- August: named after Augustus Caesar in 8 BC. Originally this month was called Sextilis (from sextus, “six”) because it was the 6th month of the 10-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC. Around 700 BC, it became the 8th month when January and February were added by King Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days. Julius Caesar added 2 days when he created the Julian calendar in 45 BC, which then gave it todays’ 31 days. In 8 BC, it was renamed from Sextilis to August in honor of Augustus because it was the time of several of his great triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.
- Flower: Gladiolus and Poppy / Gladiolus, or “sword lily”, represent calm, integrity, infatuation, and remembrance according to Almanac.com, and a red poppy signifies pleasure; a white one is given for consolation, and a yellow one wishes wealth and success. According to Teleflora: “Gladius” is Latin for Sword and while the sword-shaped stems may imply Roman gladiators, its romantic flowers are capable of piercing a heart with their beauty, which explains why “infatuation” is another of its meanings.
- Birthstone: Peridot / Discovered in the black sands of Hawaii and thought to be the tears shed by the volcano goddess: Pele. August’s birthstone continues to be used in connection with nature.
- Zodiac Signs: Leo Lion (July 23/Aug 22) / Virgo Virgin (Aug 23/Sept 22)
- Northern Hemisphere Full Moon Names: Green Corn Moon, Grain Moon
- Southern Hemisphere Full Moon Names: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
August Tasks and Tips
- National Mustard Day (August 1st): Although I do not live near the Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, I found some fun links on their website. Consider signing up for their free newsletter and if you are brave enough, submit a poem, stories, rumors, etc. They do not pay for your entry; however, they suggest that it is fun to see your name in print. I use mustard in deviled eggs, potato salad, and of course on sandwiches, on hot dogs or kielbasa. Click HERE for some surprising uses for mustard such as for a sore throat, remove smells from bottles, etc.
- National Farmers’ Market Week: August 2 – 8, 2015. The first National Farmers Market Week was held from August 7-13, 2011. To find farmers’ markets that are near where you live, check the USDA Farmers Market Director Search. This Local Food Directory is a great all-in-one directory that lets you choose between finding local Farmers Markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Food Hubs, and On-Farm locations
- National Watermelon Day (August 3rd). I found some info from Specialty Produce about a Personal Watermelon (smaller in size) which is a big hit with people who have small families or live by themselves.
- Try to combine “Back to School” sales with annual Sales Tax Holidays. It is unfortunate that many schools refuse to get on board with syncing their sales with going back to school. If your kids will be attending the same school for several more years, consider making some noise in the administrative office to ask them to provide the list at the end of the year rather than AFTER school starts the next year. If you cannot get that list, you still can use the sales for supplies that YOU will need for your own personal use.
- Make plans for Labor Day weekend, which is unofficially the end of summer. If you want to have a picnic in a local park, now is the time to make reservations. If you will be having a potluck, get the word out to those who will be invited. If you decide to have a picnic or the last camping trip of the season, why not incorporate National S’Mores Day? Although apparently the Campfire girls created this recipe in 1927, I love the press release that was issued by Hershey Chocolates in 2009 because the information in the press release is extensive and I love trivia.
- National Water Quality Month: clean water is critical to the well being of everything that is important to us because without clean water, there is [crickets]. Humans can only survive 3 days without water.
- Enjoy a Root Beer Float. I read that there is a “National Root Beer Float” day; however, I cannot find any official beginning of the day, nor even when or if, the US Government proclaimed a “National Root Beer Float” day. I suspect that it was initiated much like Check Offs were all started: by a company that created this special day in an attempt to sell more of their product. So, I searched with that in mind and found A & W Restaurants shows “National Root Beer Float” day on their website. As I was going through their website, I also noticed that A & W Restaurants supports the Wounded Warrior Project and that is was all I needed to convince me to attribute National Root Beer Float day to A & W Restaurants.
- Schedule doctor appointments for you and your family before school starts because the likelihood of your doctors having available appointments at times that work for you will be much better. Write all appointment dates and times in your planner.
