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Just another heat dome

This week: Just another heat dome; Odd jobs; Packet in the post:

Morning heat haze
Morning heat haze

It is Saturday afternoon once again and it is hot. Much too hot to work, like most of this week.

I have an oscillating fan next to me, which is circulating the hot air around, rather than doing any actual cooling.

The coolest place in the house
The coolest place in the house

No not a dead feline (although I have dealt with one this week), just Bljsac getting some well earned rest by an open window where there is some air coming in.

That isn’t the only thing that is coming in though.

This summer we have been plagued with mosquitoes. There are the extremely aggressive Tiger Mosquito, an alien species.

Tiger Mosquito
Tiger Mosquito

And yes, that is my wrist, but it is all in the name of science (I think). The Tiger Mosquito has black and white striped body and legs.

Quite why “Tiger” and not “Zebra” I do not know.

But there are others this year too, some small and some large, all of which bite.

With nets over the doors and windows, I was struggling to work out why I was getting so many inside.

That is until my senior cat Callie came in, jumped up onto my desk and I saw she had three mosquitoes attached.

She doesn’t like my electric mosquito swatter. In fairness, neither do the mosquitoes either!

I was advised by a neighbour to hang electrocuted mosquitoes up, in the true countryside fashion, like you do with dead rats and moles, as a warning to others.

My row of dead hanging mosquitoes has not made the slightest bit of difference. But then mosquitoes can’t see well, don’t fly well and navigate by the scent of CO² and sweat.

Just another heat dome

Whatever work I have done outside this week has usually taken place between 06:00 and 08:00 and NEVER after 09:00. Quite simply it has just been too hot.

Late August heat dome
Late August heat dome

I still have not fully cleared the infection I had a month ago, despite the horse antibiotics and the very hot weather has made it doubly uncomfortable.

But then we are under yet another “heat dome”. These are almost stationary anticyclones which keep the heat in, prevent other weather systems from moving through the area and allow temperatures under the dome to increase.

Once again, this is just not normal for this point in the year.

Summer 2023 heat domes
Summer 2023 heat domes

Overnight temperatures inside have dropped to 28.4ºC making sleeping sticky and uncomfortable.

Overnight bedroom temperature
Overnight bedroom temperature

It hasn’t been quite as hot as the July heat dome, but you really do not notice the difference outside between 35ºC and 38ºC!

I am extremely environmentally conscious and do not have any Air Conditioning. But the planet is in a mess and the climate breakdown seems to be accelerating.

Here in Dol we are more than 200mm (200 litters per m²) above the average.

Annual precipitation
Annual precipitation chart

There is little wonder everything is so green, especially all the grass and weeds.

Looking ahead, there are thunderstorms forecast for much of next week, the last week of the summer to summer rainfall period, so the chart will have an even bigger gap by next weekend!

Weather for the week ahead
Weather for the week ahead

Odd jobs

There are always jobs to do in and around the orchards.

I needed to replace the waterproof cover on my mini excavator, before the next round of rain starts on Monday.

The previous cover has been “holed” in a lot of places by small razor sharp claws. And where there were no holes, the high UV from Mediterranean sun has decayed the plastic.

With the cover off, I thought I would check the fluid levels and turn the engine over, as I have not used it for some three months.

Checking the fluid levels
Checking the fluid levels

After checking oil levels, hydraulic fluid and adding diesel fuel, I connected the battery. The engine fired the moment I turned the ignition key.

I decided to change how I store the bucket and boom, so it takes up less space. I have a small alloy frame, which I have put under the bucket, so it makes a more compact shape to cover.

Resting the bucket on a frame
Resting the bucket on a frame

Being 1.9m high, it is also not as easy for the felines to climb on. Perhaps I will have fewer tiny holes in my plastic….

Packet in the post

Usually the postman only comes to the village on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This week he had to make a special trip on Wednesday to deliver an international priority letter to me.

I didn’t see him, but he probably wasn’t amused!

It was my order of the special hot climate tomatoes I had ordered from the USA at the start of the month.

Next year's tomatoes
Next year’s tomatoes

There was even a free sample of some black heirloom tomatoes called “Blackfive”. Isn’t it nice when you get a surprise in the post?

This got me thinking about planting them next year.

I was in the polytunnel at lunchtime, and even with the doors and venting open, it was 43ºC.

I’m not sure how the plants in there are surviving, except the bananas, guavas and mangos which like the fierce heat.

I need to start measuring and recording the 11 day average temperatures and probably get a soil temperature gauge for my weather station. This is so I know the optimum time to plant in the polytunnel next winter.

There are always things to do, even when it is baking outside… NCG