Country Living Series

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Preparing for hell

As with the rest of Western America, we've been bracing ourselves for hell. Or at least, temperatures that approach it.

We've watched this coming for the last week. Whatever the west coast is experiencing, we can expect it a few days later.

Unfortunately we've learned the temperatures at our place are a few degrees higher than the nearest weather station. Wheee.

So we've spent the last week making sure we won't die of heat stress.

The most wonderful thing is the people we bought this house from actually left behind – can you believe it? – a window air conditioner. Don tested it and by golly it works. I have no idea why they left it behind, but God bless them for it.

Don built a stand for it.

He also built a frame with a double layer of plastic to fit into the window frame over the unit.

When the afternoon sun comes in through the window, we close the curtain and prop the rolled up curtain over the air conditioner with a roll of duct tape and some dog bones. Hey, redneck solutions.

I always feel guilty using an air conditioner, don't ask me why. However this heat wave is a doozy, and the inside of the house resembles an oven when things get hot.

I decided to keep us well supplied with Utterly Artificial Ice Cream, one of our favorites. (See this post for the recipe.)

Unfortunately our ice cream maker chose this time to give up the ghost...

...so I ended up just using a mixer to mix the ingredients for the ice cream, then freezing it. Turned out pretty well.

I've also been making ice cubes like crazy. Don't want to get caught short.

Most of what the ice cubes go into is sun tea. That's another thing we've been making like crazy – decaf sun tea. We go through about a gallon a day.

All outside chores get done very early. I've been watering the plants and walking Mr. Darcy around 6 am.

Lihn stays cool by taking baths.

After a good soaking, she can spend the next hour or two happily preening the water from her feathers.

Interestingly, in the midst of these preps for a heat wave, we had an unexpected thunderstorm cell pass over us (a few days ago).

We weren't expecting this, but we had no complaints! It dropped the temperature from 97F down to 70F within minutes. It was glorious.

It was also accompanied by huge 30 mph wind gusts that knocked over potted plants and tore branches off the trees.

In fact, one of the weeping willows lost a huge branch, but it's so tangled up in the tree we haven't yet taken it down (and it's been too hot outside to mess with it).

This little storm cell left behind some beautiful evening clouds which bathed the whole landscape in a gorgeous orange light.

Some deer grazing nearby seemed to enjoy the brief respite from the heat.

But that beautiful rainstorm was last week, and this week we're paying the piper in terms of heat. The news has been full of stories of hellish temperatures various places of hit, with some places seeing as high as 118F. In the northwest, no less! 

I know our church's basement is open as a cooling center for those who need it. Here at our new place, yesterday's temp reached 107F outside, and 80F inside. (Without the air conditioner, it would have been, well, 107F inside. Maybe a few degrees cooler.)

As I post this (2 pm), it's currently 106F and slated to go higher. I'll post whatever it tops out.

Update: We topped out at 109F. The thermometer briefly registered 111F, but it backed down from that within a few minutes. This was the hottest day. Things are supposed to get moderately cooler – say, the high 90s – starting later in the week.

Meanwhile, how is everyone doing during this week of hellish temperatures?

27 comments:

  1. We are currently at 110* and expected to hit 115* today. We are to the west of you a bit. You sure did get some gorgeous skies after the storm.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I feel sorry for you folks up there. Here in N Texas we haven't even broken 100 yet. I have no idea why it is so cool but I will take it. A few days ago the record here, several years ago, was 112. VERY glad it is cooler so far this year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We hit 106 in West Michigan a few years back with a heat index around 112. That was bad enough.

    I never feel badly about AC. It is one of the blessings of modern life. We often say out loud, "God bless Mr. Carrier!"

    I hope you all stay safe and well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We are 108 up in the hills around Rathdrum. I watered super early also. We have central air that I rarely use but it has been running all day and our three labs are laying on the floor instead of their pads. I was shocked to see my Army son and his wife are getting rain and 70's in El Paso!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I never feel bad about ac. I do wish people without access had it, too. It has been in the mid 90s here in Alabama. We do nothing outside because of health. Well, very little anyway. It rains and cools things off, only to make it steamy. I hope your food storage stays cool.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are to your north, just shy of the border, at 2200 ft elevation. 111* both yesterday and today. Blessed to have a window a/c unit that my husband put in last night. Watering the trees and gardens after 9pm. I hope this isn't a harbinger of the summer...

