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Sweltering in the foothills

Sweltering in the foothills

Posted By Sunny Lockwood

Was it just a couple of months ago that I was complaining about the cold rains of winter?

And now I’m complaining about the heat of summer.

Have I turned into a curmudgeon?

When I was a kid, living beside Crooked Lake in Michigan, summer was my favorite season. I loved the heat. I loved the sun. I’d run down the hill and jump in the lake and splash and swim around all day.

When I was a teenager, I’d lie on the raft after swimming and soak up the rays. And before long, one of the boys who lived across the lake would come buzzing up in his little motorboat, and off we’d speed, bouncing against the waves, laughing in the spray.

Ahhh! The joys of being young and obligation-free! But that was decades ago.

Now I live in California’s Gold Rush foothills, along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. While this area is a Garden of Eden in the spring, hillsides and meadows lush with grasses and wildflowers, once the rains stop and the sun begins its summer scorching spell, it feels more like Hades here.

Our rolling hills are now fried golden brown. The springtime streams and rain-ponds are but dusty memories.

We face the second half of summer filled with 100+ degree days. And we don’t live on a lake, so I can’t just run down the hill and jump in. Sigh.

Sweetheart Al and I were struck with our summer reality early this morning.

Sweetheart is both a licensed engineer and a licensed general contractor. When he built our place, he designed an elegant, computerized water system for it. Our 625-foot deep well is about a quarter mile downhill from the house. Al’s system pulls the delicious well water through two levels of tanks and three filters up to a holding tank above the house.

The 2,500-gallon holding tank, made of 1/8-inch polyethylene (FDA approved for potable water) sits in an oak grove just a few yards from my hilltop office. From there, gravity takes over, pulling the water down to the garage where a booster pump pressurizes it for household use.

Our kitchen and bathrooms operate smoothly because of Al’s excellent water system.

But this morning, as we began to brush our teeth, we were dramatically reminded of our region’s endless heat. When we turned on the cold water tap, warm water came out. Very warm water. And that’s the way it will be for the rest of our summer.

We can air condition our cars, and the inside of our house, my office and Al’s studio…but the tank of water at the top of the hill has reached its summertime temperature: very warm. So, if we want cold water here during the next several weeks, we’ll have to chill our own in the fridge.

Welcome to summer in the foothills!

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Read more of my work at my website: sunnylockwood.com

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