01 January 2013


Then came old January, wrapped well
In many weeds to keep the cold away;
Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell;
And blow his nails to warm them if he may;
For they were numb’d with holding all the day
An hatchet keen, with which he felled wood,
And from the trees did lop the needless spray.

“This month takes its name form the Latin Januarius, which itself was derived from Janus, the two-faced god, who looked both before and behind.  The Saxons called it the Wolf Month, because wolves, driven by hunger, were wont to come down into the settlements in their desire for food.”


Astronomy for January:

The full moon on the 26th is the Wolf Moon.
[Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night…]

Meteor Showers

The Quantratids peak in the early morning hours of January 3rd .  The waning moon will keep you company.


Novenas for January
January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.

Holy Name                    
Epiphany                        continues from 28 December
Holy Family                   begins 4 January
Purification                    begins 24 January


January brings the snow
Makes our cheeks and fingers glow.

Weather for January:
Based on the 12 Days of Christmas: Overcast and cold
Based on the first 12 days of January: Snow.
Based on the Ember Days: Overcast with high winds.


Weather Lore for January:

The first twelve days of January foretell the weather for the following twelve months, with each day relating to the appropriate month.
                                                    or, conversely
The last twelve days of January foretell the weather for the whole year.

A summerish January, a winterish spring.

A warm January, a cold May

Fog in January brings a wet spring.

Just as many foggy mornings as there are in January, there will be just so many frosty mornings in May and on the same days of the month.

The number of times it thunders in January indicates the number of frosts there will be in April.

January thunder indicates wind, corn, and cattle.

1/1 - If January calends be summerly gay, It will be winterly weather till the calends of May.
        If the sun shines on the 8th day of Christmas, then quicksilver will be easy to get.

        If the Kalends of January fall on Tuesday, then the winter will be dreary and severe, a windy heat and rainy summer, and many women will die; ships will voyage in danger, and kings and princes will die.

         If the new year begins on Tuesday, we will have a stormy winter: a wet summer: a diverse harvest, with corn and fruit indifferent, yet herbes in gardens shall not flourish: great sickness of men, women, and young children. Beasts shall hunger, starve and dye of the botch: [oh, no! Not the botch!] many ships, galleys and hulks shall be lost: and the bloody fluxes shall kill many men: all things dear [expensive], save corn.  [This guy was a real Dismal Desmond. People probably threw the rope over the beam and found a rickety chair when he walked into a room]

        If New Year’s day in the morning opens with red dusky clouds, it denotes strife and debates among great ones, and many robberies to happen during the year.

       If the wind blows from the south on the first day of January, it will blow from the south every day of that month,

1/1-3 - The first three days of January rule the coming three months.

1/2 – As the weather is this day, so will it be in September.

         If the sun shines on the 9th day of Christmas, then God shall send a great baptism that year.

1/3 - It will be the same weather for nine weeks as it is on the ninth day after Christmas.

        If the sun shines on the 10th day of Christmas, then will the oceans and rivers have a great supply of fish.

1/4  - If the sun shines on the 11th day of Christmas, then will there be many deaths among men.

         If the sun shines on St. Pharaildis, it foretells pestilence. [Well, that accounts for the many deaths.]

1/5 - If the sun shines on the 12th day of Christmas, men will be weak, and the earth will be quiet.

1/8 - The weather before noon today foretells the nature of June; after noon foretells the nature of May.

1/9 - The weather before noon today foretells the nature of August; after noon foretells the nature of July.

1/10 - The weather before noon today foretells the nature of October; after noon foretells the nature of September.

1/11 - The weather before noon today foretells the nature of December; after noon foretells the nature of November.

1/12 - If on January 12th the sun shines, it foreshows much wind.

           This day being the twelfth, doth foreshow the nature and condition of the whole year, and doth confirm the eleven days going before.

1/14 – St. Hilary, the coldest day of the year (or the wettest).

1/20 - On Saint Sebastian, we are quit of winter

1/20-31 – The last twelve days of January rule the weather for the whole year.

1/22 – If the sun shines brightly on Vincent’s Day, we shall have more wine than water. (Prosperous weather all the year.)

           If the sun shines on Jan 22nd, there shall be much wind.

1/25 - If St. Paul’s Day be fair and clear, it doth betide a happy year;
          But if by chance it then should rain, it will make dear all kinds of grain;
          And if the clouds make dark the sky, then neat and fowls this year shall die;
          If blustering winds do blow aloft, then wars shall trouble the realm full oft.

          Check the wind at midnight of Paul’s day – it will be the prevailing wind all year.

Of course, the one wise weather saying that makes the most sense is the one that I like the least, since, by the first of January, I am ready for Spring... but, as the saying goes,

"As the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens"

and, at least in New England, it is true - sadly, never-endingly, cabin-feverishly TRUE.

Gardening for January

January - Ploughing

The 1817 Almanac advises: “In this month uncover the Roots of Trees, and cover with Dung the Roots of new-planted Trees, to prevent the Frost from injuring them.  Cut all dead Branches off Fruit Trees.  Plant Quicksets, and cleanse Trees from Moss.  Sow Cresses, Mustard, Radish, Lettuce, and other small Herbs, in warm rich Soil.”

“Sow Hotspur Pease, put fresh Earth to your Sage, Thyme, and other sweet Herbs.  Transplant young Fruit Trees, prune Vines; trench and soil Ground for the Spring.”

Gardening from Cassell’s Illustrated almanack 1871
Flowers.— Turn over the soil in the borders of the garden, if it has not already been done, and make any alteration that may be desired in the arrangement of beds and paths. Choose fine weather for transplanting hardy shrubs, and carefully train your roses and other creepers. If you have any bulbs unplanted, get them in without delay. If tulips, etc that were planted early now show through the ground, protect them with a little litter.
Vegetables.— Beans may be sown now for transplanting in March, and you may begin to thin and transplant autumn-sown cabbages. In mild weather sow peas for an early crop. Dig over the ground where vacant, as the soil will derive munch benefit from exposure to the frost.
Fruit.—Trees, now that the sap is down, may still be transplanted, and you may prune away all weak and useless shoots.

Health for January
“Let not Blood, and use no Physick, unless there be a Necessity: Eat often, and avoid too much Sleep.”

January Engraving by Samuel Williams. William Hone, The Everyday Book and Table Book, (1838), p. 1.

January – Ploughing. Engraving based on an 11th century manuscript. William Walsh, Curiosities of Popular Customs (1898), p. 565.