Making Summertime Heat Work to your Benefit

Who in the northeastern U.S. has heard of temperatures of 103 degrees or higher early in July in recent years? According to last night’s weatherman, it’s only happened about five times in the past century. Many of us just plain don’t like summertime weather at all, especially when the humidity gets high. Even the most avid of sun worshipers only tolerate the heat when it gets into triple-digit numbers on the thermometer.

However, we have to take what nature gives us and even if it’s not what we would prefer, there are some ways we can make summer heat work to our advantage.

So here’s the deal

We will put up with the heat and humidity, and the summer heat will…

… let us dry our laundry outside. We can use cold or warm water for doing laundry at night, add fabric softener, and the next morning go outside before the extreme heat kicks in and hang out the laundry.

… allow us to grow a garden that can supply us with enough vegetables and fruits to get us through summer much more economically, and perhaps if we’ve grown enough food, we can preserve it, make jams or jellies, pickle cucumbers and beets to go with meals all year, or freeze foods. If we don’t preserve it, we can share with neighbors, donate it to the less fortunate in our community, or sell it for some extra money.

… help us heat water in any kind of solar heating system we can create. Water left in a garden hose heats up in the sun and that water can help heat the water in a kiddie pool (where adults can also splash around) so the kids don’t find the water too cold. We can use the hose water to bathe the dog. We can use it to wash the car. It’s amazing how much warm, sometimes even hot, water can be held inside a long garden hose left lying in the sun. Don’t waste the heated water in the garden hose!

… let us gather with family and friends for outdoor activities such as trips to the beach. Such great memories are made on outings like this. Without our summertime weather, there would be no great beach memories.

… let us go out fishing. Canoeing or kayaking with a fishing pole on board is such fun and we can snag some great-tasting fish that way, or from a river bank, once again saving us money at the store. Grilling freshly caught fish is a wonderful way to spend some of that summertime weather.

… help us cool off! Still in a damp swimsuit from the pool? You’re not going to mind the heat at all if you stay in it for just a little while – you won’t need the air conditioning on. Even after you change, you will feel cooler for a good while.

… make us some great iced tea. Just put the tea or tea bags into a sun tea container with enough water and let it steep in the sun. It doesn’t take too long to make a gallon of refreshing iced tea. Drop in some mint leaves mint tea. It can be cooled for drinking by just adding a few ice cubes, and sweeten to taste. Or not.

… allow us to beautify our surroundings with an assortment of annuals and perennials, all neatly planted in rows and carefully organized plots, or strewn about to give the flowers a wilder look – like they just all grew up around the house without any effort on our part.

… bring us birds, especially hummingbirds, to admire and adore. Hummingbirds are entertaining to watch and are very feisty little birds. They also fight for their rights at the feeder! Hummingbirds are a great benefit of summertime weather.

… give us the down time we’ve been needing and craving all year. You may be fortunate to have a week or two, a month, or all the summer months off from work or school. Summertime heat gives us a good reason to kick back and give our bodies a chance to relax, to eat lighter, to take walks or go jogging or biking early in the morning or when the sun has gone down in the evening. At night, summertime heat can give us a chance to sleep outside so we can get the most excellent view of the sky. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see a shooting star – or a lot of them.

… take us back to our childhood days, when everything was simpler and  responsibilities weren’t pressing; when we had jars with hole-punched lids to catch fireflies in the evening; when we ran around outside until we were completely exhausted at night and slept late the next morning; when we daydreamed for hours on end about everything under the summertime sun.

It is important to take good care when temperatures reach record highs. Do whatever you can to keep cool on days like that. The energy bills may be higher for a month or two, but don’t hesitate to run your air conditioning if you need to. Just remember the trade-offs that the summer heat brings and instead of fighting the heat of summer, make it work to your benefit in your favorite summertime ways.