    ReplyDelete
  7. In GA we aren't having the torrid heat you are (>100 is pretty rare) but just normal heat and humidity (around 90 with 70-degree dew points). I'm a comparative rarity in that I don't have central air conditioning, just a portable unit rated for 1/3 the size of my house. I run either that or a dehumidifier. Both use about the same amount of electricity, but this time of the year, the dehumidifier vents 100-degree air into the room, so is less desirable.

    I can get it to 80 indoors with the A/C unit. With controlled humidity, that's fine.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mother (I am 73 so that puts it back quite a few years) told me that when she was a child her dad would fill a wooden crate with the shredded wood they used to use for packing and a block of ice. they would set a fan to blow through the box and sleep on the floor in front of it. I imagine the crate was one of those with slats and open cracks on the side.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's not been as bad here in Indiana, but as I get older I notice I can't tolerate the heat and humidity as well as I used to. I'm not sure what I would do if temps got that high here.

    I found a recipe on MarysNest.com for an electrolyte drink mix powder recipe that costs 66 cents to make, at my prices, and makes 48 quarts. I immediately made some for my son, who drives for FedEx and is constantly drinking water. It has no sugar, so I've been encouraging my diabetic husband to drink it too. I was able to easily find the ingredients at my local grocery store.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My power has gone out a lot from storms this year. I don't know how I'd handle additional heat. My tricks are to freeze whole jugs of water in any extra freezer space. They help keep fridge cool with outages plus can drink them. Also frozen ice packs and water bottles are great to sleep with when it's hot and if you wake up cold water is right there. I also freeze teas, juices,and cooked foods to thaw and enjoy cold so I don't have to cook in heat. I hope and pray none of y'all have any outages from the heat.

    ReplyDelete
  11. 103 degrees yesterday here on the Benewah. 73 degrees this morning at 3:45 am. Weeded in the garden and did some watering and back in the house by 7 am. Ba humbug! I loathe the heat.

    ReplyDelete
  12. High of 106 yesterday and expected today. AC went out in May. Repairman has been out and shorted out thermostat (on back order). Using cool clothes to keep us cooler. A dunk in the Clearwater helps.



    ReplyDelete
  13. We are SW of you ,but still in the Palouse area. We hit 116 degrees on Tuesday .Our peas took a hit and they are about done for but we'll get enough for seed for next year and we lost about 10 corn plants. Looking at 107 today , watering everything well and looking forward to a little cooler weather.
    Stay cool all.
    Bluesman

    ReplyDelete
  14. High of 114 in central Oregon yesterday with fires nearby closing the airport and roads with evacuations for a time!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really feel for all who are experiencing these atrocious temps. I'm in Ea. Wa., temps been 20-30 deg above normal. I'm @2500ft so get a bit of a break, 106 @ my place, 5-10 deg hotter in town. I'm on Solar only as grid is unaffordable, so air conditioning is out, well has been dry for going on 2 years. Although kept closed up inside temps keep creeping up by the day. All projects on hold till temps moderate. This is not fun!
    And all I can think of is, OK God, just what is the lesson you are trying to teach me here? Only answer I seem to hear is; you done made some bad decisions there son.
    However, we'll all get through this, as we'll get through the present pole-itical situation, cause the point is; Never give up, and we'll have our country back - But It's Gonna Take Some serious effort and a lot of work.
    And the weather will be weather as it's always been, and the world will turn as it's always turned - until it doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Immm meeeeelllltttttinnnngggggggggg......

    The weather got up to 114 Im told. I told it to keep moving, even knowing it would mover your way. See how nice and unselfish I is? lol

    Want the teaser? I heard something in the store yesterday that I knew if I told my daughter she would say we're going. And she did. I was informed Sea Side OR hit a hellish 68 degrees yesterday. By the time daughter checked to verify, it was down to 59. We wouldn't mind going at this point lol

    Stay cool, and don't feel guilty over using AC. Think it was a God thing that it was there for you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. We just came off of 106* temps down here in the Desert Southwest. We're getting "monsoonal flow" humidity now from Mexico, which means hot AND sticky. This is the usual stuff for us down here though, and the houses are built for it. Of course, when you have a "governor" who thinks "rolling blackouts" are a solution, you need to keep a generator at the ready. So far, no 3rd World "power management though. We keep a couple of those "roll-around" A/C units in the barn, so if we do have to go to the genny, it won't need to run the central A/C. We just roll one or more of those into the house to cool the areas we're using. Those things work really well, by the way. Our central A/C went down during a 3-day 110*+ spell. A single roll-around kept the majority of the house at 80*; 30* below ambient temp. Not bad at all!

