The Old Farmer’s 2015 Almanac is on the stands.
It is the quintessential advice magazine, dispensing information between its covers on subjects as diverse as animal husbandry to romance. Founded in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has been the go-to tome for these past 200-plus years, not only for farmers young and old, but for the confounded consumer, as well.
Despite its advancing years, though, this magazine has kept in step with the times. If thumbing through the 260 pages of the paperback edition seems too old-fashioned, the same practical advice can be found at www.almanac.com. Follow the Old Farmer’s Almanac on Facebook, pin to it on www.Pinterest.com/Almanac or follow it on Twitter.
Within the first few pages of this year’s edition, readers will find trends for 2015. Did you know that urban farmers are renting lawn space to grow crops? How about a hamburger made from laboratory-grown meat? Swapping seeds and building root cellars is a throwback to the early 20th Century, but trending now. Think about this: there may soon be capsules placed in the body to take and transmit pictures to medical practitioners. It is all there, and more, in the Almanac’s trend predictions.
Home gardeners love the gardening tips that are passed on in the Almanac. Weeds and bugs? Maybe not so bad as the rap they get. The 2015 Almanac points out the pros, rather than the cons of them, in an article by Kris Wetherbee. Pick up pointers on planting and growing some of the favorite vegetables and flowers, and then turn the pages to find out how to use those homegrown goodies in new recipes. Old favorites like Mac and Cheese are updated, and soon-to-be new favorites, like the Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers and Spice Carrot Biscuits with Salted Caramel Butter, are perfect for the upcoming cooler days.
Recipes for beauty also make use of garden and pantry items. Red grapes and sugar can be combined for a natural cuticle massage cream. Harvest from your garden and lawn to turn burdock root, calendula, chamomile, lavender, rosemary — and a dash of vinegar — into a fragrant herbal hair conditioner.
It all leads to one of the biggest reasons people turn to the Old Farmer’s Almanac: weather predictions. Seventy pages focus on weather reports, forecasts, solar and lunar eclipses, planets and stars, astronomy, the tides, and other atmospheric events. For readers unfamiliar with astronomical or weather terms, those can be found within the pages, as well.
According to a press release issued by the Old Farmer’s 2015 Almanac, the magazine is traditionally 80 percent right on with its weather forecasts. In which case, those living in the Northeast might want to start knitting those hats and mittens right now, and waxing the cross-country skis. “The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts that this winter will be another arctic blast with above-normal snowfall throughout much of the nation,” states the press release. (New Englanders could get a break, with somewhat lower snowfall predicted for this region.) Not just the winter of 2014-2015 will be extreme. Look out for summer 2015 cautions the Almanac, with above normal temperatures nearly everywhere and not a lot of rainfall.
The weather predictions are based on founder Robert B. Thomas’s “secret formula.” Mr Thomas adhered to the idea that weather is influenced by the magnetic storms on the Sun, known as “sunspots.” Refined by modern science and techniques, the Almanac now predicts weather “by comparing solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity,” according to the “How We Predict the Weather” introduction in the Almanac. “Our forecasts emphasize temperature and precipitation deviations from averages or normals. These are based on 30-year statistical averages prepared by government meteorological agencies, and updated every 10 years.”
If in doubt, rest assured that last year’s winter prediction of below normal temperatures and great snowfall was only incorrect in that it was even colder and snowier than forecast.
The Calendar pages are a glimpse into “nature’s precision, rhythm, and glory,” with an astronomical look at the months, according to the Almanac’s guide on how to use those pages.
The best days to plant above and below ground crops; the best fishing days; and gestation tables for animals large and small. Read one article or read twenty. Read it now or while hunkered down in front of the fireplace this winter.
This is not a magazine to read through once and toss onto the recycle pile. The Old Farmer’s 2015 Almanac, like its predecessors, is as much a reference book as it is a magazine, and deserving of a place on the bookshelf — or saved to the Favorites on the Internet browser.