Sunday, June 26, 2022

Not everyone is a fan of summer

 If it was not necessary for growing food, I would gladly consider plots to eliminate summer. I am not a fan. Hot weather and the super long days have vexed me all of my adult life. Thinking back, it is hard to believe that I voluntarily went outside in temperatures up to 114 degrees F while visiting kin in the sand hills of Nebraska as a teen. And no, boys were not the lure. My aunt's house had air conditioning, and even then I did not like it. I still do not like it -- and have never used it in any home of my own, despite being plagued by the heat of summer. In fact, I have had at least one case of heat exhaustion in the last three states where I have lived (TX, NC and, yes, even Maine.)

I moved to Maine "for the climate" I say... imagining summer days eventually warming the lakes sufficiently for those who enjoy such pursuits to swim... maybe in August. Wearing flannels to drink my morning coffee, in June -- like earlier this month -- does not feel out of line.

But then the whammy comes. Is it climate change or simply a misapprehension, as when living in the Pacific northwest, I learned that "it's always damp, cloudy and rainy here" was a myth perpetrated by the locals to keep visitor numbers in check?  We are not even close to leaving June behind and our high temperature reached 91 here on the farm yesterday. TFH and I am thankful that I had planned a "do nothing" (but the ritual dump run) day for my body to recover a bit from the aggressive gardening of the previous two days.

I literally did nothing most of the day, and after returning from the dump, did more nothing, but with fewer clothes on, sitting by a window with the breeze and a fan attempting to work their magic. Typically, once the heat hits, it takes my body weeks for the sweating response to kick in. This odd phenomenon does tend to make me uncomfortable and it is also part of the reason I eschew air conditioning. I NEED to sweat; that is the body's natural cooling method and hiding from the heat only prolongs my misery. I suppose I should be glad that, while doing evening chores -- before the sun had dropped below the western tree line -- I had sweat literally running down my face. One day in to the heat... this is unheard of for me.

I am anxiously waiting and watching for the sun to move back south a bit. This year I want to mark how long it takes, past the solstice, for the setting sun to return to the solid bank of trees to the west. When it sets behind their bulk, I can do evening chores earlier and this means supper, which I start after chores, will be earlier in the evening. As it is now, we often do not finish our evening meal until quite late. Where the sun sets at present is directly behind the sheep area, as seen from the house, and that means that chores start with me walking, squinting, directly toward the setting sun to feed the wooly bullies, bring them in from pasture and turn off the electric fence so I can safely access the Nuggets to feed and water their quickly maturing carcasses.

The real issue is not where the sun sets, though, but the gap in the tree line and the scraggly top of the single conifer behind which it currently attempts to hide. Just a few degrees to the left -- south -- the tree line becomes a solid wall of green, effectively making for a much earlier twilight in the barnyard. Eventually we will get there, and even though that does not have any actual effect on the air temperature, it will feel cooler to my mind.

Strange how bodies work, eh?

Now, for the first time this summer, I am heading out to the garden FIRST. Before jumping most of my medical hoops, before critter chores and definitely before breakfast. I need to move the water hose and get the irrigation going again, but first it will be time to check to potato plants for bugs and, with luck, to do some more weeding, in an attempt to complete weeding of the onion rows, and make the last picking of spinach.