Seeking Balance

By , August 9, 2017

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the so-called “Goldilocks Zone.”

This term applies primarily to the just-right (not too hot, not too cold) conditions for life to exist on this or any other planet. Wider usage describes seeking balance in conditions, or situation, or even attitude.

Two Sun Ovens, cooking while the sun shines (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Perhaps ironically, after a cooler- and cloudier-than-normal summer, we’re experiencing a bright, sunny period. It’s ironic because it’s coming just before a week that almost always brings us monsoon rains.

We actually broke a couple of heat records over the weekend. Even as the days cool a bit, we’re enjoying what, for Southeast Alaskans, feels like a heat wave.

We’re making the most of it. Earlier this summer we actually bought a second Sun Oven®, our first new one, to upgrade to a later model than our trusty secondhand solar oven (see Cooking With Solar) and to maximize sunny periods. We figure, it’s like many homes’ double ovens—possibly a bit of overkill, but extremely handy in certain situations!

We’re trying hard to make up for lost sunshine: baking cakes, lunch and as many dinners as possible (the year’s advancing, and the ridge shades the bench by dinnertime now) even a batch of ginger beer for an upcoming celebration.

I’m serving as many meals as practical on the veranda, where we sit like landed grandees, surveying the view and the water traffic below us.

Chores have reached a fever pitch, as you might imagine. The weather has been so fine that I’m able to stack much of the firewood I cut directly in the wood shed, no need to set most of it out on the beach to dry in the sun and wind, as usual (see A Day at the Beach: Passive Solar and Wind Power at Work).

Aly and a friend have tried swimming in Mud Bay. We’re actually using our summer clothes, finally.

But, we need to seek balance.

The day before this stretch of sunny weather arrived, we ran out of water in our winter water tank. I’d been cutting firewood near the summer tank, so I knew it had stopped filling—it has a reassuring dribble of water seeping out the top when it’s receiving new water. That means we need to be frugal.

We’ve been here before. Usually, it happens about now, and the monsoon season saves us, literally. But, that season comes as late as mid-August or September, still a couple of weeks away (see Fresh Water: Collecting and Conserving a Precious Resource).

As parents are so fond of saying, “you can’t change the weather, so change your attitude.” So, I’m enjoying the sunshine while it lasts, and I’m getting ready to say, as I hump jugs of water over the ridge, “At least we’re not getting rained on!”

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