Being Water Boy with a Camera

You may have noticed that most of my images this week have been in the evening.  My main work is done in the morning and in the afternoon.  It is the evening shift that I do the waters.  And it is in the evening that the temperatures drop enough for the animals to move and graze. It seems that the camera will not come out until the evening. 

Otherwise the animals spend all day standing still, in the same spot each time, chewing their cud in the same way, just waiting the heat out.  Even the dogs and cats have found  spots in deep shade that they return to each morning where they sleep and wait. So evening is our favourite shift. This is when we all come out of the hazy daze.

Last evening was the end of another day of three digit temperatures. Has it been a week so far? I don’t know how anyone works in temperatures like these for a whole summer. We were at 104 in the yards in the early afternoon when I decided to stop looking at the thermometer. Just knowing how hot it is makes me hotter.

But last evening it had dropped into the nineties and so Minty, TonTon, the Shush Sisters and I walked the farm filling the water barrels again. Minty trots at my hip jumping the gates when I do. Ton runs ahead with his frisbee and the Shush Sisters snuffle around in the mud for a little while then take themselves back into their own pen to lie in the water there. The water  goes  green very quickly in this weather. Water takes on a live or die significance. 

I have one tap for the whole property as you know. It is by the verandah steps. So I  drag hoses from water trough to water trough.   I don’t open the gates I climb over them, feeding the hose under the gate like an umbilical cord.  Often I have the image of an astronaut in space attached to his air hose everywhere he floats. That is me. Everything is done using the minimum of movements. It is still very hot. I have learnt this economy of movement in the heat from my animals. I loop the hose across my back and drag with one hand (100′s of feet of  full hose is heavy) because in the other hand is my camera. My camera sits in the palm of my left hand laying up against my wrist. Then I tuck my loaded hand against my hip.  It is not a small camera, an old Nikon D60, but I have been carrying it like this for so many years that I am surprised a metaphorical pocket has not appeared in that little hollow on the inside of my hip bone, where it leans.  I should have it in a camera bag and wear it like a baby sling but I never do. When I need two hands I set it on a fence post.   I don’t consciously track Camera. He is an extension of my eyes. In fact lately I have begun to suspect that Camera is starting to make decisions of his own.  Like not coming out in the heat. So he is better tucked into my hand and held against my body where I can feel him. Like sunglasses on my head. 

Good morning. My weather man ChgJohn tells me that today is going to be another hot one, tomorrow will be slightly better and Sunday will give us a proper break. I do hope so.

Today The Old Codger, TonTon and I are going back out to the retirement home to visit.  So I had better get busy with the chores.  I had intended to get ahead of myself last night but I never did. The heat hit us like a wall yesterday. With its dehydrator wind whirring away behind it. I have plants literally dying even with water. Even the weeds are drying up, curling into themselves.

But this is life on the prairies. This is how it is. And this is the life I choose. The challenge of extremes is part of who we are out here.  We can still have a lovely day.

If you are in a heat wave as we are – be still like a cow. Just wait. It will be over soon. Find loveliness.

celi

68 thoughts

  1. Triple digits, 100 foot plus hoses, and one camera all could seem rather ordinary if you are not really aware of how important your tools can be; moreover, having an awareness shows that being in the moment or being in the now has value. Thank you for reminding us that if try to stay in “the now” their is beauty everywhere around us and this post and your pictures prove it.

  2. You know it’s been HOT when we say “It’s dropped down to the 90′s or – wishful thinking – 80′s!” Maybe you can set up a sprinkler like we did when we were kids and everyone can run through it :)

  3. Human Nature heh! You are hot and compalining and we are cold and complaining – both want what we don’t have!! Hoping your heat dissipates soon – it is debilitating. How has the Old Codgers first week at home been? Laura

  4. Still waiting for summer here. I keep hearing these stories of how the jet stream has got stuck, rather than moving in its normal freestyle manner, giving parts of America the climate of Mars and Northern Europe the climate of somewhere very dull and wet.

  5. Excessive heat warning here in southern MN through 7 p.m. today with heat indexes rising as high as 112 degrees. Makes me drip just thinking about it and I don’t even have to drag a hose around a yard to water animals. You are wise to take it easy.

  6. We just have to get through today, Celi. There’ll be a 10˚ drop tomorrow and another 10˚ drop on Sunday. The rest of the week will be in the low to mid-80′s, which will seem downright frigid in comparison. I’m glad you’re making a visit at the Home. The residents need it and you & your little troupe could use a bit of a/c. Have a great day … Stay cool!

  7. My body goes tachycardic and very poorly in great heat, so I feel very, very sorry for you. But, please could we have just one afternoon as high as – well , as 70, on Sunday and no rain. If it rains, the carneval floats we’ve been working on all year won’t be able to come out of the hangar, if it’s as cold as it’s been all year the 3 little girls will need to wear anoraks over their costumes, and I shall cry.

  8. We’re in triple digits here too. We’re using an old garden hose with a pinhole in it to make a cooling water park for the chickens. The mist cools the temp by 15 degrees. Throwing big blocks of ice in their yard area also helps. The beginning of the week is supposed to bring temps in the 80s for a couple of days–respite! Hope it comes your way too!!

