Sunday, August 26, 2007

Heat, hot, humid, ... horrible...

I remember last summer there were a few knitting bloggers out there and a few knitters on various lists who talked about it being too hot to knit.

I was unsympathetic. I could not understand why they didn't just turn on their air conditioning and find comfort. We were using window units. Surely, we didn't make that much money; surely everyone could afford air conditioning. I didn't understand.

This year, while not among the poor, we made a conscious decisiion not to use air conditioning in the downstairs part of the house. We had, after all, just installed new windows that allowed us to have full cross ventilation. The house was built about 100 years ago. They had no air conditioning and survived just fine. Besides, with global warming, it was important for my family to become very, very conscious of the footprint we were leaving upon Mother Earth.

We did decide to air condition the two bedrooms in use upstairs because Ken works nights and it would be nigh impossible for him to sleep well in daytime hours while roasting. We put air conditioning in Matt's room just because I didn't want to listen to him whining about me having air while he didn't.

Fans were strategically placed downstairs with one pulling air in from the front door and pushing to through the music room (parlor) into the family room and one in the family room, pushing across the length of the room (just keeping things moving, and finally one in the kitchen pushing the hot air out.

I cut back drastically on the type of cooking that I normally do. Right now I only turn the oven on about twice a week. I use the crock pot more and we eat more cold food (sandwiches, chips with bean dip, salads) on nights when Ken is working.

The immediate pay back from this is an electric bill that hovers around $110. This is down $100 from the summer before when fuel prices were somewhat lower. I suspect we are actually saving $150 to $200 a month by not cooling the downstairs.

It has helped that this summer has been cooler and much drier than normal. The drought did horrible things to my gardens and I actually lost trees to dryness. But the low humidity levels made 100 degree days bearable. It was not unlike when I lived in Texas.

But with August came some rain and the humidity. I can hold wool and alpaca fibers in my hand when we have very low humidity even when the temps are high. But when it's so damp and hot, I swear the stuff just felts in my hands!

I understand why someone would choose not to knit in this weather. I am doing it anyway... here and there (especially in the evenings when it cools down some) and am making progress on some small projects. I got a good bit (about 2 inches) done on a sock yesterday while Ken drove us on a errand that involved being in the car about 2 hours.

But I have been unable to spin at all. It really is felting as I work. So I'm waiting for a break in the misery to get back to my wheel. I'm hoping for a mid-September cool down.

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