Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Cold Day in July. A Hundred Degrees in the Shade.

I have now lived long enough to be able to say I've experienced both of these phenomena. They are -- as Jinnji might say -- kewl to contemplate.

The cold day in July came a few years back. I remember it because of the occasion: the Baron took his boy to see the 4th of July fireworks on the James River in Scottsville. When they ventured forth that afternoon -- leaving early to get a good viewing spot on the levee -- they were wearing flannel shirts against the damp cool air.

Today, on the other hand, July 27, 2005, at 3:00 pm it's a hundred degrees in the shade. I always wanted to be able to say that, too. But even though I recall some hot summers here, so hot and dry the James was a shallow spit down at Howardsville...well, until now I never actually thought to check the thermometer on the porch. Since it hangs in the shady northwest, it tends to register low...and at this here particular moment in time it says 100 degrees.

"Lordy, child, sit and rest a spell and have a glass of iced tea. It's a hundred in the shade. Hasn't been this hot since that time in '98..." Hmmm...wish I had a screen door I could bang for that old retro feeling.

Usually around here one says "it's not the heat, it's the humidity." Except in this case it's not. This is dry heat -- or at least dry by Virginia standards -- and it's been a job keeping enough moisture around the plants I put out last Fall and this Spring. The annuals are inexpensive and not a concern, but the curly willows and the Forest Pansy redbud and the camelia are all vulnerable in their first year. So I go out early -- early for Miz Dymphna, thank you -- and let the hose run into the roots of each. The well is not a worry since we recovered from the drought of three years ago. However, the pump is a treasure so I don't like to run it too long.

Y'all stay cool. Me, I'm going to go play in the hose.


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