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Dog Days of Summer

en Español

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Hello, this is Donna Teasley, horticulture agent with  the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center.

Did you know that the dog days of summer are upon us? Yes, they started on July 3 and will continue until August 11. Most of us think of this as a time of hot, humid weather but in ancient Greece and Rome dog days were considered to be a time of drought, bad luck, sickness and unrest and it was said that both men and dogs were driven mad by the extreme heat.

The name dog days comes from the reference to Sirius, the dog star. In mid-summer Sirius rises at the beginning of the day before the sun and because it is the brightest star in the sky it was thought to bring extra heat to the earth. Sirius continues to rise before the sun for 40 days so this time period is called the dog days of summer.

While we know that the dog days aren’t evil and unlucky, they do signify a time of the year that is hot and humid. Oddly enough, the Egyptians considered this time period lucky because it brought more rain which frequently caused the Nile River to flood. This flooding gave water and rich soil to the region and helped crops to survive.

Whatever you believe, just be thankful that we have air conditioning nowadays so that the dog days of summer can be spent in the relative comfort of our cool houses-except on lawn mowing days!

This Donna Teasley with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program you can call us at 764-9480. In the meantime, stay cool!