REPRIEVE

satsfc.gif July 10, 2013

(click map to enlarge)

REPRIEVE

This time of year the tropical air gets uppity, and thinks it rules the roost even up here, at the northern fringe of corn country.  Back before they had such a thing as hybridized corn that can shoot up and make a cob in sixty-nine days, the Indians south of here grew corn while north of here they hunted.  You took a chance if you grew corn this far north.  However right now the corn is growing so fast you can practically see it, and the air gets thick as Georgia’s, until there comes the tap on your shoulder, the back door front with winds from the icy waters off Maine, reminding you this isn’t Georgia.

Actually it is a reprieve, for the heat does get to you, especially if you haven’t “thinned your blood” with Sassafras tea, which is what the old-timers did. (There is some drug in that tea that makes me nervous; it does something to your heart, which is why it never caught on in the way black and green tea did, though I think it tastes better.)

Besides the reprieve given by the cool air of the back door front, which kept it down in the low seventies yesterday, we got a reprieve from thunderstorms. They couldn’t grow over us, though there were flash floods not more than forty miles to the west.

There was quite a clash in temperatures across New England.  It was sixty-one in Portland, Maine while it was eighty-three up by Burlington Vermont; sixty-three in Boston, Massachusetts while it was eighty-one over in  Hartford, Connecticut.  The light, drifting, summer fog kept brightening, and it would get muggy, as if the warm air was fighting back, and then it would get very dark and purple, as if it was about to pour, but it never even sprinkled.

As we closed down the childcare in the afternoon it once again got dark, but it had happened so many times without raining I decided to catch up on the mowing, expecting it to rain, but again, even with the weather radio wailing out its warnings about flash flooding, not a drop fell.  So I figured I might as well keep mowing.

I mowed and mowed and mowed, and was done as it started to get dark, finishing the entire rear field.  Of course, the front has grown so quickly I’ll need to start all over in a day or two, but, for the first time in six weeks, I’m actually done.  There’s no catching up to do.

It was a good thing I mowed, as sprinkles have kept the grass wet today, and thunder is muttering to our west as the warm air fights back.  The funny thing is, I very nearly didn’t even start mowing, as the sky was so dark.  It just goes to show you, if you get a reprieve you’d best take advantage of it.

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6 thoughts on “REPRIEVE

    • I also love the smell of fresh cut grass….after it is all cut, and I am sitting and sipping a beverage of my choosing.

      Can you actually have a lawn when it is 115 degrees?

      • I’m actually growing one right now. I planted black jack bermuda seeds (no coating, just seed) on July 2nd. It’s coming up great. I haven’t mowed a lawn in two years, I’m kind of looking forward to it.

      • Congratulations. That must be some tough grass to take the heat. I imagine it takes irrigation.

        You should write a post about it. Also delve into the issue of water rights, if you know anything about it. I’ve read some pretty radical things about who should control the Colorado River, and think the views of a native would be insightful.

        I’ve only stayed overnight in Phoenix one time, back in 1987. For a country boy like me it was overwhelming, too big and too fast.

        I lived up in Lupton, up on I-40 right on the New Mexico border, and then north of Sanders, in a little Navajo town called Burntwater, on and off in 1986, 1987, and 1988.

        In 1988 there was a terrific thunderstorm that did hail damage to roofs in Gallup, New Mexico, and I wound up being a go-for for some Phoenix roofers who zoomed up to Gallup to find work. They told me all sorts of stories about how hard it was to work in the heat of Phoenix in the summer. It was one reason they came north.

        They said they would start in the dark before dawn, and quit around ten, because otherwise the tar shingles would get so soft they would tear as you lifted them. However one time they were finishing up a job, and stayed just a bit later to nail the last few shingles up. Then, just as they were coming down the ladder, the lawn’s automatic irrigation sprinklers came on. They said the sudden increase in humidity just about knocked them off the ladders.

        It’s hard for me to imagine. In any case, be careful watering your lawn.

      • That’s funny. Yah, I dug the trenches for the irrigation with just a pick ax. Not the brightest move considering several days I was working it was over 105 and I felt the effects of heat exhaustion several times.

        Even if you’re used to the heat, it can be tough. I like the northern part of the state, although you weren’t in the prettier areas. Flagstaff and Williams are beautiful and much cooler.

        Roofers in Phoenix are a tough breed.

      • You dug trenches in 105 degree heat? You should have enlisted in the French Foreign Legion for duty in the Sahara.

        I used to sweat better, and have worked in some hot places, but now have become something of a wimp.

        I passed through Williams and Flagstaff, and they are incredibly beautiful. However on my way down to Phoenix I passed through a forest of pines full of the most interesting characters. It was sort of like (in 1987) that you weren’t allowed to live there without a mountain-man beard.

        What is the altitude you have to get to before the desert gives way to pines? 8000 feet?

        I did get to spend an all-to-short time up in the Chushka Mountains, which was all pines and very beautiful.

        In any case, the highest mountain in New England is a puny 6000 feet. The west was a whole different world.

        I hope you write a post about digging ditches and growing grass in the desert.

        I’m thinking of composing a post about working in the heat, myself.

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