Monday, August 4, 2014

A measured approach to surviving the heat

What a doozy of a heatwave that was. Saturday had me working outside making drinks (non-alcoholic) for volunteer construction workers at the RBC project in Loomis, CA. It varied depending on who you asked, but I can accurately say the temperature was somewhere over 105 and under 109. Yuk, yuk, triple digit yuk. We made ice water. We made Gatorade. We made cucumber lemon water. We made iced tea. We made pink lemonade. And we made it again and again, five gallons at a time. We dumped in ice until the ice machine was about empty. It didn't help with the temperature one little bit, but at least no one dropped over from heat stroke. Me included. I kept chugging the water and only had to use the bathroom twice, and with the port-a-potties turning into mini saunas in the sun, that was a good thing. Sweating is an amazing process, and there was a lot going on at this project.

Sunday came along like a lovely pre-fall day, reaching only a high of 86 degrees in Sacramento. It was pleasant with a nice cloud cover and a gentle breeze. We still provided loads of liquids, but we enjoyed some moments to sit back and catch our collective breath. I spent some time explaining U.S. measurements to a Russian-born girl. I got out a tape measure and tried to introduce the concept of 2 feet, 5 and 5/8 inches. The poor thing looked baffled and amazed. She just kept mumbling about meters and centimeters like she was talking to a person from the Dark Ages. Then I grabbed a set of measuring spoons. That was equally amusing to someone raised with liters and grams. Teaspoons, tablespoons, quarts, pints, cups and gallons, we went through them all. Seeing that the only three countries to not use the metric system are the U.S., Myanmar and Liberia, she still had a look of astonishment on her face. She got very excited when she thought for a moment that her shoe size (7) was related to 7 inches on the tape measure, but I had to pop that illusion quickly. But she did learn that it takes one scoop of Gatorade for every quart of water in a cooler bucket, and that's all that mattered this weekend.

Today I'm getting the house back in order, personally apologizing to every dry plant in the yard, and making some refreshing gazpacho soup from all our garden produce. I grabbed a pile of tomatoes, some cucumbers, half an onion, a handful of basil, a few plops of pureed garlic, a squeeze or two of lime juice and several squirts of hot sauce. I threw it in the blender, hit pulse and watched as it transformed into delicious summer soup. No measuring required, this is a meal that needs no international conversion charts.

The ingredients before I put the gaz in their pacho.
Say Cheese!
The funky addition of heirloom tomatoes make the color a bit muddy.
Next time, only the reds will make the cut.
And nope, that is not cheese, it's shredded carrots. A fistful of shredded carrots to be exact.