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Nature & You: Oppressive heat can be source of summer fun |

Nature & You: Oppressive heat can be source of summer fun

Oppressive heat can be source of summer fun

Take off your shoe. Peel off your sock. Stick your naked foot outside in the sun. Does it feel like you’ve immersed yourself in a blast furnace? No? Well, that will be the state of affairs in about a month or so.


Let this be a “HEADS UP!” to parents who are scratching their heads about now and wondering what kind of activities they are going to schedule for the public school’s summer recess. You’ve still got ample time to schedule a “Fry An Egg On The Sidewalk ‘Bake-Off’ Challenge.”

While this activity might be a fun thing for you and your family to do all by your lonesome, a second consideration might be to do this summer solar cooking contest as a neighborhood block party. By expanding the event to accommodate lots of people, it might open up the possibility of enlisting the participation of your local fire department station. The professional firefighters could demonstrate the use of one of those hand-held, heat-sensing “guns” that register a digital readout of just how hot the sidewalk is. The fire department personnel could also take the opportunity to promo their fire safety program (i.e., “Learn Not To Burn”).

It’s a “If life hands you lemons … make lemonade” sort of event. There is no escaping the fact that summers hereabouts can be nothing short of brutal. It’ll come as no big surprise to you that the vast majority of we Okies opt to retreat to the air-conditioned indoors when the hammer-on-an-anvil heat makes its midyear debut. An opposite approach might be to embrace the heat and have some fun with it.

Nobody is suggesting that this is a culinary pursuit because it would not be advisable to consume a food product that is prepared on something that is as dirty as a sidewalk. Instead, it is just a cooking challenge. It is just an exercise in fun.

Event participants also could be encouraged to fashion homemade solar ovens. Black cast iron skillets could be employed. It makes you wonder what could be achieved if you focused the sun’s energy with an object such as a magnifying glass. All in all, the contest rules should stipulate that this is an event that only uses the power from Ol’ Sol and no other outside source of heat.

Time’s a wastin’. You’d best get started on your summer event planning.

— Neil Garrison, NewsOK Contributor

Neil Garrison was the longtime naturalist at a central Oklahoma nature center.

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