It has been a sizzling summer this year with many days here over 40 dc and very dry hot and humid conditions. Along with the heat and little or next to no rainfall over Dec and Jan, the tanks are almost empty, the river is nearly dry, pastures on nearby farms are turning into dust and animals if they haven’t been sent to market are looking very lethargic indeed. It’s very hard to grow or even do anything in these conditions. Our valleys are regularly filled with smoke from nearby fires.
The top 10 things that helped us and our animals survive the heat and kept things living and growing here:
Daily living practices
- A daily siesta after lunch – there’s nothing like a rest in the hottest part of the day.
- Keeping the house dark, closed and cool. It’s very hard to keep the sun out in summer, “the golden rule” when your house isn’t orientated the right way. So if you have rooms where the sun comes through windows, block it out with blinds curtains and the like.
- Outside work only early morning and late afternoon into the evening. The rest of the day rest, read or do jobs inside the home only.
- A swim – there’s nothing quite like a quick dip to cool you down completely!
Design and structures
- Cool damp swales under vegetation in the food forest the poultry could sink into. Our grey-water floods these swales when we most need it like now and there nothing chooks like more than a cool dirt bath under trees to keep cool.
- Our earthbag turkey dome. This new structure for our turkeys was a great peace of mind for us over summer. It allowed us to lock our new your chicks up in a very cool dome during the hottest times so they could keep cool and be protected from predators such as the go-annas.
- Outdoor kitchen and cooking – bbq’s and cooking in our outdoor kitchen didn’t heat up the house and keep us cool inside.
- Our Aquaponics system. Captures water in a system to grow fish and vegetables during summer that hardly evaporated, didn’t need watering and was shaded from the harsh conditions was a godsend. It’s hard to grow greens in these conditions
- Water – can’t do much without it and when we didn’t have rain our dam and our bore were used to keep gardens and livestock alive. We have learned to become extremely frugal with water usage here. We have also learned we need to catch and store much more and in these conditions, it’s hard to see how you can have too much. If we have a fire now we are totally reliant on the river or the bore.
- Trees. Our tall deciduous trees provided lots of shade for us and our animals. Trees made being outside tolerable and cooled the animals, birds and area around them. How basic and beautiful are our trees? We couldn’t live without them.
You might like to share your tips with us too? Here’s to a to a quick return to autumn, some rain and cooler temps.