Jardin Botanico During the Feria de las Flores

The Botanic Gardens are generally free admission but between 02 August and 07 August there will be an entry fee for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show  (Orchids, Birds and Flowers Show).  This is a great show and well worth the admission price. The gardens will be close on 08 August to allow the show to be dismantled. Free for the rest of the year!!! To get there just take the Metro to the Universidad Station and bare right when you leave the metro system 🙂

Admission for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show is as follows:

ADULTS:      $COP14,000 ($US 7.77*)

STUDENTS: $COP 10,000 ($US 5.55)

CHILDREN:  $COP 4,000 ($US 2.22)

* At today?s exchange rate of about 1800 pesos per dollar.

This show is well worth the price and  the effort to go. See ya there!

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Earth Hour in Medellin 31 March 2012

The Botanic Garden is getting behind the World Wildlife Fund and the international celebration of  Earth Hour or Hora del Planeta (in Spanish). There will be a bike ride leaving from Carlos E. Restrepo at 6:30 p.m. with arrival at the Parque de los Deseos at 8:00 p.m. That signal the start of a free concert by Medellin’s Philharmonic Orchestra.The parque is located adjacent to the Jardin Botanico and just to the south.

Other Colombian cities celebrating Earth Hour include Bogotá, Cali, Pasto, Yumbo and Mocoa.  Please tun off you lights between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to remind people we need to be reducing our contributions to adverse climate change. Please think carefully about what your personal responsibility is in protect our future.

The Barranquero: A frequent companion at Finca el Arroyuelo

Humming Birds at Finca El Arroyuelo (Piedras Blancas)

The humming birds have taken to our feeders in a big way. Sometimes it looks like La Guardia on a busy afternoon.

For years we had just one small feeder hung on the front porch. During a recent trip to the States we got a larger one and set it up in May.  Although there was always action, neither attracted a lot of attention until about a month ago. Suddenly the rate at which the birds are taking the sugar water jumped. Now I am refilling both once a week. It may be that the larger one is hanging next to a sietecueros shrub adjacent to the porch. This gives them a staging area where they can wait for an opening. Some of them are very aggressive towards others wanting to use the feeders.

We have four species visiting our feeders. They are:

White-bellied WoodStars,

Bronzy Incas (?)

Greenish Pufflegs.

Green Violetear.

Transition to the Wet Season: Staring the Wicked Witch in the Face Again

In late-September and early-October we are in the transition to the wet season. We have had a nice “mid-year summer” and sure won’t complain. Between now and December we are looking at increasing amounts of rain and a lot of cool, cloudy weather. The reappearance of la niña (the wicked witch) and its expected residence through the upcoming rains indicates they are likely to be heavier than “normal.” But then again what is normal after nearly 3 la niña episodes in a row. BTW the wicked witch brings excessive rains to Colombia and is not a welcomed guest in most quarters.

The Wicked Witch is Dead?

IDEAM is the Colombian equivalent of the National Weather Service in the US with additional responsibilities.  They are calling the end of this la niña event for the country. This is welcome news as the flooding and landslides during the fall/winter and spring wet seasons have been catastrophic. Now we are waiting for the passage of the normal seasonal rains to finish and take the water on up toward Central America. Here in Medellin we have our fingers crossed and are hoping that the last 15 days or so of the first rainy season are not to wet.  We did have some really nice weather over the past month with plenty of sunny, dry days.

Finca El Arroyuelo

An arroyuelo is a small stream or brook. In Colombia it has a special meaning rooted in the love of natures beauty. A finca is a country property which may be a farm or residence. We named our place Finca El Arroyuelo for the beautiful brook which forms our northern property line. Located in a hollow at about 2400 meters ( nearly 8000 feet) in the Andes it is rapidly becoming home to us.

The view from the porch is dominated by slopes covered in pine and cypress. Patches of native woodland also contribute to the local mosaic and we are honored to have and care for one that graces the west side of our little dell. This woodland is now tinged bronze with the new growth on the arrayan trees and here and there purple and lilac of siete cueros flowers make bold highlights. At the edge of the wood, the gigantic leaves of Gunnera form a frieze that contrast nicely and create a very tropical feel.

This patch of forest attracts many brightly colored birds including several tropical tanagers, green jays and emerald toucanets. This habitat also support at least four different hummingbirds. These sally forth to use the feeder hanging on the porch and provide constant entertainment.

The woods are mossy and full of beautiful plants of all kinds. Orchids, bromeliads, philodendrons, brightly colored mushrooms to name a few. In the landscape fuchsias, hydrangeas,  roses and begonias bloom year around. Our mostly organic garden is coming along very nicely and is beginning to produce very tasty vegetables.

I highly recommend a visit to the  Andes here above Medellin!

Evening comes on at Piedras Blancas

I am up at Piedras Blancas right now. The sun is going down and there are still a few hikers using the trail down by the creek. It has been a warm and sunny day. The pines and cypress are lit by the lowering sun and the air is still warm. The hummingbirds are coming to the feeder for their last few sips before night falls. Wish you were here. The Andes are one of the worlds great resources!

The Estadio Atanasio Giradot Sports Complex

Yesterday evening we went over to the Estadio Atanasio Giradot sports complex to see an exposition of Urban Garden design. That was an interesting event but I came away deeply impressed by the sports complex itself. After viewing the garden/landscape displays we happened to go into the gymnastics facility just to see what it was like.

What we found was a space for young people to learn and engage in gymnastics as sport. There were kids ranging from around 6 to teens and perhaps a bit beyond all learning and practicing. I kept thinking that with this kind of opportunity, in not to many years a lot more Colombians will be taking medals in the Olympic games.

The complex was remodeled for the 2010 South American Games at a significant cost. The work was well done and the result is a beautiful and very functional venue for future large scale events. This in its self will contribute to Medellin’s position as a destination in South America. More importantly; the use of the facility to provide spaces for human scale, day-to-day activities that fulfill needs for personal satisfaction and growth, expand and deepen the quality of life in this growing metropolis.

Our future depends on our ability to find meaning and satisfaction in activities such as athletics, dance, gardening, service to others and a vast range of other human capacities that do not require significant material inputs. A day is coming when the human race will face the sobering fact that the growth of our physical economies must stop. There are only so many resources and so may places to put our wastes. The implementation of a steady state economy will occur and it can be done smoothly by design or we can just blindly walk into the limits to growth inherent in life on a finite planet. The latter option is likely to be similar to walking into a buzz saw. What I saw at the  sports complex is a clue to how we can organize our lives to fit the dimensions of our environment. It also is an indication of how government can facilitate the move toward a rational economy.

The Rains Have Begun

24 April 2010

This past week has been very warm and dry again. Most of the climate modeling suggests that the el Niño condition will end during the Northern Hemisphere summer and NOAA seems to be pretty sure about that now. I for one will be pleased to see the normal rains again.

The rainy season has started in earnest now. This past week has been very wet with rain most days. Several afternoons and evenings brought heavy downpours. The humidity is up a lot. This past dry season was intense and lasted longer than normal. Generally in mid-March there is a distinct increase in rainy weather. This year we had a couple of wet days but no where near enough.

NOAA has indicated that the el Niño should last only through this northern hemisphere summer. That would put us on track for a normal rainy season between October and December.

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