Sunday, August 8, 2010

August is too. damn. hot.

Yesterday, we made another day trip up to the land. The going on twelve foot high weeds had to come down, we needed to put the new break-into-this-NOW lock on the shipping container, and we just really wanted to be out there. Getting bogged down at home, being so far away, getting frustrated that the house designs keep. constantly. changing. makes it hard to see the forest for the trees. We forget entirely what our forest looks like. That it actually exists and isn't some figmented dream of our hearts.

We loaded up the trailer and by nine a.m. was on our way North. There is a bush hog driver just around the corner from our land. We talked to him last time we were up. His price was a little higher than the last guy but he wouldn't charge a travel fee so it evened itself out. We had to meet him at noon. Nine a.m. was cutting it close but somehow, even with the myriad of potty breaks and multiple re-tyings of the tarplin, we made it up with a few minutes to spare.

I have been deluding myself. I will own it right here and now. On hot, sticky days I have been falsely consoling my heart that our land runs about ten degrees cooler than where we are now. That those ten degrees will make it easier to farm our small bit of the Sunshine State. That sheep, wool covered bunnies and pumpkins won't wilt to nothing in the swealtering madness. Oh, I was so terribly wrong. The truth of the matter is that August in Florida -anywhere in Florida- is just too. damn. hot.

It was miserable. We brought up two 5,000 BTU window units that we powered with the generator. In the four hours were were there I think their combined Max-temp-high-fan output cooled the shed about two degrees less than the atrocious conditions outside. The kids were red faced and saturated with their own sweat. We laid in motionless lumps. I was nauseous and had a headache by hour three. I think if we had stayed longer delusions and body tremors might have set in. We bought plenty to drink; water, tea, powerade, and lemonade. But we couldn't get it in at the rate it was perspiring out.

While the heat pushed us down on our knees, it also brought the reality of building a home with our own hands crashing down.

How, dear God, are we going to do this? With only a scant few months of amiable temperatures to work with, how are we ever going to build a home? Farm the land? Even pounding fence posts and planting trees now seems too difficult a chore. All this land, and more with only our hands to shape it?

But we're nothing if not creative and resourceful. Our ideas of using concrete block instead of frame have been modified. We're reconsidering using shipping containers to complete at least two sides of the house. A smaller foot print is in order. Trees have been added to the budget to shade the shed and our home.
The window units will have to be replaced with a heartier system. Yes, we're changing the floor plan yet again. Yes, we've been knocked down a few pegs back into the hot hands of reality. But we're not out of the fight yet. The bell hasn't rung, the counts aren't even close to being made.

After the one section was mowed the girls and I took a trip along the edge where the forest wilderness now meets the meadow. It didn't seem so hot outside. The wind gusted past cooling our sweat beaded skin. We took a slow pace, no need to rush, as we explored the animals and plants that inhabit our land with us. The girls were awed by spiders and birds. The sweet smell of dog fennel was sharp and soothing. The sky was shining a bright blue peppered with fluffy white clouds as we walked.

The heat didn't seem so bad then. Only another aspect to consider. Now we know. Now we modify our ideas, form a new plan of attack without forgetting how August sucker punched us.


  1. I think there just wasn't enough airflow. Yes, we do need beefer AC units. A fan would have helped. Shade makes a huge difference. When I was working out on the truck, having the canopy there with the water mister and kiddie pool to cool my feet made it far more tolerable. Granted, it wasn't so hot that day.

    It's hot everywhere, all over the US. It just lasts longer in Florida, but we don't have to deal with horrific winters and rusty cars.

  2. I think I'll just let the weeds grow up next to the container. Soon it will look like a big green box.

  3. Oh, dear God, I know the feeling. I have NEVER sweat so much as I have this summer. The weeds took over the peppers and it took 3 trips out to get them under control. I can't even FIND the corn!!!! LOL It's overwhelming to start something like this and with this economy.....well, selling the existing house to pay for the new one is a joke! Are we both nuts? I think you kindo' have to be to do what we're doing!!!! Keep the chin up!

  4. You can do this. I agree, the heat is intolerable, but what's going to make it tolerable is what you're going to have in the end. Keep plodding along.