Summer technically begins in a few days, but summer began here yesterday. Although it was only in the low 90's (and central Illinois is a place where you can say "only in the low 90's"), with the humidity the feels like temp was over 100. Fortunately, we had some big windy storms in the early morning that brought some temporarily cool air. I blasted fans in all the windows & was able to cool the house off several degrees to a quite livable 75. By evening, it was 81 in here, and by 10 p.m., it was back to 81 outside, so I could open up the house for some hot non-fossil fueled breezes.
Today is different. It only cooled off to 78 overnight in the house. It's 9 a.m., and already 83 outside, with the feels like temperature at 90. I need to do yardwork, but can't seem to force myself to go outside. I sat on the porch for a while and braided garlic, but that was all the motivation I could muster. Tomorrow it is only going to be 88 for a high, so maybe it will be better tomorrow morning, I hope! As it is, today I am planning on stripping off most of my clothing and staying inside with fans running, drinking ice water.
Don and Kaleigh are camping at an IYM retreat, where Don is presenting a workshop on simplicity. Kaleigh is having a great time running around with the kid pack. If we called it vacation bible school, she'd probably have refused to go, but the Quakers don't seem to care if you believe in God or not. There are crafts in the morning and afternoon, and last night was a bonfire and hay rack rides. She doesn't get to do things like that very much. There won't be much sleeping going on! Don is feeling a bit overwhelmed with talking to people constantly. He's introverted and needs down time.
I have been home cleaning, organizing, getting my brain organized with the tasks I need to do. Don built some wonderful shelves in the kitchen before he left, which I organized. It freed up kitchen space like nothing else. I also moved furniture around in our living room. Since we no longer move every year or so, I am compelled to move my furniture around to give my mind a break from the static stimuli. It's been soooooo hot. It's actually not that hot at all compared to what August will bring, but adjusting to it is difficult, and it's hard for me to maintain my motivation to move.
I have spent some time putting together a map of auction properties. Springfield hires an auction service to sell off its abandoned properties. Starting price is $600, and lots range from a 6 x 30 strip to small acreage in rural Sangamon county, from floodplain to a house on a double lot. Most properties for sale are regular-sized city lots, approximately 1/10 to 1/8 acre in size. There is a lot a few houses down from us that is for sale, one we've been eyeing for a while. There was a decrepit abandoned house there when we bought this place 9 years ago, and the house has been torn down since. It would make a lovely sustainable wood lot, a place to raise corn and potatoes and beans, a fruit orchard--the possibilities are unlimited. I'm not sure we can swing the price, though, as we are trying to get several construction projects done this year. We'll see how it turns out.
I am telling all far and wide about the property tax sale. There are so many vacant lots in our part of town. The ones for sale don't even dent the vacant lot market. The soil here is extremely rich, with many feet of thick black topsoil. Despite the southeast side's reputation as a gang haven, controlled by thugs, with nightly shoot-outs and murders, it is a great place to live, as all these reputed goings-on are false. If only people would give up their negative stereotypes and discard the sensationalism brought to them by local media. I like my house and my neighbors and my neighborhood. People are friendly; it's like a small town. It is soooo quiet here, really. At night we'll sit on the porch sipping wine, with cricket music ringing in our ears, watching the lightning bugs flicker. I feel safe, no problem. Of course, I'm not racist, and I think that makes the biggest difference in my opinion of the place.
So, anyway, if you're interested in being part of the new consensus, moving beyond sustainability, come and join us.