Appalachia Folklore Weather

Dog Days And Weather Signs

Today’s guest post was written by Susie Swanson.

My life in appalachia Fogs In August

A foggy August morning in Brasstown

Dog Days And Weather Signs written by Susie Swanson

The forty dog days of summer begins in the United States on July 3rd and end August 11th according to history and The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They’re so often said to be the hot, sultry days of summer, July and August being the two hottest months of the year.

The older generation had a lot of sayings about Dog Days. One being, “it’s dog days and snakes are blind, ye better be careful cause they’ll strike at anything that moves.” We surely did listen to that one cause we were reminded enough, especially while playing outside after dark or catching lightning bugs.

Another one is getting Dew Poisoning which means if you get a cut on your finger or hand and get the morning dew in it the cut will never heal. My daddy got dew poisoning one summer. He’d cut his finger with his pocket knife and was picking beans one morning and got dew in it and he went around all summer with his finger bandaged up and it finally healed come Fall. Mama told him, “ye know what done that and ye should have bandaged it up before ye hit the dew.”

I heard daddy and mama say it was hard for a cut or any open wound to heal during dog days many times. This pertains to anything even getting one’s ears pierced. I got mine pierced in the summer months after I got up the nerve to have it done. Mama told me, “ye shouldn’t have done that. They’ll never heal.” I can honestly say she was right about that. I had one to get infected and I thought it was going to rot off. If it hadn’t been for lots of peroxide and alcohol and babying, I would have given up and let them grow up. I still have to baby my ears and bathe them in alcohol quite often. I very seldom take my ear rings out except to change them.

There were a lot of weather sayings as well and I don’t know if any of them pertains to dog days but thought I’d add a few.

Here’s one,
If you’re hoping for a nice, dry day check for dew on the ground.

When the dew is on the grass
Rain will never come to pass
When grass is dry at morning light
Look for rain before the night

There’s also one that helps to tell what the weather is going to be pertaining to cattle and horses, which means if you see a cow or horse take notice of which way the wind is blowing their tails. Cows and horses prefer not to have the wind blowing in their faces so they usually stand with their backs to the wind.

Tails pointing west
Weather’s at it’s best
Tails pointing east
Weather is least

Summer fog means fair weather is on its way and you can look for a sunny day.

Summer fog for fair
A winter fog for rain
A fact most everywhere
In valley or on plain

And the one I like the most is,

If the rooster crows at going to bed
You may rise with a watery head

I just don’t know about this one but my mama sure hated to hear one crow at bedtime. She’d throw a rock at it every time just to get it to stop. She claimed it meant bad luck.

Just a little folk lore and I hope you enjoyed. I’ll try to post more on my blog later as they come to me.

Thought I’d add a little poem for some humor as well, concerning the fogs in August because of the most heard one of all. “For every fog in August there will be a snow come winter.” This one is kinda worrying me this August cause we’ve had fog just about every morning so far.

I counted forty, foggy mornings in August
an old lady once said
I wondered how can this be
as I scratched my head

Thirty one days in August
is all I’ve ever known
unless the calendar has changed
and the months have grown

I worked so very hard
to try and figure it all in
But the forty, foggy mornings
I didn’t know where to begin

And then I thought to myself
and I came up with a good try
When summer’s heat lingers on
there’s forty, hot days in July

In January’s snowy weather
there’s at least forty flakes
that lies on the ground
forty days for goodness sakes

How can I forget March
with so many windy days
The wind probably blows forty
I just don’t count the days

No, that can’t be right
I thought to myself
When thirty one days are gone
in a month, there’s none left

So I’ll just keep on waiting
August has just come in
If there’s forty, foggy mornings
Will winter ever end??

© Susie Swanson, 2016


I hope you enjoyed Susie’s guest post. She lives across the mountain from me. Susie’s post reminded me I wrote about Dew Poisoning a few years ago.

Susie is a dear friend and our family friendship goes back several generations. Jump over to her great blog Country Side Poet and look around, I know you’ll be glad you did.


p.s. If you’ve been reading the Blind Pig for a while, you know I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that those forty snows show up this winter.

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  • Reply
    September 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Red Sky in the morning, Sailors take warning. Red Sky at night, Sailors delight. This is just one of the many, many saying my Pa said. He’s been gone for 20 years now, but I think of him every day.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Foggy evenings across the fields and low spots on the country roads in central Virginia…I love driving through it and seeing the moon shine above.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I can testify to the dew poisoning, I cut my foot one summer and got dew in it and it made the cut even worse, didn’t think it was gonna heal before school started back.. And Mama told me not to go out side unless I had it covered up, and I didn’t listen..