- Once/quarter wipe the screen of your television(s) with a lightly moistened anti-static dryer sheet such as Bounce. This removes all of the dust and fingerprints to provide better viewing, and just keeps things looking nicer. The chemical used to make the dryer sheet anti-static also prevents dust from adhering to TV screens. NOTE: do NOT use dryer sheets on the screen of your laptop. That has a different coating and the dryer sheet will destroy that.
- If you have a chimney, now is the time to get it cleaned and prepped for the fall and winter. Many people do not think about getting their chimney cleaned until they need it, which is when it begins to get cold out – and everyone else also needs the chimney sweeps at that same time. Because work flow is low in the summer, prices will most likely be less, too.
- Dust and clean box fans, oscillating fans, ceiling fans, chandeliers, and light fixtures. This will take literally only a few minutes if you do this every month.
- Perseids Meteor Shower: Make plans for some quality family time by preparing to view the Perseids, which occurs every year between July 17 and August 24 with the peak being between August 9 and 13. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe because the potential for seeing shooting stars is increased by the fact that normally up to 60 meteors per hour can be seen. This year, there will even be perfect viewing conditions because the full moon from July 31st (2nd full moon in July: A BLUE MOON!) will be almost back to a new moon during August 9-13 (full moon will be August 29), which means a very dark sky! Hopefully the sky will be clear and not cloudy.
- To watch a meteor shower, get out of town and as far away as possible from city lights and the glow of city lights. Check the weather for when the full moon will be (bad for a full moon when you want a dark sky!) and if the sky will be clear or cloudy. Pack a picnic and lounge chairs or blankets and find an open field or park that will open up for the nights during meteor showers. Remember to bring your bug spray because if you are out in the open, you can bet there will be mosquitos!
- To keep things cool and in good working condition, change or wash your heating, ventilating, and air conditioner filters, clean refrigerator and freezer coils to keep them dust-free and in good working order. Be sure to maintain the appropriate distance between your walls and the coils.
- Autumn/winter prep: if you break tasks for the upcoming seasons into tiny “Mighty Minnies”, you will have most of the tasks done well in advance. Clear out the window tracks of dust and other particles while the weather is still warm and sunny.
- Plan to capitalize on when peaches are in season. Better yet, schedule a date for you and your family to attend a U-Pick farm and pick your own peaches and make a quality family event out of it, while everyone has fun picking peaches. Find a local U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own farm at one of these links. I have seen some websites state that August is “National Peach Month”; however, I cannot find any reference that details when it started
- While the super sales are active for school, consider items that you may need for your home office or den or supplies for the kids after school (homework) or even upcoming holidays to get ahead of everything. How cool would it be to take advantage of current sales!
- While the weather is still nice out and before fall and winter, conduct a series of tasks outside your home to keep things running smoothly. Do tasks such as checking your roof for leaks and potential deterioration, inspect for termites, clean out the gutters, wash your screens and put them away, check your patio and outdoor deck for any deterioration and repair, as needed, clean and re-stain your outdoor deck, power wash the outside of your home to prevent mold and mildew from setting in, if you need a new barbeque grille, now is the time to get one because at the end of summer, home improvement businesses will be reducing their inventory and putting on great sales (you can use the BBQ grille during the winter, too, as long as it is conveniently located), and check and seal any cracks in your driveway to prevent larger issues.
- Verify that your primary and secondary emergency contact information is current for work, school, and daycare, etc.
- Spend 5 minutes each day this month weeding out your filing cabinet, until it’s up to date. Finger through each file folder one by one, getting rid of any papers you no longer need.
- Spend an afternoon on your bookcases. Remove everything and clean/dust bookcases. Sort through the books as you return them to your bookcases and pull out those books you know you won’t read again. Either donate them to your local library or sell them to a used bookstore.
