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Episode 348 S12 - 10

Stay Cool in the Heat


Special Guest:

Little House in the Big Woods Ch 10

Sara F. Hathaway

The summer months bring some hot temperatures. How would you stay cool without power? Here are some tips for post-collapse survival in the heat.

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The summer months bring some hot temperatures. How would you stay cool without power? Here are some tips for post-collapse survival in the heat.

This week, we read about summer in the woods during our review of Little House in the Big Woods. Laura’s parents would have more visitors. Her ma was busy making cheese, and her pa found a tree full of honey for the family to stock up on.

Laura’s stories made me think of the Texas heat and reflect that it’s going to increase very soon. I wrote a blog a few years ago while living in California and realized that athough many of the tips are applicable, they require a different spin due to the change in geography.

My reflections on post-collapse survival in the heat all began when my husband asked me, “so, Mrs. SHTF girl, what do we do when the stuff does hit the fan, and we have no air conditioning?” I felt a little stumped, but my brain immediately started thinking about what our ancestors would have done. I needed to do more research before giving him some solid answers.

Thinking about cooling without power got me thinking about things we already do to stay cool. We typically put up an outdoor pool. It’s just a cheap little structure, easy to put up, but it makes a huge difference. It wouldn’t be too clean without the power running the filter, but it would be wet and a source of gray water. In California, we had covered decks that helped obstruct the direct sun from the windows. In Texas, we put up thick curtains to help block the sun’s heat.

In California, we invested in insect netting to protect the balcony that entered our master bedroom so we could help cool our room by utilizing the nighttime air. We could leave the doors open in the evening to help with the cooling. In Texas, we don’t have the doors in our room (trust me, I’m working on convincing my husband to start construction on the project), but we have a big window with screens. Airflow is key.

Another trick my husband does to stay cool is he wets a hand towel and drapes it over himself. Hydration is vital in the summer, and I always make sure we have plenty of fruit, especially melon. It is packed with hydrating liquid that is yummy to eat and essential for the body.

Knowing what we do to stay cool, I started wondering what other people suggest? I visited a site called greatist.comand found some solutions for nighttime heat. They recommend using lightweight cotton sheets. We always trade up the flannel for the light cotton in the summer, and it is a big help. Using a damp towel or sheet as a blanket is another solution for nighttime heat, but they warned that you may want to have another towel to help absorb the moisture, so your mattress does not get wet. Going nude or wearing loose-fitting cotton jammies was another possible solution. I know some husbands who think this is an excellent idea but hold on one second, guys. Another tip was to sleep alone or in a big bed with ample space to spread out. The cuddling will have to wait for cooler weather. They also suggest drinking water before bed to ensure you are adequately hydrated. Cooling off in water or at least putting your feet in it was another suggestion. Get low; heat rises, so the lower, the better. Hang wet sheets in open windows. This is an intelligent grid-down suggestion. Do not cook indoors or consider sleeping outside together. Finally, a straw or bamboo mat for sleeping was suggested because sometimes our mattresses do very little to help cool us in the summer. also had some notable suggestions in one of their articles. You can DIY a swamp cooler. Yes, it will take power, but it’s still fun to craft your own projects. They have some tips on how to do that at their site. Using blackout curtains was another excellent tip. Utilizing outdoor awnings or planting shade trees is a great idea. We had to be careful about planting shade trees in California because of the wildfire risk, but it’s a good idea for geographical areas that don’t have that threat. Utilizing dampened bandanas, wrist wraps, or having your own wet t-shirt contest was another suggestion (here comes the cheering from the guys again). Use a mister to dampen yourself and make sure you drink lots of liquids.

Now that I had all of these solutions to the problem, I was still wondering how our ancestors used to stay cool. has some fun info on how our ancient ancestors used to beat the heat. The cave dwellers were the first to utilize geothermal technology. They lived in caves and dug burrows that would protect them from the heat of the summer. Egyptians used to hand wet reeds in front of their windows to cool their homes, and the Chinese created the fan. The Victorians needed some powerful cooling technology for all that get-up they used to wear. They built buildings with high ceilings, covered porches, and extensive recessed windows for cross ventilation. Who would have thought that same vaulted ceiling that I curse all winter for losing heat is helping to keep me cool in the summer.

In the more recent past, described some clever tips. Building community structures in high areas, on hilltops, and in elevated areas was one way they took advantage of the natural airflow. In general, these structures and houses were built with breezes in mind. Windows on one side were always accompanied by windows on the other to allow for airflow. Going to bed damp after bathing was a norm, as was sleeping in sheets that had been soaked in ice water. The attic fan was developed, and people used to take to the balconies to escape hot homes.

Staying cool in extreme heat is as important as staying warm in extreme cold. Hopefully, with all these tips on beating the heat, that won’t be as miserable of an experience.

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Little House in the Big Woods Ch 10

Sara F. Hathaway

Author Sara F. Hathaway is an individual with an insatiable urge for learning. She grew up in the woods of Michigan, fishing, hunting, gardening, canning, and horseback riding with her family. She loved to learn about the stories of times past from her great grandparents and grandparents. She learned about a time much different from our own when a trip to the grocery store was not all it took to make sure your family was fed. She delighted in the outdoors and learning how to survive there without the trappings of modern life.

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