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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crazy weather, heat, wind and a forest fire

Wow! Its 109 degrees here in the Treasure Valley! We are having quite a heat wave here in the northwest. Working in the garden past 10AM is torture. Fortunately everything is in the ground and its just maintenance such as watering and weeding. Last night I watched a thunder storm roll in from the west over the Owyhee (pronounced OH-WHY-HE) mountains and the lightening show was terrific! I saw where a particularly bright bolt struck and a minute or so later I noticed an orange light. I thought someone was 4 wheeling up in the hills so I got out my Minolta 8x to 20x zoom binoculars and set them on the tripod. Sure enough the lightening had set a wild fire. In a matter of a few hours it had spread over several thousand acres. The wind was terrific and helped it along. Today the Snake river valley is full of smoke and I can't see across the valley to the Owyhee's.
This weather reminds me of several things: be hydrated constantly! After a few hours work outside I started to feel the effects of heat sickness so I got in the shade and downed a bottle of Gator Aid. I still drink plenty of water but when you sweat a lot you loose valuable minerals and need to replace those electrolytes. Sometimes I put 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in a quart of nice cold water. It helps replace some electrolytes but its not as efficient as Gator Aid. My trusty bandana is always soaking wet and worn around my neck cowboy fashion. This of course gets my tee shirt soaked which helps with the cooling. And I always wear a booney style hat, doctors orders because of the skin cancer and its a great shade giver as well. When its this hot and you work outside you just have to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
The wind was gusting at around 60-70 MPH last night and when I awoke at 5AM I noticed a lot of damage here on the farm. An old dead elm finally bit the bullet and laid down. Fortunately it didn't take anything with it. There is a huge cottonwood that has a lot of dead limbs and I'm afraid its going to come down soon. If so it will only block the road until we get it cut up and moved but God help the person who has the misfortune of being under it if it falls. Several pieces of equipment were blown over and some roof damage to a shed or two but nothing really serious from the wind storm. I think the heat really gets the wind speed up as it cools in the evening. I don't know all the mechanics of weather but I think I read about this particular phenomenon somewhere.
Take care everyone and stay safe! Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated if you are out in the hot summer weather.

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