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    August 18, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    The heat of summer is not for me, but I don’t like shoveling snow either. My favorite times of the year are Spring and Fall, I think Fall most of all because of all the cozy clothes and comfort foods that come with it.
    I pray everyone’s having a great week, and a safe one too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I subscribe to the Old Farmers Almanac and during these dog days have been flooded with winter weather predictions, poems and folklore sayins’ about dog days. Some I remembered, some refreshed by Susie’s post today.
    We have had 17 straight days of above 90 degree temperatures, until it dropped to 89 one day this week. I just can’t breathe in this sultry, humid heat anymore. The sun on the skin reminds me of being a kid and holding a magnifying glass on your arm and the little spot intensely burning before moving the glass, losing the dare you by another kid. This was one of those “1950’s” dare things when we were bored, also burning holes in school notebook paper and laying in the grass and seeing how long it would take the sun to heat and smoke the dry grass through the glass! Maybe kids don’t test the heat with a magnifying glass to day. Ha
    We had a storm today and after it cleared and the much needed rain dripped from the trees, I heard a very lonely happy tree frog giving his thanks for the rain. It was so dry this summer that the tree frogs did not do any late evening singing.
    I counted one very heavy fog as we were leaving town around the 2nd of August and very light fogs the other mornings. Some scattered fogs so I expect only a skiff of snow for those. I have to admit I gave up on counting the end of last week and this week. I assumed other than around a water source that all the fogs dried up.
    I have yet to see s “wooly bear” and the “husks on the local corn” has been slight! Haven’t seen a hornets nest low or high and the yellow jackets must be hiding out somewhere. So those critters are not doing any predicting of winter weather here as of yet. Last year we heard “Katy-dids” in late August. Only the noisy “jar flies” are hanging in there. I think if I could capture enough of them they might create a breeze with all that wing movement! ha
    Great Post,
    Thanks Tipper,
    and Susie

  • Reply
    harry adams
    August 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    How appropriate to write about foggy mornings. It was so foggy this morning that someone missed the road and hit an electric pole near our driveway.
    The weatherman says our dog days are over next week and I will be so glad to see cooler weather.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    August 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Many thanks goes to you Tipper for posting this and I’m so glad everyone enjoys it. I could have probably added several more but figured it’d make it to long. I love all of your posts Tipper and can’t thank you enough for keeping our Appalachian Heritage and Roots alive. I’ve always said if we don’t try to keep it alive it will be gone as the old ways are fading fast. Kudos to you for all you do. Many thanks to everyone else for reading and visiting my blog. It means the world to me and I’m humbled by it. God Bless!!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 9:54 am

    I’m looking forward to the Snows of Winter too. I enjoyed reading all the folklore Susie wrote about. She’s a nice writer and very knowledgeable about Appalachian Culture. Every day, I look forward to seeing and reading all the comments.
    Time to can some tomatoes. …Ken

  • Reply
    Rhonda Wakeland Triplet
    August 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

    My mom always said if rain or snow came from the east,it was going to be a bad one, and in the spring the water has to freeze over the frogs heads 3 times then it would be spring, she was 93 when she died 3 yrs. ago and these hold true most of the time

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    August 18, 2016 at 9:05 am

    One i rarely hear anymore which shows Appalachian humor.
    Someone will ask how did that homely man catch such a pretty woman.Someone else will answer,he caught her in dog days when she was blind.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 18, 2016 at 9:01 am

    No Tipper, not 40! Wouldn’t a couple be enough!
    When I was little and got a bad cut on the bottom of my foot my Grannie wouldn’t let me out till the dew was gone, said I’d get Dew Poisoning.
    Enjoyed the post. Reminds me of the many tales I used to hear and wonder if they could possibly be true. Most of them sounded like nonsense to my child’s ears.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 18, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Tipper–I really enjoyed Susie’s post, and especially the rhyming pieces of weather folklore. As she likely knows, Dog Days are connected with the visibility of Sirius, the Dog Star, when it’s at its brightest. Folks in Europe were aware of Dog Days long before the first migrants came to North America.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 18, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I love weather lore. And it is so often true, especially with the animals

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 18, 2016 at 8:29 am

    16 out of 18 foggy August mornings here on White Oak- Yikes!!!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Ahh folklore with a lot of truth. Thanks Susie. I have heard this over and over again. I have always cautioned family to avoid Dog Day surgeries Also clothes and food sours easily–have to make sure dryer dries well.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    August 18, 2016 at 8:01 am

    This summer, we had hot dry dog days. Our temps were up int he 90’s which is very hot for Vermont. We had no rain until the first week of Aug. Then we got 2 inches in 23 hours. This week the weather has cooled down . We are all thankful for it. I had read that dogs days end with the full moon in August. Dont know how much truth there is to it. Barbara

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