Peggy Sanders: Though everything changes, Farmers Almanac always a crowd pleaser
October 21, 2016
In 1932 "The Old Farmers 2017 Almanac" started punching a hole in the upper left corner to make it easy to hang on a nail. Who knew? This fact is in the latest almanac edition. Established in 1792, this year marks the 225th year of continuous publication, a record unmatched in North America.
To be fair, I Googled and the search brought this up, "Scientific American is the world's premier magazine of scientific discovery and technical innovation. Established in 1845, Scientific American is the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States."
Considering a difference of 52 years between the founding of the two magazines, if both have an uninterrupted schedule of publishing, it appears that the Almanac wins hands down.
Robert B. Thomas was the creator. The first copies were books made up of 48 pages and containing much of the same basic information that is in the current almanac. Thomas lived to the age of 80 years, having written and proofed his editions for fifty-four years, illustrating his dedication and passion.
“Considering a difference of 52 years between the founding of the two magazines, if both have an uninterrupted schedule of publishing, it appears that the Almanac wins hands down.”
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Naturally the almanac has evolved, with the most noticeable change shown in the amount of advertising in this edition, which had grown to 272 pages. The old standbys of weather prognostication for the coming year and a review of last year's weather are included, as are gardening calendars and hints, best fishing days and trends for 2017.
A fairly detailed account of the upcoming total eclipse of the sun, which will take place on Aug. 21, 2017, is given along with the route it will take from Oregon southeastward to South Carolina. An additional article is incorporated in this almanac issue to further explain the eclipse. Suffice it to say a two minute and 40 second event will be best seen from the middle section of the country. I know of one couple from New Jersey who have read the calculations and have already made their camping plans to be near Casper, Wyo., with a myriad of friends, to observe this rare phenomenon.
The trends section of the almanac is replete with extremely brief pieces—like "Tweets," really—that cover subjects such as health, science, culture and odds and ends like showcasing umbrellas that are designed to attach to your wrist so you can text while in the rain.
The monthly calendar sky watch charts which announces the daily sunrise and sunset times, the phases of the moon, length of day, are shown as Eastern Standard Time. For your convenience, you can go to Almanac.com, enter your zip code and for a small fee, download the pages that apply to your zip code. This precludes making you do the time zone calculations. As usual the stories under the headline, "The Farmer's Calendar" offer food for thought.
Short articles on history (beer), romance (internet dating), amusements (dog training), gardening (dry farming tomatoes), recipes (including pies) and nature (mangrove trees) and many additional stories in each section give this publication a decided modern edge.
The almanac is fun, historical and who knows, it may offer some insight into the coming year. ❖