Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Not Having Air Conditioning in the Heat

It is hot...again. We are now breaking records for the longest Perth period of over 30 degree maximums, and over 26 degree (Celsius) minimums. Add some unaccustomed high humidity caused by tropical cyclones off the north west coast of WA and it is very uncomfortable at times.

We don't have air-conditioning in this house.

We have shadecloth blinds over the windows to keep out the heat. They stay up all summer long.
  • we have planted trees on the northern boundary -in the future their shade will be very welcome.One is a deciduous quince and will let light in during the winter months, one is further away and is an olive tree. Both have the potential of providing us with yummy things to eat.
  • We have ceiling fans
  • we have shade sails over areas to the west where the late afternoon sun beats on the house
  • The rear of the house has a covered patio area for shade and a retreat place when the house gets hot
  • The recently built carport over the driveway provides some respite from heat baking down on the paved area, and provides afternoon shade to the northern front garden.
You can see a number of these features here and here

There are a number of reasons we don't have air conditioning, but the main one is our concern for the environment. Our city in summer uses MASSIVE amounts of electricity...some summer days in the past our electrical company has towed out huge generators to add load capacity to certain suburbs which are known excessive users of power on hot days, as everyone runs their refrigerated air conditioners to the max.

Power costs have risen over 40% over the last few years. MY DH and I hope to work less at some time in the future, and we don't want to be dependent upon systems which are expensive to keep running.

Lots of Perth homes have evaporative air conditioning, which used to work quite well at pretty low power use when our summers were the usual hot dry affairs typical of a Mediterranean climate, but they don't work in higher humidity. They were also indicated as the principal cause of over half of the houses which caught on fire in Kelmscott and Rolystone a few weeks ago.

This week we have planned a few more ways in which we could improve the comfort in our home.
  • One western wall gets a lot of afternoon sun, and the room behind it gets very hot-noticeably hotter than the rest of the house. We installed a temporary shade structure and immediately noticed the difference. The way we plan to go is to install an under-eave water tank on this wall, which will shade and insulate at the same time, and when it is full provide some extra water for the garden.
  • We have ordered a screen door for our front door, which will allow us to get any breeze that is going through the house. After we installed our beautiful new front door, we were reluctant to put anything ugly next to it. We have finally found and ordered a simple, old fashioned wooden screen door and it should be installed in a few weeks.
Meantime I am making iced tea and cold coffee for refreshing summer drinks, and planning lots of cold meals! Roll on autumn!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Farewell lovely lady

You came to us as a tiny kitten, into a house of small children. Very wisely you learned how to hide away from arms that wanted to carry you about. We thought you were unsociable, but you just wanted some space and some respect.

Nevertheless you kept us entertained with your antics. We remember a tiny kitten asleep in the hand basin in the bathroom!

We moved you from one suburb to another and you were frightened. One day you left and for three days you didn't come back. We thought you had gone for good! Then you found your way home, and we could tell you had been even more frightened out in the big bad world. You had decided that you needed us, even if we lived somewhere else.

I can remember how, towards evening, I would call "Puss Puss Puss" and the neighbours would call "Jacko Jacko Jacko" and each of our cats would come in to spend the night at home.

You left Jacko to roam the outside of our place, and you stayed inside, where it was warm and safe.

In your later life you wanted to be near us. You would greet us in the early morning, with a conversation about the difficulties of 'night starvation in cats" and then, suitably breakfasted, jump on our bed to have us spend some time giving you a 'full body massage' as befits a well-loved cat.

You would make your way to the TV room in late evening, and INSIST on your place on the couch whilst we watched TV. You showed us what true relaxation really looks like.

I started quilting only two years ago, and you discovered a new career as 'quilt inspector" and never ever missed an opportunity to do your job.

Recently you have been showing your age... all 20 years! You rallied several times when we thought it was the end, but today it really was the end.

We are going to miss you soooo much, our lovely Lady. Mornings will be so quiet without you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How sweet home can be!

It was a shocking fire in the Perth hills last weekend that saw 72 houses destroyed and approximately another 30 severely damaged. Amazingly there were no lives lost. On top of the floods and the cyclones in the east of Australia, it has been a very sobering start to the 2011 year.

My devotional wall in the loungeroom reflects the sadness of this time-instead of the icons and other symbols I had there at Christmas time, we have hung a collection of crosses from around the world.

On happier thoughts: I am just so thankful for my own home, which I love and which I see as my responsibility to enjoy and care for, as so many of our own people have lost theirs.

I went op-shopping yesterday and had some interesting 'finds'. I found a brand new tea towel from Chester, where my mum spent her war years in the ATS. I just loved the name of the house in the picure" God's Providence House". I am thinking of this as the central image in a black and white quilt. I found a vintage table cloth in very good condition, just right to be made into another craft project. And I picked up two necklaces. One had seven red beads on a ribbon thread, and the other some interesting black and grey beads on a velvet thread. Neither very exciting on their own, but I had an inspiration that I could put them together and this is the result. I think that this will just set off a couple of outfits I have. I have no real experience in jewellery making, but I have had a go, and it hasn't fallen off yet!
I hope that there will be better times ahead for us all in the rest of 2011!