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  • Writer's pictureMaria

Surviving The Summer Heat

What a summer it's turning out to be! The record-breaking temps, along with the drought, have us scrambling to keep our plants and animals alive. We have many young trees near the house that we've planted just within the last couple years, so they haven't had time to develop robust root systems yet. We'll see how they fare.

As far as our critters, our quail don't seem to be in distress, but we recently got some young rabbits, and they are definitely not happy during the heat of the day. They are mostly staying inactive during the day, then start moving around and playing a bit after sunset and in the mornings. We did install a mister in their coop, and they seem to appreciate the cooling effect, so I think the misters help. I also ordered a solar powered fan for them, but still waiting to get that. I think between the misters and the fans, it should drop the temp in their coop at least a few degrees. Luckily, their coop is shaded from the afternoon sun by some trees, so that's a good thing.

On a side note, I have been experimenting with making yaupon tea. If you've been on our property, you might have noticed that we have an unlimited supply of yaupon holly trees all over the place, to the point of being almost invasive. But I discovered that yaupons are the only plant in North America that contain caffeine. Yes, caffeine! I have seen yaupon tea for sale online, and it's not cheap, so I did some digging and am learning how to harvest yaupon leaves, roast them, and brew them into tea. It's actually quite interesting, since you can roast the leaves to a light, medium, or dark roast, kind of like coffee. You can drink the tea hot or cold, and I'm drinking some iced yaupon tea as I write this. I think it's pretty tasty. Besides containing caffeine, it has antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, and has an ingredient that's also found in chocolate. And you can brew it longer without it getting bitter because it has low tannin levels. So I'm starting to see the lowly yaupon holly in a new light.

At least I can enjoy some nice cold yaupon tea while I dream of the first hints of autumn.

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