- Senior Citizens’ Day: Do One Thing for a senior citizen that is around you. Keep in mind that everything you have today is because of senior citizens. Not only that but if you have kids, chances are that you turn to a senior citizen to look after your kids. And although the thought used to be that senior citizens should be put out to pasture, today they are learning new skills with the anticipation of being able to live independently as long as possible. I would like to share a speech given at the Senior Citizen Organization.
- National Honey Bee Day (August 22nd): there are many, many uses for honey and nicely, honey is healthy! Usually when I like something, it is bad for my health. Not so with honey. I realize this link is for September; however, there are so many ways to use honey that I just had to give you a sneak peek! Additionally, medical research is beginning to document the health benefits of honey. One that I use myself is to mix cider vinegar with honey, Ceylon cinnamon, and water for arthritis. I have several friends who also use this. More health benefits, and yet still some more health benefits.
- More Honey Information: Because there are so many ways to use honey and so many health benefits, I decided to devote 2 days in August to learn more about honey. Honey is one of those superfoods we all hear about, what better time to learn more about it? It has been proven to be an excellent cough suppressant, even beating out chemical cough suppressants and antihistamines, in a laboratory, it has proved to hamper food-borne pathogens such as salmonella and some bacteria such as staphylococcus; however, it has not been proved in humans yet. It is great in homemade cough syrups and has zero chemicals, it aids in reducing arthritis pain and discomfort (I know that from personal experience! I also have a friend who uses cider vinegar, honey, and Ceylon cinnamon [versus what you get in a supermarket] in honey and he has significantly less arthritis pain). I do not need any more proof than what I feel myself and the few laboratory experiments to know that since it does not harm me; however, I know that it eases my arthritis discomfort and I LOVE the taste, why not use it?! The National Honey Board provides a huge amount of information such as where to find certain kinds of honey, natural benefits, how honey is made, and varieties of honey, and the Canadian Honey Council provides a plethora of interesting information such as a Bee Health Roundtable (a collaborative effort between Canada and the USA to improve bee health), bee facts, trivia, How to Make a Pound of Honey, Nutrition, and more.
- Spend some time sorting through closets (wardrobe and coats): Donate anything that no longer fits, pull out items that need repairs and items that can be tossed or need to be replaced. Get rid of damaged clothing that is beyond repair. Pull out items to be dry cleaned in one pile. Have a pad & pen on hand while you’re doing this to jot down any clothing you have to pick up such as a blue shirt to go with those beige slacks, or more socks. While you’re at it, check to be sure all hangers are in good repair.
- Get your laundry center cleaned up. Catch up on your laundry. Clean off the top and sides of your washer and dryer. Organize your detergents (hang shelves if needed). Get a laundry sorter if you don’t already have one, so clothes can be pre-sorted. This may encourage you to wash more often. Keep laundry under control.
- Take a personal day off from work and have a “ME DAY”. Spend the day just for you. What would YOU like to do? You are worth taking a day of vacation from work. It will recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your outlook on life. Go to the beach or a local pool (remember the sunscreen). Go to the spa or just do anything that YOU would like to do. It is amazing what one day will do for you. Find some relaxation techniques to try. Best of all, if you can find relaxation techniques that work and are drug-free it is a win/win situation. Here are 10 techniques from WebMD. Go ahead – you are worth it!
- If you didn’t do it in the spring, schedule a cleaning and service for your furnace before the heating season begins. It’s also a good time to go ahead and schedule the winterization of your air conditioning unit.
- Take a penny, leave a penny.
- Clean out the traps that look like a small screen, in the end of faucets annually. Clogged faucets will reduce water pressure. Flow of water is often impaired by mineral deposits. Unscrew the end of the faucet with pliers, remove the trap from the tip and flush it out the debris and replace the trap.
- Store garden tools on hooks (like a cup rack) attached to a fence or wall of your garage; or put “S” clips in pegboard that has been mounted to the wall.
- Set aside one day during the last week of each month to review the upcoming month’s planner or schedule so that you will be sure to schedule those that will be due early in the month. If you do this on a regular basis, you will spend less than one minute completing this task.