Friday: All Sizzle and No Steak

Okay. Here we go.  Summer is officially launched at *Five Maples. Markers of this truth include but are not limited to the following:

â–¶ All double-sash windows, top and bottom panes, go open later and later during the long days of heat–when the outside temps are finally cooler than inside, and they go closed sooner and sooner of a morning when outside temps exceed inside. Thermoregulation as exercise workout. Lift, lower, one, two…

â–¶ Last night, Little White oscillated all night long from atop the dresser; sheet required. In the next phase, the July Oppression, the sheet goes, fan stays on and speed goes to max  and no longer bounced off the ceiling. And one of us is going to complain: she’s too cold with the windstorm, I’m too hot without it. Marriage.

â–¶ Morning comes, no slippers, no sox, no nothing more than bare minimum required, I suppose, for decency purposes (though here on the creek, who’s gonna know?) I remember describing myself to someone as a naturalist once, and they jumped to the wrong but reasonable conclusion, given our remoteness and being in Floyd, and who could blame them?

â–¶ The ceiling fan over my computer goes on before 5 a.m. and stays on all day.

â–¶ Morning coffee now makes me sweat. I’ll prepare fewer cups the night before because a hot beverage first thing in the morning has lost its thermal appeal for all the months without an R in them.

June09_2323mapleshadow670â–¶ The week ahead offers consistent 30% chance of rain every day, sometimes 40; but this means hit or miss (sorry, garden plants) and more often miss for us as recent storms  consistently swell up along the Blue Ridge escarpment a few miles to our south and east as cooler west air masses meet the humid uplift from the piedmont and move towards the coast–with all our moisture.

â–¶ Shorts and sandals will be the uniform of the day, week and next two months at least. Suffer the sight of white legs, with apologies.

â–¶ Crockpot meals go into the laundry room with the door shut to keep the heat contained. She complains of clean clothes that smell like 32 bean soup. Smells bells, I don’t care!

â–¶ Meals will be taken from the porches in the relative cool of the evening. And we will relearn the Goose Creek salute between bites of salad, when the gnats hatch from what’s left of the stream.

[su_note note_color=”#e1ded8″ text_color=”#49491a”]* I was outvoted when it came to naming this place back in 1999. I opted for something that spoke specifically about the unique nature of the nature of this place. Our five live-green air-conditioning units that surround us on three sides seemed to offer such a handle, if we must have one–she said we must.

She’d once driven past a Wythe County house whose owners had given it the name “HeresHome” and that’s what she wanted. So that’s what we got–here at Five Maples. [/su_note]

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred, you could have been describing the days here on the Bayou just add in the high humidity. Here the windows stay open twenty-four hours a day in hopes a Bay breeze while the buzz of the fans has been nonstop for the last month, Hot coffee has been modified to be iced or simply replaced with sweet tea. Soon cooking will be kept to a minimum or simply moved to the outdoor grill. Still, life is good and I cannot complain. Try to stay cool and hydrated!

  2. Fred, when I rolled out of bed at sunrise yesterday the temp outside had already passed 80 for the day…and tomorrow starts summer!

  3. I can’t add anything to this discussion of heat, because the Pacific Ocean five blocks away keeps us naturally airconditioned most of the year. I can say I like your black and white photo today! Sounds like a screened porch would be a nice immprovement to your house, Fred. I’m surprised it hasn’t been put on your Honey Do list!

  4. Rarely gets that hot up here in the ‘great white north’, and I’m glad I don’t have to cope with it much. Furnace is still coming on here on cool mornings 7 degrees C yesterday a.m.