(I wrote this article on July 5, 2009).
That sneaky snake of summer has her voluptuous curls firmly around us, and this time there's no letting go. Sure I love the bursting forth of bikini babes and treacherous thunderstorms (to a point), but I much prefer hibernating this season away (when I can get away with it). I just don't sweat as much as I should, and my face tends to redden under the sunny strain.
Fortunately a handy supply of water, stored in jugs, goes a long way to relieving the temperature pressure. You might also try one of those nifty Misty Mate pump-powered personal sprayers -- but don't forget to drain the water when you get done. Or an everyday washcloth can work wonders.
I even had a unique, half-donut-shaped battery device from Sharper Image once. You soak the chamber in water, wedge it around the back of your neck, and turn it on for instant relief. And don't forget the incredible chill potential of fruits and juices -- is any summer complete without watermelon?
The June bugs have undoubtedly passed us by, but their shining leaf chafer cousins -- the Japanese beetles, are doing an abundant job of filling the void. So what IS their natural enemy in Japan, and could we give it a one-way ticket here? Let's leave this little leaf-munchers' chapter alone for the moment, and think about other summer pursuits.
Theme parks have great places to cool off -- those log flumes are a blast. But why not try rolling out your own wet plastic yard slide, like a recent booze commercial showed? (You can skip the booze unless you really want to break something). Or try something more like a mini-car-wash to walk through. Even a network of highly-placed soaker hoses could do the trick!
Butterflies and birds also mark this season, fluttering through while spreading seeds and pollen, and raising young. So make your yard wildlife-friendly by putting in plants (especially natives), water sources, and rocks for lepidopteran perching posts. Keep the water dripping and moving with leaky buckets and bubblers if needed, and use Mosquito Dunks to prevent larvae from getting established.
Kids probably have the summer off, so help them build a little Frisbee golf course around the yard. Old lamp shades and basketball hoops, and even parts of an old drum kit, make great goals. Cheap wastebaskets are another good target. And don't forget the shading potential of umbrellas and plastic tablecloths -- in case the sun gets too intense.
By far my favorite summer strategy is to retire to the basement -- for computing, regular walking exercises (luckily we have the room) and general tinkering and building. You can spruce it up and make it as sunny as the great outdoors -- and don't forget to use eco-friendly materials. That includes LED lights and bamboo flooring. Or something simple like a gnarly jute mat, could also fill the bill. How about a jungle theme?
Someone on the TV news sent in a photo of her (maple?) trees turning orange already. Could our seasons be advancing that fast? Well, before you know it, it will turn to fall. But don't let this summer pass you by -- enlist a friend and take a good long shower together!!