It seems that our temperatures and humidity are finally coming down from record-breaking highs for the past week -- and when I say coming down, I mean into the mid 90s. A temperature of 90-anything seemed hot before living through this past week, but we actually appreciate 90s after going above 100 degrees with a dewpoint in the 80s, which basically makes it dangerously hot because your sweat can't evaporate, so it doesn't do much to cool your body.
We've been getting up at 6 a.m. to do as many chores as possible while the temperature is in the 80s. Contrary to popular belief, living on a farm does not automatically make you a morning person, and we don't normally head out to do chores before eight. I am not good about getting to bed before 11, and the lack of sleep is starting to make me drag. I need my eight hours!
The animals have been drinking far more than normal, so we have to keep refilling water buckets and troughs almost twice as often as normal. We have seen a drop in milk and egg production. I can just hear the hens saying, "You think I want to sit in one of those hot nest boxes? No way!"
Every morning when I get out of bed, I expect to see piglets, but Julia just keeps getting bigger and bigger. If she had gotten pregnant when we saw her get bred, she would have had the piglets by now, so she must have gotten pregnant at a later breeding that we did not see. Still, considering how huge she is, I can't imagine she will go much longer. She spends almost all of her time laying in the pond. I hope she has some instinct that tells her she needs to be on dry land to give birth. Although piglets can walk as soon as they're born, I can't imagine they're very good swimmers.
For the past week, when I look at the ten-day forecast, it shows temperatures in the 90s for the next five days. Now it shows temperatures in the 90s for the next week, with one day in the 80s. Maybe the weather forecasters are feeling sorry for us and throwing that 85 in there to give us some hope, even though it is not going to happen. At this point, I don't trust anything they say beyond tomorrow.
We finally broke down on the second 100+ day and put an air conditioner in the living room window. We did a good job of keeping the house in the 80s by closing all the windows and blinds, but mold started growing in the oddest places because of the humidity -- bags of flour, my oatmeal soap, an upholstered dining room chair, the leather part of my spinning wheel, the bamboo knitting needles that hold an afghan I'm making, and more. If the heat, humidity, and mold continue, we may need to put in an air conditioner in the basement and upstairs. We have a dehumidifier for the basement, but we don't use it in the summer because it exhausts heat, which is the last thing we want right now!
I'll remember 2011 weather for many years to come. We had our coldest goat kidding ever when Jo gave birth at -8 F. We had a blizzard in early February with drifts six feet deep, and then it all melted two weeks later as we went into a four-week maple syrup season, which requires warm days with freezing nights. And now, we're having a record-breaking heat wave. I wonder which way the weather will swing in fall. Personally, I think we've broken enough weather records for one year, and I'd like to request a textbook "average" fall.