RISING SUN - Like the rest of Crawford County, we have been sweltering away in the hot and sultry summer days as of late. Even my dogs have been slowed by the extreme heat–dog days of summer and all.
We were quite excited when we bought our new home and saw that it had this interesting wall mounted air conditioner. It’s similar to the ones they use in Mexico, so I knew it would be a saving grace during the hottest days–until it wasn’t. Disappointingly, we went to fire it up only to find it wasn’t blowing cold air. Lack of time to call the repairman prevailed and we’ve just left it off.
Fear not, though, because I have a best friend who must truly love me. For days, I had been complaining simultaneously about petty stuff between Chasca and I, as well as the heat. Gripes about him leaving an empty bottle on the counter coupled with “I may just die in this wretched inferno,” helped Stephanie realize I might just lose it with Chasca for no other reason than the fact I’m hot and ornery.
Thanks to the pandemic, I have not been taking the kids into the store. So, I informed her I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere to buy a coveted AC unit anytime soon. Being the best friend she is, she used the last of the cash she had until payday and picked up the perfectly sized air conditioning unit. I don’t think I’d ever felt more loved than I did at that very moment.
To top it off, when she delivered it, she required that we all take a trip to the swimming hole to boot. In our youth, we spent many a hot summer’s day splashing around at the same swimming hole. A sweet little spot, where you usually see friends or locals in the know. Icy cold waters and a little bit of a current add extra excitement.
Although our two puppies are seemingly eager water dogs, judging by the fact they even try to swim in their dog dish, they stayed home this round. We had brought them one time before, and both took one quick swim and went ashore.
This time, the main star of the dog swimming show was Stephanie’s two-pound Yorkie mix, named Honey Bear. Hardly taller than the grass, and forever shivering nervously, Honey Bear cut through the water like a slick miniature otter. It was really rather impressive.
We also discovered that Waylon is quite the water baby compared to his brother. Thatcher had seemingly suffered some water trauma because of all of the time we spent keeping his ears dry during the time he had his tubes. He’s much happier skipping rocks and hunting for minnows from the shore. Wayls however is only happy on his belly, with his water wings, getting floated around by his dad. Although the water felt as cold as can be on a hot July 3 afternoon, Bop was nothing but smiles.
The only thing the heat has seemingly put a damper on is the berry picking and jam making. We made it out one early evening to hit a rather impressive black cap patch on our pasture fence line. Four little hands and four big hands made quick work of all of the berries. Although I must note, all the berries picked by the little hands didn’t seem to make it into the bucket. Judging by the bright purple faces and fingers on both Thatcher and Waylon, I can give you one guess as to what happened.
Luckily though, tart cherries are another matter. They love picking the bright red fruit, but don’t gobble it down like a flock of hungry chickens. And I was able to cook down 24 cups from our one tree. I converted that into our first batch of cherry jelly. I managed to beat the heat by getting it done at about midnight, with the teeny tiny ac blasting away.Instead of complaining so much about the heat, I want to try to enjoy it a bit. I want to soak in every bit of 93 degrees. Because when the temperature goes below zero more often than we’d like to admit, I know I’ll be missing these hot sweaty afternoons–missing those quick cold dips in the creek with my pink-cheeked babies and the sun burnt redhead.