Follow the shade, or take your own


If you want to stay out of the sun while walking outside in the summer months, you may have learned by now, to “follow the shade.” However, so many trees have been cut down recently, that we have been left with a lot less shade. The best way to handle this problem is to take your shade with you. By that, I am suggesting you carry an umbrella. However, if you do that when no rain is in the forecast, people may think you are just a little odd.

This loss of natural shade can cause some problems for homes that face directly into the west. Lots of those homes have to keep their blinds/curtains closed in the afternoons and early evenings on the summer days. You are fortunate if you have a porch or patio to keep the sun’s rays from hitting your windows.

When buying a house, it’s wise to look for one that is east of your place of employment. That way, when driving to work in the morning, the sun will be at your back, and then when driving home after work, the sun will be to your back again.

Did you ever think of pilots who are above the clouds, having to always be flying into the sun, without ever having any shade, while going east every morning, or into the sun while going west every evening? There are times when they are flying into the sunset, that they have a few extra minutes to watch it set before it’s totally gone. There are a lot of variables that contribute to that extra little bit of time, none of which I can explain.

I remember that happening once when we were driving home from a race at Wheeling Downs in West Virginia. We were traveling straight west at about 60 mph, right into the setting sun. We had a clear shot of seeing the sun sitting exactly on the horizon, without going on down as fast as it usually does. All the variables were just right for us to get the experience of seeing that happen.

Outdoor screened-in patios are great to have in the warmer months. We are now coming to the time when it’s colder, and it will soon be too dark to be eating supper outside. The best of both worlds is when it’s still warm but nearly dark, and you can light some candles and eat supper outside in sheer bliss. If you have a kitchen window that opens onto your patio, you can attach a shelf onto the window sill, put all your food on it, walk out to the patio, and fill your plates without having to carry anything out to the table. When a young neighbor boy noticed us using the our window shelf, he remarked, “You live in a drive-through restaurant!”

The term “follow the shade” came from our daughter, Cathy, when she worked at Sea World. She followed the shade, as best she could, to stay out of the hot Florida sun.

Eventually, after 20 years at Sea World, she found that the best way to stay out of the sun, was to get a different job where she is now inside all day. We will be closing up our patio soon. We will have to take off the shelf, so the window will close tightly to stop the winter winds from coming into the kitchen.

We used to take all the storm windows out and change to screens for the summer. But a couple of years ago, we left most of the storm windows in all summer. We found that if they can keep out the cold winter air, they can also keep out the hot summer air, and it works pretty well. Having a big fan upstairs pulling the air through the house, saves a lot of the expense of air conditioning.

You would think that living in Florida in the summer would definitely call for air conditioning. However, Cathy has a ranch style house with a huge fan in the upper part of the north end of her home. She calls it “Bertha.” When she comes home from work in the late afternoon, she closes up her house, and turns on Bertha. This pulls all the hot air outside. Then her ceiling fans circulate the cooler air coming in from the shaded areas. This method of cooling works quite well for her.

So, whether you live in Ohio or Florida, or in any of the states in between, be sure to “follow the shade.” And, oh yes, don’t forget your umbrella!

Kay Conklin

Contributing columnist

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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