Summer has set in. The days are long and so hot the wind feels like the air from a baking oven on my face, and the grass looks like uncut hay, all shriveled and dried in the pasture.
It has been days and days of dry, bright sunshine over 100 F. The ticks and yellow flies are out, and spider eyes gleam like pinprick sapphires in the darkness of the still nights.
A storm came through at last, covering the sky like a huge white eagle. When the first damp wind blew all the trees and grass shuddered with delight, and with uplifted arms danced with the first drops and embraced the silver rain.
The animals have succumbed to the heat by sleeping in the shade and hardly moving except in the early mornings and late evenings. Outside nearly all day, I am always gleaming with sweat, and each little breeze feels sweetly cool.
Heat so intense is dangerous, as i found for myself one day when i was out working at solar noon and felt suddenly dizzy and short of breath. Strangely, i actually felt nice and cool at the time, but because of the lightheadedness I put down my work and went straight to the trough of fresh well water and laid in it for awhile. I was so overheated that when I tried to get out I had another dizzy spell, and so I stayed in the water until I felt normal again.
Now I wake up very early these days of fierce heat, to finish the chores in the relatively cool morning air and low light, and take a nap inside during the hot afternoon.
We also fill up a large water trough and plunge in at least once a day, and i always have on hand drinks made with the many cooling herbs and fruits growing at this time that help with adapting to the heat and are much better to drink than plain water.
1.Watermelon and Mint
A favorite drink, very refreshing and sweet:
Put chunks of watermelon in a blender with 3-4 mint leaves and a quart of water. Blend.
You can use seedless watermelon, but i only grow seeded watermelons and i never have time to take the seeds out. It seems to blend up fine to my taste anyway, and watermelon seeds are medicinal.
2. Aloe, Lime and Sea Salt
This drink is wonderful because aloe is so refreshing, and is good against parasites as well (more important in a subtropical climate than most people realize).
The sea salt also helps replace minerals lost from sweating.
Peel 1 aloe pad and use a spoon to scrape the jelly off (the leftovers are nice to rub on your skin). Put in a blender with juice of 1 lime, 1 quart water and a pinch of sea salt. Dilute with water if the consistency is too thick.
3.Cucumber Mint Water
I have three kinds of mint at the moment – Korean mint, spearmint, and Yerba Buena, my favorite since it is the mint I grew up with. This drink is easy and very hydrating. The cucumber seems to change the water and make it more refreshing somehow.
Slice a cucumber and add to a half gallon or gallon jar along with several sprigs of mint. Fill with water and chill in the fridge.
4. Blueberry and Tulsi Water
Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is one of my favorite herbs to infuse in water. It tastes so delicious, i crave it when the weather turns hot before the basil is big enough to harvest! It has a distinctly different flavor than other basil and is an adaptogen. Mixed with blueberries, this is delicious!
Add a cup of blueberries and several sprigs of tulsi to a gallon jar and fill with water. Chill overnight. I leave the herbs and berries in the water, as their flavors continue to soak out.
5. Lemongrass/ Lemon Balm/Lemon Basil Infused Water
I’ve never grown lemon basil before. There were always so many other kinds of basil to grow, i just never got around to it, so it was a surprise to me to nibble a random, unlabeled basil leaf and suddenly feel like i was eating lemon candy. It absolutely swept me off my feet, and I’ve been in love with it ever since, so expect to hear more about it in recipes!
I love to discover that i love plants that never caught my attention before. There are ALWAYS new things to discover.
This recipe is very easy – just put several sprigs of the herb in water and let it soak for awhile while chilling in the fridge. It is the most wonderful thing to drink after you have been sweating all afternoon.
6. Peach and Black Cherry Fizz
This is almost like a dessert drink, made with peaches from our wild peach tree that grew up from a peach pit someone threw in the yard, and black cherry extract I made from the wild cherries last summer. I froze the peaches to preserve them as they spoil quickly.
Whiz up about 8 small frozen peach halves and 1 tablespoon black cherry extract with 1 quart of water. It gets fizzy and bubbly from being blended.
Stay cool and have a beautiful week!