    God is testing our skills; teaching us, folks. Listen up!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Here in MI, it's been weirdly warm, then weirdly cold, then warm again, and then we got so much rain there are people JETSKIING on the HWY. Just bizarre. When it gets over85 in the house, I turn on the AC. And I feel mildly guilty about it, but my husband is working from home and needs the temp to be somewhat reasonable. This week it will be in the upper 80s/low90s, and I'll be processing 39 chickens, 15 ducks, and 15 rabbits. Not really looking forward to it.
    Stay cool!
    XaLynn

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm in the metro Vancouver BC area.. Outside temperature Sunday was 99 and was hotter on Monday but I never saw the figure. No typical offshore breezes at night to cool things off.

    Temps in the BC interior were 116 and hotter then Phoenix on Sunday. And 118 and hotter then LasVegas has ever been on Monday.

    The news at noon today said 98 people within the Vancouver city limits had died between Friday and Monday due to heat stroke. They have not reported the count for the metro area.

    I have a portable AC unit that has kept the temps inside tolerable. Today is cooler and 'only' 81 in the shade. But now we also have smoke blowing in from the new wildfires.

    I am concerned about my food storage however.
    Stay safe,
    SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

    ReplyDelete
  20. I live in the steamy hot humid South where we have frequent power outages. I live in an old house with no central air or heat. I have 3 window units. Before a/c generally speaking, houses were built on stilts to let air flow underneath the house. Southern Bells carried lovely home made hand-fans!! Later, attic fans were common, and every room had a ceiling fans. My house has ceiling fans. But the power goes out...food spoils VERY RAPIDLY!! Frozen water jugs help. I have 2 battery powered personal fans, to keep some air moving around me. We all have squirt bottles with a mini fan for relief, and any cool water to be found anywhere can be creatively put to use...I care for an 88 yr old friend, I bring her a dish pan full of cool water for her to soak her bare feet in! Miles of smiles!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This Florida girl is trying to wrap my brain around feeling guilty about using AC!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sunday we preached a morning service in Bandon OR (on the coast) where the temperature was 63* when we left and drove to Brooks OR (just north of Salem on I-5), to preach the evening service where it was 110* when we arrived. Very interesting day, weather-wise! The driving distance was almost 4 hours, and we saw many broken down vehicles on the side of the road and several wrecks. Lots of traffic heading to the coast!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Today the temp here in south east Arizona is a chilly 90 , down 22 degrees from last week .We have a swamp cooler that works well until it goes over 100 . We have had cloud cover for the last few days but the rain from the monsoons has yet to materialize .

    ReplyDelete
  24. The last 3 days wind/solar in combination have rarely produced more that 10% of the power from Southern Manitoba to the Texas border on two ISOs of the power grid. Coal has been running 40 to 55%, Natural gas 25 40%, nuke 4-15%. Two days ago total wind and solar was 2300 out of 137,000 MW. I have saved documentation of this.

    No matter what the Administration wants you to think, without hydrocarbons we would have no AC...or refrigeration, lights, fresh water or anything else that is a modern convenience requiring power. (Exceptions for you off grid folks - your 'friends and relatives' will be cravwling out of the woodwork!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Isn't ridiculous that temps in the 90's are suddenly welcome??? We're in the higher 80's this week which feels so much better than upper 90's last week. I'm fortunate to have central a/c which I keep set at 79ยบ and this week is only running off and on (mostly off) during mid afternoon and early evening. Blessed with well insulated home and shade trees.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think the Northwest has a lot of folks growing seed for seed companies. I hope those folks are able to manage the heat in protecting their special crops that enable untold numbers of people to grow their own food. And seed for companies to grow plants for so many people who garden using packs they buy at stores. My heart also goes out to livestock and wildlife and plant life too. What y'all are going through is unimaginable. I'm praying more and more for all of you. Would love for y'all to take at least half of our seemingly neverending rains. They have beat up my gardening efforts. Greenhouses are turning into a necessity. Be safe.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Would love to send you some rain from NJ. Our hot weather (we just had a few days of it and will get more soon) is very sticky and humid. I get by without air conditioning with ceiling fans, tower fans, cold showers, strategically adjusting drapes, etc. But as the climate worsens I may have to get air conditioning eventually.

    ReplyDelete