Tag Archives: summer weather

Sultry summer Sunday

It rained for about 30 seconds Saturday night. Not enough to really count but enough to make it even more humid.

So how did I spend a lazy, hot Sunday? By running the oven at 400 degrees. How else?! First I made eggplant ‘bacon.’

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Not bad. Terry, who hates eggplant, even liked it. You can find a number of recipes for the stuff on Google. I saw it used in a dish on Williams & Sonoma’s Instagram so I got curious. Just halcyon try one of those recipes.

After cleaning all the glass surfaces in this house, I decided to use the last of the summer’s apricots for another pie which again heated up the oven.

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Fortunately, we have doggy bags from last night’s Chinese dinner so no more cooking for me today. We will watch more taped tv programs tonight and lay out plans for the next week as we get back to our routine. I have quite a few activities already on the calendar.

Living with extremes

Fresno can be very hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter. We are a place of extremes. Like our economy. There are very wealthy people living in the valley, but we are one of the poorest spots in the nation, too. If you you drive from one side of town to the other, you will see the homeless, the downtrodden, the small, unkempt homes and you will see estates, expensive stores, designer clothes, manicured parks.

When I give tours at Kearney Mansion, I always point out the way the house was designed in 1903 to combat the valley’s heat. The walls are two feet thick adobe brick. The windows are double paned glass. The wrap-around porch has a 10 foot overhang. Even then, M. Theo Kearney refused to stay in Fresno during the summer, instead traveling to Europe to see friends and purchase artwork for the castle he planned to some day build on the lines of Hearst Castle. Mr. Hearst built his; Mr. Kearney died before his could be built.

When I took over the yearbook class, I was able to retrieve from the vault yearbooks going back 100 years, to the turn of the century. We laughed as we read the vacation plans of teachers and students which were printed in those early books. No one stayed in town. Instead they too, like Mr. Kearney, traveled to Europe or the coast or up to the mountains. You must realize that in 1890 only the wealthy of the city attended high school and most of the teachers were hired from Berkeley and Stanford. They had the means with which to escape the brutal heat.

Even now, the very wealthy leave Fresno for cooler places. Many have homes in mountain resorts or in Hawaii. When I served on the calendar committee for the school district, I had to battle these wealthy parents who did not want to start school until after Labor Day. They used the excuse that the air was bad for the poor children who had asthma, not considering that the schools are air conditioned and would provide better air for the students than their own homes might. These wealthy parents did not want to return from Huntington Lake, Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, or even Paris (I had one student whose parents had a home there), while it was still hot in Fresno. Their arguments sounded so legitimate, and it was only when I brought up their summer homes did I see nods and looks of recognition from the other committee members.

I am thankful for air conditioning both at home and in my cars. We wouldn’t think of buying a car here without air conditioning. Stores and shopping centers are all air conditioned as are the schools and any public institution. Should the air conditioning go out for some reason, many places will close during the summer knowing that there won’t be any business for them. I am also grateful for the large trees we have in our yard that help keep the house cool. Our patio, which has a southwest exposure, has a 20 foot cover so as to keep the sun away from our large sliding glass door. When we recently reroofed the house we replaced the wood shakes with a ‘cool’ roof in a very light color.

Even with all of these efforts, the house can still be warm on those 100+ degree days when the overnight temperatures only drop to 70 degrees. Especially if I use the oven and/or cook on the stovetop. We have tried to eat cool meals this week as well as going out to eat a couple of times. Although restaurants keep their thermostats turned low on these hot days, just getting from the car to the building can be searing. On the hottest day this week–110 degrees–I met my retired friends for lunch. You can see from this photo we took upon arrival that we were melting:

June birthday lunch

Such shiny faces!

Still summer time here in California

Although it is officially autumn, our weather has felt more summer-like the past two days. Today it is 81 degrees at 1 p.m. We might hit 90 by 5. I turned on all the house fans today as I have been baking and will continue later this afternoon.

This morning I made a piecrust of ginger snaps, pecans, and oats. It baked for about 10 minutes. Then I poured in a mixture of browned butter, sweet potato, sugar, cream, eggs, and spices to make the most delicious pie. That had to bake for 20 minutes. A rib roast will be the last thing from my oven for dinner this evening. Another 100 minutes of heat coming from the oven and filling my kitchen air.

Due to the warm weather, I decided to clean the patio again, maybe for the last time this year. Of course, it could still be warm at Thanksgiving at the rate we are going with our seasons. We got our flu shots today, so we are ready when the cold weather does come.

The end of the first week of school

Not all summer days are long and hot.  The ones we spend in San Francisco are cool, windy, foggy, and seem to go quickly because sunrise comes so late. The sun does not come through the windows and move through the room as it does in the house at Fresno. Summer days are long and hot there. The sun blazes across the sky, fills each room with light and shadow. I have been missing the light show while enjoying the cool breezes of San Francisco streets.

Another thing about Fresno summers that I miss are the warm evenings after the sun moves into the western sky and begins to fall. A slight breeze may randomly blow through the yard, just enough to cool one off. Backyards are a lovely place to end the day with a cool drink and a chance to unwind. Especially if it’s the Friday of the first week of school.

I spent this year’s first week of school in San Francisco. No classes, no students, no pressures. The weather in San Francisco was not the weather for the first week of school.  It was foggy, cool, windy.  I worked on a communications project, went for a job interview, walked the streets of the city, and let my granddaughter dig in mulch at Central Park in San Mateo. Life was perfection. But chilly.

For years the first week of school ended with a dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Margarita and taco. Took the edge off of a chaotic week. Even though there was no chaos this week, the tradition still stood.  Margarita and a taco at El Toro Tambien. We drove home in the air conditioned car and then spent time in the yard, enjoying a lovely warm Fresno evening. The moon rose above the palm trees, the cats walked across the yard, and the sun slowly set. A perfect end to the first week of school.

Just a Tuesday evening on the bay

I am so happy to just be sitting here, in the tiny apartment, looking out over a dusky bay as the lights come on the Bay Bridge. It is very cool–56 degrees with a lovely breeze–and our window is open letting in good bay smells.

Summer, and the livin’ is easy.