This past week it’s all been about two things: the heat, and my birthday!
The Pacific Northwest is in the middle of what is called a “heat dome”. I found an article on the Washington Post website (click here to read the whole article) that states a “heat dome” can form “when the summer sun warms air above the ground or ocean, that air can then rush up into the atmosphere to form a mountain — or dome — of slow-moving hot air under higher pressure that blocks new weather systems from moving in.” High temperature records are being broken on a daily basis in the Pacific Northwest. Here in Yakima the kind of temperature highs we’ve been seeing are earlier than usual for us, and have tended to be several degrees higher than what we normally see. But over on the Westside of the Cascade Mountain Range, it is a very different story. Most people over there do not have any kind of air conditioning because it is very rarely needed. However, the kind of heat they are experiencing now is very uncomfortable (debilitating, even), and also dangerous. Thank goodness Emily (Linda’s daughter) has a portable A/C unit that she can move around from room to room. Still, her A/C wasn’t able to keep up with the high temperatures on Monday despite being in the bedroom, which is much smaller than the living room area where it’s usually deployed. She told me that she was going to get another unit when the stores get restocked. Home Depot and Lowe’s in Seattle had lines of people outside the door on Sunday waiting to get inside, and the A/C units sold out in ten minutes. Over there, the high on Monday reached 105°, which I am pretty sure was a record for Seattle. Meanwhile, in Yakima, the high on Tuesday was 114°, which soundly beat the previous record high of 102° for that day. To tell you the truth, once temperatures get well into the triple digits, I can’t tell one degree from the other. But one difference may be that nighttime temperatures do not go down as low. Last night (Tuesday night) I noticed that the temperature outside at 9:00pm was 90°, which is unheard of around here. The lowest temperature overnight was 80°, while the normal low for that night in June is 51°. Quite a difference.
Below is a screenshot from Weather.com of the temperatures for the last few days in Yakima, and what is predicted in the coming weeks. At least, as they say, it’s a dry heat!
Enough about the weather, it’s making me hot just thinking about it.
Let’s move on to something a bit more cheerful. Despite the heat, my potted plants are doing great! The marigolds in a pot are really pretty and have quite a few blooms on them. Sadly, both of the marigolds that I planted out in the garden were completely consumed by some kind of bug.
My lobelias are doing well. The blue one seems to be doing better than the pink one, but both of them always make me smile.
The new penstemon that I planted is doing great, but I found that I needed to give it shade from the intense afternoon sun, so I may be moving it. However, it already has some flowers on it!
The basil plants that I potted have gotten so big! I have already harvested a lot of leaves off them to use in making my Green Goddess salad dressing.
Speaking of salads, my lettuce bed is doing great! I do need to get out there and pull some weeds, but it has been way too hot and also my back has been acting up. I managed to harvest a bunch of leaves today, so I washed and spun them, and put them in a container for future salads.
Out in the vegetable garden, the tomatoes are slowly producing fruit, and some of the pepper plants already have some small peppers on them. The squash and cucumbers are lagging behind everything else.
UPDATE ON RANDALL PARK
You may remember in a previous blog I had pictures of our visit to Randall Park showing the algae that was growing all in the pond there. I emailed the Yakima Parks & Recreation Department and actually got a response. A very nice gentleman with the Department sent me this reply:
“Thank you for the email. We had a beaver dam upstream restricting the water and that has been removed. We have an inlet from irrigation water shares and we will increase the time we add water. We believe this will help. I do not think we can treat the water with chemicals because it feeds into Wide Hollow Creek which is highly regulated by the Department of Ecology.”
I thanked him for his reply. We haven’t had time to get back out there to check it out, but it is good to know that the city is aware of the situation and is doing all they can.
During all this heat, Summer Girl has been reluctant to come into the house. That’s probably due to the fact that Wendy was over here visiting for my birthday, and Summer Girl never does well when we have company. She’s okay with being around people outside, but inside the house it’s a no-go. Summer still came in during the early morning when Linda got up, but after she ate her breakfast she wanted back outside. The heat doesn’t seem to bother her, though, most likely because she’s been out in it every year for the past 12 years. Her favorite spot to chill out in the morning is a little nest she has made amongst the chives.
Join me every Wednesday (barring any unforeseen circumstances) for more from the Southerner in the Northwest.