Surviving the Heat
I think of this old farmhouse as an animal, alive and breathing. Our first summer here was miserable, because the place was still wrecked and we had no water. This second summer is more tolerable because we've taken steps to cool the interior: new (used) swamp cooler, more ceiling fans installed, roof painted white, new insulation in the sunroom ceiling, and blackout shades on the windows. Still using portable AC units in the bedrooms.
The breathing part comes with the cooler air at night: you have to let it in. At 5am I open windows, turn on the swamp cooler fan only, and try to blow out heat still in the house. By 10am, close the house back up and turn on the swamp cooler. Late afternoon, if it's terrible, turn on the AC in the bedroom to cool it down for the night.
Old-fashioned tricks work, like soaking feet in a pot of cool water, and wet towels at night to get body temps down. Someone told me of growing up in Amboy without AC, sleeping under a soaked sheet every night. Summer in the desert is sort of like birthing labor, you forget the pain once it's over.
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Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.