I’ve always thought the description of “semitropical” when applied to South Georgia in the Summertime mean the humidity hit you like a semi-truck. Just two days deep into what is supposed to be the start of the season we find triple digit heat lounging around on the front porch like a unclaimed cousin. There is a slight haze in the air, almost a fog, but invisible up close like a stray cat being fed scraps. Water is of two states, faith to neither and loved by both; it is liquid and it is also a vapor. Stay in the heat in the open long enough and the air will condense water all over your body. This usually takes somewhere between fifteen and twenty seconds. By the time we make it to August and everything after, you’ll break out in a sweat during a cold shower.
Was it last year? It may have been the year before, actually, but I had decided to let the paper wasps building a nest above my door stay there, and perhaps like bees getting accustomed to their beekeeper these beneficial insects would get used to me, and we would all live in peace, harmony, and sing Kum by oh ya while making Smores by the campfire. In the last failed experiment with the domestication of paper wasps, I was ambushed as I came out of the door one morning, and they degreed the backdoor to be Wasp Territory. I decreed a can of wasp spray, capable of hitting a target at range.
So this year I allowed not one, not two, nay, but a matched double set of both Yellow and Red Paper Wasp, one for each corner of the front porch. The Reds to the Southwest and Northeast corners, and did not seem to be thriving like their kin at the apposite corners. My theory was the wasps were far enough away as to not consider me a threat, and OW!OW! OW! OW! Insects are attracted to light, and perhaps me leaving the house sans headgear is what triggered the assault. I went to work looking like I had some sort of dread disease on the top of my head, which in the head, throbbed like a lighthouse.
My complaints as to the fickle nature of wasps fell upon the ears of a co-worker who suggested I nuke them with dishwater instead of chemicals. The theory, as he explained it, was the dishwashing detergent somehow interferes with their ability to breathe, and being insects, the incapability to breathe is fatal quite quickly. The downside to this is the story had all the earmarks of one of those stories told to get someone to throw an offending liquid on a bunch of wasps this creating a terribly funny story about multiple stings. When I got home in the morning I took a fairly large cup of dishwater and tossed it on the Yellow Paper Wasp nest, and they fell to the ground, either dead or dying. I did not see that coming. Though my poor bald head is still somewhat spotted with the aftermath of their attacks, it was sad to see them lying there totally bereft of their duties as wasps. It has been suggested to me the aggressiveness of wasps is related to the heat index so I ‘m really surprised they weren’t using AK-47’s.
Another side effect of the heat, and the three in the afternoon thunderstorm, is the grass in the yard needs mowing two or three times a day. It’s a jungle out there right now because I’ve been too busy to mow lately. Lately means about ten days ago, and it looks like the set of Jurassic Park in my backyard right now. If I don’t do something soon I’m afraid I’ll either lose the dogs entirely. Either that or they’ll drag something out of the jungle that is going to fit nicely in the freezer. If Sam wasn’t so territorial I would get goats, and that would do away with the mower.
Speaking of goats my neighbors almost lost one to the bite of a Cottonmouth, and they described the snake as being very large. I take such stories with a grain of salt because there have been many times someone has claimed to kill a six foot long rattlesnake and when we stretched it out, wow, dying makes them shrink! This highlights the fact that even a small mammal isn’t going to die from snakebite, but at the same time these people have the better part of a baseball team of kids, five at last count, and I would be paranoid when it came to venomous reptiles as well. The heat drives herd animals to water more often and the snakes do not like being tread upon. We’re lucky to have the rain with the heat, or we might have another wildfire like we did in 2007 when half the state was burning.
Bert is suffering this Summer, and I am grateful to work nights so he may stay inside most of the day, out of the heat. He is an old dog now, and does not handle the triple digit heat very well. I wonder if I can get him past next Summer, when he is likely to have to endure the heat all day long, but one day at a time, one year at a time, is better than worry. I may have to get him a pool, which he would love but he will never be dry again. He had a plastic wading pool when he was a puppy but he would lie in it and chew the edges so it eventually became a part of his history, not to mention much small and in pieces.
Summer is here. It will stay with us until the last part of September, and that means night heat, even higher humidity, and lots of sweat, even if you’re just sitting. There will be stinging insects, and there will be pop up thunderstorms that turn swimming pools into lightning rods. There will be days upon days of triple digit hear.
Summer is here, in all Her glory.