The blog Got Medieval -- which often has very interesting tidbits about one medieval subject or another, posted a very interesting blog yesterday. It's called Welcome to July. The blog informs us that in July, peasants usually had to bind the ripened grain they grew into sheaves. In July. Now I don't doubt that medieval peasants did a lot of "scything and sheaving" in July. The grain had to be laid out to dry so it could be stacked and then made into sheaves. Usually, the weather was warm enough and dry enough so that this could be done relatively easily, barring the odd rainy day or so. If that happened, the grain might rot and people might end up hallucinating all sorts of things, due to ergot poisoning(yes, this happened). The other thing that is important to understand about medieval agricultural economy is that June and July were months of relative "scarcity", though in the earlier medieval period, especially from about 900-1300 AD/CE -- In the so-called "Medieval Warm Period", this wasn't too severe a problem anywhere. Medieval people had other problems at the time, but I won't go into those at the moment. IN any case, or at least in some cases, the way the months were named in various places, tended to reflect either the kind of activity that was going on at the time, or the weather and climatic conditions. In some places, the months were not named January, February, March, etc., but something else.
Here is a list of "modernized" Old English months. From the descriptions, the reader can see what people in England, at least, did at any given time of the year
January -- Wolf Month(guess why?) I've seen paintings of Romanian villages surrounded by wolves in winter, so it's not just the medieval English that worried about such things
February -- Kale Month Kale is a very hardy dark green vegetable. A lot of "foodies" eat kale today, in January and February, when few other green vegetables will grow, even in a relatively "mild" climate like the Pacific Northwest. It's supposed to be rich in all kinds of things that are "good for you".
March -- Lent Month, and that's where English-speakers get the liturgical season of Lent, since the days are beginning to lengthen.
April -- Easter Month(and I'll leave to your imagination what liturgical season that has morphed into in the English-speaking world). There's more to it than that, but again, I won't go into it at this moment.
May -- Mead Month, probably because flowers really started blooming and bees started producing honey, an important ingredient in the alcoholic drink, mead,which was probably an important source of income for at least some people
June -- Hay Month. This is when the "scything" or "haying" of grain began, and the weather was probably (mostly) good enough to lay it out for later stacking into sheaves.
July -- Summer Month. Well, that's pretty obvious. July is a summer month. And that's when the "sheaving of grain is in full swing, according to Got Medieval.
August -- "Ern" Month. I'm not sure what this means, but it was a busy month for medieval peasants, because the grain harvest was probably going on in full swing.
September -- Harvest Month. Again, this is pretty obvious. This is when agricultural produce was harvested in earnest, and the agricultural season could be assessed as to its relative success. Other produce was probably also harvested, and preparations made for the coming winter and leaner spring season. This was also the season of "harvest festivals". In modern times,it tends to also be the season of things like county and regional fairs.
October -- Wine Month. If the modern reader thinks this Old English name for the month is peculiar, think again of the Medieval Warm Period. In England, wine grapes were grown as far north as the property of Ely Abbey. Once it cooled off(the Little Ice Age), neither Ely Abbey, nor any other place in England, could grow wine grapes. Now, I'm told, people are growing wine grapes in parts of England today. Thank you, global warming(I guess)!
November -- Wind Month. That's pretty obvious, too. At least from a "Pacific Northwest" point of view. It can get pretty blastingly windy in November and December, and we've had some rather awful storms in that month, coming out of the Bering Sea. Of course blastingly windy winter weather didn't come from the Bering Straits to England, then or now, but winter winds did, and awful wind and rain storms were noted in certain years, by monastic chroniclers.
December -- Midwinter Month. Again, pretty obvious. December is the month winter begins, according to various calendars. Again, interestingly,in modern times, meteorologists calculate a "meteorological winter" from December 1st. Which makes sense for much of the US, and probably much of Europe, as well. Although I did read, some years back, in a book called -- get this -- Weather for Dummies -- that the Pacific Northwest has neither winter,nor summer, according to meteorological calculations. There's no "winter", in most of Texas, either. But summer starts on or about April 15. I know this is true, because I lived it. That, at least, was one problem people in medieval England didn't have to cope with!