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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holy Heatwave, Batman!

I’m going to do something typically Canadian, and talk about the weather. It’s something we all have in common, after all. The weather unifies us. Last week sure was a scorcher, huh? A real record-breaker.

Over the last few summers, since I became the Farmwife, we haven’t had much heat. It has been cool, gloomy and wet. The hay has been crap as a result. We were due for a hot summer. Like the summers of our youth.

Like many people my age, I grew up without air conditioning. We did have a monstrous square fan, however, that sat on the floor at the end of the hallway in our two-bedroom bungalow on George Street. I would sit in front of it and sing into it, entertaining myself for hours with the robotic voice that emerged. If it was unbearably hot, one could always retreat to the dark, cool basement.
The jingling of bells coming down the street sent us running for Mom’s purse. “The ice cream man is coming!!”

We have air conditioning in the farmhouse, but we aren’t fond of it, normally. We have been fond of it lately. That and the standing pool (too small for swimming) is keeping us alive, I think.

It’s nature’s cruel joke that this heatwave has been perfect haying weather. I am equal parts relieved and feeling guilty that the task of bringing in the hay is really a one-man job. I don’t think I would last long if we were stacking square bales on the wagon and transferring them up to a hot loft in the barn. Thank goodness for round bales. But the Farmer spent a good two days bringing those up from the field all by himself, without many breaks, because the sky threatened to dump rain on what looks like a delicious sweet, green crop of hay. I watched from my floating chair in the pool. Isn’t that awful? I paid for it with an upset stomach and a sunburn, but it was fun while it lasted.

I do my bit to contribute, heading out to the chicken coop first thing in the morning to wrestle 40-kg bags of feed while kicking my legs and shaking my head in a strange mosquito-repelling dance. The chicks are getting to the age where they peck at my legs if I take too long struggling with the bag string, however, so this job may also get passed over to the Farmer soon. I don’t like being hen-pecked.

The cows can always be found in the old log barn during the heat of day. They pack all four of themselves in that one tiny 8’ x 10’ stall, where it is dark and cool and the bugs don’t seem to bother them. I see four sets of eyes peering at me through the slats as I pass by.

The kittens lie flat out on the deck of the swimming pool. They appear to be boneless, like furry puddles. Occasionally they dip one paw in the pool and raise it to the mouth.

The horse and donkey roll on their backs in the dusty sand to cool themselves and to ward off the biting flies. We tried to cool Misty with a garden hose last year but she was having nothing of it. The horse flies have left their mark on her, and I am having trouble convincing her that bug spray is nothing to fear. The squirting startles her. I will have to spray citronella on a cloth and rub it on her underbelly, where she is bitten the most.

The Farmer broke his shears after the second sheep this year, so most of our herd is still wandering around in full wool. Poor things. They pant like dogs and lie beside the water trough, under the shade of the tree.

Yes, it’s hot. But you won’t hear us complaining. My fall flowers are already beginning to bud, reminding us that cooler weather is just around the corner. Much cooler.

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