On being heat wimps

I have to remember that warm weather has an upside

The mercury in the non-greenhouse thermometer reached 86 degrees F. yesterday.  You’d think it hit 106 the way we were carrying on around here.

I will readily, easily admit I prefer cool weather.  We didn’t get to 90 all last summer and that was quite fine by me:  canning was still a sticky endeavor (and considering I was canning food for 135 schoolchildren as well as our own needs perhaps “endeavor” is an apt term) but otherwise it was an enjoyable year.  And now, well, now our blood is still thick and our entire aspect is crabby.

Case in point:  Five hens are sitting on eggs and, when they come out for their daily water, food, dustbath and, er, bowel clearing session they create QUITE the ruckus in the yard.  They cluck mightily and pick fights (!!) with everyone, and it appears to be catching.  When not molested by broody hens, our other chickens stand droopily with heads lowered and wings out, trying to take advantage of any breeze.  But once one gets a-squawking the others remember past grudges and the feathers then fly.  This heat and humidity has caught them off guard too.

T-bell the goat stomps her feet on the milkstand.  We got actual tears yesterday when our daughter realized her kiddie pool (six year old kiddie pool) had a hole, and her mood was only lifted when I told her she could spray ME with the hose.  The dog keeps losing fur and I saw one cat wrapped around the base of a toilet at one point in the afternoon.  And who wants to cook in this kind of weather, much less garden?

I suppose if we’d been eased into it instead of thrown in the boiling pot we’d have been less upset by how hot it was.  Go ahead and laugh:  we’re complete hot-weather wimps!

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25 responses to “On being heat wimps

  1. It’s too early for this heat.

    I just installed my upstairs window air conditioner to hopefully keep the bedrooms cool for later this afternoon. I’m switching over to my summer tropical lifestyle: Work in the morning from 6am to noon, lunch, siesta, then up from 5pm to 1am. This only works about 3 days per week, but it’s great!

    Last year, I lost most of my squash and melons and 2 rosebushes to mildew due to the cool and damp summer. If the summer keeps on like this, I may finally have a bumper crop of large tomatoes. My dog Simba has dug himself a hole under the wild grapevine, which has yet to fully leaf out. He’s 1/2 chow but I normally don’t shave him until mid-June for the summer.

    This is Michigan. We could have a hail/thunderstorm and drop back into the 60’s for a couple of weeks….

  2. You are not alone! Days over 75*F are too hot in my book! And to think I was considering a job in MD – what was I thinking! Even here in the central Adirondacks summer heat and humidity have become the norm. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  3. It ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity…. Well, yeah, it’s the heat, too. We have plenty of both here in Saint Paul today. Headed for 90+ and a new record!

    This weather always makes me think of my year in Chengdu, Sichuan. Wish there was a nice little noodle shop up the alley here to serve me a cheap, spicy supper.

    Thinking cool thoughts for all of us heat wimps~ Brett

  4. I do think the fast change makes it harder to adjust. My dog (young, energetic cattle dog mix) pooped out on his walk halfway around the park and had to go stand in the lake for a while–which thankfully helps with the dog hair blowout.

    I just keep reminding myself how the high was 40-something a couple of weeks ago, and how much better this is, really. And the tomatoes/peppers are so happy!

    Also, it makes me take breaks from gardening/outdoor work, which I sometimes forget to do this time of year.

  5. It was over 80 in Chicago yesterday! It’s not even June…. and this is CHICAGO! We ended up at the home improvement store buying a second air conditioner because it’s going to be a long summer!

  6. uh yeah. i am supposed to be out planting but after 10am the shade is gone, so i quit. i will resume probably around 6-7pm when the garden is shaded again.

    it’s brutal out there.

  7. Whiners! ;o) You should be glad you don’t live down here in good ole South Alabama!

  8. i’m with you. 86 in michigan is no joke…the humidity kills me!

    i’m supposed to plant tomatoes in this weather…

  9. I can SO sympathize! I can’t stand this heat! I needed to put some mulch in my newly planted veggie garden yesterday, but just couldn’t stand the strong sun, so I’m putting that task off. I’m sure I’ll regret it when I see the weeds start to grow, but I’m just such a wimp when it comes to hot weather!

