First Heat Wave of the Summer

Reader Contribution by Keba M Hitzeman
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Partly sunny, hazy, hot, no breeze – welcome to summer!

Summer has arrived in southwest Ohio in a big way. Looking back at the weather data for June, I saw 14 total days of temperatures above 85 degrees F. Anymore, I try not to make too many predictions about what the weather will be like, because when the “official” forecast changes four or more times in 12 hours, I may as well just stick my head out the door for better accuracy!

As I write this, we are on our ninth day of the real temperature being above 85, with the forecast showing at least six more days of this. When you add in the humidity and full sun, it feels pretty brutal out there, especially for this fair-skinned redhead. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a vacation from outside work! But I’ve had heat rash and a mild case of heat exhaustion before, and I’ve discovered over the last few years that sun + heat + humidity = great difficulty breathing. That was scary the first few times it happened, but I now plan accordingly when those three things converge.

So what’s happening on the farm right now?

Morning and evening chores still need done – feed the dogs, let the chickens out/shut the chickens in their coop, feed the barn cats (along with a freeloading raccoon who also likes cat food…), check all the water troughs and mineral buckets, and top them off as needed, collect eggs (although the hens don’t lay much when it’s this hot). I’m brushing all the dogs at least once a day to get their remaining winter undercoat off. I make rounds every 3 hours or so to make sure none of the beasties are showing signs of overheating (all of them have been sensible enough to find a shady place to park themselves during the days, then they roust themselves to eat when evening comes).

Egg basket of fur brushed in one session, from one side of my Livestock Guardian Dog, Farley.

As the heat/humidity dictate, I will work for a while on an outdoor project in the morning or evening. Path mowing, fence work, gardening, anything that is considered “mission-critical.” And when the “real feel” is over 100 degrees F, that list is very short!

This tumbler is working hard. Stay hydrated!

The rest of the time, I spend inside — cleaning, sorting, repairing, and tackling new projects. And hydrating. Lots of water to counteract being outside! It’s also a great time to focus on the fiber business. I have fleeces to prepare for my next Wool and Fiber Arts LIVE sale on Facebook at the end of July, roving to spin into yarn, and skeins of yarn to wash and label for sale. No knitting at the moment (to me, that’s winter work) — it’s all about getting the wool from fleece to yarn.

Yarns that I have hand spun over the last 3 months. The smallest skein is 80 yards.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac  we’re in the Dog Days of summer from July 3 to August 11, a period of hot and humid weather here in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, that has certainly been the case. I haven’t looked at the almanac predictions for the rest of this summer – sometimes they are right, sometimes they’re wrong, and sometimes they’re somewhere in between right and wrong. Better for me to focus on the things that need taken care of today.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Any changes to your routine to accommodate the weather?

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