Hot Stuff

I am just now sitting down before the computer screen, it is 7:39 a.m.

I arose at 5 a.m., dressed quickly, unlocked the back door and went outside to stand in the middle of the back yard, to stare at the dim starry sky. I knew the Perseid Meteor Shower would be fading in the morning light, but it seemed worth a try to see it. After standing for ten minutes I was rewarded with one flash of a meteor, before the clouds silently engulfed and shrouded the sky.

I love the food at this time of year. We have a basket of Ontario field tomatoes, and a basket of Ontario peaches, and what what a daily feast they provide. I eat toasted tomato sandwiches, and enjoy peach smoothies all day long. Attila added tomatoes to our green salad last night. I don’t eat tomatoes at any other time of year. Local field tomatoes are flavourful, sweet and juicy, as compared to those offered in grocery stores which are like red cardboard imitations.

After eating a lovely breakfast consisting of a toasted tomato sandwich on rye, and a peach smoothie, my day’s activities began. The drought continues, so our bath and shower becomes grey water and is carefully saved in the tub, to be used to water the gardens. This morning I ladled many pailfuls of bath water, using them to refresh the lungwort, hosta lilies, and lilies in the front yard. These plants are not flourishing, but they are surviving, with such attention. I am sad to observe that the large tree in the next door neighbours front yard, which is beside our driveway, is suffering and it looks like it will die. We will miss the shade it provides!

It was too hot this morning for a walk, the temperature at 5 a.m. this morning was 25C, with a Humidex of 34, much too warm for me. At around 4 p.m. this afternoon the temperature rose to 37C (98.6), with a Humidex of 45C (113F). What a day! Attila heard that we were the hottest spot in Ontario today, could be.

I notice that there are daily cooling centres open all over the province, which is wonderful for those who do not have air conditioning. Attila works with very hot machines, in a large, well ventilated, but not air conditioned, space. These days he looks haggard when he arrives home. Thank goodness for our heat pump! It is a climate control unit, heating in the winter, cooling in the summer. Because our house is so very small, it is not outrageously expensive to keep it at a constant and comfortable 22.5C; the electricity bill is only $70 a month more than when the unit is not running at all, which is when the temperature outside is either below -7C (19.4F), or above 22.5C (72.5F).

Being housebound, this morning was a perfect opportunity to pay bills and attend to the pesky administrative side of life. Recently our home was reassessed to market value, which is far less than the value the property taxes were based on; our assessment went down by over a third, and is still probably a bit high. The upshot of this is that our tax bill went down by a third. We have already paid our taxes, and they don’t give rebates, so the amount owing back to us will be used against our 2017 property taxes. The process of applying for this reassessment is arduous, and it took many, many hours of my time to put together, and submit the evidence needed for the review process. It paid off though, and I wish I had done it sooner, as the amount we have been overpaying is quite significant, and the rebate only begins the year the reassessment judgement is made. This reassessment project took up copious amounts of my time over the last six months. As well, there was a rebate offer on the paint we bought to finish the garden shed, and that had to be applied for, which fell to me. The first time I submitted the forms they were rejected because I put the sale price on the form, rather than the manufacturers suggested price. The second time I submitted the forms the rebate was approved. Also, when we bought the dishwasher we were offered a $100 gift MasterCard as a bonus. The catch is it has to be applied for online. All went well until it I ran into a few confusing parts of the form, three telephone calls to the help centre got that straightened out, the customer service person, Alice, was excellent (good for you Whirlpool for hiring such a competent and pleasant person!). That was my project today, making sure we get our promised $100 gift card.

With these three projects of mine, the property reassessment, the paint rebate, and the dishwasher bonus gift card, we are able to pay for the new dishwasher. All it took was weeks of my time fiddling with all these forms and processes. I reckon it is worth it if I end up with a dishwasher. I like this particular cluster, or “roll of three” set of circumstances!

Well, I guess I’ll sign off for now. Saying we aren’t cool in Ontario!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

25°C
Date: 5:00 AM EDT Friday 12 August 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: 24.9°C
Dewpoint: 21.9°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: SSW 16 km/h
Humidex: 34

33°C
Date: 4:00 PM EDT Friday 12 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 33.3°C
Dewpoint: 22.4°C
Humidity: 52%
Wind: SW 29 gust 42 km/h
Humidex: 43

Quote

“The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

Cloudless Blue Sky

I know when the skies will cloud over. The Perseid meteor shower is due to arrive between August 11th and 12th, when humans would love to gaze into the sky and enjoy the show. I predict that we will have total cloud cover on August 11th and 12th, and no rain. It seems to be just that kind of a summer!

Relief from this heat wave is always just a few days away, but it never arrives. The weather people tease us with predictions of highs of 27C, but every day the temperature soars above 30C by early afternoon. I remember a friend telling me that when she lived in Minnesota a heat wave lasted so long that every time she listened to the weather report she wept. I understand now. It feels odd to be housebound due to extreme heat, but housebound I am.

The drought leaves only a few hardy weeds alive in the lawns around here. Everything else is brown and crunchy, in traveled areas the plants have desiccated and disintegrated leaving only paths of dusty earth. Trees are dying everywhere, leaves falling, leaving naked branches roasting in the hot dry sun. So far the trees in our yard are surviving, thank goodness. If we don’t get rain soon I can see us out there watering the trees, trying to keep our source of shade alive. Our garden is not thriving. The bean plants are no longer producing much, and we are only going to get a half dozen tomatoes. The Scarlet Runner beans are still alive and climbing, the few blooms are colourful and pretty, but they are producing no fruit.

Attila and I have taken to using all grey water for watering the gardens. Dish water and bath water are saved and carried out to the yard in buckets. If this is a long term weather trend rather than a uniquely dry summer, I will be researching grey water recovery systems for the house, and rain barrel water storage systems to collect rain when it does arrive. Surely it will rain soon!

I was going to try a Tai Chi class this week, but I don’t know if the Church where it is held is air conditioned, so I am not taking a chance that it isn’t, and have postponed attending until the heat wave abates. Instead I viewed and followed along with several beginner Tai Chi videos on YouTube, which felt good.

This morning I was late getting out for my walk, it was already after 8 a.m. when I headed out the door. Oh my it was hot walking! I walked slowly so as not to put too much strain on my system, managed to walk my entire route, and felt overheated by the time I arrived home. My new sun hat helped me tolerate the merciless rays along the shadeless portions of my travels.

Attila continues to work on the garden shed. He is making some headway, but the end is still some way off. It has been a much bigger project than he anticipated, and has been going on for nearly two months, rather than the two weeks he planned, and I expected (how very foolish). I will be very glad when it is finished!

We are enjoying Ontario grown peaches and field tomatoes right now, yum! I make a peach smoothie every day, just a ripe peach and milk, voila! A favourite lunch is a toasted tomato sandwich, there is nothing so lovely as a field ripened tomato! We added a new recipe to our repertoire this evening for supper, Bulgur Salad, which my Mom made last Saturday for the luncheon for my brother. It is very refreshing, and light enough for these hot summer days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

31°
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Tuesday 9 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy – HA! not a cloud in the sky all day long!!
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 28.1°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: SSE 10 km/h
Humidex: 33

Quote

“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”
Epictetus
55 AD – 135 AD