Dawg Daze of Summer

In the northern hemisphere, the “dog days of summer” take place between Jul 3 and Aug 11—the hottest, muggiest part of the calendar.

In our neck of the woods — Crystal Lake, Illinois — it’s been a bit more generous this year. It started earlier and we’re told it’s going to last longer.

Back when the evening sky wasn’t obscured by artificial lights and smog, people all over the globe drew mental pictures on the nighttime canvas by connecting the dots…stars. The images they saw were based on their geographic location. Today we call these pictures “constellations.”

Canis Major—the big dog—is Sirius. In the summer Sirius rises and sets with the sun. Back in the day, people felt that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating this stretch of hot, sultry weather. As such, they named it “dog days” after the dog star.

Do the dog days of summer have you howling at the moon?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

49 thoughts on “Dawg Daze of Summer

  1. The dog days of summer have been intense so far in central Kentucky. Yesterday, we had a break, however. Ten consecutive days of 100 plus temperatues have way to 85. It was heavenly. Personally, I hate heat, so I’m much happier now. Heard on the news last night that the first 6 months of 2012 have been the hottest on record. Doesn’t surprise me. Can we say CLIMATE CHANGE!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  2. Laurie, I don’t think I could work up the full, deep breath or the enthusiasm required for a howl. Panting would be closer to the truth. Hearing yesterday that the first half of 2012 has been the hottest yet recorded for the united States causes me to wonder if we have veered over the line into the Twilight Zone. Since scientific record keeping is a relatively new preoccupation in the brief span of time that man has occupied the Planet and we have such a short measuring stick to go by, I can’t help but wonder what else might be hidden up that Celestial Sleeve. Ice Ages used to be quite common, maybe the pendulum also swings the other way. In any case, it will go down in history as the year of Heat Rash.

    • Sandi – I know it’s been miserably hot, but I didn’t realize that the first half of 2012 has been record-breakingly hot in the U.S. Even this past winter was downright balmy on a compare/contrast basis to “regular” Chicagoland winters. Like you, I wonder what other interesting changes might be hidden up that Celestial Sleeve.

  3. Good dog day morning, Laurie. Thank you for sharing these fascinating stellar facts. It has been SO hot lately, hasn’t it? Fortunately, we’re in “normal” summer mode now with temps in the upper 70’s and low 80’s. Delightful. I just sat out on the deck for a half hour (prior to our trip to Marquette to meet with the kids for dinner after Barry’s pre-surgery appointment) and just listened to the birds and insects and boat motors and sounds of summer. It felt like the Garden of Eden. Trying to do this more and more–just go outside and sit and listen and feel and be without listening excessively to the Mind’s story. Thanks, as always, for a delightful post.

    • Sorrygnat – The white dog (Lexi) is a high-maintenance, princess extraordinaire. The other dog (Willa) is a rough-and-tumble, take life as it comes, sort of gal. They’re both enamored with my husband, Len — the sound asleep, barefoot, bearded fellow 🙂

  4. Very interesting, Laurie. I never did know the origin of ‘dog days of summer’ but it makes perfect sense. Thank you for this.

  5. We do not consider summer arriving until after the 4th here…and starting the 4th the sun came out and we have had 4 days of sunshine in a row. Today started out with Marine Air – cloudy morning and then broke off into 80’F for the afternoon – lovely day. The best 2 weeks of the summer here are usually the first 2 weeks in August… The most delightful weather is usually September….so not really dog days, but my oh my do I remember them from years in OHIO and the humidity in No. Carolina, Missouri, New Jersey and NY….that seemed like permanent soggy days

    My partner is riding the Seattle to Portland bike ride on Saturday. 204 miles and the anticipated temperature is 90’….He is doing this ride for the 14th time…and it is his usual way to celebrate his birthday….He turns 65 tomorrow 🙂 8,000 folks ride in either one or 2 days – most in groups for the fun of it. He likes to push himself to do it in 1 day…I am not so excited about it this year – so very hot and he did not sign up so he must carry his own water and first aid supplies ( spare tires) He also is breaking his promise, never to ride it all alone again – the last time his lung started to bleed and I was so happy Group Health had sites every 10 miles on the route….he did decide he did not need the T shirt or badge this year….hmmmm

    • Patricia – The Seattle to Portland bicycle ride sounds like a doozie. When we do PAW (peddle across Wisconsin), we’re grateful for the water trucks and other types of health-related supplies that are included in our registration fee. I wish the very best for your partner.

  6. I’m looking out my window at thick snow on the mountains.
    Just had a beautiful sunny clam day, T shirt in the sun, 2 jackets out of it.

    Just had my dogs out fetching a tennis ball, so they are both stretched out on the floor panting away.

    Time to go get them their dinner.

    Rather looking forward to the heat of summer.

      • Hi Laurie

        Right now Ailsa is in the tropical jungles near Kuching (Indonesia – Borneo).
        So Ailsa has much more in common with you than me – temperature wise.

