28 September 2012

28 September - There are no Stupid Questions

Wanna bet?

Today is (I am informed) National Ask A Stupid Question Day.

Go for it.  Be bold.  You know you want to.  Might have to hustle a bit though.  The media pretty much has the monopoly on stupid questions these days.

"Did Jesus have a wife?"

"Isn't Obama the greatest thing since sliced bread?"

"Will the Pope's butler be burned at the stake like Galileo?"

"If I read it on the Internet, is it true?"

"If I set up a poll and only ask those people who are likely to agree with me, and then publish the results that 99% of Americans think like I do, does that mean they do?"

"If my pet boa gets out of what I was sure was a secure domicile, should I tell the people in charge of the dorm?"

"What if it's just a garter snake?"

and on... and on....

So celebrate like crazy.  Ask all those questions that you know are stupid.  Ignore the rolling eyes and shaking heads.

This is the day to do it.

And this is the uniform of the day.... 

08 September 2012

8 September - Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

Weather – As the weather is on the day of Mary’s birth, so it will be for four weeks.


I found a French hymn in honor of Our Lady’s birthday in a 19th century almanac, but there is no further information, so I don’t know how old it is:

Au point du jour dans nos divins concerts,
Chantons le nom de la Sainte Marie,
Et consacrons à elle nos de chants divers
Pour que chacq’un l’announce et le publie,
Et que personne ne jamais oublie
Le jour natal de la Mere de Dieu,
Nous sur la terre chantons aujourdui,
De meme que les Anges dans les cieux,
Le lever d’une étoile glorieuse.
O Rayon du Matin, Lune du Soir
Vierge éspousèe, mere de Dieu piuse,
Lampe au pecheur ecarté de l’espoir.
Nous vous chantons de Anges souveraine,
Apres Jesus, vous serez notre appui,
Et de nos coeurs serez seule la Reine,
A nous conduire à la gloire avec lui.

For Lady Day, here is a story that I enjoy from the Golden Legend :

There was a widow who had a son whom she loved tenderly, and that son was taken by enemies and put in prison fast bound.  And when she heard thereof, she wept without comfort, and prayed unto our blessed Lady with right devout prayers that she would deliver her son.  Finally she saw that her prayers availed her not, and entered then into the church where there was a carved image of our Lady, and stood before the image and reasoned with it in this manner, saying: “O blessed Virgin, I have prayed often to thee for my son that thou shouldst deliver him, and thou hast not helped me, his wretched mother.  I prayed also to thy Son to help me and yet I feel no fruit. And therefore like as my son is taken from me so shall I take away thine, and set him in prison in hostage for mine.”

And in saying this, she approached near and took away from the image the Child that she held in her lap, and wrapped it in clean clothes and shut it in her chest, and locked it fast right diligently, and was right joyful that she had so good hostage for her son, and kept it much diligently. 

And the night following, the blessed Virgin Mary came to the son of the same widow, and opened to him the door of the prison, and commanded him to go thence, and said to him: “Son, say to thy mother that she yield to me again my Son since I have delivered her son.”  And he issued and came to his mother, and told to her how our blessed Lady had delivered him, and she was joyful, and took the Child and came to the church and delivered Him to our Lady, saying: “Lady I thank you, for ye have delivered to me my son, and here I deliver to you yours again, for I confess that I have mine.”

[This is right up there with stories of people who, if their prayers are not answered, will turn the statues of their family saints to face the wall like naughty children.  Yes, they may seem pagan and superstitious, but to me they speak of people who believe in the communion of saints - that the saints are not some lofty personages sitting on clouds, far away and out of earshot, their holiness like a curtain dividing them from the Church Militant.  Rather, the Church Triumphant is part of the family, and dealt with as such.  The woman in the story above talked to Our Most Blessed Lady, Queen of Heaven, as one mother to another, and in much the same voice of one mother saying that the other mother has kept her son too long, and it's time to send him home.  I like that.]

