01 July 2012


Then came hot July, boiling like to fire,
That all his garments he had cast away.
Upon a lion raging yet with ire,
He boldly rode, and made him to obey.
(It was the beast that whilom did foray
The Nemean forest, ‘til the Amphitrionide
Him slew, and with his hide did him array.)
Behind his back a scythe, and by his side
Under his belt he bore a sickle circling wide.

“As the fifth month in the old Roman year, this was called Quintilis, or fifth.  It was the birth-month of Julius Caesar, and after his death Mark Antony named it Julius in his honor.  In the old Alban calendar it had thirty-six days.  Romulus reduced the number to thirty-one, and Numa to thirty, but Julius Caesar again made it thirty-one.  The early Saxons called it Hegmonath, it being the month in which they usually mowed and made their hay-harvest.”     William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 586.


Astronomy for July: Full Buck Moon on the 3rd.

Meteor Shower: Delta Aquarids on July 28th and 29th. [Those are the peak dates, but EarthSky says to watch in late July and early August.  Look south in the pre-dawn hours, after the moon has set.]


Weather for July
According to the Twelve Days of Christmas: Warm. Overcast.  Looks like rain.
According to the first twelve days of January: Sunny and very warm.
According to the Ember Days: Overcast and humid.

Weather Lore for July:
As July is, so will be next January
[does this refer to extreme weather? If it is really hot in July it will be correspondingly cold in January? Because, trust me, while I may want July weather in January, it doesn't happen.]

Never trust a July sky.
[Indeed!  It might look beautifully clear in one direction, but turn around and notice those massing cloudbanks]

It never rains at night in July.

Rain in the third hour of a July afternoon is the heaviest of the year.

The first Friday in July is always wet.

A shower of rain in July is worth a plough of oxen.

When July alternates between rain and sunshine, the harvest will be abundant.

July thunder indicates that the wheat and barley will suffer harm [especially if accompanied by heavy winds and hail]
                        On the other hand
Thunder in July signifieth the same year shall be good corn, and loss of beasts.

If there is a tempest in July, the corn will be blighted with mildew.

7/1 - If it rains between the first and the fourth of July, it will rain for forty days.
        If the first of July be rainy weather, it will rain more or less for four weeks together.

        If it rains on July 1st, it will rain seventeen days in the month.

        If it rains on July 1st, there will be no grapes that year.

7/2 - If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will rain, off and on, for four weeks.

        If it rains on St. Mary's Day, it will last until St. Mary Magdalene (July 22)

        If it rains on the feast of Saint Processus and Martinian, there will be great rain storms and hail.

        If it rains on the feast of Saint Processus and Martinian, it suffocates the corn.

7/3 - As the Dog Days commence, so they end.

        If it rains on the first Dog-Day, it will rain for forty days after [or for thirty days after.  Take your pick]

         Dog Days bright and clear, indicate a happy year.

        But when accompanied by rain, we hope for better times in vain.

7/4 - If Bullion's Day be dry, there will be a good and early harvest.

        If the deer rise up dry and lie down dry on Bullion's day, there will be a good harvest.

        If it rains on Bullion's Day, it will rain for forty days.

        If it rains on the fourth of July, there will be no grapes that year.

7/6 - The weather on St. Godelieve's day foretells the weather of the next six weeks.

         If it rains on St. Godelieve, it will rain for forty days.

         If it rains on St. Godelieve, the Lord is blessing the vegetable garden.

7/7 - Rain today means rain for the next four weeks.

7/10 - If it rains on July 10th, it will rain for seven weeks.

          As the weather is on the Feast of the Seven Brothers, so will it be for seven weeks.

7/11 - If it rains on St. Benedict's day, it will rain for forty days.

7/15 - Saint Swithin's Day, if thou dost rain, for forty days it will remain
           Saint Swithin's Day, if thou be fair, for forty days will rain no more.

