Thursday, July 11, 2013

The dog days of a Texas summer

Summertime isn't easy in Texas. A lot of us run from the air-conditioned house, to the car to the next air-conditioned destination or water park. I reflected once to myself that I don't care how quickly my car can reach 60 mph, but I DO care very much how quickly it cools. It is blessedly quick, usually starting to work by the time I finish backing out of a short driveway.

I have pumped the attic full of insulation--well, my son and daughter-in-law did--and I have a digital thermostat that makes the cooling more efficient. Had the A-C checked to make sure all is well. We are good.

Planning, though, needs some fine-tuning. Here I sit in the cool writing when at 10 a.m. the temperature is already close to 85. Today will be our hottest so far this summer--around 103, 104, I believe. I would be smart to do my outside chores while the temperature is more bearable. Nope, I'll be out in the heat again later today and sweating as if I were the wicked witch of Oz ("I'm melting, I'm melting".)

Yesterday I watered my raised bed and a sizable part of the back yard, which  is one-third St. Augustine grass. Bermuda will go dormant without watering and come back. St. Augustine dies.
I did it early, well before the cutoff time of 10 a.m.  I can water after 6 p.m. as well, but should not more than twice a week.  Some parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area are on once a week water restrictions.  Not only is it hot and dry, but several major lakes are now infested with Zebra mussels, tiny little things that take over and get into the water pipes and clog them.

We not only have more people moving in, we have less water available. What everyone wants in the heat is water. Cool, pure, water.  I don't think people outside Texas realize that we have only one lake in the state that is not manmade. We are still in significant drought in  much of the state. Lakes are down noticeably, though nothing near 2011 when the lakes dried up so significantly historic artifacts were uncovered. We have to  be smarter about use, and that drought scared a lot of us into trying.

I was pleased to discover soaker hoses in my daughter-in-law's  vegetable beds, with quick release connections. So much easier than the oldtime screwing the two hoses together. I didn't know the quick releases existed, although I had wished for some.  Very nice. Minimal water use, maximum benefit.

In deference to West Nile concerns (mosquito larvae), I had let my birdbath dry up, but this week  I filled it again and see a steady stream of birds coming and going. Hope some of them like grasshoppers.

I have bought Tempo, the only product friends tell me that will kill the grasshoppers. Asked the vet about it and she said as long as it has dried when the dogs go out, no problem for my property.
First time to use an insecticide. I'll pick up the sprayer at the store later today. That is definitely a morning chore.

I heard a spot on public radio yesterday that Death Valley in California is a destination location this month for tourists from all over the world for people who want to enjoy the sensation of extreme heat. It was 120 degrees yesterday, and a British tourist  who said he had trained for a year in a sauna, ran a mile in the heat while wearing a Darth Vader costume. His reason why I don't remember, but he actually completed his goal in about seven minutes. It was harder than he had thought it would be, he said.

Ah, well, mad dogs and Englishmen....

Texas isn't a tourist destination for the heat this year.  It is simply HOT.

Addendum: Texas sometimes has Popup Showers that cover a small number of miles, which is why showers are 10  percent. We got them today in my neighborhood (chuckle.giggle squee!)  At least a half inch, and for the duration of a couple hours, a 20 degree drop in temp from 97 to 77. Sun out again, temperatures climbing again, humidity abysmal, BUT. We had some rain and I can wait to water for a day. Hooray! giggle, giggle.

July 14. All day light rain. Highest temperature 70 degrees. Beautiful. Wonderful.

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