Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We're Having a Heat Wave...not a tropical one

In light of the recent heat wave (no pun intended), this blog is a how-to instruction on how to beat the heat if you’re an animal and have a crazy lady to take care of you.

Farmers have had a rough go of it lately. Temperatures have been well over 100 nearly every day for the last couple of weeks. Farmers don’t go insane, however, about their animals. To them animals are, well, just that, animals. They insure there is plenty of water and a shadey place for the animals to escape the direct sun. End of story.

Did I mention? I am not a farmer even though I have one (sort of). My vet calls my place a spa resort for horses, dog, cats and fish. He said he wants to come back as one of my pets. Fat chance, I’m leaving way before he croaks…

Any way, as the temperatures began rising, my worry level began to rise. I ran around checking water, watching the animals. The first victims were the cats. Now, these cats go out during the day, doing cat things and ending up on my back porch at night to be ushered in and fed. They know the routine – the crazy lady won’t let us out until sunrise – there are animals out there roaming the woods at night (wish she’d let us join them). They laze around the pool and on the porch, making forays to the barn to chase mice, then back to the porch with presents. I would let them out in the morning but by nine o’clock, I began running around, snatching them up and forcing them inside to enjoy (and they’d better enjoy it) the air conditioning. It worked a couple of days until they got wise and started running when they saw me– who wants to be inside with those dogs? Three cats were easy. But one, Tiger, did not want to go in. I would sneak around and grab him by the pool where he would hide under a lounger. He got smart about that too. I reached around a chair to get him, he ran and I lost my balance falling fully clothed into the pool. He sat on the porch, cleaning himself and smirking about me standing there dripping wet. I nabbed him anyway. Teach him to smirk.

We have the common tin barns which you usually see now on farms. Did I mention – tin barns get very hot? The first horse, a twenty-year old stallion, to succumb to the heat got a trip to the vet and a stay in the air conditioning because he wouldn’t eat in the heat. We have fans in the halls, wind tunnels in fact, and fans on each stall but it was still hot. He stayed a couple of days, luxuriating in the cool and making eyes at the mare across the way. Then the vet called and said to come get him, he was tearing up the place (sort of like an aged rocker trying to impress the girls). I panicked – how would we keep him cool? A mister! We put a mister fan on his stall and he loved it – standing there letting the cool breeze hit him and soak him to the skin. Then I looked around – the other horses were jealous. Misters for the house. But the barn was still hot.

Soooo… I have teenage boys who help me with the farm, sort of. I grabbed one and told him we were working on the barn the next morning at six. He rolled his eyes (teenagers do not like any hour before noon). I got the equipment and met him the next morning. He was barely awake but willing to help the crazy lady. We dragged out the ladder and began our assault on the summit – thirty-five feet up to the ridge of the barn with – ta da – soaker hoses! My plan was to run them on each side of the ridge and cool down the tin. He gave me another one of those teenager looks and began walking up the roof. I, being older and wiser and afraid of any more broken bones, was crawling up the tin. I screamed for him to get down and he did, skinning his knee in the process (I got the blame for all the blood). We worked diligently, spreading the hoses until we reached the end when he nonchalantly reminded me that today was his birthday as he was hanging over the edge to attach the water hose. Imagine my horror! It just doesn’t look good on the headstone to have the same dates. I grabbed his leg and told him to be careful, nearly scaring him off the edge. Another teenager look and we were done. Water is now dripping down the eaves of the barn and the inside is cooler. However, people have nearly wrecked their trucks passing the barn and seeing it dripping – it isn’t raining, so where’s the water coming from? That has been a source of entertainment for the neighborhood. Did I mention I live in the middle of no where? We are easily amused out here…

I bought umbrellas to put around the koi pond; can’t let the little fish get sunburned. Watching the sun and checking its position, I run out, moving the umbrellas like any good cabana girl. Only I don’t get a tip. Cool water is applied liberally – can’t let them heat up. Still no tip.

The dogs, well, they seem to be the smartest animals on the place. We take our little jaunt in the morning. But, when they are done, they rush the door. They do not like the heat. I usually find then lying under a ceiling fan during the day. Wish I could join them but I'm too busy running around trying to keep every one else cool.

For the last few days, I have been outside in the heat, applying water to plants, horses, cats, dogs, and fish but not myself. I finally succumbed, suffering heat stroke. Now everyone is smirking at me…

How do you beat the heat? Lying at the pool or just staying inside? Any heat related stories out there? Or are you smarter than me and avoiding it all together?


  1. Cheryl, your post is really funny. It made me laugh, not an easy thing to do this early in the morning. Like your teenage helper I mostly like things to begin after noon. :-)

    I hope you and all of your animals can enjoy cooler weather soon.

    I generally just try to avoid the heat as much as I can. No children and no pets probably helps make that easier to do.

