July is the month when summer has a firm hold on all of us. The average temperature just about everywhere in the country is above 70°F, and thunderstorms are nearly as abundant as ants at a picnic.
The farmers grind and whet their scythes,
While hay-stacks in the meadows rise:
Green fields and shady groves appear,
And rip’ning harvest crowns the year.
–The 1793 [Old] Farmer’s Almanac
July received its name in order to honor the Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.–44 B.C.). With the help of Sosigenes, Caesar developed the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use today.
July 1 is Canada Day, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. The Dominion of Canada was a union of the three separate Canadian colonies of the time—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Canada (which included Quebec and Ontario). Canada remained a part of the British Empire until 1982.
On July 3, the hot and sultry Dog Days of Summer begin! Read all about the Dog Days of Summer.
July 14 is Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the start of the French Revolution.
Did You Know? John Adams believed that July 2 would be the day when Americans would celebrate their independence. On July 3, 1776, he wrote to his wife, Abigail: The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.
July’s zodiac signs are Cancer (June 21 to July 22) and Leo (July 23 to August 22). Find out your zodiac sign profile.
Recipes for the Season
Enjoy some delicious summertime recipes:
Visit our Fourth of July recipe page for a list of festive food ideas!
Visit the garden-fresh Summer Recipes collection for great meal ideas using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Now all hands to haying; begin by mowing the ripest and thinnest first.
Look to your gardens; see that you destroy all kinds of weeds before they go to seed.
In July, summer bugs are at their best (or worst, as the case may be). Get help on our pests and problems page.
Are your crops starting to take over your kitchen? Check out some of our storage tips for fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Warm weather allows us to get outside and complete some annual household duties.
Do you have some painting to do? Learn how to choose and use the right paintbrush for the job.
Many folks sell their house in the summer. Check out our tips on a speedy house sale.
On July 6, Earth is at aphelion, the point in its orbit at which it is farthest from the Sun. The distance between the two orbs will be 94,507,885 miles.
Look up! Summer is a great time for stargazing. See our Sky Watch highlights to know what you’re seeing above.
Folklore for the Season
- Ne’er trust a July sky.
- If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.
- As July, so next January.
No tempest, good July,
Lest the corn look ruely.
Whatever July and August do not boil,
September can not fry.
July Birth Flower
July’s birth flowers are the larkspur and water lily.
The larkspur, especially white forms, generally indicates lightheartedness; pink, fickleness; purple, first love.
The water lily symbolizes purity of heart. Find out more about July’s birth flowers.
The July birthstone is the ruby, which is believed to protect its wearer from evil.
- “Ruby” is derived from the Latin rubeus, which means “red.”
- This gem is a red form of corundum; all other colors are sapphires. The ruby’s color is due to the presence of chromium, which also makes the gem subject to cracks. High-quality rubies are a transparent, vibrant, purplish red; cloudier samples, or ones containing brown, orange, or pink tones, are less valuable. Many rubies nowadays are heat-treated to improve color saturation and transparency.
- The ruby, along with the related sapphire, are the second hardest natural gemstones, with only the diamond being harder.
- The gem was once thought to protect warriors if worn on their armor or embedded in their skin.
- Considered the king of gems, the ruby symbolizes love, passion, energy, and success.
This Month in History
WE DO DECLARE!
On April 19, 1775, during the Battles of Lexington and Concord (Mass.), the first shots were fired between colonists and British troops, starting the American Revolution. After these first military conflicts, tension between Britain and her American colonists continued to mount. Finally, on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for independence from Britain.
Two days later, on July 4, the Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, which had been written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. On July 8, the first public reading of the Declaration took place at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Later that same day, other readings occurred in Trenton, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania.
Printer John Dunlap made about 200 copies of the Declaration dated July 4. Known as the (continued on next page) “Dunlap Broadsides,” these were distributed throughout the 13 colonies. However, it wasn’t until August 2 that the Declaration was officially signed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, was the first of 56 delegates who signed this enlarged version, writing in big, bold letters.