In Praise of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

For centuries, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been providing farmers and ranchers with the most accurate forecast of weather in North America. Nowadays, a farmer can know what kind of crops they will be able to grow before planting by using satellite imagery on their smartphone.

The “the old farmer’s almanac 2021 pdf” is a fascinating book that has been around for over 200 years. The book includes useful information on weather, planting times, and much more.

Gus, my 10-year-old son, purchased a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac with his allowance when supermarket shopping a few months ago.

The child has read it practically every night since then. His copy has become ragged and frayed.

He’s also been reading it with his grandfather at his grandparents’ place. Gus and Jaju have been enjoying their Old Farmer’s Almanac sessions, according to Jaju. He told me, “It’s such a delightful magazine to read.”

I’ll steal it from Gus’ room and read it on the porcelain throne while he’s not reading it. Excellent reading material for the restroom.

What is it about this magazine/reference book, which has been published since George Washington was president — making it America’s longest continually published periodical — that appeals to my Generation Alpha son, who plays Fortnite and watches YouTube? His Millennial father and Baby Boomer grandpa, too?

I dug deep into The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s history and contents to find out why it has such lasting, intergenerational appeal. Here’s what I discovered.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s History

Robert B. Thomas developed the Old Farmer’s Almanac in 1792. The Farmer’s Almanack was the name of the magazine when it first came out. The “k” at the end of “Almanack” would be eliminated, and the “Old” bit would be added later, as we’ll see.

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Almanacs – yearly produced reference books loaded with calendar-based information including weather predictions, agricultural planting dates, and maritime tide tables — were significant business in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were the most frequently read literary genre in America, second only to the Bible. Back in 2010, having an almanac was akin to having a blog; it seemed like everyone and their mother had one. Of course, the most renowned almanac maker was old Ben Franklin, who published Poor Richard’s Almanack under a pseudonym.

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The Farmer’s Almanac got to the head of the pack despite severe competition from other almanacs for readership. What was Thomas’s key to success? Making his almanac “useful, with a pleasing degree of humor” was most likely his driving idea. Aside from the usual almanac material such as sunrise/sunset timings and weather forecasts, Thomas’s edition included articles with useful agricultural information and light-hearted short tales.

In 1832, Thomas added “Old” to the title of his almanac to emphasize how it had outlasted many competitors over the course of its forty-year existence, and to set it apart from those competitors who had remained. Farmers’ Almanac is, in reality, America’s second-oldest continually operating almanac. It’s often available for purchase on a magazine rack adjacent to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

After the death of Robert B. Thomas in 1848, Henry Jenkins took over as editor-in-chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Jenkins created the iconic “four seasons” cover design, which is still featured on the periodical’s cover today.

Several editors presided over the remainder of the nineteenth century. Robert Ware took over in 1900 and extended the appeal of the almanac by include more general interest articles and less articles on agricultural science.

 

The publication rights of The Old Farmer’s Almanac were purchased by Robb Sagendorph, the creator of Yankee magazine, in 1939. The magazine’s offices were relocated to Dublin, New Hampshire, where they have remained since.

What Is It About The Old Farmer’s Almanac That Is So Appealing?

Gus believes the solution to this question is “simple.” “It’s the weather forecasts,” says the narrator.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac experimented with not releasing their famed long-term weather predictions one year, 1938, and the consequence was a reader outcry. Most people, like Gus, purchase the magazine for this feature, both then and today.

There’s something mystical about turning the pages of a book that forecasts the weather a year ahead of time. I used to check the newest issue of The Old Farmer’s Almanac to see whether Oklahoma would have a white Christmas when I was a youngster. In most cases, the answer was no. As an almost 40-year-old guy, I still do it.

Since the first edition in 1792, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has been providing long-term weather predictions. Robert B. Thomas, according to Old Farmer’s Almanac legend, devised a top-secret formula for forecasting the weather based on the study of astronomical cycles, solar activity, and climatological trends. The original recipe is said to be kept in a black box at Old Farmer’s headquarters. It’s still in use today, along with the newest meteorological, sunspot, and climate research findings.

The forecasts are for 16 weather areas in the United States, and they concentrate on temperature and precipitation. We reside in the Texas-Oklahoma weather area (region 11).

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, their forecasts are on average 80% correct. Every new year, they conduct an audit on themselves to evaluate how accurate their forecasts were the prior year. For example, their audit of their 2021 forecasts showed a 72.2 percent accuracy for precipitation and a 77.8% accuracy for temperature in the 2022 edition.

