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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hot!

We're having a terrible heatwave here in South Carolina. Actually, most of the country is sweltering with record breaking heat this week, so we're not alone. I can't stand it. I feel physically sick when I step outside during the day, and the nights aren't much better. I just checked the weather...it's almost 100°F with 52% humidity at 2pm. As the temperature drops in the evening, the humidity goes even higher. It's hard to breathe in weather like this.

And our power bill is outrageous! We bought a portable air conditioner for the garage so that Ginger and George would be comfortable back in June. Even with it running on the "power saving" mode, keeping them cool (and cooling our house) in this kind of heat meant that our latest power bill was almost $400. 
What can you do, though? We all have to survive the summer with some measure of comfort. We do what we can to conserve energy, keeping the thermostat turned up when we're not home, drawing the blinds during the day, turning off lights and unplugging appliances when they're not in use. There's nothing else to be done but wait for fall or for a break in the heat, whichever comes first.

A lot of our neighbors had trees cut down this spring. A tree removal service did some work at one house and then passed out flyers offering deals to the rest of us. Plenty of folks jumped on the bandwagon and had great big old trees cut down. That was such a foolish thing to do. We wanted no part of it, and now we have some of the last shade trees left on the block and our house is so much more comfortable for it. I can only imagine how much harder to cool it would be without all the big old trees blocking the midday sun. Plus, I love trees. They make a home so much more inviting year-round. Check out our shady green backyard oasis.


It's still hot out there, but much better than it has to be! I wonder how many of our neighbors now regret cutting theirs down?

15 comments:

  1. Having lived in Fiji and Thailand, I know how oppressive high temperatures can be. You sometimes want to hide from the heat, like running home from a rainstorm. Only darkness seems to bring relief. But how foolish of your neighbours to have so many trees removed and how clever of you and Gregg for not following the crowd.

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    1. You know, the first few trees that went down I could see the reason behind it--they were giant pine trees. Pine trees here spring up easily where they're not wanted and grow super fast. But if we have a tropical storm or hurricane blow through (which happens most years) the wind and the rain will uproot them easily. And large branches will break at the least hint of winter ice. Pine trees too close to the house are trouble, and those where the majority of the first ones to go down. But then because the tree cutting company offered deals, I saw lots of people cutting down perfectly good trees (even oaks!) for no better reason (I suspect) than to make the yard more convenient for using riding lawn mowers. Old men around here love plain bright green rectangles that they can zip across and cut in 15 minutes.

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  2. Same here,Jennifer, so hot and humid, the ac is on all summer,for me and the dog.It is so beautiful in your place.

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    1. Thank you Yael. I've missed your blog lately! I hope we get an update from you soon!

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  3. Cutting down trees is something I would only consider if they'd completely block out the light from my house, making it a dark cave (not welcome most of the time!), or if the roots would be dangerous to the building's structure. Every tree left on the planet is precious!!
    100 F does not sound too hot (37 C), but combined with the humidity I understand it is difficult to move and breathe in it.
    Nobody I know in Germany and England has AC in their private homes, and I must admit I don't like it much when I step into a shop or office building and it feels so much (unnaturally) colder than outside.
    Hopefully, you will soon be more comfortable!

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    1. The high humidity and the super bright sun at this latitude make it a very different environment than Germany (I suspect). People regularly are hospitalized and even die from heat related illnesses around here. Everyone has a/c in private homes.

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  4. Big mistake to cut down a big shade tree when you live in the Southern U.S. We need the shade! I am very fond of the trees on my block. There is nothing more welcoming than a neighborhood with lots of big, old trees.

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    1. The houses that refuse to cut the oldest trees in my neighborhood make me so happy! I agree that it's essential for a good neighborhood.

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  5. We have a large hazelnut tree that I like to sit under for shade. Umbrellas and awnings seem to trap the heat. Hope you get some respite soon. We've only had a couple of excessively hot days here so far, sometimes the high heat can continue for weeks in summer.

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    1. Our back yard is filled with young walnut trees.

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  6. You are so right about trees, and the bigger the better. We have one HUGE Oak tree, with low lying branches, which is perfect for when it's very hot. I would rather cut my arm off than fell that tree.

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    1. Amen! We also have a large, old oak tree in our front yard, and it is magnificent! I love that tree. And I remember specific trees from every place I've ever lived. They're important to me.

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  7. Why oh why would anyone cut down a tree ? Unless it was in danger of falling down or dead.
    They should have just had some trimming done.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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  8. I myself have experienced some truly unbearable hot and humid summer weather here in New Jersey. One particular year we had the air conditioner break on us and that was truly brutal. If it weren't for the shady trees, I wouldn't have been able to do anything outside. I'd suggest planting some more!

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  9. We live in the same region and our bill almost reached $400 as well. What we did was, rather than buy more air conditioners, we had a local electrician install some ceiling fans in many of the rooms we occupied during the day. We can now raise the air conditioning so it runs less because we feel cooler with that breeze blowing on us.

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