Juneteenth and Hot Weather

In the United states, today is Juneteenth.  As someone who lives in one of the whitest states in the country, I hadn’t heard of Juneteenth until a few years ago. Here is a description from the New York Times:

On June 19, 1865, about two months after the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Va., Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African-Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued more than two and a half years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

The holiday received its name by combining June and 19. The day is also sometimes called “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day.”

In the days before electronic media, news traveled slowly. Hard to believe that it took two months for African-Americans in Galveston to learn that the Civil War had ended. But such was life in the mid-1800s, thus proving yet again that not everything about the good old days was good.

So happy Juneteenth! I hope all who celebrate will find a safe way to do so. In some states, it is a big day for cookouts and family reunions. (That ratty covid-19 just keeps taking.)

A little closer to home…Clif and I finally broke down and bought an air conditioner. We have lived in the woods for nearly forty years, and for most of that time, a fan in the attic pretty much did the trick. At night, when things cooled down, we would turn on the fan and all the hot air would be directed up and eventually out of the house.

But for the past ten years, summers in central Maine have become hotter and hotter. Once upon a time, our biggest worry for the Fourth of July was whether it would rain. Nowadays, it’s whether it will be such a blister of a day that we won’t be able to enjoy the yearly gathering we usually have. (Alas, not this year because of the aforementioned ratty covid-19.)

Last July we had thirteen days where the temperature was above 90° Fahrenheit. And here we are again, on June 18 with 90° weather. (We were there in May, too.) In what universe is it 90° in May and June in Maine? In this new universe of climate change, I guess.

Last August, when I went to get my hair cut, I told my hairdresser that we didn’t have air conditioning. I mentioned how hot and uncomfortable we had been in July.

My hairdresser said, “Laurie, it’s only going to get hotter as the years go by. You really should  consider buying an air conditioner.”

I agreed, and her words stuck with me.

So this year we did it. Here it is, and as Clif has noted, it looks like a maintenance droid out of Star Wars.

We decided to get a free-standing unit rather than one that goes in the window because we figured it would be easier to wheel this into a backroom and store it for the winter rather than heft a unit in and out of the window each spring and fall. It is also a heat pump and energy efficient, which means we might be using it for heat come spring and fall.

Yesterday, just in time to make us glad that we followed my hairdresser’s suggestion, I read in the Times that “Scientists Predict Scorching Temperatures to Last Through Summer.”

We will be ready with our air-conditioning droid.

 

73 thoughts on “Juneteenth and Hot Weather”

  1. We bought our portable type air conditioner two years ago! I set it up at the window near my chair in the living room during the daytime and move it to the bedroom in the evening if needed. It makes a LOT of noise, but I react poorly to the heat, so it’s excellent in my eyes.

  2. I’m thinking our grandparents couldn’t have imagined us needing air conditioning, but when you add these higher temps to increased humidity you’ve got uncomfortable living. And, I thought I left all this in the Midwest. 🙂

  3. It can get up to those temperatures here in S.W. France but it’s not generally overly humid. We have a very old house with thick stone walls which takes a long time to heat up and, if we keep the shutters closed and the occasional fan switched on, it’s manageable. It’s not at all common to have a/c here, nor in the U.K. last time looked. I think I read somewhere that almost 90% of homes in the U.S. have air conditioning – can that be true? Surely there are some places it doesn’t get that hot and humid.

    1. It could be true, especially whecn you think of how much of the country lives in hot places like New York City or Atlanta or Dallas. And with climate change, places like Maine that were never hot are now hot. Today it was 95 at our house in the woods. The humidity was about 80. The world is changing. Never in my memory has it been this hot in Maine in June.

  4. Yes, CC is really here. This summer is fixing to be a tough one. I guess all my outdoor work will have to be done by mid-morning or after supper. The bugs seem to be the only ones thriving in these temps!
    Stay cool!

      1. I have a little blue cart that I fill with containers filled with water. I then lug them around front. Not as good as soaker hoses, but it seems to be doing the truck, and I am getting lots of exercise. 😉 Come rain, come!

