Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy

New sailboat, summer 1969
Summertime, and the living is easy......and the cotton is high.

It's easy to guess that the person who wrote those lyrics had never picked cotton.

Neither have I, but my first job was as summer field labor in an experimental barley field. That was in the pre-sunscreen era, and it took only one day for me to figure out that someone as pale-skinned as I needed long sleeves and a hat.
(Why  it took me that long I don't know, I always burned badly.) And summertime work out in a hot sunny field is not easy at all.



The year I was a freshman in college, the woman who graduated as  the valedictorian that year had earned her way through college picking fruit in the Wenatchee Valley. I was very impressed.


The little sailboat is from a few years later. That's me, and our dad behind the mast, and a brother. And one year an article had been published about PABA (para-amino-benzoic acid). So Dad mixed up some in alcohol, and my sister and I tried it while sailing across the lake. We were amazed that we didn't sunburn at all.

And around here, the living is not so easy in summertime.

True it's not between 42 degrees F and 52 on the main floor (I used a refrigerator thermometer to check that, since the thermometer on the non-functional thermostat only goes down to 52.) Sometimes 52 degrees is a lot colder than other times…

And not between 50 and 60 degrees on the top floor. The higher temperatures are after several sunny days, or when there's been a fire in the woodstove.

And I'm not wading through a foot of snow to carry firewood from the garage to the house and upstairs after several days of the power being out, like a couple of years ago. (Normally I try to carry firewood up between storms.)

Yes, it only takes 5 minutes to dress in one layer of clothes, but more baths/showers and more laundry.

But the main thing is that it takes half an hour to go around morning and evening closing/opening curtains and/or windows, and turning on and off fans and sprinklers. And when it's hot, it's hot.

When the living is really easy here is right now, spring and fall, in the weeks when the temperature is fine and the windows can be left open to screens all day and all night. Between rain or snow storms. Before the weather gets too hot. With fresh spring vegetables or fall harvest at the grower's market.

Except it's pollen season now, or just finished. Drifts of yellow everywhere. Can't leave the windows open to let that blow in. Can't leave them open again until I've cleaned and vacuumed window-sills, porches, low roofs. Then I will be able to see if it's really over. The recent rains might have finished it, but the pollen cones haven't fallen off the pines yet.

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