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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Frozen in Florida

My lovely wife and I often found ourselves frozen during our winter Florida visit. How could that happen to a couple of New Hampshire people? It was actually a warmer than usual winter in Florida, a place not known for cold. We spent a lot of time outside adapting to the warm temperatures. It takes a couple weeks, but after that the warm days didn’t bother us much anymore.

What bothered us was air conditioning. It seemed that businesses and homes were kept at temperatures better suited to hockey rinks. We’d come in from outside dressed for warm weather and the temperature difference was a shock.

It’s surprising how many people who live in warm climates are not heat adapted. They move from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned job. Then we get something like the recent storm that took down power for millions of people -during a heat wave. Those people are not adjusted at all. Their don’t don’t know how to live without AC. In fact, some die.

It’s like they’ve been living in an artificial northern climate. They are like snowbirds that fly down to Florida for a week’s vacation. After leaving the frozen north, 70 feels really warm. A Florida golf course owner told me when temperatures get to 80 or above business drops way down as they lose all their snowbird customers. It’s too hot for them to be chasing a little white ball around the grass.

Of course, when the grid goes down, more than AC is lost. All those electric labor saving devices no longer function. A person has more physical stuff to do just when it’s really hot to do it.

Some of the less affluent might have an advantage. They are the ones driving around in older cars with busted AC units. If they have AC at home, it’s set at higher temperature to save on the electric bill. They are more likely to have jobs requiring them to work outside in the sun.

If you’ve lived your life in the AC climate controlled bubble, and it suddenly goes away, don’t expect to adapt in a day. Take it easy. Realize it takes time to adjust. Drink water, stay out of the sun, move only during the cooler times of the day. Some areas establish cooling centers, places with running AC where people can spend the day. People with health problems should take advantage of them if they can.

People have gotten used to living in a constant temperature environment. When it’s hot out, there’s AC. Here in the north, it can be just as bad but at the other extreme. Some people go from their heated house to their heated car to their heated job. Many who live in northern climates lack a good pair of boots, a decent warm coat, or even warm hats and mittens.

Our modern technological world can be fragile on times. It can let you down just when you rely on it the most. Getting a bit more adapted to the natural world won’t hurt anybody, especially if done when it’s not an emergency. Consider it part of being prepared.



  1. I lived in FL when there was no AC and did fine. Hated it when AC was introduced 'cause the restaurants, etc. became ice boxes. I'd rather have windows open and fans going but have relented as I've aged. Luckily I know how to survive without electricity no matter the weather.

  2. Good to know how to survive. You got to see the world that was and sometimes returns unexpectedly.

  3. Strange, we had a bought and paid for place out in Idaho just south of where Rawles has his place. We too were set up nice with our own well, wood heat ,solar and lot's of other nice things. Been at this prepping stuff a lot of years lol.
    Yet ya know what, got to thinking about the cold north and how without oil life is going to become extreme. Sooo...we sold it all to buy a sailboat and became cruisers around the islands off Florida "Bahamas" for 7 yrs.
    Another real eye opener on when SHTF. Now that lil Bush boy has done pissed the whole world off, a sailboat is not a good thing away from US waters. Hmmm, what to do now ?

    Have since spent the last 6 yrs, learning to survive in the Florida outback. (yes there is an outback here) Have learned that not only can you survive. One might very well thrive ! With more than fresh water every where there also is a whole jungle full of wild edibles. Filled with all kinds of game.
    Even better, everyone lives on the coast and are just plain scared shitless to venture out in the bush. In the big one they will all head north to get out of the heat leaving the whole interior to the local rednecks, most of whom are good honest folk.
    My wife and I set up a nice hunt camp with wall tent,screen room and outdoor kitchen every September and leave it set up until March. This being the hunting season in Florida. We on average spend the first month hunting deer with bows. No AC ! Only field showers and latrine for that 30 days.
    We have found that living and camping without the grid can actually be pleasant for the most part here. It is just a matter of acclimation.
    Friends come out to hunt with us for the weekends straight from the AC. Guess what , them poor souls are miserable in the 90 degree heat. Some come close to having heat strokes !
    The human body will tolerate and adapt to many extremes. The key being equipment and adaptation to the environment.

    Too bad ya ain't ever here during Bow season Six Bears. Could show ya a side of Florida you've probably never seen. Hell, I'd bet that 95% of the natives don't even know exists.

    1. If I'm stuck here in the winter, the cold and snow will keep the golden horde away. There's enough firewood to keep it liveable here.

      I think there might be a role for shallow draft boats among all the little FL islands.

      Friends of mine live in the FL outback. He showed me a few things. The guy put together a wild salad for 4 people and only walked about 150 yards. Even in the summer here, it would take a lot longer.

      I've poked around the interior waters in a canoe and did some hiking in the bush. Got the ticks to prove it.

      Your hunting camp sounds wonderful.

    2. We moved to Florida April 2 this year & we're still "acclimating." Me because I've never done well in humidity no matter where I lived and him because of the emphazema/COPD. Have discovered that running the de-humidifier helps cut down on AC usage but still, it's a grid tied device.

      Living in a "tin can" small mobile home doesn't help but we've plans to add insulation and awnings - after the mortgage is paid Dec. 3rd.

      So, we'll get through our first summer here and add to the 'what we need to do' list.

      Wish you had a blog Spud because it'd be interesting to read.

  4. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)July 8, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    When we were kids, the ice house was around the corner. The owner used to shave the big blocks of ice and put the chips in folded paper cones for us. That was how we kept cool!
    I agree with Momlady, have a/c now, but I really don't like to use it.

    1. My lake had a big ice house on it. I remember the building when I was kid, but even that's gone now.

  5. I am one of the spoiled ones who like AC. Don't like heated places because of the dry air. It did surprise me that after a day of 100 degree heat and no AC (when it was broken), my body actually started to adapt to it. But I am still spoiled (grin).

    1. Just remember to take it easy and you can adapt.

  6. I meant to say, I don't like furnace forced air heat, that dries the air out. Prefer wood burning stoves.

  7. Living on the sunny (humid!) south Texas coast, heat doesn't really bother me much until the heat index goes over 110 degrees. Actual temps are irrelevant : ) It becomes natural to do strenuous outdoor stuff in the morning or late evening, and save things that can be done in a shady spot or indoors for the afternoon when the sea breeze really kicks in. Or just take a siesta! Excellent post Sixbears, this is the kind of stuff most folks don't think about.

    1. Thanks Craig. I bet you work circles around your AC adapted neighbors.

      My dad in FL gets up early and does his outdoor chores before 9 AM. He's learned.

  8. I live without AC in N. FLA -- it can be done! Like you say, you adapt. Most people are horrified by it, but there was a time when people were not so reliant on AC and all the modern "necessities".

    I consider people to be enslaved to these things, and slavery is not conducive to free thinking.