Those of you who know me, know that I really DO NOT like heat. The hot-hot weather makes me uncomfortable, and I tend to find that sleep becomes difficult because I am one of those people who likes the room I am in to be cold when I sleep. The challenge with this, during a summer heat wave, is that I do not have air conditioning (I really don't need it for the number of heat waves we actually have here on Vancouver Island) and so am mostly reliant on the good old fashioned fan for some relief.
One has to become a little creative, I have found.
My house is an 1896 wood-frame build. Insulation, such as it may be in my house, is not fantastic. As I work my way through each small renovation project, windows are being replaced and walls will be insulated - but the only room I have really worked through so far is the bathroom. Granted, I couldn't live with the old set-up in there, but it really didn't impact the overall heat/cool retention issues my little home has. I did take things into hand and have the three worst-offending windows dealt with and that has made a real difference already.
A couple of summers ago now, I had a summer fan switch installed on my furnace - it is a brilliant addition and only cost me about $100 in parts and service when all was said & done. The switch turns the furnace fan on - and that circulates the cool air from the crawl space up into the rest of the house. The summer fan switch and the floor fans I have are able to keep the house almost 10*C cooler than outside - for example, yesterday when I got home the temperature outside was 32*C whereas inside it was 22*C. Black-out curtains and closed windows help keep in the cool.
I'm also going to try something new today. Yesterday at work I was speaking with a painter (who was going to be outside all day today and has my sympathies!) and he was telling me about a trick the wife of one of his clients uses. Evidently, first thing in the morning when she knows it will be a hot one, she bundles up her comforter into a large garbage bag and then puts the whole thing into her chest freezer. She takes it out at around 8 every night and throws it onto her bed. His (the painter's) comment was that "if the comforter keeps the heat in, it stands to reason it would also help keep the cool in." Apparently it not only cools the bed, but also helps to cool the room. Game to try, I put mine into a big garbage bag and threw the whole thing into the freezer this morning. I'll take it out around 9 when I'm getting set for bed... we'll see if it works.
It is a total scorcher out there today. I did some running around early on today - banking, groceries, and a couple of other errands including a stop by the tool rental place to pick up an electric hedge trimmer. I just came in from mowing the lawn (a 20-minute effort) and had broken a sweat... I suspect that greasing up with sunscreen and bug spray and then attempting to trim down one of the two items I rented the trimmer to attack, may be a little more than is intelligent to tackle in the full-on heat of day... so I will wait until tomorrow morning and tackle the evergreen under the front side window then.
My thought is to first (with the trimmer) prune down, and then dig out, the evergreen at the front of the house and then use the hedge trimmer (it looks like a chainsaw) to cut the mock orange back really hard. The soil where the evergreen is will need to be treated (it has to be pretty acidic due to needles) and so I'll treat the soil with bone meal, lime and some plant fertilizer and let the space sit fallow until the fall. In the fall I plan to move the mock orange from the back yard to the spot where the evergreen is at present. If it lives through the transplanting, great, if not, I'll look at planting something else that won't get too tall. The mock orange will need to be pruned back and maybe isn't the best thing to have there, but I really hate the idea of just chucking the poor thing... it has just grossly overgrown what I can manage in my back yard, and that space could be much better used for something else. I'm not sure what, exactly, but something else, for sure..
In any case, I have the hedge trimmer rented for a week, so I'll get some done tomorrow and then maybe a little every night for the next week and then return it on Friday or Saturday. I'll post before and afters of both spots...
With love across the (hot) waters...