          If on St. Swithin's day it proves fair, a temperate winter will follow; but if it is rainy, stormy, or windy, then the contrary.

         If it rains today, Saint Swithin is christening the apples, and the early sorts can be picked.

7/20 - If St. Margaret's Day be dry, God will give us a fine autumn.

7/21 - If it rains on the 21st, we will have fair weather following.

7/22 – Mary Magdalene weeps for her Lord
           That is why it rains these days.

7/25 - As the weather is on Saint James' Day, so it will be on Christmas Day.

          If St. James' day is clear, then Christmas will be cold and frosty [that's a pretty good bet, either way].

          On St. James' day, the weather before noon foretells the winter before Christmas, and the weather after noon foretells the winter after Christmas.  If the sun shines, there will be cold weather; if it rains, there will be warm and moist weather; if it is between the two, it will be neither too warm nor too cold.

7/26 - If it rains on St. Ann's Day, it will rain for a month and a week [however, some people call the rain on this day "Saint Ann's Dower" and consider it a good thing].

          If on St. Anne’s day, the ants are building up their sand-hills, it is a sign of coming severe winter.

7/27 – If it rains on the day of the Seven Sleepers, it will rain for seven weeks.

            A wet Sleeper’s day is not good for barn or barrel.


Farming and Gardening:
July, God send thee calm and fair
That happy harvest we may see.

Cut thistles in July,
Then they will die.

Against St. Swithin's hasty Showers,  (July 15)
The Lily white reigns queen of the Flowers;
And Poppies a sanguine mantle spread,
For the blood of the Dragon St. Margaret shed. (July 20)
Then, under the wanton Rose, again,
That blushes for penitent Magdalen. (July 22)

7/9 - St. Kilian sets the reapers going (July 9)

7/20 – Start harvesting on St. Margaret’s Day (July 20).

7/22 – Roses begin to fade on Magdalene's day (July 22).

          On Magdalene’s day, the nuts are plentiful,

7/25 – If you plant turnips on the 25th of July
           You will have turnips, wet or dry [i.e., no matter what the weather]

7/26 – On St. Anne’s day, the July grapes are ripe.

Sow your cabbage seeds on the first Wednesday after the 29th of July.

Cassell’s Illustrated almanac 1871 for July:
Flowers.Carnations and picotees should be layered when they have done flowering. Hydrangeas may be propagated freely by cuttings or layers. As soon as pergoniums have flowered they should be cut down; and if plants in pots have done blooming, they should be transferred to the ground, where, after a short time, they will again bloom freely.
Vegetables.— Plant out your cabbages and other plants; and transplant cauliflowers in moist situations. Stake your scarlet runners, and sow your last crop of kidney beans in the first few days of the month. Plant celery in shallow trenches, and keep it earthed up as it advances in growth. Remove weakly shoots, etc, from cucumbers, and keep them well watered.
Fruit.— Cherries and plums may now be budded in the same manner as roses (see operations for last month). Select some of the strongest runners for making new plantations of strawberries, which, if put in now in showery weather, or kept well watered, will be strong plants by the winter. Keep back the summer growths of all fruit trees, except those portions which are suitable for training.

My 1817 Almanac advised its readers to "Sow Turnips and Onions to stand the Winter; as also Carrots, Coleworts, and Cauliflowers.  Keep your Garden clean from Weeds, and do not neglect to weed frequently your new-planted Quicks*.  Gather such Seeds as are ripe, as also Flowers; dry them in the Shade, then in the Sun."
   "Plant out Celery, Cabbages, and Broccoli in cloudy Weather.  Earth up Peas and Beans."

* Quicks: Quickset, a living plant set to grow, especially for a hedge.  Specifically, hawthorn planted to form a hedge.
Health for July:
"Forbear superfluous Drinking.  Use Cold Herbs.  Shun boiled, salt and strong Meats, and abstain from Physic."

July. Engraving by Samuel Williams. William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book, (1838) p. 683.
July – Haymaking. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898) p. 586