    Last summer was definitely awesome. A few more warmer days would have been nice, but I did love only needed the A/C two or three days out of the entire summer.

  10. Out here in Oregon, we’re having the coldest May in sixty-one years. I am sitting in my sweats, under which I’m wearing a flannel shirt, and we have the furnace set to sixty-eight. Today’s high is supposed to be sixty-one, and it’s currently only fifty-four. I have all my tender stuff, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and melons under wraps because it’s hailed five times in the last couple of weeks (hailed yesterday, even) and because it gets in the forties at night.

    Your comment about the boiling pot of water reminds me of the analogy that climatologists like to use to illustrate why we need to pay attention and do something about global warming, even though we don’t necessarily feel anything, and that is the idea that if you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly bring it to a boil, he’ll stay in there and die. If you throw him in a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re all sitting in a pot of water that is slowly coming to a boil….

    The thing that scares me about this cold May is that last year we had a very late and cool spring, followed by a summer that sported several days over 100 degrees and several nights in the eighties. I am so worried that’ll happen again this year.

  11. Hate, hate, hate hot weather.
    That said, it isn’t so bad once the first week is over.

  12. Well, I’d call you a wimp, but I know what heat + humidity feels like after spending a couple of summers in upstate New York decades ago. However, Arizonans get mighty tired of hearing, “But it’s a dry heat!” when we complain about actually hitting 106 degrees. It’s still hot!

    The thing that really stunned me in NY was that the rain did not cool off the air, I guess because it was already so humid. Here, we look forward to the summer rains. The mornings are hot (and somewhat sticky) but once the rain starts in the afternoon, the temperature can drop as much as 20 degrees.

    Hope you get some cool breezes soon.

  13. dooooooood, i so feel you. up here in zone 3 we went from early spring to late summer overnight! blagh….reminds me of when i lived in the iowa part of the mississippi valley. except here, hubbie won’t turn on the a/c until it’s june, on principle. do you use a/c?

  14. i feel ya sister! even here in the green mountains old gals are sweatin’ and crabbin’…all i ask for is that next week it won’t be 50 degrees cooler. sheesh!

  15. It was 80-something here today, and tomorrow I have to go to the city and clean a third floor apartment. It’s going to flirt with 90. Suck. We’ve switched to rosé, and the oven may grow cobwebs before I use it again. Your photo has me hoping for a blight-free summer, in which case all those nightshades will be the reward.

    This all just proves that Al Gore is fat.

  16. Love your (new?) masterhead.
    I love hot weather, too.
    I remember being comfortable only when it was in the 90s in the Keeler area and knowing that tomorrow would be the same. Being uncomfortably hot, sweat sheeting down, was a small price to pay for that schmoozing goodness that came out of being able to take hot weather for granted.
    Here, it is nice enough to open the door in the morning and go outside and sit down with the paper. Next week will be in the 50s. Enjoy it while you can.

  17. It is a freaky year…I went out to water this evening, since we’re supposed to get the big heat tomorrow, and what did I see peeking out from under the strawberry plants but a ripe strawberry. And it wasn’t alone – it had compartiots! Since when do strawberries ripen in May in Massachusetts??!? Really makes me wonder what we’re in for this fall…

  18. Just happened across your blog i know not how… but i love your picture with your daughter and goats…. just beautiful!
    I also hear Paula’s fears loud and clear. All of this Gulf oil thing makes me want to change my life even faster… oh my, we are so entrenched.

    Just so you know Paula we had a lot of chilly stuff here in Michigan too. I keep the thermostat @ 54 tho, wear long johns and sweaters. I was greatful for the heat, as I have an 1860 house, and it stays cold inside even when its warm out…. (wish i could say it worked this way in winter w/not letting the heat OUT)

    My neighbor here, a block away has a lovely victorian home, with goats and chickens in his backyard “micro-urban farm”,
    smells wonderful! and is an inspiration. You too. You go girl!
    thanks for the beautiful blog.

