Sage Hill Farms and Vintage Store

August-the Beginning of the End of Summer~

Dog Days…

In ancient times, when the night sky was un-obscured 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. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January. 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.

The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the “precession of the equinoxes” (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome. Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. No, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

Animals, like humans, need good nutrition, holistic treatment of illness and regular grooming and cleaning of their body and living space.

Remember: Cats and dogs lick their coats, don't apply flea and tick medications that are harmful to them. Even if they don't ingest it through licking their coats it will be absorbed through their skin...just like humans.Some good herbs to stuff their bedding and toys with are: Cedar, bay, eucalyptus, lavender and other strong smelling herbs. Like their human companions -animals need whole foods, herbal supplements and a loving/peaceful environment to be happy and healthy.

Domestication keeps our pets from instinctively seeking the botanical diversity their bodies need. This can easily be done with the right herbal supplements.

Some of the herbs that are safe and good for our pets health:
Alfalfa-joint inflammation
Golden seal-immune functioning and infection fighting
Valerian, oat flower and Passionflower-calming
Tea Tree oil, comfrey and Rose geranium-wound healing

And ...wonderful catnip for energy and fun.

Ask your animal's doctor about this method of treatment and maintenance for your pets. They will love you even more than they already do for the extra consideration.

Bright, Bold, Beautiful…Sunflowers~

From sacred religious emblem to icon of artist, the sunflower has had a rich and varied history.

An American native, this beautiful flower once covered thousands of miles of prairie; its remains have been unearthed in archaeological sites more than 5,000 years old.

The Incas favored the flower and considered the heads, which turn throughout the day to follow the the light, a symbol of the sun god.

The sunflower was one of the first American plants to be exported to Europe, where it caught the attention of many artist...but was made famous by Vincent van Gogh.

Today, besides a sought after food crop, the regal sunflower is a must in the late-summer garden. They will bloom continually from August til frost, reds, gold, and orange heads of this cheery annual presage the vibrant autumn colors yet to come.

Sunflower oil and the seed are valued commodities.

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Sage Hill Gardens

Autumn is lurking in the wings....enjoy and grow some sunflowers~