"Birth of the Virgin", Anna Brownell Jameson, Legends of the Madonna (1867), p. 147.
“St. Anne and the young Mary”, Manual of Prayers for the Use of the Catholic Laity (1896), p.8.
“Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, The Golden Legend (1489)

01 September 2012


Next him September marched eke on foot;
Yet was he heavy laden with the spoil
Of harvest’s riches, which he made his boot,
And him enriched with bounty of the soil;
In his one hand, as fit for harvest’s toil,
He held a knife-hook’ and in th’other hand
A pair of weights, with which he did assoil
Both more and less, where it in doubt did stand,
And equal gave to each as justice duly scanned.

"The name comes from the Latin septimus, "seventh," because under the ten-month calendar, and afterwards under the reckoning which made March the beginning of the year, September was the seventh month. After July and August (originally Quintilis, "fifth," and Sextilis, "sixth") had been so named in honor of Julius Caesar and Augustus, several Roman Emperors sought to give their names to September, but in this case the innovation did not survive.  Julius Caesar gave September thirty-one days in his revision of the calendar, but it was subsequently reduced to thirty days by Augustus, who changed the length of all the months after August in order to give his titular month the same length as July."

"The Saxons called September Gerstmonath, or Barley-Month, this crop, from which their favorite beverage was brewed, being then gathered. It is still called Herbstmonat, or Harvest Month, in Switzerland. The harvest-moon comes in this month, being the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.  For several evenings the moon rises near sunset, thus enabling the harvesters to extend their day's work." William Shepard Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs, p. 873 (1898).

Marry in September's shine
Your living will be rich and fine.

Astronomy for September: The full moon this month, on the 29th, is known as the Harvest Moon.
Shine on, shine on Harvest Moon, up in the sky…

Autumn arrives at 10:49 am on September 22nd with the equinox.

Ember Days: September 19, 21, and 22

Novenas for September
Exaltation of the Holy Cross       begins 5 September
Vincent de Paul                           begins 18 September
Michael the Archangel                begins 20 September
Holy Angels                                 begins 20 September
Thérèse of Lisieux                       begins 22 September
Francis of Assisi                          begins 25 September
Faustina Kowalska                      begins 26 September
Our Lady of the Rosary               begins 28 September

Weather for September
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Clear skies and high winds.
Based on the first 12 days of January: Sunny and chilly, with some stiff breezes.
Based on the Ember Days: Rain.  Rainy in the morning, rainy in the evening, rainy at suppertime…


Weather Lore for September
September blow soft,
‘Til the fruit's in the loft.

As September, so the coming March.

When September has been rainy, the following May is generally dry; and when May is dry, the following September is apt to be wet.

A wet September means drought for next summer, famine, and no crops.
Heavy September rains bring drought.
on the other hand
Rain in September is good for the farmer, but poison to the vine-growers.
September rain is good for crops and vines and much liked by the farmer.
[I think it depends on how much and how heavy the rain]

If the storms of September clear off warm, all the storms of the following winter will be warm.

If a cold spell occurs in September and passes without a frost, there will be no frost until the same time in October.

Thunder in September indicates a good crop of grain and fruit for the next year.

Thunder in September means snow in February and March and a large crop of grapes.

There are generally three consecutive windy days about the middle of September.

9/1 - Fair on September 1st, fair for the month

9/6 - As the weather is on the 6th, so it will be for the next four weeks.

9/8 - As the weather is n the day of Mary's birth, so it will be for four weeks.

9/9 - If it is fine on St. Gorgonius' day, it will continue fine for forty days.

         If it rains on St. Gorgonius' day, there will be much bad weather in October.

9/14 - No rain on Holy Cross, no rain for six weeks [which is a good thing while we are still harvesting]

          If dry be the buck's horn on Holyrood morn,
          'Tis worth a kist [chest] of gold;
          But if wet be seen ere Holyrood e'en,
          Bad harvest is foretold.

           If the hart and the hind meet dry and part dry on Rood Day fair,
           For six weeks, of rain there'll be nae mair [no more].

           There are generally three consecutive windy days about the middle of September.

9/15 - September 15th is fine six years out of seven.

