Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Roasty Toasty...

Yep, all those folks that were complaining a few months back about wanting it to hurry up and get summertime... I hope you're happy now! 

With triple digit heat, and the index suspected of getting over 110° today, everyone is grumbling and looking for a cool spot out of the blistering rays... muttering phrases like "I'll sure be glad when winter gets here".  There's no pleasing us, I reckon.

But despite the warmth, there are still things to be done outside; chores that won't wait until the temperature decides to take a dip.  The garden still needs tending to... and if you're like us, it needs daily watering because the rainfall we were getting earlier in the year seems to have vanished as mysteriously as the lightning bugs.  There are all those outside things that need doing before the calendar pages flip by and we find ourselves in the grip of Old Man Winter again.

So how DO we stay cool during these scorching days other than hibernate inside if we're lucky enough to have air conditioning?  Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and as the mercury goes up on the John Deere thermometers... folks get more and more creative. 

Since living country requires us to head outside, we find ways of cooling down inside and out... and those ways can be downright... well, cool!  Here's a few of the ways we use to battle the heat during the heart of summer...

Keep a pitcher of cold iced tea or lemonade made up.  I use fresh mint leaves for making mint tea as well.

Watermelon kept chilled to perfection for a cool treat in the afternoons.  The leftover juice I even add to my mason jar of tea for sipping.

Wetting a towel, rag or old sock to drape over heads, shoulders or around necks when working outside.

Drinking plenty of cool water... even from the hose if necessary just to stay hydrated.

Is there much that can beat a batch of homemade ice cream?  Especially if it's made up from ripe in season peaches?

Fixing up meals that can be eaten cold... and even better, meals that don't require cooking and heating up the house.

If you don't HAVE to be in the sun, locate a shady spot to work from outside.  No need baking if you don't have to. 

Squirt yourself with the hose if you need some extra moisture and try to find a  good breeze. 

Even outdoors, if you have to set up a fan where you're working, air movement is good.

There are many many more ways to take a break from the roasty toasty dog days of summer.  And if you have suggestions, you're welcome to comment and share them with us. 

Meanwhile, I think I'll take advantage of my favorite way of beating the heat... I'm heading to the swimming hole!  Until next time... live country!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summertime... Summertime...

It has been quite a while since we've last visited.  The snow has long passed and the sweltering heat of summer makes us forget that we once prayed for warmer weather to return.  Now, after days of upper 90s and even one day touching 100 degrees, the thought of cooler weather is often dwelt upon.  There truly is no way in making us happy.

However, I am smiling widely as I write this.  After weeks of dragging the water hose around to provide a drink to all the grateful plants in the yard and garden, I won't have to do this today as the heavens open and give us the much needed rain.  The temperature of 68 degrees is also a welcome relief and we won't complain about it at all!

Remember all those dreams of gardening and the poring over catalogs that was occurring while I was in the grip of winter?  I am happy to report that I now have at least a start on my dream of one day having a yard that is completely filled with flowers, herbs, trees and vegetables. 

A raised rock bed was the first project, and once finished was filled with dill, rosemary, mint, sage, thyme and onions.  Partially shaded by a towering oak, it perks along merrily and provides wonderful flavors to our simple menus.

For now, until I can get more raised beds built, my garden is a conglomeration of beds, tubs, buckets and tires... all filled with vegetables and flowers to please both the palate and sight.  Each day I take great pleasure in tending to them, though I must say it takes little effort as there is no weeding to do. 

The insects are controlled by  the ducks that took over one of the tires as a nest; scooting out the cauliflower plants in the process.  But I can sacrifice a few cauliflower in exchange for the ladies that pluck beetles and crickets from the leaves each day, as well as give us fresh eggs.  Not a bad trade-off.

I promise it will not be so long before the next post... that time will not get away from me as it has.  I enjoy sitting with you a spell and hope to do it again soon.  Happy living country!