The weather forecasts provided by The Old Farmer’s Almanac were found to be slightly more than 50% accurate, which is approximately the same as Punxsutawney Phil forecasting whether we’ll have six more weeks of winter or not.

People don’t seem to care about how accurate the forecasts are. They like reading them because they are entertaining.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac team gives me the idea that they take their job of forecasting the weather seriously, but not too seriously. With a touch of folksy, New England dry humour, the forecasts are made. I believe they really strive for the best accuracy rate possible by analyzing history patterns as well as the most up-to-date science of sunspots and climatology, but they also recognize the folly of attempting to forecast weather months in advance. “Neither we nor anyone else has as yet obtained sufficient insight into the secrets of the world to forecast weather with anything approximating absolute precision,” the editors wrote in their bicentennial edition.

But, yes. It’s entertaining. The weather forecasts are without a doubt what has kept this journal afloat for nearly two centuries.

 

Why Is There a Hole in the Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Left-Hand Corner?

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You may notice a hole in the left-hand corner of your copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

What is the reason behind this?

Early readers, according to legend, found The Old Farmer’s Almanac so helpful that they began punching holes in the corners of their copies, putting a thread through the hole, and hanging their copies wherever convenient, such as the kitchen, workshop, or outhouse.

For readers, the Old Farmer’s Almanac began pre-drilling the hole in the magazine. It is still done today. So you may hang your almanac next to your toilet in that opening.

Fun fact: In the 1990s, the editors considered deleting the hole from the magazine since the expense of include that phase in the printing process was $40,000 per year. However, when they polled readers on their thoughts on the matter, they found that the majority of people preferred to maintain the hole.

Interesting Oddities

While the weather forecasts are the main attraction, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is more than just a one-trick pony. It also provides a wealth of helpful information, such as the times of dawn and sunset throughout the year, frost and growth seasons, and the ideal days for fishing and planting depending on the moon’s phases. You may also find out when the planets will be visible in the sky, as well as when solar and lunar eclipses will occur.

You might search up this information online, but flipping through paper tables of such facts and numbers is considerably more enjoyable. (There is a website for TOFA, but who wants to read an almanac online?)

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also provides astrology-based recommendations for the best days to conduct different things; like its weather forecasts, you don’t have to take these recommendations too literally to enjoy them.

For example, if you want to have your teeth cleaned in 2022, the almanac recommends scheduling an appointment on October 20-22, November 17-18, and December 14-16. So, if you want to prevent unsatisfactory dental visits, you’ve been forewarned.

The journal also recommends the optimum days to clean windows, trim your hair to promote growth, seek for a loan, wean animals, and install fence posts. You’re aware. This is the vital information.

You could spend hours going through all of The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s useful and intriguing information.

Articles that are nutritious

General interest articles on a broad range of subjects may be found throughout the almanac. Of course, you’ll discover articles with advice on how to cultivate better flowers and pumpkins. However, there are also culinary recipes and interesting facts, such as a piece on “Sergeant Stubby,” a dog that served as the mascot for the 102nd Infantry Regiment during WWI. Stubby fought in 17 engagements, received bravery medals, met three US presidents, and was the only canine to be promoted to sergeant through combat. If it hadn’t been for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, I would have never heard about this remarkable and unique canine.

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is refreshingly and wholesomely apolitical in a media landscape when everything appears to be colored with passionate politics.

Do you need the services of a Spiritualist? You’re covered by the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, like other periodicals, contains advertisements. You’ll discover advertising for farm storage, wood heaters, deer repellents, and other items you’d expect to see in such a journal.

The classified advertisements at the rear, on the other hand, are my favorites. They’re mostly advertisements for astrologers and spiritualists. I know I can look up Jada Taylor — psychic empath Wicca master — in The Old Farmer’s Almanac if I ever need to remove a hex or reconcile with a lost lover.

Yes, this is quackery, but there’s something adorable about the idea that folk magic is still alive and well in jaded America in the twenty-first century.

I’m pleased Gus picked up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s pleasant to have about the home and skim through, and it’s good to keep up with an ancient American custom.

Do yourself a favor and read this. Pick up a copy the next time you’re at the grocery store. Keep it by the toilet, on a wall hook, for months of daily-constitutional-accompanying pleasure after you check whether your state will have a snowy Christmas.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is still going strong!

 

 

“The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is a yearly publication that has been around for over 200 years. The book is very popular among gardeners and farmers. The almanac provides information on weather, gardening, farming, and more. Reference: gardeners almanac.

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