Monday, August 2, 2010

Dog Days

The late [rather great] Henery Higgins cooling off in the shade of the porch.
{The extra "e' is not a typo--it was added when our daughter met Higgins and embellished his name.}

Higgins' younger brother, Booger, wallows in the "pool" kept filled with cool water for the dogs.
These photos were taken during a weekend at the home of our son and his lady--end of July, 2007.
H. and H. live in Wyoming at an elevation of 7176 feet.  The climate of the Rocky Mountians is described as "sub-arctic"--even there  July and August bring scalding days, though nights are cool enough that a quilt on the bed is welcomed.

Although the days and nights of the past week have been relentlessly hot and humid, there are signs that the season will inevitably turn to autumn.
This spider resides in its zig-zag embellished web near the front steps.

View east by southeast from the front porch at 7:30 this morning.
Already heat shimmers in the mist rising from the creek and I found it too hot to savor my mug of coffee
in comfort from the front porch rocking chair.

View across the lower garden.

In the past week J. and I have cleared away the spent cucumber vines, uprooted the beetle-ravaged bean bushes, brought in nearly the last of the melon harvest.
I have dead-headed exhausted perennials, J. has mowed and trimmed.
Last evening I sowed a last planting of bush beans, tucked seeds of a few annual flowers into bare spots in the second border--an experiment in succession planting.

Life-long I have heard these weeks of late summer referred to as "the dog days".
Always there have been resident dogs, flopped in whatever shade they could find, tongues dripping  messily while their sides heaved with rhythmic panting.
Like the animals, we have sought cooler places to rest from our work--dragged lawn chairs to the shadiest side of a building, a place to sprawl, legs out-stretched, while moisture condenses on a tumbler of iced tea.

It is rather late in life to learn that the term "dog days" harks back to the culture of the Romans, who beleived that the early morning appearance of  Sirius, the star they termed dies canicularis, intensified the heat of July and August days.

In case your education in this matter is lacking, as mine was, here is a link to learn more about the dog days.

It seems to me the ultimate capriciousness of human nature that in January we long for summer; by August we may not yearn for frigid days and nights, but we are ready for a break in the heat.


  1. Oh I did love that photo of Booger, our youngest dog Roobarb has her own paddling pool too!

  2. How interesting about 'dog days'....and what wonderful photos of your kingdom.

    You both have been so busy in all that heat too ... you deserve a sit down ...I wonder what is in store for you over the next couple of months Take Care xx

  3. Love your dog pix, love dogs but haven't had one in years, turned into strictly cat people.
    Our garden is just roasting away in the heat and humidity, very discouraging.

  4. Your home is so lovely and it seems like you've been there forever. I hope you are truly happy :)

    Perversely, I was thinking of our January snowstorms only today, and remembering how happy I was! Not that the country was struggling, just that everything was so peaceful and community spirit was so evident. I have to say I prefer the cold to the Summer, but I love harvesting my fruit and veg, so it has it's compensations :)

  5. Well, it's official. This is the coolest summer for us on the coast since 1933 and the coolest July since 1916. All I can think is well at least we've got next year. There won't be two years in a row like this....will there? Temps have barely made it into the 70's and though the temps are OK the gloomy overcast skies are very dreary!

    I love your dog pictures. I love dogs as much as I love cats.

  6. I must confess, I can't take too much heat. Keith used to cope with temps of 140 degrees when he was in the desert! I fade at around 75 deg!

    Enjoy your garden and the shade, and I hope that the winter weather in your new home isn't too discouraging.

  7. What wonderful pictures! And you're right - this does, indeed, feel like the "dog days" of summer. I'm longing for days and even cooler nights, color as far as the eye can see, the smell of smokey fires in the air. In the meantime, the A/C is back on today...