  19. Personally I’ve grown to love the heat since I started gardening a few years ago. I’m in Southeast TN and the temps today are 77/62. It was near 88 yesterday and will be back in the mid to high 80’s the rest of the week.

    The way to live is to get up at sunrise, get some work done until about 1 (it doesn’t really get that hot until 3-6), take a long lunch and chill, and then finish up whatever is left from 7:30 to dark. Now that the heat is here you can almost see things grow in front of you. How can a gardener not love that?

    We have very wet dews each night too so that helps with the moisture.

    Bring it on I say…

  20. Ok, sorry I called you whiners. The problem down here isn’t the high temps during the day so much, although they ARE hot, it’s the nighttime lows and dew points that never get below 70°. I got up this morning at 6:30 and it was already 78°. Combine that with 90° days and it just stays hot and humid here. One can’t even go outside without breaking an instant sweat.

    Who needs sweat lodges!

  21. I love reading “heat posts” from other parts of the country. We’ve been keeping the doors open most of the day because of an unseasonably cool weather streak we’ve been having in Phoenix where the highs are only around 90. Soon the lows will be in the 90’s. When we finally turn the air conditioning on in June, we keep it at an arctic 84. 😉 We don’t have humidity yet, but we will come July and August when the highs are around 115.

    This is why I’m soooo thankful for my global sun oven. Now I can cook everyday, even make bread without worrying about heating up the house. Before I had that I plugged in a breadmaker and a crockpot on the porch and just cooked everything outside with those. I still do a little canning in the summer which is definitely miserable.

  22. Hey Rachel, I’m in Tucson. Well, north of Tucson now. I’ve got several solar ovens, too, and can put the rice cooker and crockpot out on the front porch.

    We figured out a way to do the canning outside, too! Sportsmans Warehouse is blowing out some propane camping stoves that would be perfect for canning outside. It’s a two-burner on a sturdy stand with plenty of space for big canning pots. With a metal table set up next to it, it should work fine.

    You can email me if you want specifics. Just click on my name to go to my blog and then click on “ask me” in the sidebar for my contact info.

  23. I love it! However, we’re forecasted for 20* lower next week–that means the 60’s! At least nobody can complain that we didn’t get a spring this year, although the summer did come early for a few stretches in the middle of it!

  24. Kelly in Texas

    Well, this lifelong Texan has finally had all the heat she can take….moving to Oregon in the fall! My strawberries are over, all the greens pulled out and composted, and I picked my first ripe tomato yesterday. It’s already in the nineties every day here, seventies at night, with hotter to come, and will not cool off again for at least five months. The flannels and rain sound wonderful to me….I can’t wait!

  25. JoAnna! Enviable schedule, entirely sensible. I thought it was crazy when I lived in Italy that every single place closed for siesta, even drugstores, from 12:30 until about 3:30, but now I understand. Can you get up from a nap though? Perhaps I am just weird but I am simply in a fog if I take a nap. That said, being able to stay up late in the cool of the evening sounds entirely enjoyable.

    Ellen, I suppose you’d have gotten used to the MD heat, but I do know what you mean. I grew up not far from here and I remember only a few days that ever got into the 90s, never the triple digits; I suppose it’s all what you know, you know? But indeed what a bummer if it stays warm/humid.

    Brett in all honesty I do not miss those ridiculously hot days in MN, staying over 100. But your noodle shop sounds fabulous…makes me realize that the only true reason to drink ice-cold beer is if it’s sweltering AND you’ve got a spicy dish of something in front of you. Doesn’t work so well in Feb.

    Sara, I think we have the same dog, though I will warn you that “energetic”doesn’t stop with “young,” as Penny is 6.5 and full of beans. And indeed that’s what lakes are for, for dog fluff blowout. I find it interesting that our dog will entirely lie completely down in a cold body of water, even if it’s a stinky puddle. Our shepherd had far too much class to do that. But indeed, the heat-loving plants are more in tune with this weather; we’re projected highs in the 60s next week so perhaps it was an illusion.

    Ah Lisa I lived in Chgo when there were a few rolling blackouts one summer. HOT I tell you, hot. I had a place to go during the day but I felt sorry for my poor cat, stuck in that hot a/c-less apartment.

