The city of Kirkland where I live hit 111°F on Monday. After topping out at 106°F on Sunday and 102°F on Saturday. We’ve only ever hit triple digits here a few times, and never two days in a row, let alone three.
Two thirds of homes in our area don’t have any air conditioning. And of those that do, many simply have an inefficient window AC or two. I saw photos of the INSIDE of people’s homes where the thermometer read 95°F, 97°F, 99°F. Cooling centers opened around the area. And still, a horrifying number of people died (the numbers are still coming in, and I’m certain the real number is higher than the official tally).
“In the Pacific Northwest and Canada, crops literally cooked in the fields. Entire berry harvests have been wiped out from Oregon to British Columbia. Roads buckled from the heat, and the light rail had to stop operating because the tracks were so overheated.
Industrial coolers at grocery stores failed and caught fire from the heat, resulting in stores losing their perishable food products. This after 16 months of spot shortages within the supply chain due to COVID.”
Go read this editorial on the climate crisis. It’s where my head is at in a big way these days, and if you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. We are very, very fortunate to have three window air conditioners, which were passed along to us a number of years ago. For the first few years in our home, we really never needed AC. We back up to the trees, and airing the house out at night meant it never got unbearable.
Even with the three going full blast through the heat wave, the fact that our home is shaded from direct sunlight much of the day, and the fact that we have a small rambler, the temperature peaked inside at 74°F. Extremely cool compared to many around us, and we were so very thankful to have a cool home to retreat to.
Rolling power outages – mostly localized impacting hundreds to a few thousand homes at a time – happened throughout the heat wave. We were very, very lucky that our power went out only once, overnight, before the peak heat days. Some areas were out for hours during the heat of the day; even those fortunate enough to have air conditioning were out of luck when the power was out.
Refrigeration systems at numerous grocery stores went out, meaning they had to throw away far too much perishable food. Our electrical grid, even when it has capacity, isn’t set up for such oppressive heat, and the failures were unsurprising.
2. Some of the plants in the garden literally fried from the heat. Crispy bean leaves, very wilted looking peas, and everything that could bolt, did. We didn’t “lose” raspberries perhaps, but many of the berries are half white and not the best – definitely something that couldn’t be sold to the public if they were being sold (luckily they do fine in the kiddo’s smoothies).
Some of the plants were loving it though, particularly the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Perhaps I should have tried planting okra again this year with this heat.
I had to water heavily each day, and even so, most of the plants were drooping in a big way later on in the day. We may not be in a drought here, but I understand why so many crops were ripped out of the ground this year. With these extreme temperatures and water shortages, crops simply won’t make it. Or if they do, at an extreme cost for the water needed to pour into them.
I fully expect that we will continue to see food costs skyrocket, and I’m thankful to be able to insulate ourselves even a small bit through our own planting. We don’t grow enough to cover all of our produce, but a good portion of it at least for part of the year.
3. The chicks are growing rapidly, and it won’t be too many more months until we get our first eggs. We’ve started being able to give them some kitchen scraps – sparingly at this point – but I love giving it to the chicks versus tossing them in the industrial compost to be hauled away each week. Plus, the chicks will produce some awesome compost in their own right.
On the hottest day of the heat wave, where it was 100° even before noon, I packed up the chicks and took them the half hour over to my parents’ house, where it was a full twenty degrees cooler. Too many people in chicken groups all around the northwest shared that they lost even full grown, hardier chickens, and I expect that we would have lost some too if we’d tried to weather out the day at home.
4. As you all know, line drying laundry is my favorite chore. The clothes I pulled down off the line during the heat wave felt hot like they’d just come out of the dryer, but we didn’t do any laundry at all on the hottest days, doing our best to reduce our electricity draw.
Now that things have cooled off (high 70s to mid 80s), we’ve caught up on laundry and have clothes up to dry on the line on the back deck again. Smoke is rolling in from the wildfires raging through British Columbia in Canada though, so soon the laundry lines will have to come down again (and the windows shut at night, having to rely on air conditioning to cool the house down instead of fresh outside air).
5. The only shorts I usually wear are old softball shorts, as I don’t like the fit or look of most. Lately though, I’ve been drawn to wearing a pair of bright blue shorts that were handed down to me by a friend.
I rarely wear anything in such a bright color and never even consider trying on non-athletic shorts, but I’ve taken to at least trying on every bit of clothing that’s given to me these days. And so then occasionally I find a new favorite piece of clothing, like these shorts, that I would never have considered to purchase myself.
Ps – Regina and I led an Intro to Investing Coffee Chat earlier this week, and we have almost 1,000 women sign up to either watch live or receive the recording! It was so much fun to put on and I look forward to future events. If you ever want to join for a future event, join our email list over at Women’s Personal Finance to get a heads up for when we hold them!
Saturday and Sunday we spent quite a bit of time in the water down at the beach since it was so dang hot, though we also went for a walk though the woods on Saturday. It was too dang hot, but slightly less miserably so in the shade of the big trees.
Monday was spent almost entirely indoors, but I still ended up with almost 13,000 steps thanks to needing to care for our animals and the garden. Wednesday was cool enough that I went for a short run outside at the end of the day, and Thursday I squeezed in a short time on the stationary bike at our work gym.
Are you thinking about climate change these days? How has the weather been near you?