Is There No Escape from the Heat?

The temperature hits 102°F at Howard Mesa.

Yesterday, it hit 115°F in Phoenix. The meteorologists expect the same today — which would break a record.

Temperatures hit 100° in Prescott yesterday. I can’t imagine 100° in Prescott.

I don’t know what the temperature in Wickenburg was yesterday because I’m not there and haven’t been there for three weeks now. But I can tell you the high temperature in the screened-in room beside my trailer at Howard Mesa: 102°. It was not a happy time for me — or for Alex the Bird.

Poor Alex, stuck in his cage. He spent a good part of the late morning standing on his highest perch, wings slightly out, panting. At times, his eyes were half closed. I thought he was going to have heat stroke or something. So I took the only fan I have, plugged it into the inverter, clipped it to the door so it would point right at him, and turned it on. Then I took a wet washcloth and placed it on the back of the fan, so the moisture would be drawn through. I created, in effect, a mini evaporative cooler. Of course, I had to rewet the washcloth every 20 minutes or so. But it really made a difference for him. He came back to life.

There was no relief for me. I spent a good part of the day only partially dressed, lounging in the shade with a book. There’s no one at Howard Mesa to see me — I could have lounged in my birthday suit. I’d finished my chores — feeding the critters, adding water to the horses’ water trough, putting on the horses’ fly masks — before 7 AM. Then I’d spent about an hour or two working on the insulation in the shed. I’m about halfway finished now; just need about 12 more sheets of the stuff to do the ceiling. Then I retreated to the shade.

Jack, of course, spent the entire day under the trailer.

The heat wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been some wind. Howard Mesa is windy most of the time, but lately, the wind has been very calm. (Or “mild” if you talk to the folks at Wickenburg Airport.) There was a breeze yesterday, but it was blowing from the northwest. That’s behind the camper. So the camper blocked the wind and none of it came into the screened-in room. Or into the camper.

The sun beat down relentlessly most of the day. But around noon or 1 PM, enough clouds had built up that the sun slipped behind them once in a while. I consulted the thermometer I’d put on the table during one of our shady spells. The temperature in the screened-in room dropped 4° in a matter of minutes.

Today, I’m going to Flagstaff. I have a meeting to attend there and a bunch of stuff to pick up at Olsen’s Grain and Home Depot. The truck has air conditioning, so I’ll be comfortable.

But I do admit that I’m a bit worried about Alex the Bird. There will be no evap cooler for him today.

What do you think?