Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat wave survival tips

After reading this interview with the author of the book "Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer)," I am more determined than ever to avoid air conditioning when possible. Based on the people around me, I seem to be more affected by heat more quickly than others, and I have developed some coping strategies.

In no particular order, here are Julie's Top Heat Wave Survival Tips.

1. Find a body of water. Play, boat, kayak, lounge. I am a huge fan of kayaking, and there are several places in the Rochester region. I wrote about a favorite trip here. The picture above is at Keshequa Creek in Sonyea State Forest.

2. Make a refreshing drink. I will soon be trying Frappucheapo. Meanwhile, a household favorite is herbal lemonade. Steep about 3 cups of lemon balm or mint (easily...too easily...grown herbs in any garden or pots) in a gallon of water for a couple of hours. Add one cup of lemon juice and sweeten to taste. I use a couple of tablespoons of honey or agave nectar. Incredibly refreshing!

The lemon balm would take over my driveway if I let it.

3. Window fans. We have 2 in our bedroom. Blow the hot air out during the day; turn around and blow the cool air in at night. I can't tell you how wonderful these are.

4. Spring rolls. When it's too hot to even grill, my standby is either a big salad, fruit, or if I have a little energy, spring rolls. These can be made quickly with whatever you happen to have around. I keep the wrappers on hand, and fill with some combination of lettuce, herbs, tofu, veggies, and/or cellophane noodles (which don't have to be boiled, just soaked briefly in hot water, so you don't even have to turn on the stove). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

5. Public library. Or an air-conditioned public space of your choosing. You could go to a coffeeshop or movie, but libraries are so wonderful, and FREE! Remember libraries? That's where we went to read things before we had the internet. Check them out!

6. Take some cues from pre-AC days. People kept their windows closed to keep the cool air in, drank lots of ice water, took it easy during the heat of the day. I recently visited Chautauqua Institution, where most places don't have AC. Their tree-lined streets made it feel quite cool, and notice the awnings on the houses, which also keep the sun away.

Feel free to share other survival tips in the comments! I'm sure I've left many out!


Kathryn J said...

I completely agree. I think one of the reasons that I love the heat so much is that my body just adapts to it because I don't have a/c. I do miss my neighbors during the summer because most disappear into their houses with the windows shut tight.

Another survival tip is to cook a side salad in the morning - something interesting then you just put something on the grill and eat it outside for dinner. This morning we made curried potatoes and kale.

C'mon - this is Rochester. Think January and enjoy it!

jodycb said...

For hot nights, sleeping with a damp towel on you can make a huge difference.

Michele Spring-Moore said...

A lemonade-like drink can be made from sumac flowers -- those cone-shaped structures that are blossoming now in Western Mass. Don't drink too much, though -- it's a diuretic.

Have you ever noticed how many old houses have gorgeous porches, and so few modern ones do? I think the porch may be among the greatest human inventions!


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