titan Sphinx variety, and they are brown, black and white, with the noticeable stripe of white around their midsection. Unlike many moth species who only come out at night, hummingbird moths are day moths that enjoy the sunshine and flowers.

After all my description about our little moths, where does imperfection come in?  It is not in the moths themselves, as they go about pollinating the flowers. It was not in the early morning, as Bandit and I stood there watching. The imperfections are in the photos. Then, here is the kicker; when I looked at them after I loaded them onto the computer, I considered deleting them, and keeping the one photo that I thought ‘perfect’. At that point, looking at them I thought about how life is about imperfection and perfect is boring.

My first photos of the year for our moths show them in motion, in perfect motion, in my imperfect photos…in the campo.

hummingbird mothhummingbird mothBandithummingbird mothhummingbird mothhummingbird moth

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Music Monday ~ Today Is Beautiful

Today is this guy’s birthday:

Da Boys

And because it’s a new week and we’d like a little ‘lift’ to get it started,  I thought I’d share this wonderfully uplifting song by David Dunn from his album Crystal Clear.   Lift your eyes, see Monday in a different light, today is beautiful…in the campo

Lift your eyes, see Monday in a different light, today is beautiful…in the campo

 Today is Beautiful

Sometimes the day won’t ever end
Sometimes you just throw up your hands
It’s the little things sometimes

Sometimes the world has just gone dark
Sometimes you’re praying for a spark
It’s the little things sometimes

But if you lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

Lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

Right now it feels so hard to breath
Right now you’re asking God why me
It’s what you can see right now

Cause right now there’s a greater truth
Right now there’s a bigger view
Than what you can see right now

But if you lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

Lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

If you see more than what’s in front of you
You might see more of heaven’s view
If you see more than what’s in front of you
You might see more of heaven’s view

So lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

Lift your eyes
See it in a different light
Just a cloud up in the open sky
Let the rain, fall away
Cause today is beautiful

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Snapshot Sunday ~ 29/05/2016

Boomer was on a quest for geckos yesterday morning.  Bandit was willing to let him do the work…in the campo.

Boomer and BanditBoomer and BanditBanditBoomerBoomer

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I Have Yellow Nails

I have yellow nails.  No, I haven’t been painting nor have I taken up smoking, it’s mango season once again.  We’re very fortunate to have friends that know how much we enjoy mangoes.  When they have a few to spare we will have a bag delivered to us, or we are invited to go and take as many from the tree as we can carry.

This year the season is a little later, and the fruit is not as plentiful as last year.  Mangoes are ready to harvest roughly three or four months after they flower.  Once the mango trees came into bloom this year and started fruiting the winds from El Niño knocked many of the babies from the trees.  Now that the winds have died down, the fruit is ripening all at once.

It’s difficult to tell if a mango is ripe just by looking at it, the perfect mango can stay green with just a hint of yellow or a blush rose.  The best way to harvest the fruit is to use a fruit picker, a basket on the end of a long pole, but most people will wait until the fruit falls to the ground, especially the fruit that is high up.  By the time some of the mangoes fall the birds will have a peck or two out of them and if the tree near Howler Monkeys there will often be a bite or two taken out of them.  The ripe mangoes that survive all the critters will have a lovely fruity, tropical floral fragrance near the stem.

Mango skin is edible but I prefer to peel ours before eating or freezing them.  Often, we’ll see people walking around with whole mangoes eating them like apples the sweet, sticky juice running down their arms.   Some of the fruit will have a sticky sap, so I always wash them, although often the giver has already done it for me. I then use a knife to peel a thin line around the mango and after that, it’s simple to slip my fingers under the skin and pull it off and cut the flesh away from the stone.  I usually save some fruit to eat fresh, but we freeze most of it for smoothies and eating later.

I love mango season and I don’t mind the yellow nails that come with it.  I’m also grateful that I have friends who remember every year to share the spare fruit from their bountiful trees…in the campo.

Panama mangoes. Panama mangoes.

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Talk Thursday ~ Cat in a Box

Anyone who has a cat knows that they love to find hidey holes and play with bags and boxes.  Today’s video is by animator and author Simon Tofield the creator of ‘Simon’s Cat’ one of my favourite cartoons on Youtube.

Simon is spot on with his animations about his cat that gets its inspiration from one of his now deceased felines Hugh but is a mash-up of his four cats. Simon is the tolerant owner of the cat. Cat exhibits typical behaviour in his love of food, birds, mice, and fish out of the koi pond. The humour comes from his efforts to get said birds, mice, and fish.

Today’s video explains why cats like boxes.  Dos Gatos enjoy their box as do their littermates…in the campo.

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Wisdom Wednesday ~ 25/05/2016

Teabag tag, Life is a chance. Love is infinity. Grace is reality.

Life is a chance. Love is infinity. Grace is reality.

Have a positive outlook and know that you can’t control everything. Love is forever, practice forgiveness of yourself and others.  These things are the keys to finding happiness.  

 

 

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I’ve Got an Alta!

