The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer

Can you believe it is August?  Where has this year gone?  Time just seems to fly by anymore.  The positive part?  Football season is rapidly approaching!! And hopefully bringing with it cooler days and nights. But for now, it is still Sweaty, Sunshiny and Hot!

And speaking of positive parts, your garden should be in full bounty mode by now. Your zucchinis, tomatoes and cucumbers are plotting a take-over of the rest of your garden plants, and your peppers and squash are enthusiastically growing closer and closer to each other.  Some plants suddenly may appear tired and a bit sunburnt. This means you better put on your shade hat and head out to the garden to tackle some tasks to ensure your plants stay healthy and strong to get through the end of summer.  Once you are out there, it’s now time to check to see how your mulch is holding up.  Don’t let your soil go bare, that will bring on more weeds who will compete with your wanted plants.  Consider adding a layer of fresh mulch and some compost, which will add nutrients and help control moisture evaporation.  Taking care of your garden means more plants producing those lovely vegetables!

Taking care of and harvesting your garden and other outside activities in August can be brutal. I mean, it’s hot.  Miserable hot.  Humidity is high and you sweat without really actually doing anything. It’s the “Dog Days of Summer”.  Have you ever heard this term used?  These days are   usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. We often hear about the “Dog Days” of summer, but very few know where this expression originated from.  Some think it’s a reference to the hot, sultry days that are “not fit for a dog.” Others suggest it’s the time of the year when the extreme heat drives dogs mad. But where does the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs? You may be surprised to know is has to do with the stars! 

The phrase is a reference to Sirius, the “Dog Star”. During the “Dog Days” period, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a part of the constellation Canis Major, meaning the Great Dog. During the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. It is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as “Dies caniculares” or “dog days”.

 It is also said that the summer heat is due to the earth’s “tilt”.  While this period usually is the hottest stretch of summer, the heat is not due to any added radiation from Sirius, regardless of its brightness. The heat of summer is simply a direct result of the Earth’s tilt.

Who would have known?

Your garden victory party and the extreme heat aren’t the only two things that should be on your mind in August.  You should be thinking ahead and planning on the cooler/cold weather by making sure your propane tank is filled.  Just call the propane people at the Marshall County Co-op and get on their schedule now!  The worst thing you can possibly do is procrastinate, have a cold day come along and you find out your propane tank is on “E”.  Call today!

Enjoy your remaining “Dog Days of Summer” and your homegrown produce!

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