Coffee Living in Paradise: Part III

Coffee Living in Paradise: Part III

Become a real Barista!
Living in Paradise: Part III

7The "Plantation" house. [ the "lump" on the front of my car, is an electric winch - has proved to be very useful!! ]

Friday May 6th, I was woken up at 4.29am by an earthquake: a really strange feeling, a long moment of total disorientation as the sleep-filled brain tried to make sense of the shaking sensations, and I could hear things falling around, downstairs. The dogs got very upset and assisted me in waking up! Grabbed the torch and did a quick check around the house, the only evidence of the quake, was an empty plastic water bottle, which had fallen off the table, and a heavy stone vase which had fallen over, but was not damaged. The power had only gone off for a few minutes, so the lights were soon working again.

On the way back to bed, a massive crash of thunder, without the slightest trace of any rain; and I had to take a look outside: the darkness was Stygian; the very faintest of orange glows in the clouds, above the mountains, from the street lights of Kingston, took my night vision a few minutes to recover: and what a sight: with the warming weather, it is now in the upper-mid 60'sF, overnight; and after the recent showers: all the trees and bushes in the garden were alive with thousands of flashing fire-flies, most of them a fluorescent green (the "blinkies" or Lampyridae, of which there are 2 or 3 different ones, varying between a quarter and three quarters, inch in length) with the occasional orange/red flash, from the huge ones (they are a bit over 1 inch long, and flash orange from beneath their abdomens, they also have, like "car headlamps" a pair of green glowing spots on their heads (locally they are called Peenywallies: or Pyrophorus) the light they give out is sufficient to cast distinct shadows several feet away.

The night chorus was almost deafening, the chirps and "buzzing" of the insects (crickets and katydids) the squawking lizards, the croaks of uncountable numbers of tiny frogs and toads ( they live in the flowers, in the little pools of water that collect in the blooms of the Heliconia, and the trumpets of the Bromeliads ) along with the indefinable sounds from thousands of other denizens of the night. It is impossible to hear any individual, unless they are very close by, it is akin to an untrained ear, trying to distinguish every individual instrument in an orchestra, at full blast!

Looking down the valley, and there, great flashes of lightening between the clouds, as they hover over the coast (some 9 miles away, in a direct line) for a moment, a dark cloud, invisible against the blackness of the night sky, becomes an enormous glowing area of various shades of greys, "dirty" yellows and the lightest areas, almost white. even the lightening seems to change colour, usually a blue/white, but occasionally a faintly orange, or green, flash occurs.

A particularly bright flash, and it eerily illuminates the top of the mists hanging around the bottom of the valley, below us. The clouds all moving extremely slowly, in the virtually non-existent breeze, hardly enough to move the lightest of leaves on the garden plants.

Overhead, a few stars visible, between the clouds, the edges of which are slightly illuminated by the waning moon, which has yet to rise above the mountains, and become visible; the illuminated edges of the clouds, hidden by the flashes of lightening between them, as they rise up the valley, and over the peaks.
Even with all the lightening, only the very occasional faint, distant, rumble, of thunder to be heard.

The air, which, near the ground, is almost completely "still", is full of the wonderful sweet scents of the night flowering plants, the damp, dark, almost autumnal, smell of wet earth, and not a trace of any man-made, polluting, odours. The air, "thick" with the scent of the night Jasmine, which is so strong that it totally overpowers all of the other scents in the air until you get several yards away from the bushes.

Just the special occasion, to go into "sensory overload", a sandwich, filled with slices of Jerk flavoured sausage (couple of moments in the microwave) followed with a cup of very strong JBM coffee, from the plantation, sitting on the balcony, enjoying the moment (I did not forget the dogs, they each got a special treat, as well!).

8Full moon rising over the mountains, just as the sun has set.

First thing to do in the morning, check on the internet, for details of the quake: a 4.2 ( minor!! ) which had its epicentre only about 9 or 10 miles away, across the other side of the Blue Mountain ridge. Reports were that it lasted around 10 seconds, of which (if the timing was accurate) I missed all but the last couple, before it woke me up.
From a programme on the Science Channel, the earthquake "number" to watch for, is 6.3: below that and there is not a great deal of damage, above that "number", expect damage to be extensive!! but, there are obviously a lot of other factors to take into consideration, however, 6.3 was the "magic" number they quoted.

Checked out the geological map of Jamaica, and it did not appear (the map is quite small, and details difficult to see properly) to be along any of the major fault lines which run east/west across the Island, and was well away from the main fault line that produced the Haiti quake; and no aftershocks! ( SO FAR!! ) Update on that, a couple of weeks, and not the slightest tremor that I could feel, or has been reported.
To date, since I moved to Jamaica, I have felt 4 earthquakes, in what is now approaching 8 years (how quickly time flies past!!) missed several others ( felt absolutely nothing ) but have yet to experience anything more than a plastic bottle getting "shaken" off a table!!

