Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dog Days And Weather Signs

The forty dog days of summer begins in the United States on July 3rd and end August 11th according to history and The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’re so often said to be the hot, sultry days of summer, July and August being the two hottest months of the year.

The older generation had a lot of sayings about Dog Days. One being, “it’s dog days and snakes are blind, ye better be careful cause they’ll strike at anything that moves.” We surely did listen to that one cause we were reminded enough, especially while playing outside after dark or catching lightning bugs.

Another one is getting Dew Poisoning which means if you get a cut on your finger or hand and get the morning dew in it the cut will never heal. My daddy got dew poisoning one summer. He’d cut his finger with his pocket knife and was picking beans one morning and got dew in it and he went around all summer with his finger bandaged up and it finally healed come Fall. Mama told him, “ye know what done that and ye should have bandaged it up before ye hit the dew.”

 I heard daddy and mama say it was hard for a cut or any open wound to heal during dog days many times. This pertains to anything even getting one’s ears pierced. I got mine pierced in the summer months after I got up the nerve to have it done. Mama told me, “ye shouldn’t have done that. They’ll never heal.” I can honestly say she was right about that. I had one to get infected and I thought it was going to rot off. If it hadn’t been for lots of peroxide and alcohol and babying, I would have given up and let them grow up. I still have to baby my ears and bathe them in alcohol quite often. I very seldom take my ear rings out except to change them.

There were a lot of weather sayings as well and I don’t know if any of them pertains to dog days but thought I’d add a few.

Here’s one,
If you’re hoping for a nice, dry day check for dew on the ground

When the dew is on the grass
Rain will never come to pass
When grass is dry at morning light
Look for rain before the night

There’s also one that helps to tell what the weather is going to be pertaining to cattle and horses, which means if you see a cow or horse take notice of which way the wind is blowing their tails. Cows and horses prefer not to have the wind blowing in their faces so they usually stand with their backs to the wind.

Tails pointing west
Weather’s at it’s best
Tails pointing east
Weather is least

Summer fog means fair weather is on its way and you can look for a sunny day.

Summer fog for fair
A winter fog for rain
A fact most everywhere
In valley or on plain

And the one I like the most is,

If the rooster crows at going to bed
You may rise with a watery head

I just don’t know about this one but my mama sure hated to hear one crow at bedtime. She’d throw a rock at it every time just to get it to stop. She claimed it meant bad luck.

Just a little folk lore and I hope you enjoyed. I’ll try to post more later as they come to me.

 Thought I’d add a little poem for some humor as well, concerning the fogs in August because of the most heard one of all. “For every fog in August there will be a snow come winter.” This one is kinda worrying me this August cause we’ve had fog just about every morning so far.

I counted forty, foggy mornings in August
an old lady once said
I wondered how can this be
as I scratched my head

Thirty one days in August
 is all I’ve ever known
unless the calendar has changed
and the months have grown

I worked so very hard
to try and figure it all in
But the forty, foggy mornings
I didn’t know where to begin

And then I thought to myself
and I came up with a good try
When summer’s heat lingers on
there’s forty, hot days in July

In January’s snowy weather
there’s at least forty flakes
that lies on the ground
forty days for goodness sakes

How can I forget March
with so many windy days
The wind probably blows forty
I just don’t count the days

No, that can’t be right
I thought to myself
When thirty one days are gone
in a month, there’s none left

So I’ll just keep on waiting
August has just come in
If there’s forty, foggy mornings
Will winter ever end??

© Susie Swanson, 2016


  1. Fun and interesting post, Susie. I've heard a few of these before but most are new to me.

  2. What a fascinating pots Susie, The Dogs Days of Summer are surely upon us :)
    Love the sayings and the poem is spot on !

  3. Loved this, Susie! I didn't know just when the dog days of summer were, We're having a nice day today, but are promised hot days by the end of the week. Our chickens are big and the hot weather makes for a lot of stressful times. Hope you're staying comfortable these days.

  4. I've heard of Dog Days all of my life --but hadn't heard of Dew Poisoning. Interesting... I had also heard about the rooster crowing at night --as being bad luck....

    We do count the number of Fogs in August --as an indication of how much snow we will get in Winter.

    Hot and VERY DRY here in TN... I'm SO ready for FALL.


  5. Susie, It seems strange how many of those old saying seem to have roots. Roots in our folks' old living ways. I had never heard of dew poisoning. I liked the poem of the foggy morns. Blessings to you, hope it's not so many dog days there. This summer has been supper hot. xoxo, love, Susie

  6. Susie, it's been awhile since I heard the saying "the dog days of summer." Nel lives in Georgia right now, and she said she sees the luminous fireflies all the time at night. They're so big and pretty and really do light up. I've never heard of the dew poisoning before. That was an interesting story about your dad. I always delight in hearing your stories, Susie. They bring back a few memories of my own.

    love, ~Sheri