Pat Wahler, Author

Penning stories to savor.

A Six-Scoop Summer

Bears may hibernate during the winter, but I hibernate when the temperature (or heat index) climbs into triple digits.  Lately, my air-conditioned house has been my sanctuary since we’re deep in the heavy, mucky air of summer.  I’m grateful to close the blinds, turn off lights, and sit in front of my computer, pretending its not 100 degrees outside. This situation lends itself to all sorts of woolgathering.

When I’m not dreaming about the crisp cool air of fall, I find myself hunting useless pieces of trivia. For example, what’s the hottest day on record?

Turns out that “honor” goes to Furnace Creek in California’s Death Valley. (The names alone are enough to make me sweat.) On July 10, 1913, Furnace Creek heated up to 134 degrees. But I’m sure it was a dry heat, so no worries. Furnace Creek isn’t a stranger to fiery temperatures, so the area is closed to visitors during the hottest times of the year. Heat lovers rejoice! There is a nearby golf course that holds an annual tournament called the Heatstroke Open. I won’t be attending.

Furnace Creek, circa 1871. Looks delightful, right? (U.S. National Archives & Records Administration)

The old picture I found of Furnace Creek led me to think about how people handled extreme heat in the past. No air-conditioner or even an electric fan. The men wore long sleeves, long pants, and boots. And the women, well, in my opinion, the women had it worst of all. Layers of clothing, dresses that hung to the floor, and on a Saturday-night-out, a lady would add a corset. Then there’s the fun of standing over a fire to cook while your face turns the color of a ripe tomato.

About the best way they had to cope (short of a vacation to a cooler climate) would be to build the homestead in shade trees with a porch for sitting and sleeping. Someone might even sneak to the pond for a swim when no one was looking, and a paper fan would help to swish the hot air around if there wasn’t a breeze.

When you consider remedies like that, I really shouldn’t whine about the heat.  In today’s world, I’ve got it pretty darn good wearing my shorts and sitting near the A/C vent.  The entire summer-thing looks even better when you consider the other frosty and delicious way I keep cool.

This is definitely a six-scoop summer.

How about you? Are you hibernating too?

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Pat–We have black-out curtains on most of the windows, and I’ve declared the sun my enemy.

    I haaaate the hot weather. And over the weekend, our AC died (we got 31 years out of it). Thankfully, they’re coming to put in a new one tomorrow and Friday.

    • Pat Wahler

      July 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Oh no, Sioux! Why is it the a/c or heat always go belly-up at the worst possible time? At least 31 years is a great run.

  2. I do my best to avoid the heat, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. My poor flowers need water and the birdbath needs clean water too, so I go outside early in the morning to give them all a drink.
    Don’t know why, but I suddenly have a craving for ice cream.

    • Pat Wahler

      July 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Donna, after writing this post I drove to DQ (a five minute ride) with the a/c blasting and bought a mini blizzard. I don’t feel one bit guilty.

  3. I’m definitely hibernating. I do not respond well to heat. I feel much better in the Spring and Fall.

  4. Linda O'Connell

    July 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Until I read this post I had no desire to eat out of that tub of chocolate mousse ice cream in the freezer. I prefer 80 degree days, but I will take a hot day over a cold day anyday. Stay cool. You always have such interesting facts to offer.

    • Pat Wahler

      July 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Linda, hot weather is a great excuse for ice cream. This week I’ll need to stuff my freezer with goodies in order to get by.

  5. My kids and I headed for a cave tour today. We were happy and shivering. It was wonderful!

    • Pat Wahler

      July 14, 2017 at 7:15 am

      I’m not sure if this is the cave you visited, but I have fond memories of Meramec Caverns. Deliciously cool and interesting things to see.

  6. Loving your posts and new blog.
    I only venture out in search of a swimming pool! One old timer here said they used to put sheets in cold water in the bathtub and then hang them over the windows so that any breeze that came through was cooler. Houses also used to be built with a central room and windows from the other rooms facing each other to catch a breeze. Children had their beds moved out to screened in porches.
    By the way, if you ever make it back to Fort Worth let me know, I’d love to get together.
    Ann

    • Pat Wahler

      July 17, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Ann, I love the idea of sheets in cold water! Anything to escape this awful heat.

      Hopefully I’ll make it back to Fort Worth someday. As I remember it, the area seemed very nice.

  7. When it’s hot, eat ice cream! Best solution ever!

  8. Well, I suppose I’m a little weird because I’d MUCH rather be hot than cold. I can’t think when I’m shivering and I spend most of the summer wearing a sweater in restaurants and movie theaters because in Georgia, unless you can see your breath, the air’s not low enough. 🙂

    I feel like I should add that ALL my kids avoid my house in the summer. But seriously, I went to my youngest kiddo’s place in MAY, MAY! and I had to get a blanket out and wrap up in it. That’s not normal, right?

    (I mean the cold temperature, not me wrapping up in a blanket. Though probably both of those things are a little weird.)

    • Pat Wahler

      July 24, 2017 at 8:54 am

      It’s funny how our internal thermometers all run differently, isn’t it Cathy? I guess that’s what keeps the heating and cooling industry so busy.

  9. I, too, hibernate. I often nap in the heat of the day, get up around 5, do some work and wait for sunset to hike. I end up going to bed at my normal time but find myself wide awake around 1. I get up and work…make beads or stamps out in the toasty shop then go back to bed around 4 or 5.

    • Pat Wahler

      July 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Great to hear from you, Holly! Sounds like you have a thermometer like mine. The heat saps every bit of energy I have (which admittedly is not that much). 🙂

  10. I try to stay indoors as much as possible, except that I am still getting up in the morning and walking the dog! Neither one of us is a fan of this weather. Stay cool, Pat!

    • Pat Wahler

      July 24, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Hi Mary! The heat we’ve been having is not so great for anyone. Its best to stay inside and keep cool. By the way, I loved your Muffin post. Fantastic job!

  11. Well, since we just moved to Florida in the middle of the summer, I don’t feel that I have a right to complain about the heat. My own decision, knew what I was getting into, etc. The humidity is something to be reckoned with—I had sweat dripping off my nose yesterday, a first for me, while planting my hanging baskets—but my skin loves it even when I don’t. Silver lining, right?

    Death Valley is certainly aptly named. Like you, I’ve wondered how people coped with those temperatures. I mean, they did . . . but, geez. We’re spoiled now, I guess, but I sure wouldn’t want to go back in time.

    This was a great post, Pat!

    • Pat Wahler

      July 26, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Lisa, I’m so glad you’re back on line. I missed hearing from you. Now that you’re ensconced in a lovely new place (with a great view) in Florida, I’m hoping you give us more on what’s been happening. By the way, I think St. Louis has actually been hotter than Florida for several days recently. Last Saturday we hit 108 degrees – a new record. Yikes!

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