Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's Hot in Topeka!

In the Shade

Topeka has reached over 100 degrees eighteen times so far this summer. In other words, "It's Hot in Topeka!"

While it's hot, it's not 1936 hot.  It's more like 1980's hot.  The hottest summer ever in Topeka was felt in 1936. The summer of 1936 saw read correctly... fifty-nine days over 100 degrees.  And on July 24, the hottest temperature ever reached in Topeka was recorded, 114 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, in 1936, Topeka saw 19 consecutive days over 100 degrees (July 9-27).

An interesting blog with Kansas dust bowl memories is

My maternal grandmother (deceased) who was a young, married woman in the early 1930's, told me one of her biggest memories of the dust bowl days on their farm in Northern Missouri.  She said that her and Grandpa would lie in bed every night listening to the their cows bawl. Grandma said it was a heart-wrenching sound. They cried from thirst.

The water had dried up on their farm and there was no water for the cattle.  Each day, her and my Grandfather, would herd the cattle a couple of  miles over to her father's farm, which still had a little water left in the creek, then they would drive the cattle back home to the pasture. Yet, the temperatures were so hot, by evening the cattle were extremely thirsty and had no water to drink until the next day when my grandparents would once again drive them back to the creek.

Grandma said one year they couldn't raise anything in the garden but green beans.  She said they lived on practically nothing but green beans for a year.  Until the day he died, my Grandpa wouldn't eat many green beans. He always told me he had his fill in the 30's.

Of course, there was no air-conditioning on the farm in the 1930's. I sometimes think of my Grandma and Grandpa lying in bed, sweaty and hot, listening to their dying cattle through the open window, praying for rain.  It makes me hesitant to ever complain.

My paternal Grandmother says she remembers the pastures drying up so her father's cattle had nothing to eat.  Grandma said her father had to cut down trees just so the cattle could eat the leaves since there was nothing else for them to eat.

In 1980, Topeka saw 20 out of 31 days in July reach 100 or better. Twelve of those days were consecutive. 

I have heard several predictions this years large spread drought will result in a 3-5% rise in food prices, particularly meat, milk and eggs.  We will all have to shop smarter just to stay even.

Here's my tip of the day: carry a cooler in the car. Each time I leave to go grocery shopping, I make sure I have a cooler in the back to carry home anything cold. One day, in an attempt to help me, my husband cleaned out my car for me, removing the cooler. I didn't notice until after I had bought ice cream. I have eaten soup that was thicker than that ice cream was by the time  I got home.

Later, I asked my husband, "Where's my cooler?"

"Oh, I cleaned out your car. Were you aware there were old club crackers crumbling and jolly ranchers melting in the drivers door pocket," he said with obvious disgust.

"Whaaaaaaattt!" I replied.  When upset, my voice sounds eerily similar to "Shaggy" from Scooby Do, after he thinks he has spotted some supernatural phenomena, which always turned out to have some logical explanation.

"Those are my car snacks!"

"Car Snacks?" he asked, confused.

"I hope you didn't move my Aldi's quarter," I threatened.

"What's an 'Aldisquarter'," he said.

"The quarter I keep in the ash tray to use every time I go to Aldi's. You have to have a quarter to get a shopping cart," I explain. 

"Please don't tell me you threw away my car makeup," I continue, with fear.

"Are you referring to that tube of lipstick that had no lid and what looked like beach sand stuck to it? He wrinkles his nose at me.

"I could exfoliate my lips and apply lipstick at the same time!" I state. "I'm thinking of patenting that invention".

"I removed about a hundred fossilized fries from under your seat and an unopened package of crystal light," he says.

"Now, if I am ever stranded for days in a snow storm, how do you suggest I survive? I ask, to his back as he walked away, shaking his head. He has not cleaned, or rode, in my car since.

Car Cooler

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