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Portage, MI 49024

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Summer is Here! Keep cool!

It seems like Summer began in May since we had higher than average temperatures early this year. However, I suspect we will still have high temperatures in July and August this year. It seemed like a good time to consider ways that we can all enjoy the summer months, and keep “cool”. 

Incorporating even a few of these ten tips into your lifestyle can make an enormous difference in how much the heat affects your body. I found these ideas from a variety of resources.

1) Up your Vitamin C intake, as this increases your tolerance for heat by delaying sweat gland fatigue, which reduces the occurrence of heat exhaustion and prickly heat rash. A 250 mg supplement would be enough, or better yet, find natural sources such as strawberries, kale, broccoli or parsley. 

2) Stick to the shade. Shade from trees is better than shade from buildings, as it releases moisture into the atmosphere to keep itself and air around it cool; whereas, buildings trap heat and radiate it back out to the environment. 

3) Eat spicy food. Capsaicin, the substance in peppers that makes spicy food spicy, binds to the pain receptors in your mouth. In response, your brain interprets this as being hot, and makes you sweat, and the sweat on your skin subsequently cools you down. You can do all of this without actually raising your body temperature, making it a great way to cool down when things get hot outside. 

4) Avoid ice cream. The high fat content in ice cream makes it difficult to digest. The extra energy your body uses to digest the ice cream can actually raise your body temperature a little bit. So, if you want to cool down, try a fat-free frozen dessert like sorbet or an Italian ice. 

5) Sip peppermint tea. A glass of peppermint tea is a good way to make your insides feel cool and tingly, thanks to menthol, a substance in the plant that works the opposite way capsaicin does, instead tricking your body into feeling cold. You can also spray mint tea on your skin to provide both evaporative and mentholated cooling, so this beverage pulls double duty. 

6) Cool your car down fast. When it's 80 degrees outside, for your car to get up to 123 degrees inside. Rather than turn on the AC and walk away, or sit in the car and suffer through the heat while it cools down, you can quickly cool off your car by creating a cross-breeze. Roll down a window on the passenger side of the car. Then open and close the door opposite that window several times to quickly draw the hot air out and get your car down to a reasonable temperature with reasonable speed. 

7) Eat water-rich food and drink lots of water. Seasonal produce like watermelon, cantaloupes, and cucumbers contain loads of water to help keep you hydrated. In addition, they're easy to digest. 

8) Pull out your summer whites. Light colors reflect light, which means you'll be cooler in white or pastels than you would be in dark clothes, which trap heat. Cotton or gauze fabrics are best. And whenever possible, opt for clothes on the baggy side since loose-fitting clothes provide better air flow, which means you'll feel cooler. 

9) Soak your feet. Pulse points are spots on your body where blood vessels are very close to the surface, which makes them ideal to focus on when you want to cool down fast. Feet are a commonly overlooked pulse point, but soaking your feet in cool water will give you instant relief from the heat and can also be helpful if your feet swell in hot weather. Do this at home, or in pools, or lakes to get a respite from summer temperatures. 

10) Try wearable ice packs. Examples exist that you may wear like a headband, wristband, hat, or around your neck. The object is to cool off pulse points. Take one with you to outdoor events so you can stay cool despite the heat. Another idea is to place a bottle of frozen water at your feet at bedtime.


Don’t forget to take lots of photos at your County Fairs, as this is one of the Michigan State Grange Photography Contest categories this year!

State Grange Session is soon! Are your contest entries underway?

I hope that everyone has been taking photographs all year for the “Selfies, “Animals” and “Barns” classes, as well as at your “County fair” to enter into the photography contest. A question arose as to what is “a firm backing”. The photos are displayed via a peg board with photos placed on clips. The backing should at a minimum of card stock weight (minimum 67 lb), but heavier mat board is recommended. I am looking forward to all your entries in the photography contest at State Grange. 

For those not photography-minded, consider entering the art contest in one of the following classes: two-dimensional drawing/painting, or three-dimensional objects. Three-dimensional art objects could be almost anything, however woodworking articles should be entered in the Family Activities contest. Examples would include ceramics, paper 3-dimensional objects, or perhaps jewelry. 

For those who enjoy writing, classes this year include poems, stories and book reports. I hope to see lots of entries in the creative writing contests as well. Stories and book reports only need to be 400-600 words, which is only about 1 – 2 pages. This article is just over 500 words as a guide. Poems should be 3-26 lines in stanza form.

 See the Program Booklet for details for all contests. All entries must be delivered to the state session by 9 am on Friday morning for display and judging. All entries must be labelled. Your Lecturer should have these labels, but I will have extras at session.

For those planning on attending the State Grange session, there will be a public speaking contest on Thursday evening. Start planning your entries now. There are two classes this year – readings and extemporaneous speaking. Reading entrants shall bring their reading with them. Each entrant for the extemporaneous class will draw their topic from a hat. Topics are: 1) my favorite toys as a child; 2) foods I like/don’t like. All speeches and readings shall be 3-5 minutes in length. 

Special reminder to Lecturer’s: Your annual report forms are due to me by September 10, or as soon thereafter as possible. Certificates will be awarded at State Grange for completed annual reports. Special recognition will be awarded Lecturers that submit a Grange program as outlined in the Program Booklet.

National Grange contest opportunities also are available. Details have been included in the quarterly Lecturer’s bulletins or may be found at the National Grange website (nationalgrange.org). Entries into National Grange contests must be received by October 31. Two main opportunities exist: Virtual Photo Contest and Quilt Block Contest. These contests are open to both members and non-members. The photo contest categories are selfie, close-up/macro, and barns. You may enter the same photo in the State and National contests, with a maximum of three entries. The quilt block is a pinwheel. Since the quilt blocks must be received by October 31, we will not be able to display Michigan entries at our State session. Mail your entries to Christine Hamp, National Lecturer, 16418 N. Birdie Road, Nine Mile Falls, WA, 99026. If you have difficulty finding details for these contests, contact me by phone or e-mail above.