  9. We’re hot too, athough cool by your standards at about 80 degrees. I think that we’ve been the driest place in the U.K for weeks now, with large parts of the country under flood water! All to do with the jet stream being in the wrong place apparently.
    Christine

  10. Good advice. If it’s not heat, it’s something else that requires patience and waiting. There’s a shot in there that looks like there’s a UFO in it. I take it you have not had extra celestial visitors (?).

  11. Paris was hot and humid by my standards, but I’m sure it did not hit triple digits. Back at home it is overcast and windy: typical summer overcast for July, but the high winds are unusual, also drying everything out here. Yesterday Mom and I moved the compost heap. Tonight my brother Bryan and his dog, Ozzy the border collie, move in with us permanently. The three cats are thrilled, of course — we probably won’t see Onyx for at least a month.

  12. And you’ve certainly found loveliness.. in the skies.. such beautiful sky photos, c! I love to stand still and observe.. even when it isn’t hot out. Economies of movement.. that would be me.. Btw, I had to recalculate things (Canadian, eh).. and that’s 40C.. incredible.. with one hose.. Sending you my cool air.. send me your warmth… xo

  13. Triple digits are only good for one thing, in my opinion, and that is to learn to appreciate
    and know that 90 isn’t HOT. I am happiest in sweatshirt weather !! I gardened in triple
    digits on July 4 for 4 hours, not intended..just evolved with one thing leading
    to another. Boy did I pay….I was a worthless dehydrated grump lump.
    I am told patience is a virtue……so I will stand like a cow. (inside my closedup house)

    cool weather raindance with the “grands” today…@noon….
    Cheers for shade !

  14. you need some of these all weather spigots i had installed here. they are sunk deep so they don’t have to be turned off in the winter and they are deep enough that the water comes out cool in the summer. i just dragged out my fan that sprays a mist of water and pointed it at teddy. she is loving it and she usually hates getting wet. and crazy me has the oven on 450 baking bread! it is 100 here today and hotter tomorrow.

    • Funny when you talk to the old people and then research back, this weather is very like the thirties.. which is kind of scary.. out here they had temps like this with the hot wind for weeks on end, the crops shrivelled in the ground, then they had plagues of bugs, that they got rid of by filling the ditches with pitch and setting it alight! In a drought! sheesh.. in the late seventies when I lived here we had the same pattern, outrageous heat all summer then piles of snow, almost overnight, blizzard after blizzard.. the US has biblical extremes…you know you are alive though.. c

      • We get these every 30-odd year cycles. When I was a kid, we lived through constant severe thunderstorms. Now it’s heat. I was pretty sure I was alive when it was in the high 70s.

  15. The photos of the sky are just incredibly beautiful! I enjoy sky-watching when the weather is extreme, and have boxes of photos…I always want to try to capture the moment and of course, it’s rare that I really can express the feeling that comes with the experience. I enjoy the way you make sure to savor the moments, even with threading heavy hoses while crawling over and through fences and balancing a camera! I’m so glad that three-some will be visiting the old folks today. I send my best to all!! Debra

  16. It is 100 as write this to you; the animals all sit under fans or under the big maples chewing their cud, happy to not move as well. Funny how you described your manner of watering; if you could be a fly on the wall here at Misty Maples; you would see a character similar to yourself lugging heavy hose, with a camera in the left hand…this made me smile.
    The water escaping first from the hose is too hot to even shower in…feels like such a waste to just let it run on the ground…stay hydrated C.
    Jess

  17. Being in Aus don’t mean anything, I feel your heat and the tension of waiting for it to be over!
    Of course your animals, especially Ton Ton handle it so well just like their owner :)

    Cheers
    CCU

  18. I thought that was a UFO! I’m sure I’m stating the obvious and I bet they cost a fortune to drill/build, but you seem to need a well with wind driven pump ;-)

  19. It is glorious winter in Brisbane. We have blue skies and 20 degrees. That doesn’t stop people getting about in heavy winter clothes. I even saw someone in ski pants and jacket yesterday. I forget what 20 degrees is in your measurement, but it is delightfully warm.

  20. I like what you say about the life of extremes, and that it’s what you’ve chosen. I think of William Blake’w words, ‘the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.’ Every season has something to teach, and you are learning from the animals about how to minimise effort in the extreme heat. All the same, I do hope those clouds bring much needed rain and coolness before too long.

  21. I have to complement you on being able to keep up with all the chores of your farm – not to mention dragging out the water to the animals in over 100 degree weather – and still have time to take pictures and write your blog…. I don’t know how you do it all.

  22. Be still, just wait. It will be over soon. This approach is good for things other than a heat wave too. Thank you for the reminder. Wishing you cool days soon.

    • excellent, i shall watch it when i go to town,i cannot do vids with this slow internet, That Salatin is a legend .. very cool fella. I look froward to watching it!

  23. Ugh the weather has been terrible here too. Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the humidity. I know you have outdoor chores with the animals that needs to be done no matter what, so I can only imagine how tiring it must have been! Poor animals too!

  24. I’m catching up late today so hope by now you’ve cooled some. We are actually below 100 today at 95…still hot and makes one sluggish, but not as bad as 100+. It’s supposed to get down into the 80′s next week…heaven…and maybe for you, too, I hope!

  25. Oh the hose! dragging the hose is a great arm workout!! And don’t you hate when you get a kink in the hose….stay safe in the heat! I am struggling to keep things alive and growing. Stacey

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