The Farm on Oak Creek

Heat Wave

Surprise!  It’s Arizona in the summertime. Okay, technically it’s not summer yet, and won’t be until 8:24 pm tonight when we hit the summer solstice (according to Google). And, this is Northern Arizona, which should be cooler than the Valley of the Sun.  However, it was 107 degrees today.  That’s hotter than we usually get this early in the season.  More to the point, I’m surrounded by three streams. The hotter the day, the steamier it gets around here.  I swear it was near 50% humidity on my property.

This does not bode well for the rest of the summer.  Help me! I’m melting!

My biggest concern is keeping the animals comfortable.  The dogs did fine.  They chose to laze inside with the AC running.  So did the cats that have attached themselves to the house: Waku, Wendy, Fat Girl and Shy Girl. Fuzzy tried to talk me into letting him in with the girls, but he’s not housebroken and every time he’s inside something gets peed on.  I had to tell him no, so he went down below the porch where it stays about twenty degrees cooler than anywhere in the sun.  The barn cats are wherever they go to stay cool, and they have lots of choices. Spots and Socks, Fuzzy’s sisters are most likely down by the creek. I’ve seen them in shady damp spots, watching the water roll past them.

The turkeys and chickens seem to have no trouble with the heat, but then they stay in the shade and near the ditch where there’s cool mud. Because there’s so much vegetation on the property, sticking to the shade doesn’t seem to stop them from getting enough to eat. There are plenty of worms in the damp areas and they’ve been grazing on my blackberries along the ditch bank. They aren’t the only ones. The blackberries are leafless to just above the highest the sheep can reach.

Speaking of the sheep, they’re Dorpers, which is Afrikaans (and Dutch) for “Villagers”.  They were bred to be drought tolerant and heat resistant. Still, I kept checking on them. At midday, they were out in the middle of the field, wool and all, grazing as if it weren’t blazingly hot. Although they have access to plenty of water all over the property, they prefer their bucket.  I guess they know where it is, so they check there first.  At any rate, I kept filling that bucket and they kept emptying it.

A side note about Peanut.  He has caught up to and outgrown his sister Mari. Both he and Mari are about two thirds the size of their parents. Peanut has also become my determined and/or jealous protector. Every time Cinco comes up behind me with evil intent (ready to headbutt), Peanut puts himself between his father and me. This doesn’t seem to upset Cinco, who immediately settles down and asks for chin scratches. The two of them are pretty much constant companions.

Peanut did the same thing for Josiah, my grandson, who was visiting this weekend. Cinco simply must challenge tall men. This may be because Derek is well over six foot and has pretty much cowed (sheeped?) Cinco.  Although Josiah is only thirteen, he’s pushing six two, with at least four more inches to go.  Cinco couldn’t resist. But each time he tried, there was Peanut, begging for head scratches from Josiah.

By the way, Josiah is the reason I’m late writing this post. He left on Monday and I played catch up after a weekend of movie watching.  Wonder Woman, two strong thumbs up; Rogue One, one very strong thumbs down, one meh (after I convinced Josiah that the plot was, like, completely missing, he admitted that he loved it because he loves Star Wars); Batman vs Superman, only worth watching if you skip all of the movie up to the part where Wonder Woman appears–talk about a movie missing motivation and plot! And Amazon made me buy the stupid thing; In the Heart of the Sea, two very very strong thumbs up, especially after the whale got away.

Back to my critters.  Miss Piggy and her babies were the ones I worried most about in the heat.  But I flooded the back field for them, created a bog near one of the valves, made sure the pond was filled, and so far they’ve used them all.  They did all learn to drink from the hose today, though.  The water comes from the spring channel and is cool and fresh. Miss Piggy has done the hose thing before, but today her six little girls watched in excitement. Then, one by one, they each had to try it. There was a lot of snorting as they got water into their snouts, but they figured it out and were ready for seconds and thirds.  I can’t blame them. It doesn’t take long for the water in their pan to heat up to nearly hot tea temperature.

Right now, it’s six thirty and only the chickens are still out.  The temperature has dropped to a balmy 96 degrees. The clouds that cut the sun late in the afternoon, but raised the humidity, have dissipated and the humidity has dropped, thank goodness.

I think it’s porch wine time, but tonight I’m taking the fan outside with me.

© Denise Domning, 2023