The past week has been a bit of a humidity-drenched scorcher here in Upstate NY. Oppressive and damp with moisture just hanging stale in the air, while the sun baked everything here - the garden, the lawn, the chickens and us.
I am not one for the heat. I actually cannot stand days like the ones we have just had. I can tolerate the 90 degree weather but the humidity just kills me. Wednesday night was the worst. The air was so thick and heavy and the whole atmosphere both inside the house and outside was so oppressive, that I was actually feeling claustrophobic.
I have been putting off installing the window air conditioner in the downstairs this summer. We did not even need it last summer and we got by with window fans and one small air conditioner in the bedroom. And even then we only turned it on a total of 5 or 6 times. This past Wednesday I said "enough" and I burrowed into the very back on the storage room closet and hauled out the 700 pound, 700 year old air conditioner that came with the house. It is not really 700 years old, or I would be rich and it would be in the Smithsonian, but give it a few more years and they might actually be calling. This behemoth was made in the good old days of "energy conservation be damned". It's huge, it cools off the entire down stairs, save for the very end of the kitchen, and it works. All my sustainability virtues went out the window on Wednesday as I plugged it in and basked in the glory of the coolness.
Today, the weather man promised rain and boy did he deliver. The sky opened up after lunch and the rain came down. Thunder and pouring rain and the threat of flash floods on the scanner. It was wonderful. (not the flooding part). I could almost hear the collective sigh from the entire two acres. The plants, having already savored the last spare drops of moisture from the soil in days past, gulped up the rain. They did seem to half enjoy the heat however, since the zucchini have been producing faster than I can pick them. Also true for the peas and the tomato plants. Only a few actual tomatoes to speak of, but the plants are growing like weeds, which is wonderful. Unfortunately, the weeds are also growing like weeds. But I will take what I can get.
The chickens seemed confused by the weather. They did not know if it was hotter inside the coop or in the yard so they spent a lot of time going back and forth. I put a large, wide enamelware bowl in their outdoor area as an additional source of drinking water. And I thought maybe they would like to use it as a pool. No takers.
I also rigged up a tarp over a portion of the outdoor area to provide some shade during the morning hours. By 1pm, the sun has gone behind some trees in the yard and there is natural shade, but they are at the mercy of the sun in the morning hours and this past week the sun has been anything but merciful. But they too are growing - like weeds! The 12 younger ladies are not laying yet but they are developing there red combs and are just about as large as the 6 adult ladies. They do not seem to enjoy being picked up and petted as much as they did a month ago and sometimes when I go into the coop the ones near me crouch down and stick their wings out the sides. I guess it is the chicken version of a dog or cat getting their back fur up.
As I sit here, just in from taking Snowy out for her late evening bathroom romp, I am very happy that the heat is over, for now, and that everything has gotten a well deserved drink. As I was carrying the garbage to the barn, it was like walking through a mist. It was foggy and dense, but nothing like the curtain of humidity. Swallows were diving around picking off stray bugs, the woodchuck family was out munching on grass back by the neighbors barn, and a beautiful heron flew low over the house on his way to the pond by the next field over. It seems like everything has come back to life after this past week of hot summer weather hibernation. Today was the first day I wanted to go out in the yard and I could do so not just to run to quickly check the chickens water supply. I did not make a mad, sweat drenched dash to the field with Snowy and then retreat back to the house full of roaring fans.
It's back to life.