Appalachian Thursday – Dog Days

You’ve almost certainly heard this time of year referred to as the “dog days” of summer. But do you know WHY it’s called that? I always thought it’s because this hot, muggy time of year isn’t hardly fit for a dog. And I had a professor in college who talked about the humidity of late summer making stepping outside feel like stepping into a dog’s mouth. An apt metaphor. But turns out there’s more to it than that. Turns out it’s because this is the time of year when the sun is in the same part of the sky as Sirius – the Dog Star – part of the constellation Canis Major. In late July Sirius actually rises and sets with the sun. And way back in the day, folks thought the star actually added to the heat of the sun. So the dog days are the 20 days before and after Sirius and the sun line up–July 3 through August 11. Which, ironically, is often the hottest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, a scientific explanation should never prevent us from embracing some good old-fashioned superstitions. So here are a few related to the dog days of summer: During this time snakes are blind and will strike at anything. If it rains on the first dog day, it will rain every day afterward. Dogs are more likely to go mad during these days. Sores and wounds […]

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Facing Fears . . . By Accident

Over the weekend Thistle and I headed out for our usual hike. It was a rainy Saturday, but dogs don’t much care about a little wet and neither do I (so long as it’s just a little!). There was only one other car in the parking area and it belonged to a family with two dogs. They didn’t know the trails and I did, so we headed out together for an impromptu hiking party. Poking around in the woods with kids and dogs is always entertaining. They see things adults miss and they’re much more willing to stop and investigate. Which made hiking a trail I’d been on over and over again a whole new experience. At one point we stopped to check out a spot where the creek runs down a sort of rock slide. The older of the two girls threw sticks in the water for Reba—one of the dogs. Which meant Reba was faced with a quandary. She really wanted that stick, but she’s not a fan of water. She’d wade in ankle deep and stretch her neck to reach the stick, snatching it and running back to land. Most of us had moved on down the trail when the eldest daughter came running to join us with Reba by her side. “Reba faced her fears!” the girl crowed. “She went all the way in the water!” Then the girl added, “Well, by accident.” Reba’s desire to […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Turkeys, a dog, and poetry month

April is National Poetry Month. You probably knew that 😉 I think MOST of my poems fall into the Appalachian category in some form or fashion. Here’s one inspired by a walk in the woods with a dog and some turkeys . . . Sure do miss my Sammy . . . HOLDING BACK He’s an old dog. So, when he spies the turkeys he tries to run like a nightmare of running with leaden feet and his goal fast receding. I hold him, make him sit and watch the turkeys fade into the forest with a rustle of leaves and soft calls of indignation. I rub his head, massage aching hips, scratch his panting, heaving side. But his bright eyes are on the trees and he would gladly give chase if only I would let him. I call him to my side and head home. He limps beside me because it’s what I ask. But he does not choose, would never choose, this holding back.

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Time to Complain About the Heat

Ah, June. Those days of complaining about how cold it is are well behind us. Mild spring days have wound down. Some afternoon it’s even getting . . . hot. While the first true day of summer may not be until June 21, school is out this week, I’m going bare-legged in skirts and dresses, we’re getting produce at the farmer’s market, and I say this is summer. Which means it’s time to start complaining about how hot it is. Except I’m trying to learn a lesson from my dog. She doesn’t complain, she just gets cool. And here’s her favorite way to do it . . .

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Stories All Around Us

My husband and I went to dinner Sunday. We enjoyed a lovely meal and headed out into the mild evening to make our way back to our car. I think I’ve mentioned that I can’t resist a dog. Well, there was a girl sitting on the sidewalk with a puppy dancing around her. I handed the takeout box to my […]

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