Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Welcome to the Dog Days
It is freakishly hot out. We had a storm roll through early this morning (I woke up once, heard thunder, and promptly passed out again) that tossed a few things not tied down around the yard. It was cooler and pleasant, for about an hour, but it has hotted up once again.
Must be the Dog Days of Summer.
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Dog Days begin on July 3rd and last for forty days, ending on August 24th. Not only are these considered the hottest days of the year, they are also the driest, most prone to thunderstorms, and coincide with Canis Major (Sirius) being the largest and brightest constellation in the night sky. If you are out in the early morning hours, you can see Sirius rising just before dawn in the east. It is lovely...but I try not to be up and out that early on a routine basis during my summer break.
The Dog Days were believed to be an evil time, when wine turned sour, the seas boiled, and dogs ran mad in the streets. Hope everyone has gotten their pooches vacinated...my dogs are too tired and worn out from the heat to run madly about the place. So is every other creature on this farmlette, including me. The chicks are getting huge and really are ready to be out and in the field. If only I could stand on my punctured foot long enough to get more that four bits of tractor construction done at a go. I tell you, you never realize how much stability your heel gives you until you can't stand on it. (And yes, before you start nagging, I do have another doctor appointment this afternoon.) In addition to a sore foot, my space to work on building my chicken tractors is at the front of the house, which gets very hot and sunny and is impossible to work in for a long time in this heat. I've resolved to start and work for a couple hours in the morning, then come in and cool off and do inside chores (with periodic forays around to check on the animals outside and hose them off) until the front is shady in the late afternoon hours, when I can start my construction projects once again. So for now, the chicks will have to wait, crowded into their brooder under the box fan ventilation unit.
While hot, the animals are doing fairly well. The chickens are smart, and change where they are hanging out depending on the amount of shade to be had. The dogs prefer napping inside to sleeping in the yard, and the chicks are no longer terrified of the big fan blowing on them. It may not be a cold breeze, but between that and plenty of water they are hanging in there. The rabbits always fare the worst in the heat, even though I give them frozen bottles to lounge with and have the misting system going full blast. Yesterday, Little Mama died from heat stroke. She never did well with any hot days, after nearly dying last summer, and I think it was just too much for her. I feel rather sad about this loss, she was a funny old rabbit and a wonderful mother. The other rabbits are doing okay, and I have started hosing them down (literally) with icy water from the tap. They are not appreciative of being soaking wet, but it cools their core temperature and the evaporating water keeps them from keeling over.
I admit, I stand under that icy hose from time to time myself. Oh yes, it is a very low grade wet t-shirt competition around here, and I win every time. Whoo hooo!
I guess it isn't just dogs who run mad at this time of year....