23 August 2010

The hot "Dog Days" of Summer

The dog days of summer......
 I posted this on http://www.paperkissesandinkywishes.com/ but thought I would post it here also in case you missed it. I love finding out the origins of old sayings and such, so I hope you do not mind indulging me.
The dog days of summer is a phrase I have heard many,many times and I wanted to find out what it actually meant. I worked a little research time into my schedule and thought you might like to know what I found

The “dog days of summer” occur during the hottest and muggiest part of the season --- no surprise there, right?  Webster defines “dog days” as...
1 : the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.

2 : a period of stagnation or inactivity.

But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.

They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor). The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
So the earth isn't flat and Sirius doesn't provide any heat to our planet; but we still use the saying "the dog days of summer".  Interesting, huh? Where did the term "Indian summer" come from? I'm gonna find out and I will share.
Until next time............Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by.

16 August 2010

Spray starch

Good morning! I trust you had a fabulous weekend and are enjoying some wonderful weather.  A very short post today, but hopefully with a tip you can use.

Today I want to tell you how to make your own spray starch.  Now I know a lot of people do not use starch any longer.  Heck , most of us probably don't even IRON any more, but there are occasions when we do have to iron something and nothing makes that job a little easier and the results a little prettier than a bit of starch.  So let's get to it!  The recipe couldn't be simpler.

To a quality empty spray bottle add the following and shake vigorously:

1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch
1 pint cold water
1-2 drops essential oil (optional)
The essential oil is not essential to this formula, but boy-oh-boy does it make whatever you are ironing smell terrific!!  Keep in mind that you will have to shake your spray starch  frequently to keep the cornstarch suspended in the water, but heck, that's a small price to pay for this money saver.

Thanks so much for stopping by Two Dogs.  Enjoy your week --- summer is rapidly going by so I hope you get to enjoy some fun in the sun and make some memories.

09 August 2010

Weed killer

Summer is marching on and so are the weeds.  Ever think you are losing the battle?  I sure do.  And I hate using Round Up or other weed killers.  I feel they aren't good for the environment regardless of what the label says and I don't want my grand kids or my dogs around the stuff.  Let me introduce you to some homemade stuff that works just as well.  Actually, you will see a faster kill with this stuff than Round Up.  I have used it on weeds that were dead within two hours of application.  The recipe:

1 gallon of  vinegar (the higher the acid content the better, so check the labels)
1 cup of salt
a few drops of dish detergent (this keeps the solution on the plant)

Mix well and put it in one of those sprayers made for applying week killer/fertilizers. ( you should have two sprayers --- one for weed killer and one for fertilizers ------ you don't want to use the same sprayer for both.  )   Apply the solution liberally to your weeds.  There are other methods that work better for larger areas, and I will be reporting on one here in a week or so, but this works great for application where you need to be pretty precise.  The battle against weeds needs a lot of ammunition in our arsenals.  I leave with another picture of one of the flowers in my garden.  Thank you so much for stopping by Two Dogs and I hope you have a fabulous week!

Poppies that were blooming just a couple of weeks ago.  With all the rain we had in the spring, I had these beauties everywhere!

02 August 2010


I have had a tremendous problem with moles.  They have devastated my garden (so far my precious tomatoes have survived the onslaught) destroying my pea patch, my lettuces, and are working hard on everything else.  The green beans and the cucumbers are doing OK, so far, as I planted them along the fence and inside open-ended gallon tin cans.  I think the only reason they are making it is because Mr. Mole doesn't have a clear path in which to burrow and those cans are confusing him.  Maybe. 
Anywho, I called our local county agricultural agent and asked him a few questions.  Do those little windmills that you place in the ground and vibrate when the wind blows keep moles away?  In a word, no.  He also said that trying to drown them by placing a hose down the tunnels doesn't work either.  My idea of hooking up a hose to my car's exhaust and gassing them with carbon monoxide brought a chuckle from him, and he said nothing really works except trapping them.  Yuck. He said moles make extensive tunnels over a 1/4 acre area and are capable of digging 60 -80 feet an hour.  Holy cats! No wonder water and gas don't have much of a success rate.  His suggestion was a trap called ---- are you ready for this? ---------- the moleinator. Such a cheesy name, but he said it works very well.

No one here locally carried them so I was forced to shop online  (oh darn) and found one on Amazon.  The trick to capturing the mole, I am told, is finding a newly made tunnel, stamping it down, then setting the trap over the ruined tunnel.  When Mr. Mole comes back through checking his network of tunnels, he comes to the ruined tunnel and begins to re-open it. As he burrows through the collapsed tunnel and into the center of the trap, SNAAAAP! He meets his maker.  So this week will be the testing of the Moleinator.  I shall keep you posted.  Thanks for stopping by Two Dogs.  Have a fabulous week.