Sunday, June 2, 2019

Through All The Varying Year: June

June has been the 6th month of the year, since Numa reformed the Roman Calendar, but the reason of its name is uncertain. Our Saxon forefathers called it Weyd=Monat, or Meadow Month, and afterwards Sere-Monat, or dry month, it being the least variable month in the year. On the 21st is the Summer Solstice, when the sun appears to stand still. It is the longest day of the year with 16 hours, 34 minutes and 5 seconds between sunrise and sunset. The 5th is called St. Boniface Day, in memory of the “Apostle of the Germans,” a native of Devonshire, who went to preach the Gospel in Friesland and was appointed primate of Germany. He suffered martyrdom in 755 AA. D. The 11th of the Month is dedicated to St. Barnabus, “a son of consolation” and the companion of St. Paul, who was stoned to death in 73 A. D. The 15th is the day on which the Nile begins to rise. Mid-summer day, the 24th, is dedicated to John the Baptist. The 29th is dedicated to St. Peter, who was crucified under Nero, A. D. 65, on the same day on which St. Paul was beheaded.

June is a busy and joyous month in the country. Sheep shearing takes place if the weather is fine, grass and corn are in full flower, and haymaking begins in the end of June if possible, before the seeds of the grass are fully ripe. Towards the end of the month the birds are too much occupied in rearing their young to have leisure for singing. The cuckoo changes his note, and then ceases to repeat his call - hardly a note being heard in the woods, but a short song, evening and morning, from the lark and blackbird. Swallows may be seen daring about in search of insects for their young, and barn owls pounce upon the mice for the same purpose, grasshoppers, beetles, and flies become numerous and the anglers May-fly may be seen, over ponds and streams, any fine evening from the 6th to the 20th of June. The nests of wasps are at times plundered by anglers, who find their large to be excellent bait for fish. There is not much to do in gardens, where plants are mostly coming to maturity, beyond weeding and watering, training climbing plants and blossoms. Strawberries are ripe, gooseberries and currants are ripening, and new potatoes are brought to table.

- M Jeaffreson
 from Through All the Varying Year: A Calendar of Nature

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