Goodbye, June, and Good Riddance

Maybe July will be better. Surely it can’t get worse. Surely.

The average rainfall for June in Tallassee is 4.08 inches. We got 1.65. The average daily high temperature in Tallassee is 89 degrees. We were above that every day except one.

The average overnight low temperature for June in Tallassee is 66 degrees, and the record low for June is 45 degrees. We never made the average. The lowest overnight low in Tallassee during June was 68, and most nights it was above 70. Pause and let that sink in. We never made it to the average low.

Amanda and I have remained surprisingly comfortable through the heat. We have been careful to drink lots of water, and we have clustered most of our intensive outdoor work in the morning and late afternoon, leaving mid-day for indoor tasks. But we have used the air conditioner only one day when we had company, and we really haven’t missed it much. Let me reiterate here what I have shared with our friends: we are not into suffering. If we were really hot, we would turn on the A/C.

That we haven’t needed it so far is good news, of course, because it means we can avoid the expense that drives summertime utility bills in the South through the roof; no pun intended. It’s also testament to the ability of the human body, in the person of an overweight 58-year-old farmer and his wife, to become acclimatized quickly to relatively high temperatures. Less than three years ago, both of us had the normal need for air conditioning in the summer that most of our friends say they have. “Oh, I could never live without air conditioning.” As I tell them, “Yes you could, and you probably will.” Yeah, I’m a big hit at parties.

The food we’re working to grow is a different story. Fortunate to have drip irrigation and a reliable deep well, we’ve been able to keep our plants well hydrated despite the drought. But there’s not much we’ve been able to do about the heat. For us, it has meant that nearly all plant growth is stymied. The squash isn’t setting fruit the way it normally would, the tomatoes are setting fruit but it won’t ripen, and even the okra has failed to bloom.

The one bright spot in June came late in the month with two heavy rains several days apart. Now if we could just see the heat break too.

It’s been unpleasant here in central Alabama, but perhaps I shouldn’t be complaining. I read in the news yesterday that Lubbock, TX has received only 1.10 inches of rain during all of 2011. Now that’s a drought.

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