Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

Heat Wave

Temperatures were in the upper 90’s here yesterday and will reach 104˚F (40˚C) today. So grateful for the air conditioner in the car, which I seldom use. I usually just roll the windows down, and know it takes more gasoline to drive with the AC running. This heat wave is blanketing the nation. And it’s only June!

Did an outdoor photo shoot yesterday afternoon for a friend’s online jewelry shop. It was cool deep in the woods where we photographed crystals against stones. A creek babbled in the distance. Returning home, I jumped into the pool – an early birthday splurge for myself. It sits in the one sunny part of the deck, filled with a few inches of cool water, and is  truly an oasis on a hot day.  Birds and leaves flit overhead, so peaceful.  When the pool needs cleaning, I’ll drain it from the deck level into a rain barrel below. Then the gardens will get watered from this simple gray water system.

Drank about 8 glasses of clear, cool water today and had some chilled spearmint tea sweetened with homegrown stevia for a treat. At the Farmers’ Market last week, I traded a jar of homemade laundry detergent for a friend’s dried spearmint, surplus squash, and delicate bean sprouts. Can’t wait to see who’s out and about at the market today.

Helped another friend haul a locally grown monster of a watermelon out of her car and up a steep flight of stairs. It weighed in at 37 lbs (16.8 kg).  This watermelon was way too big for one refrigerator, so we split it in two. She’ll juice her half and I’ll enjoy mine the traditional way. We couldn’t resist carving out juicy chunks from the middle of the melon. It will be even better chilled!

After my watermelon workout, I was already warmed up, so hauled her air conditioner out of the shed and installed it in her home.  I can do without AC – living in the woods it’s 90% shady and pleasant indoors with just an overhead fan to circulate the air. My south facing picture window will offer a supplemental heat source all winter long. I packed away winter sweaters today – so hard to believe it will ever be cold again.

It’s such a joy to fall asleep with the windows open, listening to the cicadas at night. A Chuck-will’s-widow calls each night. For several years, I participated in a bird count of three increasingly rare Nightjars – Chuck-will’s-widow, Whip-poor-will and Common Nighthawk. Since these birds are nocturnal, we citizen scientists and naturalists ventured out under the light of a full moon each May when the birds call to one another. Stopping at prescribed GPS points along deserted mountain roads, cow pastures, and graveyards, we’d listen for each of the birds for 6 minute intervals, charting the number we heard calling. This study is being repeated up the Appalachian Mountain corridor to determine if the numbers of birds are declining.

Natural habitats like forest edges keep diminishing due to human activities which include mountain top removal and economic development. So birds like the ethereal sounding Whip-poor-will are having a tougher time of it. I’m trying to beat the heat while minimizing my reliance on fossil fuels, and am increasingly aware of all the ways we contribute to global warming by using appliances such as air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, computers, etc. Instead of focusing on the negative, though, I’m into sharing my simple solutions for a warming planet.

Suggestions:

Think: How might you reduce your dependence on fossil fuels for transportation, heating, cooling, electricity?

Say: Share your stories and suggestions here so we can all learn from and inspire one another.

Do: Notice all of the simple pleasures in your life. Use your resources and gifts to protect your human neighbors, plants and animals – all are impacted by how we live our lives.

Can you relate? Please share...

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