        I’m “home alone” looking after the dogesses.

  7. Even though the dog days have hit the midwest so very hard this year, I am not complaining at all and continuing to build momentum. I enjoy this hot spell except for sleeping in it. I appreciate having a warm summer 🙂 there are always fans to cool off…

  8. Laurie, we have JUST got our first nice weather this last week and rather than howling that the moon I am running around in circles as fast as I can panting with a silly grin on my face – very dog-like behaviour when totally thrilled with something. I have no idea how long our weather will hold but it is a glorious reprieve after our second cool, wet spring and early summer in a row. Love the photograph! I wonder what Len will do to top this capture you got of him? 😉

    • Terrill – I’m so glad you’re having a bout of primo weather! That means we’ll probably be on the receiving end of some fantastic photographs and/or paintings as you venture out-and-about your beautiful island!

  9. I never knew why it was called the “Dog Days of Summer”. I always figured it had something to do with canines being hot. 🙂

    Here in Victoria, BC, we’ve had warmer than usual temperatures, but that still means we’re in the high 70s to mid-80s F. It takes nothing short of a climate miracle to get us into the 90s, but I prefer it this way. Stay cool, Laurie!

  10. Our version of the dog days arrived this week – a high of 91 yesterday and I am not liking it. We also do not have air conditioning, so I have fans spread about the house and all four ceiling fans running top speed. It was interesting to learn how that term came about — I had no idea whatsoever that it related to the stars.

    • Carol – I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir (so to speak) when I say this to you with all of the bird wisdom that I’ve seen on your blog, but I’ve been making certain to keep our large bird bath clean and full as our feathered friends are being negatively effected by this persistent heat too. They splash it out almost as fast as I fill it, so on the days when I’m home, I make a point of going out every hour on the hour to clean and refill it.

      And our Vet told me to “mist” the dogs with water and then let them lay in front of the fans. With no pores (except in mouth and on the pads of their feet), they don’t benefit from the fans as much as we do without the “mist.” They both REALLY like having their bellies misted 🙂

  11. Oh – I also enjoyed the photo, it reminded me of our house, except at our house Shasta bounces around, paws at me and licks. No quiet watching and waiting for her.

  12. I had to have Tim come in and laugh along with me at the picture of Len and the dogs! Too adorable!

    Neither of us can bear the humidity too well and the air conditioner goes on as soon as the dew point goes over 60º. When the humidity is low we turn it off and enjoy the open windows, and emerge from the house to garden and run errands. It’s been back and forth all summer. Even so, we haven’t had it as bad here as the rest of the country and watching the news about the triple digit temperatures has just been mind-boggling.

    My favorite part of summer is going to see Shakespeare plays in the park or in the arboretum, under the stars and moonlight, watching the bats and dragonflies darting about overhead, feasting on mosquitoes. We bring wine and cheese and savor all the delightful sounds and scents of a summer night.

    • Barbara – I’m so glad you and Tim enjoyed the photograph of Len and the dogs 🙂 I love the word picture you painted of enjoying Shakespeare plays by moonlight in the park while savoring wine and cheese. yes, Yes, YES!

  13. I was in northern Wisconsin in the 90’s when you all here had 100+ temps. Even the lake was warm as a bathtub this year up there. I’ve never seen the grass this brown this early in the summer. Fall should be interesting!
    Hugs
    SuZen

  14. Here in Maryland, the temperature was in the triple digits to celebrate the blackout from the now infamous derecho that struck on the night of June 29th. My family only lost power for 36 hours but those were a lllloooonnnnngggg 36 hours. Others did not get their power back for 7 days. Holy melting pot. Our dependence upon electricity is daunting. People are now wanting to sue the electric companies for the blackout (which I think is an act of nature) and for not getting the electricity back on instantaneously. I think most of them are stuck in the magical thinking idea that anything we throw money at has to get better.

    • Barbara – It’s crazy for people blame the electric company for a blackout when it’s their (over) consumption that’s causing the drain. I’m with you, I’ve yet to see anything truly fixed by throwing money at it 🙂

  15. Laurie, while I will certainly admit that howling at the moon will get quite a bit off our chests, we must also consider the ramifications of this action. There are some serious-minded citizens who have devoted their lives to the study of lycanthropy, and just might impart their own special methods to rid the earth of the perpetrators:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycanthropy

    In any case, there is a very good film out there devoted to the pursuit, and this is the key scene:

    BTW, that’s an absolutely adorable photo leading up this post!

  16. These dog days of summer are just like I remember from when I was a kid. For many years, our summers were considerably cooler but now they are more familiar. I’m just glad we now have air conditioning! I love your photo! 🙂

  17. Pingback: The Imposter, Frankenstein, Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, E.T. and The Wedding March on Monday Morning Diary (July 16) « Wonders in the Dark

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