37 MollyGreen.com | Summer on the Homestead | Summer 2016
My family has now spent three summers living in our off-grid home without air-conditioning. After all this time,
I can honestly say I don’t miss it either.
Really! Yes, it gets hot. For much of
the summer, indoor temperatures are
in the high 80s and low 90s. We have a
few very hot days when it gets over 100
degrees inside. So when I say it gets
hot, I mean it gets hot! But I have begun
to actually prefer the heat to air conditioning because the air is real. The fake
indoor air created by air conditioning
makes me feel cold, dries my skin, and
leaves me congested if I have to be in it
for very long.
So, how in the world does my family
make it through the really hot days
without being miserable? I guess it is
our mind-set more than anything. We
know it is going to be hot. We expect
it. It’s just part of life in the summer.
But we also have a few strategies that
allow us to get used to it and not suffer
through the entire summer. They are …
This is the most important advice I can
give for making the switch to living
without air-conditioning. You must let
your body adjust. Retreating to air-conditioning for relief is counter-produc-tive because your body never has the
opportunity to get used to a different
temperature. The best scenario is to
never turn it on and allow your body to
adjust from winter to spring, and finally to summer temperatures, naturally.
You will be surprised that your comfort
level actually changes. I can sit in a
65-degree room in the winter without
a sweater and feel very comfortable.
When I experience that same temperature in a grocery store in the summer, I
must take a sweater or keep moving to
keep from freezing!
God created our bodies with their own
built-in cooling systems. It’s called
sweat! It really is an amazing design.
Instead of trying to suppress it, we
have decided to embrace it and enjoy
the natural cleansing detox it provides
during the summer. I also cover my
head with a wet bandanna for most of
the day. My boys spray each other with
spray bottles. My mom walks around
with a wet washcloth around her neck.
We all have our favorite ways to stay
cool. At the end of especially hot days,
we visit our local watering hole. Instead
of wearing swimsuits, we jump right in
with our work clothes. It feels great to
drip-dry until evening comes.
Homes in the southern United States
were traditionally built with big wrap-around porches. They did not just provide a beautiful architectural design,
they served a very practical purpose
during the summers before air-conditioning. Sitting outside on the porch
with a glass of water and a nice breeze
makes for a great break on a summer
day. Many southern homes also had
sleeping porches to be used on the hottest nights. A very wide wrap-around
porch makes it possible to always find
First “Air Conditioner”
Before the invention of air-conditioning as we know it today, people came
up with various ways to stay cool. In
the days before electricity, it often
involved employing servants or slaves
to fan their owners. Once electricity
came on the scene, the ideas got more
A famous example occurred in the
summer of 1881 after President James
Garfield was shot in an assassination
attempt. He lay dying as a result of an
infected bullet wound. In temperatures
that soared above 90 degrees in his
room, he was desperate for relief. He
called for a group of engineers and
scientists to solve his problem. What
they came up with was an ingenuous
idea that included cheesecloth soaked
in ice water and suspended from a
series of pipes. An electric fan was
used to blow air over the cold, wet
The system worked and was successful in cooling the air by 20 degrees!
There was only one problem: in the
two months preceding his death, the
apparatus used half a million pounds
of ice to cool just that one room!