Growing up in the rice paddies of Glenn County, I appreciate the meaning of the phrase, “At least it’s a dry heat…” We lived alongside my grandfather’s rice field, with a natural slough bordering the other side of our property and irrigation ditches running along the road in front of us – the atmosphere was thicker than spit. When it got over 89 the air would almost boil. We’d walk out of a fresh bath and before we could towel off we’d be covered again with sweat. At night we slept uneasily, during the day we walked like zombies, begging Gramma to let us go to the 4 Corners every 5 minutes for a missile pop or a cold Pepsi.
We stayed cool in various ways – including but not limited to standing in front of an open fridge like a stack of zombies until some adult would scream “SHUT THAT DOOR!” We had no air conditioning, but there was a fan placed outside a window on the back porch. We’d stand in front of it, sharing a Pepsi, and then we’d go outside and look for water to get into.
Water was always expensive out there – it either came from a well, pumped up with expensive electricity, or it came by way of the ditch out front – and irrigation rates have always been a lot higher than you pay for household water. We weren’t allowed to play with the hose, my grandpa would even curse at my grandma if he thought she was putting the sprinkler on her hydrangeas too often. Instead we’d fill up plastic tubs and buckets, set around the corners of the house, Gram would hand us each a tin cup, and lock the doors. My older sister was allowed to refill the tubs, but we littler ones weren’t allowed to touch that spigot – my grandfather was known to come out of nowhere and unleash a torrent of language that could only be described as “colorful.”
It was hysterical, the five of us tearing around that house, hucking cupfuls of water at each other. We’d hide in the bushes under the windows, no regard for the spiders dangling next to our heads, waiting for some unwary sibling or cousin to let their guard down for 3 seconds – SPLASH! BAH-HA-HA-HA!
That all came back to me today as I stood on my patio looking at the thermometer. Biscuit got right up and pushed her way past me into the house – it’s nasty outside today! She decided to camp out on the entry floor, Badges followed suit.
Living here you learn there are different kinds of heat. When I was a kid we’d drive up out of the valley to visit our hillbilly relatives. It would be hot there too – but at least it was a dry heat. We convoy with the relatives to various swimming holes around the Sierra – by July the Sac River water is hot and murky, but the streams and creeks would be cold and fresh. At night it would be cool enough to put on a sweater. When we’d drive back to the valley, we’d feel that hot wet air coming up at us like a wet blanket, we’d smell the swampy smell of the rice fields. While there is no place like home, the air around our farm house could be somewhat oppressive.
That’s what I feel today – that wet blanket. 94 degrees and 28 percent humidity – yeccccchhhh!
I have hid out in the house for about an hour now, dabbing around at housework. Arthur decided to make a pitcher of Kool Aid.
It’s so good to stay hydrated, but not caffeinated. I like a little hot coffee on a hot day, just enough to fight the lethargy. Too much caffeine makes me spun and overtired. Same with ice tea. So, Arthur keeps the Kool Aid coming – our favorite flavor, Black Cherry. You can add a batch of lemonade to that, and it’s better than Recharge. And remember, you control the sugar, just don’t use so much.
But, here’s a good tip – for every glass or cup of beverage you drink, drink a glass of water.
Cal Water keeps sending me almost daily propaganda about the drought. Alright already – I got rid of my pool, what more do you want? In Tehama County they are banning the filling of spas! But, I notice, there’s nothing on there about horse troughs, so my husband went to the Tractor Store and bought me a horse trough for $150.
This baby holds 150 gallons – I think the pool held about 600. You realize, one ccf is 750 gallons. Look at your water bill. My “pool” cost less than a dollar to fill.
My husband cut the lid out of a scrap of plywood he’d had around forever, then applied some leftover house trim paint – we do the trim on all our houses in Corlin’s “Riviera”. We considered covering it with black plastic, but found that to be unnecessary.
Holy cow, it was warm enough that we bucketed out a few gallons to wash the dogs. Biscuit likes a warm bath, but I don’t expect her to hop into my tub anytime soon. When it looks skanky, we hook up a hose and move it around to the various plants, so I don’t think we’re using any more water that we would be using anyway. There’s certainly no waste.
When I am outside doing some chore and I feel that stroke coming on, I can just kick off my shoes and sit on the edge with my feet and legs in the cold water – it’s like the Fountain of Youth! When my husband has meat on the bbq, we can sit there and watch from the serene comfort of the tub, which we fill about chest deep. When we are in the house and we feel the urge to tip the ac a degree, we head for the pool. It’s nice just to be able to splash ourselves, or walk over from some chore and stick the top of our head in the water and put our hat back on, feel that cold water running down our necks and shoulders as we glove back up and get behind the lawn mower or the business end of a whacker.
Let me know if you got any imaginative ideas for keeping cool!