Well, here we are, coming to the end of a long, hot summer and thinking of cooler days ahead. This has been an unusual year with all the rain and flooding then going almost immediately to fires, smoke and heat.
Our weather pattern is definitely changing, we usually get two or three big storms in July/August where we get a brilliant display of natures fury as the winds pull trees free of the ground, lightening ignites bone dry grass and rain pours down for an hour or more. This is usually followed by refreshingly cooler weather, the garden springs up refreshed from the downpour and the heat gradually builds up again.
Not this year, once the heat arrived it stayed around and we had to find a way to cope with the unrelenting temperatures. For people who do not hold a regular job, changing pace is easier, I get up with or even before the birds, get some yard work done while it is cool, put the house in order and then do very little in the afternoon heat. After supper, it cools enough to catch up on a few chores. My heart went out to builders and farm workers, who have no choice but to carry on through the heat of the day.
As the summer wore on, I found that I wanted to do less and less, the yard was left unattended except for the irrigation. Weeds were left to grow and, even though not receiving a drop of water, they flourished. Why do well watered plants in the garden beds droop and die while their wild neighbours are in full glory? Some of my trees have been dropping leaves for several weeks, even though watered well but the Virginia creeper that I keep trying to get rid of is spreading itself all over my fences and climbing up every available upright post in the yard.
My energy level was fairly high during June and July and my catering jobs, even outdoor events, seemed fun. However the last few weeks have seen me drooping round the house, ignoring dust that seems to be accumulating as fast as the weeds. I go swimming daily then come home and vegetate in front of a fan until suppertime. Meals are a very hit and miss affair, salads the order of the day and, maybe once a week an actual cooked meal. Luckily, Dave seems happy enough. As long as food is regularly placed in front of him, he doesn’t seem to mind if it is canned baked beans, a sandwich or meat and vegetables. He also knows better than to mention the dust as previous occasions have seen him being given the duster to do the chore himself.
Our dogs no longer ask to go for walks in fact, for several weeks they refused to even go in the car to get to walking paths. They and the cat spend most of the day lying on their backs, legs pointing up to heaven and enjoy any breeze that comes their way. Afternoon sees the cat disappear into the yard to find a nice cool bush to lie under, one of the dogs loves water and so we put out a child’s wading pool. Coco lies in two or three inches of water, rolls around to get thoroughly wet then she tears around the yard for a few minutes, followed by rolling in the gravel, to acquire as much dust as possible to stick to her fur coat. She then spreads this liberally all over the wooden floor as she rolls around to see how much dust she can spread across the living room. Luckily, the dust mop makes short work of the clean-up. Our other dog doesn’t like water so I have to physically lift her into the pool and wet her down, to cool her. She then retreats to a grassy area to dry off. Much more agreeable to the lady of the house.
At the moment, the forecasts predict more of the same but, sooner or later the weather will change, the rains will come and the winds blow. There I will be, having to deal with all the ignored weeds of the summer, grumbling because I didn’t get them seen to before they took over the entire yard. Doors will be closed to keep out draughts and the dogs will be unhappy because they cannot come and go as they do all summer. The log fire will be a continual fixture and the hearth will be covered in furry critters each trying to get closer to the heat. Dogs and cat forget their disagreements as they cuddle together to share the best spot.
Soups and hearty meals will be once more prepared and thoughts of salads seem far away. Swim suits and shorts will be replaced by jeans and sweaters as the winter hibernation begins. Only one thing remains constant, the coffee table is still dusty and I still ignore it unless people are coming round. There is the big push for a sparkling, clean home for Christmas, and the festive ornaments come out of their hiding places. I am not sure why as we do not entertain at that time, however, I guess we follow tradition at Christmas whether there is anyone to enjoy it or not. We are truly creatures of habit.
However, that is in the future, meanwhile I enjoy these last lazy days of summer and try not to look at the accumulation of dust that is covering the glass coffee table, if nobody disturbs it, it looks like a velvet cloth.