Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping Cool Tips and Trip to Silver Glen Springs

Wishing you all a Happy Belated Solstice to all and Happy New Moon! The last few days have been terribly hot, and I'm feeling rejuvenated after a trip to Silver Glen Spring. I try to live in Florida as a natural person, that is without Air Conditioning. Living with out AC is a good way to conserve energy and cut expenses. I also don't have to worry about having the ability to cope without it in the case of an emergency, as we have been known to loose power for days during hurricane season. So if I have been neglecting my blog a bit, I will blame it on the heat for now. Summer in Florida is my season to rest. I get much more activity done during the winter. It is hard to think about being in the kitchen to melt beeswax for salves, but on the positive side I don't have to heat coconut oil before making soaps in the morning. We had a nice rain last night, and I actually woke up cool this morning! I even had to turn off a fan last night and cover myself with a sheet this morning! Yay!

I will include a few tips in this blog post to my friends who I know are also trying to avoid turning on the AC (at least until the beast of August), but first my trip to the spring! Yesterday I had amazing escape from the heat. My friend Patsy and daughter Moira and I took a trip to Silver Glen Spring in the Ocala National Forest. The water was so incredibly cool and refreshing. I wanted to stay all day, but we had to get the little one out of the hot sun. Patsy gave Moira one of the SPF 50 full body swim suit and I put SPF 30 sunscreen everywhere else.

We all had a great couple of swims in the cold clear water followed by a walk through the woods.

The water was amazingly clear and there was a school of large fish at the bottom of the large spring. It's an excellent location for snorkeling. At the end of the forest trail you can see the 'boiling sand,' were there is a shallow spring in the middle of the woods. It looked like a great place for alligators to hide to me! I did not let Moira go down there, though most of the visitors ignored the signs to stay on the board walk.

Even with sun protection, it is hard not to come home with a little excess heat when you live in Florida. At the end of the day Moira had only a minor burn on her face (dark pinkish red skin no blistering) and forearms which seems to have faded out almost completely this morning. I always treat burns like these first with a little vinegar, then with my sun burn salve or fresh aloe. Last night I alternated all three. Having vinegar in a spray bottle is very convenient for treating sunburn or after first getting an insect bite. I use my Lemongrass Rosemary Deodorant spray which can double for this purpose.

Ok so it would be a little too indulgent to take a trip out to the Springs all the time to cool down, but a cold shower or a jump in the ocean or neighbor's pool (or your own) is great alternative. The following list includes some of my methods for keeping cool during the summer.

-Cold Showers! Anytime you feel overwhelmed with the heat you can take a cold shower or hose yourself down outside. The most important thing is to get your head and hair wet to drain the heat out. Then let yourself air dry. Letting your hair air dry will help too with water dripping down your back.

-Stay hydrated. Remember to drink lots of water or better yet herbal teas or infusions. Coffee and beer doesn't count.

-Clothing! Don't over do it. For young kids you can keep it limited to underware or cloth diapers while they are in the house. For myself I only wear the ultra thin polyester/chiffon or poly spandex blend tank tops throughout the summer. Cotton or hemp fabrics just keeps too much heat in.

-Shade. Is your house shaded? If not then there is no better day than today to plant some shade trees. Pay it forward. Renters especially, the tree you plant may not give you shade, but someone will appreciate it later down the line. Mulberry or Morus alba is a great fast growing tree. It looses it's leaves in the winter so you will get shade when you need it in the summer and sun during the winter. The leaves are also edible. I dry them and make infusions and decoctions with them. The leaves are considered cooling as well and the beverage is great when chilled. This year I planted sunflowers in front of our west window to give us a little extra shade.

-Air Circulation. Fans and Window Screens are a must. I recently patched our landlord's screen door with cloth patches and hot glue. Not the most ideal fix, but it did the job, and is certainly more function that it was when we moved in.

-Cool Snacks. We have been making yogurt popsicles all this month. The are a great cooling snack for kids or grown ups since they have protein, as compared to straight juice popsicles which are very high in sugar. Watermelon is a great summer fruit to have on hand. It is an anti-cancer food, which is also used in Chinese nutrition to prevent and treat heat stroke emergencies.

-Cold neck wraps. I keep my microwavable Lavender Neck Wraps in the freezer. I should really start keeping two in there. I feel like kicking myself every time I forget to put mine back in the freezer after using it. The are great to put on your neck cold if you want to sit down and read or relax for a little while. For a do it yourself practical solution on a budget you can simply fill an old sock with rice or flax and keep it in the freezer in a bag.

-Get a hair cut! My daughter and I both have extremely thick and heavy hair. It just is not a good idea for people like us to keep long hair in hot weather. Shoulder length is about tolerable, and I've pretty much given up on the idea of keeping it long like I did when I was living in Seattle. Having it long so that you can put it up is nice, but not if it is trapping all the heat in your head.

Hope you all have a nice week and stay cool. Please feel welcome to post comments about other good ways to stay cool. I'm sure I will appreciate any tips you might have.

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