I have thought about getting a fitness tracker for a long time, well over a year. I’ve looked at them Amazon, went looking in stores while I was in Canada last year and kept my eye open any time I’ve been in an electronics store in Panama. SU just returned from a couple of weeks in Canada, and he decided that it was time for me to stop procrastinating and he bought me a Fitbit Alta, presenting it to me upon his return last week.

Introduced in 2008, FitBit is an activity tracker that is designed to help people become more active, eat and support a better diet, sleep better and eventually, turn folks into healthier human beings. Fitbit Alta is one of the newest and stylish iterations of the brand and although it does not have all the bells and whistles of some of the types I was looking at, I’m enjoying playing with it and seeing what it can do. I had fallen off the exercise wagon again and in the short time I have had it, I have already become more active. I control my Alta by tapping its screen; a double-tap wakes it, or I turn my wrist toward me. A series of single-taps rotates the screens to display active minutes, distance, calories, steps taken, etc.

Alta

What I Like About the Alta

First, let me tell you what I like about it. As mentioned, it gets me up off my butt and walking around more than I normally would. When I am studying, reading or writing, I have a tendency to lose track of time. The gentle vibration on the band and the encouragement to complete 250 steps an hour is all I need to remind me to get up and move. Every 50 minutes, the Alta buzzes and gives me messages like, “Feed me 52 steps!” or “Only 8 more steps to go!” or “Take 226 steps to win the hour!” It also tells me how much sleep I get and although I have read on some sites that it is not very precise in that respect, my Alta seems right thus far. It has told me how long I slept, how many times I got up in the night and how many restless periods I have had. I also have the app downloaded to my computer, my Windows phone, and my Kindle. I did not have any troubling synchronizing the Alta it uses Bluetooth on the phone and Kindle and a toggle on the computer to send the information from the band. I have found the easiest app to use the one on the Kindle because it seems to sync faster. My phone, although Windows-based, takes a couple of minutes to sync and refresh and the computer, well, that just means opening it up and getting it going, so it also takes a little more time to use. I have also been tracking my food and water intake, and I like that I can do it all right in the Fitbit app. The battery has not needed recharging thus far, and as I understand, it could last from five to seven days without a recharge. That is a bonus when you have three or four other items that are in constant need of recharging. I also like the design of the band and it is light and comfortable. As a person who has a nickel allergy, I have not had any issues with it thus far. I did take it off this morning to give it a wipe as I do live in a moist environment; the temperature some days is reading almost 35° today with 78% humidity.

What I Don’t Like About the Alta

As one who is new to this fitness band thing, there only a few things I have discovered thus far that I do not like. One is the water tracker, it is available in the app, but there is not a reminder available on the band. Much to my friends’ and SU’s consternation I will continue using the water reminder on my phone and track my consumption on the Fitbit app. The other is that the band is not waterproof, although I have worn it in the shower, and I did wear it in the pool the other day, I guess I should not have. Alta is impervious to splashes, rain, and sweat, but the instructions say to take it off before jumping into the pool or showering. Oops, I have showered with it and even shampoo my hair. Taking it off might be a hazard for me as I have a tendency to forget even my purse when I go out so I will have to put it somewhere for safekeeping when I remove it. I also met a problem when I put it on, but I think I have figured it out now. There are holes punched in the wristband and little pins that fit to secure it on one’s wrist. SU and I had a heck of a time getting it on me, but I have since read that if you use a little olive oil and put the pins in the holes a few times they loosen up. As mentioned, I did take it off and managed to get it back on myself with little effort. The Alta does send an alert when a text or phone call comes in, but it does not work with other applications such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which are my primary messaging apps, that is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker. It is a fitness tracker after all and not a Smart Watch.

I have owned a Garmin Forerunner back in the day before the fitness tracker, or maybe one can call it the first activity tracker. I enjoyed using it, and I think I will enjoy discovering what my first activity tracker can do. I am hoping to become more aware of my body and fitness level and to be active. I already see that my Alta brings awareness to my behaviour and patterns…in the campo.

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Music Monday ~ Wasted Time

I love Keith Urban.  I’ve seen him in concert a few times, and I’ve enjoyed it every time.  To me, he just seems ‘real’.  He’s got a new album out and I think he’s nailed the ‘Summer Anthem’ song once again.

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Snapshot Sunday ~22/05/2016

A green iguana sitting in a fern in Panama.

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Talk Thursday ~ Orchids

The area we live in is not conducive to orchid growing.  There isn’t enough humidity during Dry Season to sustain most varieties.  Somehow, we have managed to get four different types to grow, though only three have ever given us blooms.  Three plants, purchased locally are growing in dirt and the fourth, from El Valle and the most recent bloomer, is in bark mulch, shaded by a larger potted plant.

Several venues in Panama hold fairs or shows throughout the year.  Events such as the  Panama City Show, the Holy Ghost Orchid Fair in Las Minas, Herrera in September, and the Chitré Orchid Society Show in October showcase different varieties of orchids.  There are also several places in the mountains of Chiriqui province that grow and sell orchids.

I found this interesting little video about orchids on one of my favourite YouTube channels MinuteEarth.  I hope you find it as informative as I did…in the campo.

 

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