Hello fellow readers, The dog days of summer are soon to end. No longer will we be sweating like a pig. These old sayings came up as Curt and I were walking Miss Ellie during these last hazy, lazy days of summer, and we wondered their origin. After all, what do dogs have to do with summer? And, like pigs, they barely sweat. However, dogs do pant heavily in summer to cool themselves as they only have a few sweat glands on the pads of their feet. Maybe their heavy panting is what earned the name Dog Days.
Origin of Dog Days of Summer
It turns out the Dog Days of summer originates from the Roman days when observers associated the rise of Sirius before the Sun beckoning the beginning of evil drought and disease. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, means “scorching” in Greek and is referred to as the Dog Star reflecting its celebrity in the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. On the contrary, the ancient Egyptians associated the rise of Sirius before the Sun with the floodwaters of the Nile River, which was welcomed to their desert lands bringing fertile soil to grow crops. While the Dog Star seems to rise later than it did in ancient times, it still makes its appearance during the heat of the summer. It’s sometimes visible to the naked eye at the height of the day.
I find myself photographing fascinating fungi rather than flowers.
We’ve had the 15th warmest July on record, per the National Weather Service, and its been 2.6 to 4.6 degrees above normal for August. Never mind the oppressive humidity adding to the Florida-like summer misery with several days of heat advisories. Air temps have been in the nineties though it feels like a hundred and four. Exerting yourself in the heat is downright dangerous. And, combined with the wetness, it’s caused havoc to many plants, though slugs have had a ball. I gave up on trying to manage their holy mess with slug remedies weeks ago, and I find myself photographing fascinating formations of fungi rather than flowers in the garden.
Origin of Sweating like a Pig
By the way, pigs have only a few sweat glands too, which aren’t very useful in managing their body temperature; hence why Wilbur wallows in the mud to cool off. The origin of sweating like a pig comes from melting pig iron, a crude iron that sweats when it cools. Pig iron was so named because it’s shaped into molds that look like suckling piglets.
While Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the new school year (sorry kids), summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd. But hopefully, we’re at the end of the dog days, and soon we can dig in the dirt again. Fall is for planting! Happy Labor Day! Garden dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com
A few of my Fun Fungi Photos – okay, maybe I’m getting slap happy.