So, I was a bit miffed at Tommy this past week. He insisted I stay indoors and out of the garden because of this unusual hot-hot weather we've been experiencing. I have so much to do outside and he wanted me to just allow the weeds to take over and the flowers to bloom without my usual pep talk. Well, that didn't sit well with me.
He did remind me of the time I was innocently weeding and
when I came in--he called me inside to help him with a leak test-- within a few minutes I had passed out. I came to with Justin--he had been about seven years old at the time-- laughing at me. He thought it was rather amusing when Daddy --Tommy to you and me-- put me in the shower... clothes, shoes and all and turned on the cold water.
"What happened?" I asked, blinking my wet hair out of my eyes.
"What do you think?" Tom said angrily. "You fainted because it's too hot out there!"
Well, how the heck did that happen? I had just been sitting there weeding, nothing stressing.
"Aren't you smart enough to come in out of the sun?" he yelled.
Tommy went on-- he always does when he's super angry-- "We have four acres and I can never tell where you'll be at any given moment. What if you get heat stroke and no one knows it because you're in the back 40 or behind the honeysuckle bushes or in the orchard away from everyone who could help you? You could die out there!"
Okay, so he doesn't want me dead. Good to know.
But who would have thought leisurely weeding a flower bed could knock you out? Gees, it's the easiest thing I do in the garden and perfectly safe...or so I thought. I was in the full sun with no hat, no sunglasses and no water. I wore shorts and a tank top so the sun was darkening me to Whitney Houston color. Oh, yeah, I tan real good! But obviously I didn't know anything about staying safe while gardening in super hot weather.
I have since learned. So, when Tommy wasn't looking, I did go outside with a few modifications to my usual go-every-where-do-everything-on-the-property routine. To stay safe in the garden during really hot weather I followed these simple rules:
1. Stay close to the house. Brandon was in the garage so a shout of distress from me and he would hear me. I had my cell phone with me too. Staying close to the house also meant I did very easy things, too. Weeding the Hostas instead of pushing a lawnmower. Clipping spent flowers instead of dragging dead branches to the compost pile.
2. Take frequent breaks. When I felt too hot--which surprisingly happened quickly--I went into the house where Tom has the AC to freezer temperatures. While I dislike air conditioning something fierce, it is good to chill you quickly when you are working outside.
3. Drink water. Drink baby, drink even when you can hear it sloshing inside you. Tom hates it that I take up important ice cream space in the freezer, but I like putting water bottle in there. That way I take a couple of them outside with me and they slowly --sometimes not so slowly--melt in the hot weather so I always have cool water to drink.
4. Take it easy. I usually work up quite a sweat while in the garden even in cooler weather, but the excessive heat usually slows me down considerably. So, I take it easy. I won't turn the compost pile or dig in the dirt or anything very strenuous. It's not the kind of weather for that rough type of activity.
5. Find the shade and work in it. I'm lucky, I have a tall house which provides a good deal of shade to at least some part of the yard at any given time of the day. Early morning the backyard is in shade, so I work there. As the sun shifts, it's the north side which will get some shade, so I go there. As the sun moves, so do I. Under trees is another place for enjoyable gardening during sweltering weather. Shade baby! It'll do you good.
6. Dress properly. Here I differ from what most people will tell you, but I have my reasons. Everyone says to wear light colored clothing. That doesn't work for me while I'm in the garden. Hello! I'm there to work, not to host garden party. I wear long pants and long sleeved shirts at all times in the garden...yes, even and especially in hot weather. The bugs come out during hot weather so I cover up and no one gets a chance to bite me. Also, if I'm doing something easy, like pulling weeds, those weeds often cause me rashes and I don't need that, thank you very much! I wear a funky wide-brim hat. Sun off my head, keeps me cooler than having the sun beat down on my very dark hair.
There, all set for a day in the hot-hot garden. I shall stay safe. Hope you do too...whether you're in the garden or not!