Thursday, June 22, 2017

Heat Wave

It's hot.  We're on day number five of a seven-day heat wave that covers a very wide region.  The daytime temperatures are ranging from 103 to 108 and every outdoor living thing is suffering (things like rocks are doing just fine).  Our air conditioner broke on the first day, so we humans had some discomfort in the house. However,  good wall and ceiling insulation, fans whirring away in each room, and keeping the doors closed as much as possible kept the house reasonably comfortable (the repairman came yesterday and now we have wonderful, cool air circulating in the house).  Outside it's a different story -- bringing relief to all of my hot, dry, thirsty children there is a challenge.

In back of the house, the potted lilies are just coming into bloom.  I planted them last autumn and after all those months of care, I'm not ready to give up on them.  Last weekend, Bruce and I strung the tubing for a mister system from the trees and now the lilies are wafted by cool droplets during the heat of the day.  They still look a bit fried, but they're hanging in there.  The Tupelo trees that hold the tubing also glitter with the mist and are thrilled to
be a part of this miniature rain forest.

Water is such a problem here -- or, should I say, lack of water.  Even after a winter of heavy rains, the well recharges slowly and when I run the hose in the garden I always carefully keep my eye on the water level in the tank.  When the level dips too low, I have to turn everything off and wait until the tank fills again.  This makes outside watering a very time-consuming process.  I'll leave the hose running gently on a tree or shrub and come back in the house for twenty minutes or so.  Then I'll go back out, check the level of the tank, and if the level's high enough, move the hose to the next plant, go back inside and do something for the next twenty minutes.  If the tank was getting low, I'll have to turn off the hose and wait for awhile before running it again.  And that's how I water during a heat wave.

Frogpond is an oasis for wildlife, especially after a winter of substantial rain.  Deer regularly come to the pond to wade and drink, and this morning I surprised a large, big-eared jack rabbit down on the banks by the willows.  The wild birds shelter beneath the branches of the shrubs I've watered and many spend time under the misters.  They also splash and bathe in the livestock water troughs (I float a few sticks in them to give them something to stand on).  Toads, frogs, lizards and (alas) even mice and gophers come in close to our home.  Haven't seen any snakes yet this summer, but I'm sure they're around too.

This extremely optimistic sunflower is the only one that we have, as none of the ones I planted in the garden came up.  It came up on its own on the edge of the gravel drive in front of the horse pen.  No doubt it was planted by a bird.  When I eventually noticed the tiny plant, I admired its determination and decided to help it along.  So it got a ring of rocks, a bit of mulch and the occasional watering.  It's now in full flower and every afternoon in this heat I place a garbage can behind it so it's shaded during the hottest part of the day.  It's only about two feet tall, but healthy and thriving.

We also put up misters in the chicken coop and early this morning I strung some up from the beams of the horse pen for Bucky and Cornelius.

The hens have had mist before, so they're used to hanging out underneath it.  Corny and Bucky aren't so sure of that wet stuff coming down, but that didn't keep them from their breakfast.

The dogs spend most of the day inside, but the adult cats like to sleep in shade outside.  The kittens, of course, have to stay inside, but they insist on sleeping in spots of sun.

TimTom and Hecuba -- blissfully oblivious to weather

So that's what it's been like here for the past five days and for the next two.  Next week is supposed to be cooler, with temperatures in the mid-nineties. We're looking forward to that.

1 comment:

  1. You take such good care of all your critters! My lilies are blooming now, too, against the east side of the house where they have afternoon shade. Funny thing - we have a lone sunflower, too, growing in a rocked area.

    It must be very hard to have to meter your watering to wait for more to come and fill the tank. Gardening and critters are work for sure.