Friday, 23 January 2015

Summer heat

When I was a young girl my mother used to say, "Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies merely shine!"  Her mother used to say it to her and now I say it to my children. Possibly the saying began as a little reminder of etiquette. Who knows.  Now it continues for fun.

I've done lots of shining recently.  I'm sick of shining from droplets rolling down my face and back as I work with the goats and garden!

I find the heat and dryness of summer unbearable and have whinged about it before.  Our house becomes ridiculously hot on bad days.  We have an air conditioner (which doesn't run well) but I'm very reluctant to use a method of cooling that relies so heavily on fossil fuels.  If more and more hot days are to become the norm then we need to find other ways to adapt to our changing climate.

Last year I toughed it out and tried my best to stay cool at home by all sorts of different methods.  This year the local swimming pool is our new method of adaptation.  It's working fairly well.  Basically I've decided to stop resenting and fighting the heat.  I whizz through my basic jobs of caring for the animals and garden, hang out some washing and am ready to leave the house when the pool opens.  Sometimes we meet with friends, sometimes we go on our own.  The kids are loving it and I have so much fun with them while I'm there.  I'm trying to accept that any jobs around the house and yard will have to wait until the cooler days.
It's working well for a relaxed and happier summer except for the fact that it doesn't fix the night time issues; kids that can't sleep because of the heat, parents that can't sleep because of the heat.  I'm not sure if you handle tiredness and heat with grace but I'm revolting and grumpy on some days.  I'm also having regular tantrums about the flies in the house.   Ughh!
We plan to work on our home to make it more summer friendly but it will be a long, slow process as time and money allow.  Some very kind friends recently gave us some suggestions which we will use.  Added to the solutions I had in my head already, hopefully in a few years our home will be much more comfortable.  Blinds, shade trees to the west and south west, some ceiling fans and a well placed window are all things we will be working on.
Now, can't chat any longer.  The children are yelling out that it's nearly time to go to the pool.  Please let me know any tips and tricks you have for coping in the heat or making homes summer friendly!


Kathy said...

I too hate the heat and though we are in the depths of winter I can relate as we have no air conditioner in our home. Fans and wet sheets over the windows at night, damp sheets over you at night with a fan blowing on you. I pride myself on not turning on the oven all summer and we sit through the hottest part and open the windows and suck in the air when it cools off. Hope something there helps, I don't shine - I drip so I feel for you!

Kathy said...

Don't worry you are not alone and it's damn hot that's all I can say and yes I too have been dripping with sweat in the house and have complained every day because I can't seem to cool down. One trick is a wet washer rolled up and placed around the back of your neck. It looks silly bit does cool you down but I'm over the heat. This time last year I ran the air con 24/7 for a month as I was so hot and after I got that bill I haven't used it since and it's actually broken now and I don't have the money to fix it so no choice but to be hot. Your idea of early chores followed by the pool is a good one and of course the added bonus of you slowing down and enjoying your days as well. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

Anne@ArtyGreen in Paradise said...

Hi Linda - yes I can empathize with you.I live in Northland, New Zealand and it has been hot with 90% humidity here since before Christmas. I just get out early to do the outside chores, then windows open and blinds closed, potter around inside until it cools again. I find an afternoon siesta is just the thing to help cope with the tiredness from too hot nights. Am working on creating my own effective deodorant now.

Selina Baihn said...

can relate to the hot house too, have an old workers/miners cottage that has been bodged up from diy renovators who knew nothing about renovating! have planted trees on the west side but they are so slow growing & some have died & i keep replacing them, with finally them taking off this year! hopefully will get a car port come patio on the west side too that will also shade the house & should cool it by several degrees too. i don't have an air con, don't like them, just use pedestal fans here, i like the suggestion of wet sheets in front of the windows, similar to how a water air cooler works.
good luck with your cooling
have a great weekend

Anonymous said...

Ceiling fans, flyscreen windows and wet muslins and washers get us through the nights in our oven. Shade all along hte north of the house too. Choko vines are great. Blueberries, hops vines. kiwi fruit are a thicker vine and might work for the west perhaps? You want the north clear as can be through winter and as blocked in summer as you can make it. Both chokoes and hops vines grow fast and provide something edible (well, hops is good to make beer to cool you down or to help you sleep. If not for either of those, because it's a pretty vine and grows up to 20cm each day - true, I've got one and seen it).
Arm your kids too with spray bottles set to a misty spray. Each holds about 500ml water and that is the most water efficient means of cooling I've come across. If you stand in front of or under a fan and spray the drops become really cooling. :) Wet washers rolled up and in the fridge or even freezer for cold treats for faces and necks is great too. Do you remember the bandanas that bandits wore over their faces in westerns movies? One of those wet to almost dripping and around the neck is startlingly cooling too. :)
A solar oven or barbecuing helps to keep heat out of the house too. Bake or cook as much as possible in bulk so that if you must use the oven it is only for 1 day a week and open the house as much as possible through the night and leave fans on all the time. Although they don't cool the air they will keep it moving at least.
Last of all, drink heaps! The more you drink the more you "shine" and "shining" will cool your body with a slight breeze too. I'm a shiner as well. If I shine rivulets it's a 40 degree day. Thankfully we;ve not seen the extreme heat yet this year. Here's hoping there isn't too much of that.

Linda said...

Thank you all for your tips and tricks. I think I've tried them all at some stage! I have to laugh at our weather though. As I respond to your comments (regarding severe heat) I'm sitting in my winter dressing gown with a blanket over my knees!! It's chilly this morning. I'm loving the respite. Let's hope we've seen the worst of summer for this year. :-)

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

In the past I have hung wet sheets across windows so the air is cooled as it come into the house and we hung heavy curtains up on the windows north side of the house. We insulated our roof and added wirly birds to get some of the hot air out of the roof.