Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hunkering

I went out before nine this morning to water the chickens and the garden, and to pick kale and chard, and almost passed out from the heat. After a cold shower, on this the second day of a week-long heat wave, I went into heat survival mode.

I went around the house and closed all windows and doors. I pulled down the shades. I drew the curtains. I closed off the guest rooms. In our bedroom I pulled off the duvet and stashed it away (the very sight of it was making me sweat). I piled some extra pillows on the bed and turned on the big ceiling fan. Then I got my laptop, took off my shoes and climbed in. And this is where I will stay until the universe takes pity on us and sends some cool air our way.

Did I mention that we don't have air conditioning?

Every year my husband proposes that we buy a window unit for the bedroom, and every year I talk him out of it. I worry that if we get an air conditioner I will lose all ability to tolerate heat and become dependent on the thing--I have a vision of myself, pale and wan from a summer spent indoors while the gardens around me wilt and perish. I worry that our increased demand on the power company will be the straw that breaks its back, and then nobody will have air conditioning, or lights, or even water (rural well pumps being powered by electricity).

It seems to me that we should be able to ride out this onslaught just like we ride out a winter blizzard. This kind of weather never lasts long around here. Five days ago people were wearing sweaters. Before we know it, the nights will be cool again, the days more bearable.

In the meantime, we will hunker down. Vermonters are good at hunkering, though usually they hunker around a wood stove. Me, I will hunker under the fan, and become one with the heat.

7 comments :

  1. Could you create a cross breeze with some low windows cracked open and some higher windows on the other side of the house open to let heat out? The box fan blowing out is how we have made it through in the past (we have central air here but not in past apts and houses).

    It's been 90+ here since Memorial Day with only the briefest respites. And we camped a few weekends back--but there you just embraced the sweat. What about ice behind your ear and on your wrists? In case of last resort, does your car have AC? Is there an errand you need to run? A friend with AC who needs to chat??

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  2. We got two free units when my sister moved from NY (they don't fit her windows). Last year we didn't even install them. Most years we turn them on maybe 10 days a year. I just turned on the one in my office an hour ago, but we have had the one in the bedroom on the last three nights. I hate having it on, but I must admit, I've been sleeping...

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  3. Bridgett, how sweet of you to offer the fruits of your experience--clearly you have been through the furnace, and lived to tell about it.
    Now I understand better those posts of yours about swimming pools....

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  4. Indigo, sleep is crucial. If it ever gets to that point here, we'll be off to Sears right away. At this moment, Ed is in Rutland getting a ceiling fan for my study, bless him.

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  5. You probably know this one...but I find that a cool bath, just a few degrees below body temperature, really cools ones core. The effect lasts a few hours and makes it much easier to cope.

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  6. Elizabeth, and I bet that bath is even better if one sprinkles some herbal tinctures into it!

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