Sunday, July 26, 2015

Is it hot enough for you?

Let me say right up front that I did complain about the cold last winter, BUT I never said that I would never complain about summer again. At this stage of my life, I have learned that lesson all too well. You might say that it was burned into my memory.

Summer started off this year with some promise in early June, cooler temperatures and a lot of rain. But after a couple of weeks of that, Mother Nature changed her mind and brought on hundred degree temperatures and bright, sunny, dry days. I saw last week where the State Drought Response team reported that every county in South Carolina was in either an incipient or moderate drought, again. It seems like that happens every year these days, but it wasn’t always true. I remember a couple of years in the early 90s where the summers were so wet that the timber farmers could not harvest their forests.

This past week we had some showers early and then the weather turned a little more seasonable, temperatures in the low to mid 90’s instead of 100 plus. I could even walk out to the street to get the morning paper without coming back into the house all dewy. I don’t think we have much of a chance of that continuing all the way to mid October when it turns cooler for real, right around the time for the State Fair.

I know that it is the norm for folks of a certain age to complain/brag about how hard they had it back in the day. You know what I mean; walking to school in 5 feet of snow and then walking back home across the desert singing “Cool Water.” But it seems to me that summers of my youth were not as hot and dry as these days. I must admit that the change in geography between Florida and South Carolina could have some impact on that. Maybe selective memory has a role, but I don’t remember more than one or two 100 degree days in the 18 years that I grew up in Jacksonville. I somehow survived my entire childhood without air conditioning in my home or school. I remember the sound of electric fans and water sprinklers echoing throughout the hallways of my memories. If it was really too hot to be outside I would sometimes amuse myself by talking directly into the fanblades of the nearest table fan to hear my “robot voice.” The side effect of this was that I was cool; well, at least my face was cool.

As I was sitting here writing this, I just remembered that last summer I mowed the yard only 4 times. A normal summer would find me mowing every 2 weeks for a total of 10 to 15 times during the growing season. I learned in a painful way a couple of summers ago that mowing during a drought can be harmful to your lawn; mine is still recovering from that lesson. You want to time your mowing to occur just before, not after a rain. That way you will not be removing all those moisture laden blades of grass, making the struggle harder for the lawn that remains.

Let me do a quick check here; there are about 14 weeks until cooler weather arrives. Until then, life outdoors will be pretty much restricted to walks to and from the car, the office and the studio. If we get lucky and it rains, there will be a couple more times when the yard will have to be mowed. So now I sit here in my air-conditioned studio wondering if I need to water the crepe myrtle trees out in the back yard or wait and see if we get any rain this week. Wait, I know what to do; get out there and water those trees, then we will be guaranteed a lot of rain this week. Come to think of it, I can seal the deal by washing the dust off the cars too. Oh MY!

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