Well, the new “bug-in location” has officially been purchased, which has given me somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand, we have the room now to make ourselves much more secure, in more of a “prepper” sense (garden, future livestock, etc.). On the other hand, we’re back up to our eyeballs with the bank; combined with the Herculean efforts we’ll be putting forth to fix the parts of the house that have fallen into disrepair, there will be no rest for the weary in the forseeable future.
(I would detail some of the aforementioned “broken” parts, but–well, let’s just say it’s an old farmhouse, fast approaching its 150th birthday, and its most recent owners didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t keep up with it as well as they might have.)
In the meantime, the weather has continued fluctuating between “sweltering” and merely “hot.” While in our previous location, we could (and often did) use the technique mentioned by Wyndwalkr to keep cool–open the windows at night, to take advantage of the cool air, then button down for the heat of the day with all of the “cool” inside–the new place has a number of windows that won’t open. It’s not that they’re painted shut, or that they’re stuck (although there are some of those, too); no, these are large, plate-glass windows that are designed not to move. They’re all on the west side of the house, as well, looking right at the setting sun. (Who in their wrong mind plans that one?) So, that end of the house in the afternoon becomes a practical demonstration of how greenhouses work. We’ll scrape together our pennies and replace them, one at a time. We’ve identified one (the first one to be replaced) that will provide lovely airflow, and allow the chimney effect to start.
DemLib mentioned the importance of staying hydrated. We’re doing the bottled water thing at the moment, until we can replace some of the lead pipes (no, really–lead), and re-treat the well to be certain it’s “clean.” I fully anticipate that to be done by the end of next week. Being in the East, as we are, I like to joke that hydration is a simple matter of breathing (75% humidity or higher has been de rigueur for weeks, and is typical of local summers). Still, proper hydration is a must. My wife’s quick hydration test: drink a Gatorade. If it tastes good, drink more…
One other interesting bit of the new place–we’ve “inherited” about 300 or so canning jars of various sizes (mostly in the 1 to 2 pint Mason variety). Again, it’s a mixed blessing: it’s nice to have them for putting up food (we’ve depleted our normal 3-month minimum supply in preparation for the move), but they’re already full, and whoever put them up before didn’t do such a great job. So, we’ve got 300 or so jars of bad food and not-quite-preserved preserves to dispose of. It looks to be a longer process than you might think. Just dumping them isn’t an option–if there’s botulism, we don’t necessarily want to put that in our compost pile. So we’ll probably run them (full) through the pressure canner. The toxin denatures at 176 degrees F, but the bugs (the botulinum spores) need 250 degrees F, and thus the pressure canner.
Next week, barring anything truly memorable in the political world, I’d like to talk a bit more about putting up food. Also, if anyone would like to see a post on a particular subject, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do… Keep cool, out there!