Friday, August 17, 2012

Heat Wave

It was 105 F here yesterday, and it's 100 today. Portland only gets a few days like this every year, so most houses aren't air conditioned, and we're roasting! By closing the windows and shades first thing in the morning, and keeping an oscillating fan going in the living room, our house stays on the edge of comfortable until about 4 pm, when the heat peaks and starts to infiltrate no matter what we do. We've been watering the garden at least twice a day, making sure all the rabbits constantly have blocks of ice to rub up against, and keep ourselves hydrated. The chickens are fine as long as they have water and shade, which they always do, but the rabbits don't manage heat very well (think about it- they evolved as creatures that live underground). We have 16 one-week-old babies right now (pictures soon, when they're slightly cuter), and the poor things are having a warm time of it. In an ideal situation, they would have their own small shed which is well insulated, so they can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but our garage has all kinds of gaps under the eaves and no insulation whatsoever, so any attempts at air conditioning would be futile. We keep a big fan going to give them a breeze, spray down their ears with water (their ears are the cooling mechanism for the rest of their bodies), and give them ice and frozen kale stems munch on. Not much else we can do.

I've just realized I can't remember the last time it rained. Please remind me of that feeling in the middle of February, when it hasn't stopped raining for five months. These short but intensely dry summers are what make the wet, gray winters worth it.

There are at least a few advantages to the heat. It's an ideal time to wash all of our quilts and comforters, which would normally take ages to dry out. Many of them have been upstairs collecting dust for several months, so we'll get them all cleaned and sun-bleached, and then put them away in garbage bags until fall. We just use one light one in the summer, but these last few nights have been too warm for more than a sheet.

The other advantage of this heat is that the peppers are getting extra spicy, and all the Aci Sivris (a cayenne-like variety from Turkey) are going red. I already canned a couple pints of pickled peppers, but we'll be able to do a few more, and pretty soon I'll be stringing ristras to dry out the Acis. The sweet Giant Marconis are setting an entire new batch of fruit, so we'll be have plenty of those for eating fresh as well as roasting and freezing.

Aci Sivri, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno, and Serrano.

The heat is supposed to let up a bit in the next couple days, but for now I hope you all are keeping cool, wherever you are!

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