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California cool

Reading A.J.'s post last week about how hot it is where he lives hit me as a bit ironic. The East Coast is having the hottest year on record and there they are complaining about heat in the 90s. I'm laughing because living in the Central Valley of California, we think of any temperature that can be expressed using only two digits as "barely warm."

Hardly worthy of comment and absolutely not worthy of discussion!

For the last 20 or so years, I have dreaded being in my shop in the summer because of the unbearable heat. We always had winter hours and summer hours. Summer hours were from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. All of the high temps around here have been recorded between 2 and 7 p.m. so we would head for home where, hopefully, the air conditioning was left on so it would be a balmy 75 indoors. Summers here are like winters in the North Pole. Everyone stays inside and runs their AC at max, trying to get through till around 10 or 11 at night when the temperature might finally drop to the high 80s. Tomatoes love this kind of weather but it can be rough on people.

This summer has been a blessing. This has been the coolest summer on record for this area (thus the irony I mentioned earlier). We've only had a few days of triple-digit heat and only a few more where it even hit the high 90s. But what has been the most enjoyable part has been the wonderful cool breezy evenings with the temperature dropping to the low 70s and even into the 60s. Windows open, no AC running and not even missing the usual summer feeling of having to remain cloistered until midnight before you dare open a window.

I have not experienced such a pleasant summer since I moved here from Nevada over 20 years ago. Such summer nights were common there and are one of the things we miss most about living there. Makes us want to move back. We are completely spoiled now and I don't know how we will be able to deal with "normal" summers if and when they return. Maybe with climate change, this is the new paradigm. If so, I'm gonna love it.

The tomatoes are gonna hate it though. This is one of the most prolific tomato producing areas in the world. But there could be another bright side here. If this weather keeps up and the economy improves, we can start plowing under all those now useless tomato fields and start building houses again that need cabinets and woodwork. Hmmm … mixed blessings indeed!


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