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Hot, hot, hot

Agriculture.com Staff 07/11/2007 @ 3:21pm

It was really hot last weekend.

Hot, hot, hot.

I don't do well with heat. I can tell my ancestors came from a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. When the temperature gets above about 80 degrees, my whole body starts to glow a brighter and brighter shade of red, until finally my skin tone moves into the infrared. Sweat pools in the dents and crevices of my skull, and ends up in a cascade over my eyebrows, leaving me blinded and surly. I don't think it's a particularly good look.

Saturday we were flirting with triple digits out here on the prairie and we had a house full of guests, invited over for ribs, sweet corn and bratwursts. I thought about suggesting a menu change to popsicles and iced tea, but the cooks had already put so much time into preparations that in the end I kept my mouth shut.

I turned the window air conditioner to "Turbo" at about 8:00 a.m., hoping to get the house chilled down to around the freezing point before all the cooking and body heat started to kick in.

It didn't work. The air conditioner kept up until about noon, and then the indoor temperature started to climb. By the middle of the afternoon, we'd reached the mid-80s around the dining room table and the kitchen was considerably above that. As guests arrived they would leave their air-conditioned cars and scurry through the sunlight with their shoulders hunched, leaving little rubber footprints from their melting flip-flops. I tried to put things in perspective by mentioning that I'd heard it was going to be 122 degrees in parts of Arizona. My son's girlfriend wasn't buying it. She said, with a slight tinge of sarcasm, "Well, that's a dry heat."

"No," my son said, "122 degrees is a rare steak."

The original plan was to picnic in the shade, but whenever I stepped outside it felt like someone hit me in the face with a shovel. We developed Plan B, which involved jockeying for position in the icy draft from the air conditioner. The competition for cool air was fairly subtle and dignified, until I broke under the pressure and stood in front of the air conditioner with my shirt hooded over the vents, until my navel was dripping icicles. For some reason, this made everyone else cranky.

The party broke up fairly early. There had been a tentative plan for a campfire with S'Mores, but the chocolate turned to liquid within seconds of leaving the freezer and with the outside temperature still at 93 after the sun set, the campfire wasn't too appealing. About dark, my wife and went out in our canoe, paddling listlessly around the slough. The water looked very inviting; it took all my self-control to not dive over the edge. Since our slough is only three feet deep, that would have been a mistake. A dive would have left me with my head buried in the mud and my sweaty toes waving in the air. Not a good way to go.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have been hot.

Copyright 2007 Brent Olson

It was really hot last weekend.

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