  5. Down here in Texas, most people call it Juneteenth; I’ve never heard those other names for the day. The first party I attended after moving here was a Juneteenth party — in 1973. Now that the rest of the country’s discovered it, we’re just hoping it doesn’t get turned into St. Patrick’s Day (an excuse to drink) or Halloween (an excuse for mischief)!

    You have a new AC, while I have a new dehumidifier. I just couldn’t make things comfortable, even with the AC set at 75 or 76, and now I know why. In the past three days, the dehumidifier has pulled about 60 pints of water out of the air. Now, it feels just fine with the AC set at 78 or 79. If I can get the humidity down even more, it’s going to be wonderful.

    1. Good points about what might happen to Juneteenth now that the rest of the country has discovered it.

      Yup, humidity makes the heat worse. Terribly humid in Maine. We have both a dehumidifier and an AC. The house feels tolerable now.

  6. I’m in Australia and we also had to succumb and finally get AC a few years ago. The weather gets so hot and heat stays much longer now 🤔

  7. This is the first year I have ever heard of this. Anyway, today is 20 June and midsummer in the northern hemisphere and a big holiday in Sweden and also my dear husband’s birthday, so we have been celebrating!

  8. Laurie, Here on the peninsula we are still cool, although that is forecast to change. We still have a breeze which is a blessing. Climate change is real and intensifying, and the hurricane forecast for the summer is daunting. We shall see how this year plays out.We really do need rain, that after a soggy winter.

  9. Thank you for educating me on Juneteenth, Laurie. I had not heard of it. No, the “good old days” were not so good for everyone.

    That is an interesting roll-away air conditioner! It looks like you have it venting out of a modified window? The hottest we have seen it get here, as registered on the porch thermometer which was out of direct sun, was 112 degrees one year. 90 to low 100s are common in summer, but it is dry heat. We don’t get the humidity of the east coast. It was up around 90 yesterday at the winery were I do some occasional work weeding. I was glad to be wearing a good sun hat and took frequent water breaks.

  10. I hope you found a way to celebrate Juneteenth. I had not heard about it until I met my sweetheart who explained. Happy new air conditioning droid too. It is good to have the option.

  11. Thank you for explaining Juneteenth. I had seen it referred to but hadn’t a clue what it was about! Now I understand why it is a big deal this year especially.

    I think in the old days houses were designed to cope with whatever the local climate was. So in places where hot weather was normal they were like the house Tialys describes – thick walls, big eaves to give shade to the windows, shutters and doors and windows arranged to catch whatever breeze might be around. The problem we have now is that pour houses were built for the weather we used to have not what we do have. They were built when heating and cooling units were cheap to run. We are having to adapt them and certainly here in the UK fuel is a big expense for most of us. It probably makes sense therefore to have a small unit which you put where you need it rather than try to chill the whole house down – no-one cares if the spare bedroom is hot if you don’t have guests!

    1. There is some talk about making Juneteenth a Federal holiday, and I hope this happens. Yes, you are right about houses being suitable for pre-climate change temperatures. When I was young, hardly any homes in my neighborhood had air conditioners. Now, it is very common. Almost a necessity when the temps are in the high 90s.

      1. No fun at all. A very recent development in Maine, which had such delightful weather that people would flock here in the summer. Now, our weather is more like southern New England, hot and humid. Sigh. Very strange to be living through such changes.

      1. I’ve read that! And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that you are farther north than we are. When you buy your new house, you might want to make sure it is well insulated.

  12. I’m sorry you need it, but I like your droid. After hefting a window unit yesterday, I can appreciate the fact that you don’t have to do that. If we ever have to replace this unit (which is likely given the planned obsolescence of appliances in our throwaway society), I would like to get one like this, especially since it includes heat as well.

  13. I don’t recall coming across Juneteenth until this year when I’ve met it in several places and wondered what it meant. So thank you for explaining it for me! And belated Happy Juneteenth! Sounds like that air conditioner will be busy this summer!

  14. Thank you for the Juneteenth explanation, Laurie. I hope you are still enjoying your little hard-working droid. I must ask – have you named it yet? I always think such useful tools should have names and become part of the family. After all, there is always the precedent of Little Green….

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