Making the best of horrid heat in Pennsylvania

Digital Camera

It seems a bit curious, but as I recall summers in my youth, they were a most welcomed period of time in which I never lacked for something to keep myself busy.

Certainly, the thought of school being concluded for a lengthy period was locked in my brain, an ideal way to begin the warm months. And knowing I had to do some traveling to fully enjoy summer, a three-speed Schwinn bicycle provided my mode for distant trips, ones which could range from a few hundred yards to a 10-mile excursion. That was until I was old enough to drive, which changes summer’s plans anyway.

Before the driver’s license was secured there were summers of baseball-both organized little league and haphazard. The disorderly played games were often undertaken by a long stretch of neighbors, performed on fresh mowed hay fields with rocks and cardboard for bases. There was usually about five aside, using broken wood bats held together by nails, and hardballs with half of their stitching missing.

Fresh thunderstorms provided puddles on lawns that were fun to run through with bare feet, and excellent for nose-diving into and skidding across on dirty bellies covered by a half-torn shirt. There were summer home chores as well, and occasional small jobs on nearby farms, where a small amount of money — plenty for me — was paid.

Yet, with all these choices of entertainment, there was always time for the outdoorsman in me. Fishing local streams and farm ponds was exciting, even though the catches were usually small. Spotting hen pheasants with a growing brood, whistling up wild bobwhite quail to the edge of the backyard, counting cottontails munching on clover-filled neighbors’ yards — plus our own — toward evening, and often using the last light of August days to watch doves heading to roosting places, knowing their September hunting start was coming soon.

This was all part of being a kid who loved fishing and hunting –– it was only natural.

Times are different nowadays. I’ve aged to the point where I truly dislike the extreme heat of summer. At times, I feel as if I should remain in the air conditioning of my home, thoroughly bored, but strongly defiant against the outside hotness. Thankfully, I’m not capable of that, so I try and complete some form of outdoor undertakings.

Doing some morning walks on a nearby farm-tractor-path before the heat bakes my aging butt is on my list. Evening drives looking for deer, and other creatures, primarily to fill my collection of interesting and sometimes usable photos, is another endeavor. In fact, my camera is always a companion when traveling.

Just the other day, I walked along a cornfield edge to where I have a trail camera planted. Going over hundreds of photos at home has been fun. Red foxes, groundhogs, squirrels, raccoons and plenty of deer have been photographed, including the small buck in the above photo.

Doing some reading and writing also fill the hours of beating the outside heat. But it’s no use denying some TV is also part of a day.

Perhaps I should spend the summer months in a far northern spot, an idea my wife would welcome as long as I go alone. Perhaps I should fish, but I refuse to hook a fish in heat likely to harm the catch. Or maybe I should purchase a hammock, tie it to some shady yard trees and slowly swing and sleep.

Ideas come and go, but all I’m really certain of is that today has come with no humidity, a nice breeze and much cooler air. And wow, do I feel a whole lot better.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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