In contrast to modern times, during the scorching thirties, people would often sleep outside on porches, often on the west side of the house so that they could take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures for longer, more restful sleep. They'd regularly wet down their sheets (and clothes) to cool off. On the one hand, that strikes me as barbaric. To be so desperate to be cool that you wet down your sheets seems nearly unbearable - and pretty gross.
And yet - on the other hand, it actually seems sort of sensible.
Why try to create an energy guzzling artificially controlled indoor environment multiplied by millions upon millions of households when you can work with your climate in small ways - like a wet shirt or towel? It isn't that a wet towel or sheet doesn't work (because it does) that horrifies me. I think what really is mind bending is that we have become so accustomed to living in controlled environments that we are horrified that perfectly reasonable, environmentally friendly solutions which actually work would be necessary in the first place. It is telling, to me, that most of us think being hot or cold or uncomfortable is unnatural. But, actually, it isn't. It is the opposite of unnatural. We can rail against it or we can shrug and say, "HEY, it's summer/it's winter."
As an early morning riser who heads straight for the backdoor with my coffee - and straight to bed from sitting on my patio in the evening - I notice there is an enormous difference in rhythm of life when you live outdoors vs. what we typically do, today. For example, I can set my thermometer to a steady 73 degrees, stay indoors, stay up late reading, squint at the sun from within the house, windows firmly closed, and look forward to the day when the outside temperature drops - not so much because it will make me more comfortable, but because the electric bill will be lower. It is as if I am working very hard to shut out the changing seasons of life other than what I see outside my window. And, frankly, much of the time, the curtains are closed.
And yet. I know from staying outdoors in the morning and evening that the moving air from natural breezes is healing. There is a world of difference, comfort wise, between 72 degrees in the still, indoor air vs. 72 degrees in the living breezes, outside.
Being outdoors makes us much more aware of creatures that share this earth at a level we would never achieve from television or a book. Being outside connects us to the earth and nature in a way we simply can't accomplish locked indoors. And the more I am outdoors, the less it seems uncomfortable, at least in the range of temperature that isn't death defying even when it is far outside the 72 - 73 degrees we've become used to. I mean, if you have a breeze, it is quite comfortable ten degrees higher. And if you have a sweater, it is perfectly comfortable fifteen degrees lower. And yet, in that range, we frequently run our AC full throttle and huddle indoors.
But let me just say this - I keep on the AC. I have big fluffy dogs not meant for this climate and a husband who loves the AC. And just last week, we set an all time high temperature of 113 degrees and it only got down to 82 degrees at night. That was brutal during the afternoon.
Evelyn has also had some health issues. About three years ago, her coat started getting brittle and she stopped blowing her coat. A year or so ago, she developed bald patches on her hips and a nearly bald, dinner plate size spot on her right side. The skin, beneath, turned thick and black. Around Christmas, I took her to the vet and had her thyroid checked but it came back normal. Her skin was not infected, thank goodness. We put her on thyroid medicine, regardless, but after four months saw no improvement so took her off. Then, in June, I took her in for an upset stomach and the substitute vet took one look at her and ordered a Free T-4 test that they sent out to another lab. That does a more thorough job of checking her thyroid function. Sure enough, she had very low thyroid function so they put her on a dosage more than twice what we'd tried, before. In about three weeks, I started seeing dramatic changes in her coat and energy level. She started blowing her coat and the bald spots looked even more bare.
The following photo were taken that shows the dark pigmented spot on her side. The hips were worse:
Here, you can see the pigmentation getting lighter but she still has sort of nasty, matted hair that just wouldn't let loose. I couldn't wash it out or brush it out without hurting her - it clung to her like glue:
After 8 weeks, I can see baby undercoat coming in and the spots seem to be filling in. These photos were taken a couple of days ago:
Grandson Charlie and his family braved the record breaking summer heat and visited last weekend:
I've been working on a number of quilting projects - some I can show and some are "secret."
Here are a few I can share:
Here are a couple of wallhangings I'm pretty pleased with:
I then made a sister wallhanging for autumn, using the same general design but the tree is bigger because I wanted to focus on that and the fall color. Here is a photo before I bound it:
My next design in that series - although I haven't started it, yet - is going to be a leafless tree, bent in the winter wind, perhaps at night with stars. I haven't sketched out my ideas, yet. Now that I've figured out machine applique and fusing (always felt that was cheating, before), it has opened up a whole new world in art quilting.
I'm planning on doing a few more baby quilts in the next few months. I'm also just about decided to take in longarm quilting, professionally.
Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearly