Life in a cabin on a mountain in southern Pennsylvania
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Hottest time of the year
It’s not quite three weeks past the summer solstice, and already I can tell that the mornings are darker. The difference isn’t much yet, but it is noticeable. The sky at 5:30 a.m. is verging on the color of pre-dawn rather than dawn. By the time Baby Dog and I are taking our morning walk a few minutes later, the sky has brightened.
Three weeks past solstice is typically the hottest time of year here, and this year is determined not to be an exception. I am in the middle of a heat wave that won’t end before Sunday. The end of the heat wave always seems to be forecast to extend for another morning longer than it was the day before.
Three weeks past the winter solstice is also typically the coldest time of the winter. In this region, it’s called “farm show weather,” and those of you who are local readers will know what that means. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is a long-standing and huge event, and it is held during that coldest point of the winter. Weather then is nearly always bad, in addition to being cold. There seems to be a long-standing tradition of people who are intending to attend the farm show, only to be deterred by terrible weather that keeps people at home. But that’s a topic for 180 days from now.
At the moment I am suffering through temperatures in the mid ‘90’s, trying to take some minor comfort in the idea that this may well be the hottest point of the year, and I can expect relief before long. That’s more theoretically satisfying than it is satisfying in reality.
Tomorrow will be another camp day for me, and with a forecast of 96 degrees, I can’t say I’m looking forward to it with my usual enthusiasm. I also continue to worry with the depth of the little stream where the kids catch crayfish, frogs and salamanders. It’s been low all year, and a heat wave isn’t going to help that one bit. The stream was so slow-moving last week that virtually anything the kids did created mud that took forever to clear again. Normally I can let the kids wade in the stream, knowing the mud they kick up will clear within moments. Not this year. I keep telling them to stay out of the main pool because if you can’t see anything, you can’t catch anything. That falls on deaf ears. Sigh.
I live in a cabin in the forests of Pennsylvania. I write about what I see and do in the natural world around me. I've been a hawkwatcher for more than 20 years, a birder for longer than that, and a crayfish-catcher since I was a polywog.