4A tree along the drive, smothered with Lichen ( Usnea sp. ) this Lichen is very susceptible to any type of air pollution, and to see it growing in such profusion, shows how clean and unpolluted the air is, up here.

Sitting at my computer, typing this article, and a very sudden, and totally unexpected : Crack - BANG - boomph: and everything goes dead. Takes a couple of seconds to realise what just happened, it sounded, and felt, like a bomb had exploded just outside the house: it was all over in a fraction of a second, the "crack" was a lightening strike within a few feet ( or possibly a few yards) of the house, followed, almost instantaneously by the bang of the thunder, and the usual "boomph" as the power switches off, and everything goes dead. The power was back within a few seconds, and I was surrounded by 3 well frightened dogs, as I took a look outside to see if I could find where the lightening bolt had struck; could see nothing in the dark, but will have a closer look, in the morning.

Took a while to find the "strike", it had hit the power pole just outside my neighbours house, about 100 yards away, most of the energy had dissipated down the wire attached to the pole, to protect it from lightening, the only obvious sign of the strike, was the blown fuse just by the transformer; luckily I had some spare space in my 'fridge, to keep their food cool, until the power company could replace the fuse; it took them only 3 days to fix it.

If you have never been close to a lightening strike, like this one: you can actually hear the sound of the lightening as it strikes; it is like the crack of a whip, but with a distinct "whooshing" component to the sound, then the thunder: no rumbling, just an extremely loud "BANG", which shakes the whole house, feels and sounds like an explosion, or a bomb, and lasts but an instant: the almost complete absence of any noticeable time delay between the crack and the bang, lets you know that it was VERY close!!

Due to the location of the place, we get a lot of lightening around the house, but nothing as close as this one, before: and it was so unexpected, there were ( and still are, many hours later ) a few rumbles of thunder, and some lightening flashes, way down the valley, but nothing close to the house; or I would have switched off all the power!!

5"Sunset" over the mist hanging in the valley

All my electronics in the house are protected as well as possible: a cut-out, 2 surge protectors, and a voltage regulator, before any power gets to them: and outside there is a fuse, between the power lines and the house.

Never a dull moment in Paradise!! If it is not a hurricane; we have an earthquake; or an unusually close lightening bolt!!
Still waiting for a meteorite to land nearby ( doing no damage!! ) as I understand some of them are of great scientific interest, and others quite valuable due to the unusual minerals, and crystals, they contain.

December 13/14th: the Geminid meteor shower predicted for just after dusk: unfortunately, as the sun is setting, thick mists surrounding the whole area. BUT, just half an hour later, a crystal clear night, not a trace of the mists, or even a cloud. No moon, no other light pollution, a perfect viewing night. Up here in these unpolluted mountains, a clear night is very clear! and the stars visible in all their magnificence!

Gemini should rise up above the mountains, around 9.00pm, time to double check the star-maps, and make certain I have got the correct direction to observe: on with a woolie jumper ( even in the tropics, it can get quite chilly in the winter evenings, even at 65F, the wind ( just a light breeze!! ) chill factor can make it seem a degree or two colder than that ), and get the chair set up in the best viewing position. Settle down with a hot cup of coffee, and "star-gaze": takes about 20 minutes for the eyes to adjust to maximum night vision, and slowly, as the eyes adjust, more and more stars become visible, more and more flashing fire-flies in all the trees and bushes: then: a flash in the sky, the first shooting star.

The "display" was not exactly spectacular, saw about a dozen shooting stars in an hour (somewhat less than the predicted 120 per hour) one of which was a real beauty, a long, bright, trail across the sky, with a distinctly blue colouration.
The starlight was so strong, that I could clearly see a faint shadow from my chair, just from the starlight; and Jupiter (?) which was almost directly overhead.

Robin Plough, a friend of

For questions about JBM, mail to: Этот e-mail адрес защищен от спам-ботов, для его просмотра у Вас должен быть включен Javascript

See also:
A New Year on the Plantation
A Visit to Paradise
A year in the life..What makes JBM, the 'legend' of coffee?
Assessing your coffee (part 1)
Assessing your coffee (part 2)
Assessing your coffee (part 3)
Economics of JBM. Part 1
Economics of JBM. Part 2
Everything you wanted to know about the Coffee Board
Growing a coffee plant at home
Growing Coffee. Part 1
Growing Coffee. Part 2
Growing Coffee. Part 3
Growing Coffee. Part 4
Growing Coffee. Part 5
Growing: Part 1
Growing: Part 2
Jamaican food (part 1)
Jamaican food (part 2)
Jamaican food (part 3)
Jamaican newsletter
Living in Paradise: Part I
Living in Paradise: Part II
Processing our coffee (part 1)
Processing our coffee (part 2)
Random thoughts on the end of the world
Random thoughts on the end of the world (II)
Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 1
Special Report: Coffee Leaf Rust Fungus Part 2
SPECIAL: Coffee borer beetle in Hawaii
Trivia and other ramblings: part 1
Trivia and other ramblings: part 2
Tropical Storm Nichole
see also

Follow coffee4dummies on Twitter