Can we just say - we’re not sleeping in on any days off? It was already 72* when I woke up around 5:30 this morning.
Dwayne got the other barn door split yesterday. He began as early as possible - before the heat of this weather became so ridiculous. Despite being able - now - to keep a breeze flowing through the barn - we continue keeping this door closed all the way.
The breeze actually feels like it’s burning your face. It’s just so hot. It's easy to tell how folks become acclimated to various regions where these temps are normal. But here in East Tennessee - this is downright beyond anything normal.
Matter of fact - it was reported yesterday, that Mount LeConte - for the very first time - EVER - reached temps above 80*! The last check-in I heard was at 81*.
That Hill reaches over 6000 feet above sea level!!
This photo - and the next one - were shot a little over a week apart in time from each other.
If you look at the distant pasture in the background - you can even see the difference there.
There are challenges. There are tasks that - simply - cannot be avoided - in order to make sure the animals are made as comfortable as possible during all this heat.
And there are many that I am not supposed to be handling - because of my injury.
But when you have so much invested - and there’s only two of you - and one has to be gone for an average of 14 hours per day - every 4 days…
I refuse to let things fall apart. I will do the bare minimum. I will let some things go. But I will not allow our animals to suffer.
Believe it or not - this is - normally - the coolest view in the morning - literally. But right now - the temps inside become so hot that it’s not even safe to let the boys shelter up in the alley of the barn.
( Well.. seems a ' ghost ' of some sort is having fun highlighting some of my typing. )
We leave them in the front paddock as long as we can during morning. The trees from the gulley shade a good portion of the paddock for a few hours.
Once the shade is gone from that area - Bruce and Artist are now trained to head over to the other paddock when they hear me open the gate. There - they have a cool breeze that filters through the shade of the Cedar trees. Their stall water buckets are used over there for now - and kept full of clean water. I improvised with a humongous planter - for holding hay until the hay bag arrives and can be hung from one of the trees.
Once the sun passes over enough that we have shade from the barn stretching about 25 feet across in the front paddock - we bring The Boys back over - where it becomes the coolest area for the day!
If you take time to look at the landscaping in most of the photos included in this post - there’s something you might notice - such as what we have taken notice.
Wherever there is a structure or tree providing shade in the mornings - those areas getting the shade are not dieing off near as much as all other areas.
Sadly - it does not look favorable for a second cutting of hay this year. The Hay Pasture is almost completely gone.
But I think we’ll have enough hay to get us through to next Spring. And there are plans for some caretaking of the pasture to improve its health.
One thing I have learned. Pay close attention to the Barn Swallow Babies!
They took flight on Thursday morning! Apparently - we had 2 Broods in the barn - without knowing of any second one. Our barn looks so strange in the mornings and the evenings now. There’s over a dozen of them flying everywhere!
They roost in the barn at night - hang out in the shaded brush in " The Hole " during the heat of the day during this drought.
Everytime I watch them all fly - it makes me think about Harry Potter - for some reason. The kids learning how to fly on their brooms - I think.
I do all I can to get up as early as possible. I open all the windows when the temps are below 70* to keep the air conditioning from coming on for as long as possible.
We unplug everything we’re not using. Microwave - lamps - stereo system - sewing machine - even the coffee pot is unplugged. I mean - really?! Just exactly how much trouble is it to reset the dad-gum clock and automatic preset time? And does it kill anybody to bend over and plug something in before they use it
Has technology made us all become that lazy?
The thermostat for the air conditioning is set at 78*. But once the outside temps hit 90* - I do set it down to 76*. All the mini-blinds are rolled down. All curtains are pulled across windows. There has to be compromise. I have to watch my asthma.
I’ve found that opening the garage doors to our basement and allowing the cool air to come in is helping tremendously! Our wood floors are staying nice and cool during the entire day!
Everything is closed up - once the thermometer on the back porch reads 70*.
Any laundry - baking - or dishes being washed in the dishwasher are started as soon as Dwayne is on his way to work - or - right after the coffee pot gets going when he’s on a round of days off.
And everything halts at 12noon - until 6 or 7pm - depending on whether or not Hubs is working a round.
I even got out there before daybreak and bounced back and forth between the barn and our Driveway the other morning…
And had Bar-B-Que'd Chicken Thighs done before 10am!!
Voluntarily - I practice the same ( well… almost the same ) watering methods as was required during summer when I lived in Manteca, California.
The hoses come on as soon as I can see silhouettes of the trees and landscape in the morning. I water until 12noon. All outside water is shut off until 6pm on days when Hubs is working - 7pm during his rounds of days off.
Yes. It’s a heat wave. And we are struggling. But it could be so much worse.
We all need to include all the folks in Colorado in our prayers.