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Hot July brings cooling showers, Apricots and gillyflowers.
– Sara Coleridge (1802–58), Pretty Lessons in Verse
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It’s summertime — time to sit out on the porch and rock for a while. Rocking soothes the soul, comforts aching bones, and sets our thoughts adrift.
Ben Franklin extolled the merits of the rocking chair in the 1780s. By the early 19th century, Americans were making many types of rockers. Several U.S. presidents made history with their rocking chairs: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while he sat in a rocking chair, William McKinley planned his presidential campaign from his porch rocker, and John F. Kennedy brought the rocking chair to the Oval Office.
A porch with a rocker or two is a friendly and welcoming place. But more than that, a rocking chair invites us to slow down, relax, and enjoy life.
Sincerely, The Old Farmer’s Almanac
P.S. Please visit our blogs about everything Almanac. Comment on random reflections, advice, and ideas from the editors of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
St. Swithin’s Day (July 15)
St. Swithin was a beloved 9th-century bishop of Winchester who requested that he be buried in the churchyard — some say to be closer to the common people, whom he loved; some say so that he could enjoy God’s gift of rain for all eternity. When he died in 862, his request was honored. About 100 years later, however, it was deemed unseemly that so holy a man should rest in a common grave.
On July 15, the saint’s feast day, an attempt was made to enshrine his remains in his church. However, legend has it that St. Swithin caused torrential rains to fall for 40 days — until the intended transfer was abandoned. This is the source of several weather proverbs regarding rain on July 15.
St. Swithin’s Day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain.
Some Native American tribes referred to July’s full Moon as the Full Buck Moon, indicating the time when the bucks began growing new antlers. This full Moon was also known as the Full Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.
Be sure to check our Heat Index before you head out in the heat of summer, because when the temperature is high and accompanied by high humidity, it can feel a lot warmer than the thermometer indicates. The combination of high temperature and high humidity reduces your body’s ability to cool itself.
Smell the Flowers
Extend the indoor life of your cut flowers by putting them in a solution that is one part water, one part clear soft drink (such as 7-Up, Sprite, etc.), and a few drops of chlorine bleach.
Snip off the old flower clusters from rambler roses to encourage them to bloom all summer.
If you have thick, thriving phlox, thin the plants to four or five stalks per clump to provide adequate ventilation and avoid mildew.
Based on the Moon’s signs, here are some best days for certain summer garden activities.Destroy pests and weeds: July 23, 24 Plant belowground vegetables: July 21, 22, 30, 31 Prune to discourage growth: July 23, 24