The Old Farmer’s Almanac says the traditional Dog Days are the 40 days from July 3 until August 11, coinciding with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. These are the days of the year when rainfall is at its lowest levels. According to The Book of Common Prayer (1552), the “Dog Daies” begin on July 6 and end on August 17. Regardless the source, western North Dakota has arrived.
We sure don’t need a thermometer to know the Dog Days have begun. When it is particularly humid, I’m known to say it’s a “Minnesota kind of day” and everyone within earshot laughs knowingly because our climate borders on semi-arid.
This is the “hot earth, hot wind” time of year I wrote about in my poem titled, “A Passion for the Prairie.” Haying has begun in earnest and grains are taking on that famous amber color. Mother Nature may cut our summers short on the calendar but she rewards us with the bonus of 16 hours of sunshine every day and every North Dakotan takes full advantage of those daylight hours. It is the time we pine for when winter bears down hard on the high plains.
For now, there’s no resting until October and there will be no complaining.