Friday, June 26, 2009

Staying Cool without Electricity

Greetings! I pray that everyone is doing well.

Summer heat has settled in now. We are having temps reaching the low 100*s on a daily basis and often with very little breeze. The focus is becoming the issue of how to deal with summer's heat without fans or air conditioning.

One of the way we combat the heat is to drink lots of fluids! Water and lemonade are always available & kept cold in the refrigerator.

I have started the habit of having a cool bubble bath available for the kids all afternoon. In the late morning, I run about 2-3 inches of water in the tub with a bit of baby wash. At any time in the afternoon when the children are getting too hot, they play in the tub. This works out better than having a small pool outdoors. The wasps love the outdoor kiddie pool as much (if not more than) the little ones! This has been working out very well. The little ones are able to cool off and also we can wash off the sweat & dirt from their playing all at once.

The most strenuous work is done in the mornings only. This will help to prevent becoming overheated & sick from the high temps. The past few days, the radio has announced heat advisories and by early afternoon you can certainly feel it! I now understand the reasons behind the idea of taking a siesta in the hot afternoons.

A recent change that helps greatly with keeping cooler is to not cook in the warm part of day. We now are eating foods cooked on the grill, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of roll-ups instead of cooking a hot meal each day. Things like a layered bean dip (refried beans, taco meat, and assorted toppings common on burritos or tacos) can be made early in the morning then refrigerated until ready to serve. Homemade potato or macaroni salads also can be made in the evening and refrigerated overnight.

We bought expandable screens to put in the windows that did now have any form of screens. This goes far in helping to take advantage of any breeze that happens to be present.

One common tip that we have tried in the past is to put foil in the upper windows. The idea is to reflect the sunlight away from the windows. We take a large piece of cardboard that is large enough to fit the upper half of the window. The cardboard is covered in foil with the shiny side facing outward. The cardboard is then placed in the window. It is important to note that you do not want to fully cover your windows with foil. This will darken the room and turn it into a nice cool, dark enviroment that spiders love! For this reason, we only do the top half of the windows. The bottom half has the window screens which allow both light and air flow.

What are your favorite tips for staying cool in the summer?


hausmutti said...

I don't have small children anymore, but I do have two dogs who need to cool down. I, too, keep a wading pool full of water but I put a bit of Basic H in the water. It won't hurt them if they drink it and the pool rinses clean easily when I change the water. When my children were small, I bathed them in water with a tiny bit of Basic H and rarely used soap on them. Cleaned the children and kept the tub cleaner.
We have also been drinking lots of mint tea. I mix dried peppermint and spearmint (Frontier cut and sifted leaves).

Mary said...

You could also try keeping a spray water bottle in the fridge. When sprayed on the pulse points it increases the cooling effect. So easy and very refreshing.

Carrie said...

Great tips Paula, I will try these out...I especially love the bathtub one...

LizBeth said...

I hope you have tall ceilings in your farm house. They do help.. . . . . I still remember the first summer after we were married. No A/C in our little rent house. It was miserably hot. 100 degrees at midnight many nights. We consumed iced tea by the pitcher full. I've seen floor plans for older houses that had sleeping porches. In kinder and gentler times that must have been a wonderful idea. . . . .Take care! God bless you all. Liz

Linda said...

Hi Paula,

I am a bit spoiled these days. But even with air conditioning we open the house up to let it cool off with the evening coolness. When we didn't have air conditioning, we would leave it closed up tight until the house reached the same temp as the outdoors, then we open it up again. Often it would be in the early afternoon before it got hot enough to open. Now we turn the air conditioner on at that time.

I too used the tub when I lived in Arkansas. I kept it about half full so when I would get too hot, I would soak for a bit in the cool water. Then even a hand held fan would cool me off for a little while.

PocketsoftheFuture said...

In very hot cultures, it is common for people to drink hot drinks in hot weather. Hot tea, for instance. Your body has to cool it down and you end up sweating which cools you down. I think that cool beverages may raise your body temp just a little bit.

I like reading about what you are doing and how you are adapting. I long to live off grid myself and actually think of you often and your off grid ways. I think of the moment you described of having the power finally shut off and long to experience that moment for myself.

Thank you for all you do,

Kelle said...

Although we are on grid we try to keep our electric bill in check. We've found that ceiling fans are of great help in keeping a home cooler. We open windows at night and close up early in the mornings. This way the house stay relatively cool. When it's into the mid to high 90's our home stays at abotu 72-75F, which is cool when coming in from the outside heat.

We also come in in the heat of the day and do basic inddor chore, or simply read a book or write a letter.

Placing a cool damp cloth on the back of your neck helps to cool you down if you get to hot.

What we've found is that your body gets acclimated to the heat, which helps you to feel more comfortable when out in it.

A friend of ours makes neck bands( small tube of fabric), she fills them with rice, then you cool in summer and you can heat them in winter. and place around back of neck.

Scarlett said...

I just really want to thank you! Your post not long ago about canning got me in gear to get a pressure cooker and do some more of it myself. I started last year with hot water bath canning. I was afraid for some reason to make the jump to the pressure cooker. I have now done chili, seasoned ground beef, stew meat and chicken and chicken broth. It has already come in so handy on busy nights!!!! I can't thank you enough for giving me a kick in the backside there!

Bella Bride said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I was linked to it from A Virtuous Woman. I live in Oklahoma too. The weather has been hot and humid lately. Sending prayers that your family stays cool!

Anonymous said...

Please, if you do not mind tell me how to make a drop spindle.
Thanks so kindly.
Greensboro, NC

Matti said...

My family has always lived in the mountains, where we have a very brief hot season. Because the hot weather doesn't last long, many of the locals are reluctant to invest in AC in their houses. My family has always been among those without the AC, and I can remember my mom teaching me the tricks my grandmother would use to keep her house cool. One of the things she taught me was to hang wet bedsheets around the house in areas that had good air circulation. You can always create the circulation by setting up a fan (like I do), or you can put them near open windows, doors, etc. The combination of the evaporating water in the sheets and the circulating air around them helps cool the room.

I don't think I would have ever thought of this on my own. Thank goodness for grandma and the passing on of traditional, good old family wisdom. :-)