9/19 - If on September 19th, there is a storm from the south, a mild winter may be expected.
[If on September 19th, there is a storm from the south, it is liable to be a hurricane]

9/20-22 - September 20, 21, and 22 rule the weather for October, November, and December.

9/21 - St. Matthew's day bright and clear
           Brings good wine in the next year.

           St. Matthew
           Brings the cold dew.

           On St. Matthee,
           Shut up the bee.

           After St. Matthew you will not see many fine days.

           A south wind on September 21st indicates that the rest of autumn will be warm.

9/22 - If there is clear weather on St. Maurice's day, heavy winds will rage in the following winter.

           The first three days of any season rule the weather for that season.

           As the wind and weather at the equinoxes, so will they be for the next three months.

            If the weather is quiet for the week before the autumn equinox and the week after, the temperature will continue higher than usual into the winter.

            As the equinoctial storms clear, so will all storms clear for the next six months.

             Winds that blow in the daytime near the equinox generally hush towards evening.

9/29 - On Michaelmas day, the heat leaves us.

           If St. Michael brings many acorns, Christmas will cover the fields with snow.

           At Michaelmas, if the wind be low
           Look out for frost, if not for snow.

           A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas.

           If it rains on Michaelmas, it will rain up to Christmas.

           As many days old as the moon is on Michaelmas day, so many floods shall we have after. [This year, the moon will be 15 days old on Michaelmas.  That’s an awful lot of floods.]

            If Michaelmas day be fair, the sun will shine much in the winter, though the wind at the northeast will frequently reign long and be very sharp.

             If there is a gentle rain on St. Michael's day, we can expect a mild winter; but if there is a thunderstorm, the winter will have heavy winds.

             St. Michael’s rain does not stay long in the sky.

            If it does not rain on St. Michael and on St. Gallus (October 16), a dry Spring is indicated for the next year.

Farming and Gardening:

The Passion Flower long has blowed
To betoken us signs of the Holy Rood           (Sep 14)
The Michaelmas Daisy, among dead weeds
Blooms for St. Michael’s valorous deeds.     (Sep 29)

September rain is good for the crops.

Preserve your fodder in September and your cow will fatten.

9/1 - St. Giles finishes the walnuts.

9/14 - It was traditional to go nutting today. 

           On Holy Cross Day
           Vineyards are gay.

9/21 – St. Matthew’s rain fattens pigs and goats.

9/29 - Pick your blackberries before Michaelmas.  The Devil passes his hoof over them (or does something nastier) and scorches them today.

Cassell’s Illustrated almanac 1871 for September:
Flowers.—Sow hardy annuals, for bloom in the following year. Clarkias, nemophilas, gilias, &c., are well suited for this purpose. Collect and dry your flower seeds, labeling them, when necessary, with height of the plants and color of the flowers. Look to your edgings of box, &c., which may now be repaired or replaced. Begin the planting of snowdrops, narcissus, &c.
Vegetables.—Hoe weeds from all parts of the vegetable garden. Thin out turnips, winter spinach, and all crops that are sufficiently forward. Gather articles for pickling and preserving, and remove all kinds of decaying or useless vegetation. Take up potatoes, and store away those intended for seed, first drying them in the sun.
Fruit.— Strawberry runners may still be planted. Old raspberry canes should be cat down, leaving only the new wood. Cut back gross shoots from wall-fruit trees of all kinds. To tell whether fruit is thoroughly ripe for picking, raise it gently with the hand, when the stalk will leave the tree at once if it is in fit condition.

The 1817 Almanac advises the farmer to “Plant Liquorice Roots about two Feet asunder, in rather moist Earth.  Set Artichokes, and sow Seeds for Winter Herbs.  Sow Wheat and Rye.  Cut Quicks towards the End of the Month.  Plant Evergreens.
Sow Parsnips and Carrots in a free open Air, and rather most Soil.
Remove and set Slips of Flowers.  Set Rows of Strawberries and Barberries.
Gather Fruits as they ripen, on a dry Day, and lay them up carefully.  Prepare Ground for planting.”


September. Engraving by Samuel Williams. William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book, (1838), p. 1146

September. Hunting – Pasturing Swine. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 874