01 August 2011


A glorious month!  It is also the Widow's birth month.

Skillful people are born in August, says the old adage.

Who ever wed in August be,
Many a change is sure to see.

"In the old Roman calendar, August bore the name of Sextilis, as the sixth month of the series, and consisted but of twenty-nine days.  Julius Caesar, in reforming the calendar of his nation, extended it to thirty days.  When, not long after, Augustus conferred on it his own name, he took a day from February, and added it to August, which has consequently ever since consisted of thirty-one days.  This great ruler was born in September, and it might have been expected that he would take that month under his patronage; but a number of lucky things had happened to him in August, which, moreover, stood next to the month of his illustrious predecessor, Julius; so he preferred Sextilis as the month which should be honoured by bearing his name, and August it has ever since been among all nations deriving their civilisation from the Romans." Robert Chambers, The Book of Days, Volume II, page 253 (1832)
The full moon this month - on the 13th - is known as the Sturgeon Moon or the Corn Moon.

The Perseid meteor shower is slated to peak in the predawn hours of the 12th and 13th.  This will not be a good year for viewing the spectacular shower as the full moon will drown out all most of the 'shooting stars'.  However, EarthSky says to start watching for the Perseids in the first week of August.  There won't be as many of them as at peak, but still enough to watch.
Weather for August
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Sunny, with high thin clouds, and very warm.
Based on the first 12 days of January: Cloudy and warm.
Based on the Ember Days: Warm with rain, very heavy rain.

Weather Lore for August
Dry August and warm
Doth harvest no harm.

August rain gives honey, wine, and saffron. Sounds good!  Saffron-honeycakes and a glass of wine.

August sunshine and bright nights ripen the grapes. Even better!

Rain early in August refreshes the trees.
A wet August never brings dearth.
There will be as many snows in the following winter as there are rains in August.  The same goes for the number of foggy mornings.

A north-wind in August brings settled weather. 

So many August fogs, so many winter mists.

Observe on what day in August the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October.

A fog in August indicates a severe winter and plenty of snow.

As August, so the next February.  I don't want to think about next February.  It comes soon enough.

If the first week in August is unusually warm, the winter will be white and long.  Describe 'unusually'.  For that matter, describe 'white and long'.  Up here, all winters are white and long.  Sometimes there is more 'white' one year than the next; nevertheless, winter starts somewhere in October and lasts through May, no matter how much white has fallen.

An old Albanian tradition said that the first twelve days of August foretell the weather of the succeeding twelve months.

8/1 - If geese and ducks run around with straw in their beaks today, there will be destructive storms in late summer, and autumn will be very boisterous.

8/6 - As the weather is on Transfiguration, so it will be the rest of the year. [Which I take to mean either settled or unsettled weather, as in, if the day is fine, then winter will not be hard, and autumn, spring, and summer will be equable, but if the day is stormy, then we can expect hard weather conditions throughout the year.]
8/10 - If on Saint Lawrence's Day the weather be fine, fair autumn and good wine may be hoped for.

8/11 - As the Dog Days commence, so they end.

8/15 -  On Saint Mary's Day, sunshine brings much good wine. Which is especially enjoyed in my backyard on a lazy August afternoon.

            If the sun do shine on Mary's day, that is a good token, and especially for wind.

8/19 - If it rains on Saint Louis' day, it will rain for eight days.

8/24 - As Bartholomew's Day, so the whole autumn.

          If Bartelmy's day be fair and clear, 
          Hope for a prosperous autumn that year.

          Saint Bartholomew's mantle wipes dry
          All the tears that Saint Swithin can cry.

          Saint Bartholomew brings the cold dew.

          If it rains on Bartholomew's Day, it will rain the forty days after.

          Thunderstorms after Bartholomew's Day are more violent.

           If the morning begins with a hoar frost, the cold weather can be soon expected, and a hard winter.

8/26 - Tradition says that it always rains today.

8/28 - The last Sunday of the month indicates the weather for the next month.
Gardening:  "August brings the sheaves of corn; the the harvest home is borne."

"August fills the kitchen, and September the cellar."

8/3 - traditionally, cabbage seed was sowed on the first Wednesday after the 29th of July.

8/10 - Saint Lawrence's day puts the sickle to the wheat.

Plant spring flowering bulbs, like daffodils, or dig up, separate, and replant the bulbs in your garden after the second week in August.

8/19 - Sow turnip seeds on Saint Sebald's day.

August, in my 1816 almanac, is a tremendously busy time in the garden:
Sow Cauliflowers, Spinach, Onions, Cabbages, Coleworts, Lettuce, Cresses, Chervil, and Corn Sallad, for Winter Use.  Transplant Broccoli into the Ground, where it is to remain for flowering.  Plant Slips of Savory, Thyme, Sage, Hyssop, Rosemary, Lavender, Mastick, and other aromatic Plants.  Continue to sow Rape, Radish, Mustard, Cresses, and Turnipseed every Week; they will now soon grow large enough to use.

For good health, it advises: This Month use moderate Diet, forbear to sleep soon after Meat, for that brings Oppilations, Head-achs, Agues, and Catarrhs, and other Distempers of the same Kind.  Take great Care of sudden Cold after Heat.

Artwork: "August" from Tres Riches Heures du Jean, Duc de Berry, (c. 1410), Musee Conde, Chantilly, France.