Farming in the Heat

cross-r-ranch at juno.com cross-r-ranch at juno.com
Mon Jun 10 22:02:35 EDT 2002


Allan,

Don't you dare say New Englanders (or us Michiganders for that matter)
don't know how to deal with heat.  Man, it's in the 90s again today (92
for our high, not bad, but it's also humid so bad enough).

How I handle all the outdoor chores on days when I am not workin gin our
air-conditioned office:

1.  Keep an empty 2 or 3 liter pop bottle handy at all times, fill with
water, or Kook-Aid; sugar water if we are out of K-A.  The sugar gives
quick energy, the water fluids.  I keep refilling it as necessary, taking
3-4 swallows every few minutes to keep hydrated.
2.  Dress comfortably and cooly.  Often, I will wear my one-piece
swimsuit and put shorts on or a wrap for the bottom and work outside in
that.  <G>  If it gets over 85, I also fill the tub with warm water, and
the kids and I jump in every hour or so to soak down from head to toe. 
Also gives them a place to splash and play in water without having to be
outdoors in the heat.
3.  Take frequent breaks - work for 15-20 mins, take an equal amount of
time off.
4.  Work in the shade as much as possible during the height of the heat.
5.  Start work early in the a.m. (5:30 or 6:00).  I'll get up, toss on
cool clothes, eat a quick warm breakfast (there's a reason - see #6), and
get busy till about 11:00 or 11:30.  Break for lunch, then take a siesta
- naptime comes in handy during the worst of the heat.  Once we're up
again (about 4:00 p.m. or so), it's cooled off some and we can work
outside more, following 1 to 4.  We also eat light lunches of salad or
sandwich and soup.  Dinner is usually late, something that's been going
in the crockpot all afternoon, or more noshing on whatever's handy
(fruit, pudding, cheese and crackers, whatever suits).
6.  Best thing to do is drink warm drinks and eat warm or hot meals.  it
sounds nutty, but there's a reason - doing so makes your body force blood
to the stomach and intenstines to take the heat away from there and cool
down your inner core temp.  The heated blood then is sent to the skin and
the heat is evaporated, cooling you down.  NEVER cool down with cold
drinks, food, showers/baths - it just forces the body heat inwards, and
makes you hotter afterwards.  With warm water on your skin, you'll
actually cool down better also, because as the heat dissipates, your body
will put heat from inside you into the water to evaporate it, and this
cools you off also.
7.  A HAT.  Make it a good one with a deep crown and large brim.  you
want a deep crown (the part that oges over your head) to trap cool air
above your head, plus you want a wide/large brim to keep the sun off your
face and neck.  This also helps keep you from overheating (and is one
reason migrant farmworkers can work all day in the heat - their head
isn't getting hot).
8.  if you're sun-sensitive, wear sunscreen and loose clothes that cover
you completely and gradually expose yourself to the sun for longer
periods in less clothing - you will not regret it because you won't get a
burn and you will eventually be able to handle longer periods outdoors. 
Don't worry about the colors - black and white are equally acceptable
colors, as is anything else.

Hope this helps!

Heather R
cross-r-ranch at juno.com
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