Monday, June 25, 2012

Feelin' Hot, Hot Hot

So needless to say it's hot outside. Where we live, we are dealing with a severe drought. In fact, it's been roughly two weeks since we last had any rain. And my super-awesome-chief-meteorologist-friend says our rain deficit is more than a foot. Sunday was the hottest day of the year for us so far. So yeah... It's hot. And dry. And miserable.

This is where I want to chime in with an "I told you so." Last winter, everyone thought I was crazy for my concern about our very mild winter. And now we've had the driest Spring (and possibly Summer) in the books. Not to mention bugs (including harmful ones) are hideous this year since they all didn't die during winter. Believe it or not, there are reasons to like the cold.

But I must save a more in-depth rant on that for later. What we need to focus on is now. That includes us trying to figure out how keep cool and our garden alive. Let us first get to our plants. Over the last couple of weeks, we've moved about everything we can to the front porch so the plants have some relief from the unbearable sun. It's a quick fix and frankly, all of those plants are doing better than the ones in the garden beds. We moved the basil to get even more shade after it showed signs of suffering. So even full-sun plants are hurting from this heat.

Mint, Marigolds, Calendula, Chamomile & Echinacea
We are also dedicated to watering every thing every morning. I used to water in the evenings, but all the water would absorb during the night and leave the plants to wilt throughout the hot days. The morning watering is helping, but you can tell the zucchini and squash aren't as delighted as when it fully rained. It doesn't help that our backyard is north-ish facing so it's getting all of the sun throughout the majority of the day. But hey, some of the dryer plants like the lavender & sage are loving it.

When you do water , focus all of the H-2-Oh on the roots around the stem. Try to avoid hitting the leaves with water. That can lead to the leaves getting sunburned during the day or even bring disease and mold if you water at night. So I always try to just water at the base of the plant. If you can, also pour water away from the plant since most root systems branch out, not down.

But my purple bell peppers aren't the only living beings trying to survive this summer. So here's a few ways to keep cool:

- Wear loose-fitting clothing that's a light color
- Wear Cotton. It's lighter, more breathable, and helps our own perspiration
- Use Fans. They help circulate and cool the air even with Air Conditioning

Here's a biggie- focus on your feet. 25 percent of your sweat glands are in your feet. And that little fact can bring several options when it comes to cooling down. Of course there's the obvious use of breathable sandals over shoes. And if your dogs are hot, try either freezing a damp rag or place a bottle of lotion in your fridge that way you can apply it to your feet to cool down after a long, insufferably hot day.

With that in mind, you can also chill a wet bandana that you can tie on if you plan to work out in the yard. A long time ago when I rode & showed horses (long story), we would dump our shirts in cold water and put them on to cool off during our work days.

Water is another biggie for the hot summer months. So drink it up... with bottles of water that is. But sometimes you need more of a re-hydration boost. Even if you didn't run a marathon this afternoon, if you were out and sweating a lot, consider taking in some electrolytes. That can come from various sports drinks, but the latest "all natural" option for that is coconut water. Coconut water is fat free and low on calories while providing some potassium and sodium (key to serious re-hydration); but it's not the best thing out there. The levels of potassium and sodium are par. It doesn't really offer anything amazing compared to everyday intake of fruits and vegetables. Just sayin'.

You should also avoid taking in anything that can cause dehydration like caffeine an alcohol. Also just sayin'.

Since we are talking about what you consume, eat small. That includes smaller, more frequent meals or snacks. That prevents your body from working overtime to digest and metabolize. Nibbling on cold, water-based fruits like watermelon and grapes is a great summer pastime. And while it sounds crazy, eat spicy food. That helps produce sweat which helps you cool down. Sweat and hydration is key.

I have one last tid bit for you to keep in mind during this summer. And it's an amazing idea I saw on pinterest (of course). If you get a sunburn, try freezing & applying cubes of aloe vera. All you need is true aloe vera and an extra ice cube tray. I almost want my husband to get sun burnt so I can try this. But I shouldn't increase his risk for skin cancer just so I can use a cool pinterest idea... or should I?

Either way, keeping cool and hydrated are crucial for you and your garden during the hot summer months. And with June being this unbearable, I am really afraid of what August will be like. But at least you don't have to be in a drought to enjoy all these great tips on beating the heat. With that, sit back next to a fan, open up a chilled bottle of water, and stay cool my friends.

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