A newsletter from the publisher of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
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Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

 – Sara Coleridge (1802–58), Pretty Lessons in Verse

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With gardens and farmers’ markets filled with fresh vegetables, there are many wonderful, healthy dishes you can make to enjoy the bounty of the summer.

Chilled Summer Gazpacho
A refreshing cold soup for a hot summer evening.

Skillet Frittata
A wonderful breakfast dish, made on top of the stove, that can also be served as a lunch treat.

Colorful Vegetable Salad
This festive salad is a perfect side to grilled meats or fish.

Fried Green Tomatoes
If you have a surplus of green tomatoes, try this easy recipe and enjoy the very special flavor.

For more summer recipes, go to our Recipes pages.

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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.

Full Buck Moon (July 18)

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.

Rain Day (July 29)

Rain Day is celebrated in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, where it has rained 110 out of the past 133 years on July 29. Let’s see if it will rain today!

For more fun and unusual events this month, go to The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids calendar page.

Weather Lore

Clover contracts its leaves at the approach of a storm.

If corn husks are thicker than usual, a cold winter lies ahead.

If flowers keep open all night, the weather will be wet the next day.

The faster a cricket chirps, the warmer the temperature.

Lightning in the south is a sure sign of drought.

Bees will not swarm,
Before a near storm.

For more folklore, visit A Sprinkling of Summertime Fun and Folklore.

Feeling the Heat?

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.

For more July gardening advice, go to our Gardening Jobs by the Month page.

Best Days

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

For more astrological best days, go to our Astrological Timetable.

© 2008, Yankee Publishing Inc. All rights reserved
Yankee Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444, USA, (603) 563-8111

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