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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

I'm back! It's not that I've gone anywhere, but somehow, without intending to, I have neglected my poor Spell Room. With my return I am announcing a new contest. The lucky winner will be chosen randomly from the wonderful people who comment here.

That's right, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog.

Today is August 12th. We are well into the Dog Days of Summer. Did you ever wonder where that phrase came from. I always thought it meant days that were so hot even the dogs flopped down in any shady spot they could find to try to cool down. But, shock of all shockers, I was wrong. (It does happen every decade or so.)

The phrase originated with the Greeks. Sirius, the "Dog Star", from the constellation Canis Major, rose at about the same time as the sun, during the summer. (It doesn't anymore.) And sat near the sun.

The Roman's sacrificed a brown dog to appease the Gods when Sirius met with the sun. They believed Sirius was the cause of the hot, humid weather.

In those days dogs were considered evil, much like cats were during the Dark Ages.

Ancient Rome called the days between July 23 and August 24, the Dog Days. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac the Dog Days lasted for forty days, from July 3 through August 11. 

So, according to T.O.F.A. the Dog Days of 2012 ended yesterday. 

What are your favorite activities for the Dog Days of Summer?

Leave me a comment and you will be entered to win a Barnes and Noble gift certificate.


  1. Since moving from Kansas to the Wisconsin / Minnesota area 6 years ago, Dog Days of Summer exist only as a memory. While even this summer, the high temperatures and humidity lingered into the night, I was only reminded of how miserable it seemed in Kansas, starting out with sweltering heat at dawn and continuing all through the day, not even relenting long after the sun went down.

    Back in my drinking days my favorite activity during Dog Days was anything that could be done while drinking a cold beer, which, for the most part amounted to sitting around after (or instead of) work guzzling beer after beer saying, "It's too hot to do anything."

    Up here in the Northland, the night "does" cool down to give the next day a chance to start out cool. The total hot period doesn't seem to last so long, either. The whole concept of Dog Days is tempered by the knowledge of how cold it will soon get, as well as the shortness of the summer season in general.

    It's easier to tell yourself that The Dog Days of Summer don't exist when you live in an area rich with lakes and lesser tributaries, along with thick forests and lush vegetation.

    With the drift of my comments you can see how I easily downplay The Dog Days as far as their physical effect on me; I find history behind the term intriguing, perfect stuff for a writer.

    1. I have never been to Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Kansas. I am sure Kansas has its charm, but I don't deal with the heat well. I do have a good friend who lives in Kansas that I would like to visit, perhaps a winter visit is best for me.

      However, Wisconsin and Minnesota sound like a summer paradise. I have just added them to my must see list. Hopefully for next year.

    2. Look me up when you get here, okay? I think it's a paradise all year round. I always loved the spring and fall seasons, and we definitely have them. Fall is beautiful here, too.

    3. I will be sure to look you up! I need someone to tell me all the places that I must see. ;~}}

    4. More than we will get to visit in this lifetime; so glad there's more.

  2. Thanks Liberty. I never knew where the saying came from or really what it meant. My original thinking was much like you. Yesterday was our anniversary, so I ushered out the dog days with a good meal and some ice cold beer.

    1. Marie, It sounds like a wonderful anniversary. I hope you have many more, each and every one more joyous with the growing years.

  3. I live on the Oregon Coast and we have a fog belt that does not bun off till 11am and rolls back in about 4pm. So it doesn't feel like summer here. We rarely get out of the 60's and 50's. Having said that, I will say that the festivals around here are phenomenal.

    1. Cindy, I love fog and rain, add temps in the 50s & 60s and I think you have found heaven.