My house has turned into a cave.
Baby, it’s hot outside. Hot enough to fry an egg on top of my head, it is. Being out there between the hours of 12 and 5 is enough to drive one mad when not emmersed in water to ones neck and maybe further. Inside, however, is a different world. Shutters are closed, windows are only open when the sun is not beating down directly on that side of the house. My bed calls to me several times a day. My skin is sticky as soon as I get out of the shower. Tomatoes are starting to turn blazing red.
The dog days, die Hundstage, are here.
Two years ago we had planted a field of potatoes and were frantically digging fresh earth and piling it over the base of the plants, killing millions of potato bugs, and watering three hours a day. What in the world were we thinking? My neighbor sells me the exact same potatoes from her field for 50 cents a kilo–two pounds. For that reason alone, her potatoes taste like heaven to me. Marisa and Stefano are in their seventies. They plant over 100 kilos of potato seedling every year. The work is unimaginable, and with this heat, you can only hope your wells don’t run dry, because you need to water. Even with the watering this year, the potatoes are small. Nothing grows as it should when the water levels are too low. We have had two thunderstorms since late May, that is it.
The heat wave will end with a boom, with a mother of a thunderstorm, everyone knows it. We are all already praying for no hail. Hail would destroy all the crops, as meager as they are this year, and the grapes, as good as they are this year. Hail is the ultimate summer enemy, we have learned. It destroys crops, kills animals, dents cars. In 2004, a small town outside of Acqui had hail the size of apricots and over 6 inches deep. Thousands of chickens and goats were wiped out. Nature was wiped out from the freeze, causing an eery winter landscape in the middle of August. So, we pray for no hail.
I know in my right mind that before I know it, we will be gathering wood for the stoves again. For the life of me, I cannot imagine it at this very moment.