    Stay cool and I hope you are feeling 100% soon.

  2. Enjoyed your post, Cheryl. I am thinking about you and all your charges, hoping there will be a break in the heat (so ready for Fall, I am!).

    As for our charges, the host of workers currently busy on the additions have eliminated my need to bother much about my flower beds. They have torn much of that up with scaffolding and such. It will be a blank floral slate, for the most part, when they are finally gone. Our courtyard is a wasteland with few survivors. As for our feline, well, he lives indoors, so he has more cool air than he really wants. Yes, we keep it pretty cool at our house because VoluptoBabe (that would be me) needs air.

    Hang in there, Cheryl. Fall is coming!

  3. Cheryl, I have the picture of you falling into the pool fully-clothed while the cat is purring slyly in my mind. I can't help but giggle. Sorry. ;)

    Not having to worry about horses and such, this makes me realize how incredibly spoiled my cats are. Miss Daae and Mr. Billington should be extremely grateful for their southern fixin's.

    Crystal, my heart goes out to you as you witness the demise of your flower beds. I had the same problem when we had our roof replaced and the outside painted years ago. Right now, weeds are my primary enemy. It's too hot to get out there and salvage my flower garden now. I only hope I can get control of it when I can give it the care it needs.

  4. Cheryl, I can just see you scurrying around taking care of all your babies! And I have a teenager so I know all about the eye-rolling. But I truly understand your concern. We have a collie mix, Molly, who was acting really strange about two weeks ago. She would jump up suddenly and run around like crazy. After calling the vet on a Sunday we did a thorough body check and found she had hot spots on her hind quarters. Mind you this baby is a house dog and sleeps on our bed but she had tons of hair and an even thicker undercoat. Well...hubby and our neighbor got out the clippers and several hours later my little Molly vaguely resembled a Chinese Crested. Or a lion, depending how you look at her. Yes, she looks ridiculous but she is much cooler and it will grow back. Added bonus...less dog hair to vacuum up! ;-D
    Hope you're feeling better!!

  5. Stephanie - glad I can give you a smile before facing your "critters."

    Crystal- I renovated a couple of years ago and I thought I would commit murder. The roofers shot nails at the pool and finally I threatened them with my own nailgun and Mason.

    Kathy - I think we all spoil our cats. They deserve it
    though, don't they? I love my animals but sometimes I wonder what I am doing with so many!

    Sherry - I have a Sheltie who gets hotspots. A horse medicine called Nu Stock will clear it up. The boys also swear by it for poison ivy - what possessed them to try it I'll never know...but it does work!

    Thanks for being patient with me today. Hubby and I celebrated our thirtieth anniversary last night. I got bling! We're headed back from Biloxi right now to the beach. Excuse any typos I'm in the car on my phone...

  6. Happy Anniversary, Cheryl. I hope you had a wonderful trip. And, believe me, I understand why you finally threatened the roofers with a nailgun and Mason. I feel a similar moment brewing. I have never felt so violated--perhaps the recluse should have thought this through a bit more before diving in with wild abandon. Our cat, Salem, has been traumatized by it all.

    Kathy, thank you for your sympathy. I am sorry about the weeds--they are formidable enemies in the face of such heat. I can't believe how hot it has been this year!

    Sherry, hope Molly heals soon.

  7. I've been absent today because I am working on submissions. I am so good. No working on the new WIP--which is what I want to do.

    What we do for our animals. Lucky for me, two of mine wouldn't go outside if there was fresh shrimp waiting for them. The third would, but he seems wise to what is going on out there.

    When I was out at noon today Car Woman told me it was 90 and I did the happy dance.

    October, where are you?

    I put Greg Head out today. Knowing my love for Halloween and sharing her love of Alabama football, last year, Stephanie bought me a paper-mache Jack-o-Lantern pail wearing a number 12 Alabama helmet . The 12 is for the number of National Championships Alabama had won at that point. (That has changed now.) But 12 is also quarterback Greg McElroy's number. So I call it Greg Head. I figure if he's practicing in this heat, his head deserves to be out.

  8. Cheryl, many wonderful thoughts coming your way as you and your hubby celebrate your anniversary!

    Sherry, sure hope Molly feels better soon. I've got this picture of your lioness in my head.

    Salem will surely hide until the racket is over, Crystal. I'm always afraid the workers will let my cats out when they're here. Mr. Billington is afraid of his shadow. Miss Daae is too, but she just might dart out when no one is looking and I have to keep on my toes.

    Does anyone know where I can get a Monk Head?

  9. Okay, the head thing is creeping me out... Disembodied heads?

    And Kathy, dare I ask - why do you need a Monk Head?

    Jean, love ya darlin', and I won't say anything about the helmet thing...I am trying to behave! Really I am!

  10. To symbolize Tim Teebow, of course! ;)