Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bon Vivant Under a Hot Tin Roof

In recent months, I have been a bit spoiled by uncharacteristically pleasant weather. A mild Winter made for a very long Spring indeed, and I can’t say that I minded it. My peach farming friends will disagree, of course, but a modicum of sweaters and long sleeves will engender few complaints from me. But my Spring has given way to a heat wave and sent me inside.

Visitors to the farm will remember that the authentic experience we try for here entails the removal of the air conditioning unit formerly attached to the downstairs office’s window. But all is not lost, of course; over 150 middle Georgia summers have gone through these walls, and those within them were no worse for the wear. There’s architecture to use to our advantage: great big windows and doors for a cross wind, and the glorious attic fan for the hot air that gets trapped in the first floor’s ceiling. A couple extra fans help in places like the bath and dining room where the air can sit rather heavily, and all of a sudden there’s a pleasant breeze here.

While I may dislike their tendencies to lose limbs in storms, our trees are a summertime help that largely weren’t around in Flannery’s day. Pictures of the farm from Flannery’s day show a landscape that was far more open; shade was at a premium, and space for cattle took precedence. A little time and good fortune has given us a set of trees and shade at all hours of the day. I am especially fond of the Live Oak by the front steps and what I think is a cedar by the window of my office. (I am a poor botanist—my apologies if I’ve misidentified something!)

Heat builds character, and if the first couple of weeks of June are any indication, this summer will be a characterful one indeed.  We may have lost something in our constitutions in longing for air conditioning as we do.  I must not be spoiled by Willis Carrier. Each summer’s day brings a new appreciation of Flannery’s and Regina’s resilience, and if they could make a go of it, I can too (at least once a breeze kicks in).

Daniel Wilkinson is Andalusia's Bon Vivant and needs a glass of ice water. 

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