My grandmother had some very interesting terminology for a lot of things: A refridgerator was a “Frigidare” regardless of brand. Any and all cooking oil, regardless of composition, is “lard.” The term pickles could refer to anything from cucumbers to watermelon rind. Bacon was “fatback” and day old biscuits were “tack.” The woodshed was the smokehouse and the dog run was referred to as the chicken coop. Everyone knows that “lightning” refers to moonshine, but the most confusing thing to me as a kid was the term “juice.” When I was a little kid, she told me watch out for the electrical outlets as there was “juice in that box.” When you are five, juice generally refers to things that are good – not something that will hurt you! Imagine my suprise when I finally got the outlet cover off to discover pretty wires and no juice. My mother was horrified that I could actually remove an electrical outlet cover with a penny. You have to admire a five-year-old’s commitment to juice.
I’ve learned that no juice equals pure misery in this heat. We returned from Maryland to find our power out and an entire freezer of meat ruined. Seven trash bags – gone. I nearly cried while throwing away farm raised rabbit, duck, chicken, pork and beef. I might have been hardest hit by my chicken stock – I had gallons put away. While it’s easy to make, stock does take time. There is something soothing and comforting about homemade chicken stock. It wasn’t easy to pour it all down the drain, but I couldn’t risk poisoning Laura!
Some things I have learned in the heat with no juice:
1. I’m glad we live in the country. The mountain air is wonderful at six a.m. after a listless night of suffocating heat.
2. Standing under 58 degree spring water in 98 degree weater is one of the most delightful things I have ever experienced.
3. Cats hate the heat. Stubbs is mad at everything.
4. Our water usage is off the charts! Our gardens alone are using 40 gallons/day, a fact that I am most aware of since I started carrying it in buckets. Factor in showers, toilets and sink water and we use far more water than I ever thought. It’s a good thing we have a well. In my defense, the gardens use most of our water – but we get food from those, so I can’t complain.
5. Air conditioners rule. Even Laura, who can tolerate and thrive in conditions that would make a camel gasp, agrees.
6. Watching T.V. makes it less hot, somehow. Our generator won’t power the whole house, but it will run a few fans, the fridge and our television.
So, life is better with juice – but it is tolerable without it, particularly under spring water.