Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hot summer days..and nights.

Hello, sunshine.

It absolutely amazes me that my plants can handle being outside when it's like this. The month of June here on the Central Coast has had three weeks with significantly above average temperatures..meaning in the 100-degree range. 110 yesterday, 109 the day before; you get the idea.

And yet, here are my lovely plants in all their greenery. While they are not exactly thriving in the heat, they are definitely surviving. The plants at the winery are doing similarly well. Which is more than I can say for myself. How do they do it?

Growing strong.

For humans, there's a completely different time schedule when days are like this. You must finish your chores by about 9 a.m., when the temperatures hit 90 degrees. You must close all the curtains and blinds in the house to keep out the heat. Running the air conditioning is not optional at this point, it's mandatory. Our house thermostat is generally set at about 78 degrees and the a/c comes on by about 4 pm. (A testimony to what good insulation can do for you). 

And of course, you must content yourself with sitting inside throughout most of the day with a good book, and using the "chore and hide" method of being outside, where you pop out the door for about five minutes to complete some task (which you no doubt forgot to do before 9 am) and then run back inside to the cool house before you begin melting onto the sidewalk.

Big Ag says that the summer heat is something you acclimate to, but he's a native of Arizona so no acclimation necessary on his part. For me, summer is my season of discontent. It's when I check and look at how other places (like Spokane, which we just visited in May) are faring in the high days of summer. I dream of autumn, of sweaters, and most of all, I dream of rain. Lots and lots of rain.

But there are a few advantages to this kind of heat, believe it or not: The outside clothesline dries clothes much faster than a clothes dryer can. It doesn't matter whether you hang it out at 9 am or at 6 pm. It will be dry in about an hour. You also have a built-in excuse for not tackling any large outside task. And the term "summer reading" jumps to a whole new level when it's pretty much all you can do on a burnt-to-a-crisp 110 degree afternoon.

Not amused.

You could also amuse yourself (if that's even the right word) by watching coverage of the state burning up in various wildfires, some close, some farther away. But it's just too heartbreaking to see the toll in terms of human and wildlife loss. So instead I'm watching the first two seasons of "Vicious," a PBS show about two elderly gay men living in Britain. It's absolutely hilarious. Sometimes you have to laugh, or you'll never stop crying.

Our evenings also cool off nicely most of the time. Last night we went to an Industry Night being held downtown and stopped in at our favorite winery, Bodegas, to taste and buy.  Then we took ourselves out to dinner (too hot to cook -- another great excuse in summer). And by the time we got home, we were able to open the windows and let in a little nighttime breeze.

While it's true that I'm still counting the days until autumn, I will accept summer's compensations and enjoy them. They'll be here for at least another four months, so I'd better!

Four-bottle box of Spanish-varietal deliciousness from Bodegas Winery. Yum!


  1. It's Thursday morning, early, and I feel the change in the air. Finally! It's been a long hot month and I'm with you, disliking summer more and more and more. My sister lives in VA and posts little videos of rain showers. I long for that. I lived in AZ for 12 years and had enough of hot summers. But the rest of the year....I'd rather be here than anywhere else. I haven't tried Bodega but it sounds like I should.

    1. We had marine layer this morning, Denise! Hope you did too! Bodegas has very food-friendly wines and their tasting room is right in Downtown Paso, so very convenient if you are already down there for something. Good prices too. Enjoy our cooler day!

  2. Well your garden looks fabulous! I can't imagine constant hear like that. Although I do wonder-is it terribly uncomfortable to be in? I've never experienced extreme, dry heat. I would imagine the greater problem is that it scorches you! We've been lucky again this summer with relatively nice weather. 78?!! I keep mine at 68 haha. But again I wonder how humidity effects that. My main air conditioner was out last week and it is amazing how the house stayed so comfortable until about 5 when it shot up to 79-80. Share your notes on the wine when you try it!

  3. You have experienced this kind of heat every time you've opened up the oven to fiddle with something, baste something, etc. and had to stand in that dry blast of heat (usually after the initial exit of whatever steam was in there) for a minute or two. That's what 110 feels like -- the oven! I will post on the wines, they are really interesting and very different from each other. And I wish I could come over and sit in your 68 degree house and drink that wine! If we kept our thermostat that low, our electricity bill would be at least $500 a month, even without a pool or being more than one story. Sometimes it would almost be worth it though!