    Selina just think of the plants! I looked at my favas and realized they got sun scald this week. Eeps. Now that is hot stuff. They’ll recover, as will we, but yeah I know what you mean especially when you think “I need to garden right now” and the sun holds you back.

    Jules, you can keep it!! Especially that dewpoint thing, my goodness. No thanks. We’re on Day 3 of it now and I am doing a lot better but it’s so NOT fun when it starts.

    Serina at least there’s a breeze. Being this close to the lake there’s always a puff or two, so I am most grateful. But heck yeah, those tomatoes need to get in the ground!! (whimper) Maybe a damp towel around your neck…

    Paula indeed I was thinking of that frog analogy when I wrote it up. And I’d be plenty freaked out by the 5 incidences of hail: not good. However I would take your flannels over this any day, really. And from everything that I read it’s really about the fact that nighttime lows aren’t that low that we really should be worried about; it’s about recharging the system, really, as if it gets hot it’s harder to cool overall. Here’s wishing you a bit more normalcy.

    Pamela you’re probably just plenty used to it. Us, not so much, wimps that we are. But yeah I am not so whiny today.

    Chile, hah! I touched down in Phoenix once and we were forced to walk off the plane down one of those pull-up stairways and it was 109 at 8:30 at night. Yipes. My buddy picked me up in his neighbor’s 1968 Dodge (without air conditioning of course) with a 6 pack of wine coolers–it was the 80s after all–and *I* was shocked that, even driving at 60 mph my arm was NOT cooled off when I stuck it out of the window. So strange, that heat. But you’re right you can definitely get used to it if it’s not so darned damp. And I hope you do email Rachel as you’ve both got the same vibe going on!

    Mama Bean, yikes I know Iowa heat, no thanks! But you’re right; we’re a/c free here. My hub has a small unit that he plugs in in his office because his equipment is a bit heat-sensitive but that’s it. What helps is we have a whole-house fan that we flip on at night if it’s really miserable.

    Randi, ok maybe not 50 degrees cooler but I will take 50 degrees, wouldn’t you?

    Peter, here’s wishing you a blight-free year. We had it here too but it missed my greenhouse-grown stuff. And I had a Frenchwoman tell me we were more or less idiots for shunning rose but I tried to tell her that most of the wines were California dreck, pure dreck, pure housewives-in-the-1980s-undrinkable. She didn’t believe me. And: Mr Gore should live w/o a/c; helps shed the pounds.

    Sharon, but it’s prettier in VT than Keeler: you’ve got those lovely green mtns to admire. Yeah, we’re “cooler by the lake” and I will gladly accept that: I had to do a garden seminar last year near Kalamazoo and I thought I was gonna die, wuss that I am.

    mkingmsw, aw shucks thanks! Yeah I love old houses too, even though I am in the bidness of building new ones. I hear you about being entrenched. I think we all fear change too much but really what are we afraid of changing? My first reaction on hearing about the oil gusher was “they are so screwed” when in reality we’re all screwed, really we are.

    Patrick, that’s what I call working with what you have! Both you and JoAnna have it figured out. But you are quite right it is so enjoyable to see things sprout up right in front of your eyes, isn’t it? Yay. And at least you figured out how to love that Chattanooga heat by figuring out how to garden.

    Rachel, sun ovens in your little corner of the world are so sensible. Masonry ovens work that way in mine, especially when I have so much scrub wood to burn; sun ovens not so much. I do adore tile floors and thick walls and the courtyards found in desert houses around the globe: makes sense, those cooling surfaces, those chances for shade. But look into Chile’s suggestions to continue your canning adventures; she’s an expert in the low-energy field. And our house had canning equipment set up in the back porch AND the basement; doing it outside makes the most sense of all.

    Liz, I know, I am so thankful that chilly weather is coming. And yeah, you and I will remember this “spring,” won’t we?

    Kelly, hah! I love Texas, in bluebonnet March! You can keep the rest of the year 🙂 but seriously congratulations on your big shift. Oregon will definitely be a change of pace for you. But you might have to learn to like how you look in flannels.

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