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How to stay cool in summer naturally without electricity or air conditioning or a pool- aka straight up homesteader and pioneer style.
And a hot homesteader is a grumpy one… or maybe that’s just me, but here’s how to have your garden, harvest, all while keeping cool.
Listen below to, 8 Old-fashioned Tips to Stay Cool in Summer Naturally#150 of the Pioneering Today Podcast, where we teach families how to grow, preserve and cook their own food using old-fashioned skill sets and wisdom to create a natural self-sufficient home, with, or without, the homestead.
Some of these may seem basic or simple, but that’s kind of the purpose of modern homesteading and self-sufficiency, but stick with me, because when you combine them all together, they’re pretty effective on how to keep cool in summer naturally.
Drink thy water. Staying hydrated is your first line of defense. Especially if you’re going to be sweating or out in the heat. And while water is good, sometimes we need something some flavor and not only does this boost flavor, but it also cools your body down, see tip #2.
Use cooling herbs. I cut out soda pop years ago to help heal my stomach ulcer and GERD and have never went back. I primarily drink water but sometimes a girl gets tired of plain old water. Last year I started using the fresh mint to make this –> Easy Mint Water Recipe & BenefitsI was pretty excited to see even Costco was getting behind this in their July Costco Connection magazine, they had a list of herbs that are cooling to the body. One of note was cinnamon (I typically think of cinnamon as a warming herb) but according to a study in 2016 Scientific Reports, cinnamon cooled the stomach in pigs and it has a similar effect in humans.
Run cold water over your wrists and the crook of your elbow. This one comes from my dad, who grew up without running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity. They had a hand pump (and still do in the old homestead house) and if you run cold water over your wrists it helps cool off your body because your veins are close to the surface.
Cold cloths (or frozen). Most of us don’t have an ice house for summer use like the pioneers of old but almost all of us have a freezer (modern version). Place a wet kitchen towel in a u-shape in the freezer and after it’s frozen, drape it over your neck.I worked as the cook in a local drive-in that didn’t have air conditioning for several years and this was the only way you could tolerate working over the grill and fryer. It works like a charm. No freezer (I realize that does require electricity for most) but even a cold wet cloth will help if you don’t have a frozen one.
Wear breathable clothing. For my ladies in the house, I prefer a flowing skirt or dress, especially when I’m outside in the hotter months. It helps to block the direct sun from my skin. I find a cotton dress is much cooler than a pair of shorts and a tank top, and that’s definitely more pioneer style.
Get your head wet. Our bodies sweat to cool us down, the moisture on our skin is cooling and it also cools us off as it evaporates. There’s little as cooling dunking your head in some cold water or even spraying down your head with the garden hose for some relief.
Get in the shade, preferably where there’s a breeze. We positioned our grape arbor in our backyard to take advantage of afternoon breezes and to create shade.
There you have it, how to stay cool in summer outside when you’re working hard on the homestead.
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.