Cooling thoughts, efficiencies, and yard stuff:
So far, despite the early months' significant overheating, it's actually cooler than usual so far this month, by several degrees. I havent seen much in the way of 110F+ temps so far this month, and nothing near 120F. Average temps seem lower too.
I'ts not much, since it's still usually just under 110F highs, but we've had a number of days like today and yesterday that are less than 105F.
Was even cool enough yesterday to go up on the roof in the late afternoon and re-cover the roof A/C unit with styrofoam cooler sections (glued together with expanding sprayfoam), around 3" thick in overlapping layers, which keeps the direct sun off of all the sections where air flows from the house up thru the A/C unit and ducting, and then back down into the house. That keeps that air cooler, making the system more efficient, especially since my brother has to keep the circulation fan system on all the time, instead of just while the A/C is actually running/cooling (meaning, the house air gets heated while passing thru the ducts in the attic (whcih isn't insulated against outside temperatures like the house is), as well as the A/C unit itself, and thus the A/C is less efficient, having to re-cool the air more often).
Was still too hot to go up into the attic and finish "boxing" the ducts themselves with the styrofoam (it's about half done from months ago).
Next up, gonna put a "block" of old computer fans up in the gables to pull air thru the attic; I think I have enough of them that are speed-controlled by a temperature sensor in the fan so it won't run all the time, just when it gets warm up there. That should lower the attic temperature a little, which will help the A/C work better.
The trees are growing well, including the little transplated sproutlings, a few of which are almost as big as I am now. At least half of the yard is now in shade most of the day, though there's still a large area in the middle of the yard in back and front that's poorly shaded or unshaded; near the house it's fairly complete.
Those trees near the house in back are all big enough that their branches can be intertwined to make arches to walk under and denser shade, and some are beginning to cover sections of roof edge, which helps to cool the house itself.
There's a mulberry on the center of the west end of the house that is barely taller than the house, and not very dense yet, which I've been guiding all the branches to parallel or spread over the house walls (because the previous neighbor didn't want any trees of any kind, inclding any branches from mine, over their yard--they wanted pure dirt and no shade no grass no plants, so they'd have nothing to take care of.
New neighbor hasn't been here long enough to decide, I think, but has at least been watering the two front yard trees, that the previous neighbor had cut down to almost stubs of the big shade trees they had been under the neighbors previous to them).
Lantana about half-covers teh west walls, too.
Ther'es a little foot-high mulberry at the south corner of the west end, and a shoulder-high eucalyptus at the north corner, but both are slow-growing (the mulberry because it only gets direct sunlight for a few hours in the middle of the day, and the eucalyptus becuse of that and it's just a slow-growing type of tree).
I added some overhead pull-down shades from the edge of the roof to just below the top of the fence, for the north corner of the west house end (where my bedroom is), to shade teh walls and window A/C unit from the afternoon/evening sun when it's hottest.
There's one tree pair in the center of the backyard that's been slowly growing for years; the mulberry had been doing well but a couple years ago, either Teddy or Yogi did a number on it, chewing mostly thru it's main trunk when it was about twice the size of my thumb. Didn't kill it, but it stunted it until this spring when it really began to recover, and now it's taller than I am, but hasn't spread out yet (is just a few vertical "trunks"). I decided not to cut any of hte trunks in case any of htem failed, so there'd still be others to continue the tree. Eventually they'll all grow together anyway, once each gets big enough around (probably a few years from now). There's also a "eucalyptus" a foot or so away from it, that grows with it but more slowly, and between the two of them tehy'll eventually provide a lot of shade in the middle of the yard.
Some feet away to east and west are mulberries that are almost my size now, that will make more shade.
A much bigger mulberry is some feet north of that cetner pair, taller than the house, but not yet very densely branched/leaved. At it's base are smaller mulberries I'd intended to transplant last year, but events kept me from doing that until they were deeply rooted enough to be inseparable from the big tree--so I'm just leaving them there to grow along with the big one, as they are a lot denser-branched/leaved than it is, so eventually they'll add significantly to the shading of the yard when they catch up to the bigger one.
At goodwill, for a couple bucks, I found a "BOSS" watering spike, with a 2-foot-long steel tube with tip that has exit holes for the water, and gardenhose-threaded input and a chamber that can be filled with whatever concentrated liquid or soluble solid to inject up to a couple feet deep in the ground.
This makes watering stuff with deep roots more efficient than watering the surface (where much of the water just evaporates, or feeds grass on the surface), and I can see a difference in growth rates, too, after a few weeks of using the spike on the trees (and some of the isolated lantana bushes that are hard to keep watered otherwise).
It also lets me inject fertilizer or compost tea or whatever down deep where the roots are. And it lets me kill ant colonies, which have kept springing up near the street sides of the yards the whole time I've been here (nearly 20 years), as I figure they're living under the streets themselves. I wouldn't mind the ants but when they extend colonies into the yard, they attack the dogs when the dogs disturb one, and sometimes they find their way into the house by the thousands. Some are little normal ants, but some are half-inch-long with a heck of a bite. Havent' had any fire ants in a few years, thankfully.
For the lantana surrounding the front yard, I have drip waterer tubing I use once a week, routed among it's bases. This also adds additional water to the trees at the yard edges.
Been using the expanding foam stuff to attach styrofoam sheets to the inside of the shed roofs, which helps keep teh sheds and their contents a little cooler. On the walls i'm using bits of coroplast at teh corners of four sheets, with a drywall screw thru the coroplast into the metal shed wall, as that's cheaper than the expanding foam, and works fine on the vertical surfaces. (sort of works on the roof, but leaves a potential water leak at every screw hole).