I live in North Florida, so the climate here is not too different from that of the fictional Maycomb (or Harper Lee's actual hometown of Monroeville), Alabama. The change of seasons in the Deep South are not as obvious as in other northern climates; although summers are usually hot (usually reaching the high 80s and 90s on most days in Alabama), that may not seem unusual to someone living in New York City, where the summers also can be brutal at times. The spring and fall climates are much less defined than in other parts of the U.S. Winters are much cooler in the South, and Miss Lee makes this perfectly clear in Chapter 8, when Scout encounters her first snowfall. Snow is a rarity in the very Deep South, and when it does occur (as in Maycomb), it is usually very light. At the time of the story (the early 1930s), electric heat and air conditioning were virtually non-existent in Southern homes. Most houses probably had fireplaces, but they were only necessary for a few months each year. Most homes had porches--often front and back--since the insides of houses (especially the kitchens) got very warm in the summer as well as the late spring and early fall. People spent a great deal of time on their porches to avoid the heat (again, there was no AC), and they became a place where neighbors socialized regularly. Scout and Jem often went barefoot (as many children still do in the South), partly through comfort and also because shoes were expensive and were quickly worn out by active children. They often played outside until after dark, since times were both simpler and safer then.