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Heat - From the End of June Through the 4th Holiday
June 25-July 4, 2016Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,
Written June 28+
This is a diary that will NOT be terribly interesting. It reflects our current life in Fresno, specifically that life when the summer temperatures soar. Everything "interesting" takes us out of air conditioning and that makes us wilt. Wilt is not interesting.
Oh well, it is what it is. Here's the little story anyway, for our own record if nothing else.
Saturday morning was spent finishing the recovery-from-travel needed when we return - washing, cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, garden maintenance. We have done this often enough now, that it no longer seems much of a chore, certainly not enough to discourage travel!
In the late afternoon we picked up Mamo and headed to the Organic Stone Fruit Jubilee in Clovis. Mostly, this was just an excuse to get outside and "feel local". The Jubilee had tables for local favorites, such as Mary's Chickens and Ducks, the happiest fowl, and presumably best meat, around. Our cleaning person is actually a farmer, or maybe "a foster parent", for Mary's Chickens and she says the company does indeed fuss about what the birds eat and how they spend their leisure time before "the end". We have occasionally splurged on the product at Whole Foods and it does seem better, albeit at a significant cost premium.
The main attraction was the array of organic stone fruit farmers showing and selling their wares out in the orchard. Thirteen local growers brought in their best peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, and pluots (a plum-apricot hybrid). Jubilee attendees were challenged to sample and find the best. We made two circuits of the samples before Mamo had decided exactly which peaches she wanted to take home. We went along with her decision, plus a few smaller fruits to fill the corners in our $5 fruit bags. This was actually harder than one might think, as all of the fruits were pretty darn tasty!
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and, so far, Wednesday were not so exciting. That alone is a comment on how quiet our Fresno life can be.
Our lives became regulated by "PGE SmartDays". Let me explain. The local power company (PG&E) has a rate option whereby we trade lower summer electric rates most of the time for way higher rates between 2 and 7 pm on certain days (SmartDays) of their choosing. We get 24 hours warning, but have learned to recognize that when the temperature is forecast to go beyond about 104F /40C), chances are good that we will need to turn off all the electric appliances we can for those five hours.
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday have been identified as SmartDays. Our plans are generally to turn off the air conditioning and leave our house as it heats up. On Monday, we went out to a late lunch and an early movie. ("The Free State of Jones". Not bad and a nice, cool, theater.) For Tuesday, we headed to Mamo's for her AC, pool, and a Marianne-prepared dinner. Again, a decent use of time away from home.
For Thursday, we started with a little shopping (a new, blue, sun umbrella for Mamo's pool.After that hard work, Marianne got takeout dinner from Cheesecake Factory. NO cheesecake, but calorie-equivalent servings of well-chilled white wine followed by a warm evening of swimming and patio chatting. Marianne and I also took advantage of Mamo's air conditioning and stayed overnight. Not a bad "SmartDay".
That completed five of the 15 SmartDays of the season and we will still have the peak months of July and August ahead. To complicate matters, we have guests each month, but we are getting coping experience: movies, pools, Mamo's ac, mountain visits, and in extremes, escape to the cooler Bay Area climate. All in all, for an annual bad-weather season, I probably prefer three months of Fresno heat to three months of cold and ice and snow. Ask me again in a couple of months.
Friday started as uneventful as the rest of the week. I came back to the house at 5:30 in order to air out the heat from our ac-free Thursday. It was in the mid-80's on the ground floor and probably the low 90s upstairs, but under 70 outside so we tried to capture as much of that outside air as possible. We have a whole-house exhaust fan that does a decent job of moving air out, but the heat had already soaked into all the "things" of the house: walls, floors, furniture, etc. Even with pre-venting, it will take hours for our old ac unit to make the house really comfortable. At least there's no humidity to remove!
My only other Friday activity has been this diary and some pictures of song birds enjoying our back yard feeder. They don't seem to mind the heat, but are usually hiding during the worst of it. We need to learn from nature.
Monday, the Fourth of July, was a bit more active because we had invited neighbors to enjoy our shady back yard for holiday-appropriate food: hot dogs. Our street has a tradition of ad hoc meetings for wine on porches between 5 and 7pm. Our contribution is to occasionally open up our back yard, since our house is one of only two on the block without a social front porch. On this holiday, a dozen people showed up and we enjoyed the warm evening. I never thought temperatures in the 90sF would be comfortable, but after last week's 105F+, it really was pleasant.
So, that's it for the current diary. "Not terribly interesting", as promised, but nice enough memories to look back on in our own dotage.
We will try for more excitement soon.
John and Marianne
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