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?