‘Old Farmer’s Almanac’ Publication A Celebration Of Normalcy
Despite all the unplanned changes in life this year, one longstanding tradition continues: the publication of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The 2021 edition is the book’s 229th, and its editors and writers maintain an 80 percent accuracy rate for their weather forecasts, which continues to be a lead reason for the book’s popularity.
The “overall accuracy rates in forecasting the direction of the change in temperature compared with the actual previous winter season across the 18 regions of the United States was 72.2 percent, while our accuracy rate in forecasting the change in precipitation was 88.9 percent,” writers point out.
The overall accuracy rate, therefore, was 80.5 percent, slightly above that traditional average rate of 80 percent, they add.
Temperature forecasts were off in a few areas, they admit, but not in the Northeast. Overall, the actual winter temperatures across the almanac’s 18 regions of this country differed from predictions by 1.08 degrees F.
Precipitation predictions were also correct for this region.
So what’s coming up this year? Summer in Newtown will be either cool and wet or hot and dry. The Almanac’s weather map shows a line of cool, wet weather for the west-northwest section of the state, while hot and dry is shown for the east-southeast section. Newtown is right around the dividing line.
Generally, the 2021 Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a warmer-than-normal winter through the majority of the United States, with “uncommonly chilly temperatures limited mostly to the western states and Maine.”
Meanwhile, “wet” will be a wintertime constant, according to editors, with rains or average to below-average snowfall throughout most of the country. Significant above-average snowfall is being predicted for the Northeast, along with Wisconsin, parts of Michigan and Alaska, and the High Plains.
For this area specifically, the experts are thinking… that readers should pick up their own copy of the Almanac. We can’t give away those answers!
Regular readers know — and newcomers will quickly learn — that the center section of the Old Farmer’s Almanac is filled with everything needed to keep track of weather, moon phases, the length of day (sunrise to sunset), high tide times, and other weather phenomena.
A three-year-at-a-glance calendar is also included in this section, as is a list of holidays and observances.
Beyond The Weather
For those hoping to get ahead on upcoming trends, the world of migrating birds, the ups and downs of competitive stone skipping, small-space gardening, and other interesting reads — those topics are all covered in the opening pages of the 2021 edition.
Stacey Kusterbeck gets things started with a huge spread on 2021 trends, offering thoughts on everything from recycling, cooking, food, and gardening to pets and related technology, fashion, healthy habits, and even things that will make life easier for single people.
Kusterbeck even offers a few highlights from recent auctions, ahead of suggestions of “good bets to buy now.”
Kusterbeck partners with Karen Davidson on a feature called “Farming for Good.” The essays profile seven farms — four based in the United States, the other three in Canada — looking at what makes each one unique among their peers.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day in February, readers may be interested to learn that the lace details in early valentines can be traced to work done by 15th Century European nuns. That’s just one fact found in “Love Lessons From Old Valentines,” Lisa Hix’s story that also shares hints on “how to best woo your love — with paper or in person,” she writes (one hint: put some effort into it).
There’s also “When Predators Come Calling,” which covers what to expect and what to do in the backyard or barnyard when predators visit. Newtown residents continue to increasingly hear about — or even report — such sightings. Jan Dohner offers advice on contending with bears, coyotes, raccoons, weasels, and raptors.
This year’s Almanac includes stories on the meanings of gravestone symbols, and it shares the winners of the 2020 Essay Contest, which challenged people to respond to the question, “What worn-out possession is dearest to you, and why?”
Readers will also find the challenge question and entry information for the 2021 contest, as well as a few pages of “Maddening Mind-Manglers” (challenging riddles), “Anecdotes & Pleasantries” (a sampling from the letters, clipping, articles and e-mails sent to the Almanac during the past year), and other very light entertainment.
In her note to readers this year, Editor Janice Stillman proudly states that the Almanac is “the oldest continuously published periodical in North America.” According to recent demographics, 24.2 percent of the Almanac’s readers live in the Northeast, second only to readers in the South (25.5 percent of readers).
The 2021 Old Farmer’s Almanac is available in most locations where books are sold. Yankee Publishing, based in Dublin, N.H., encourages readers to buy from independent booksellers and brick-and-mortar retailers — including grocery, hardware, and home stores — whenever possible.
For those who like to shop online, however, the Almanac is right there with digital offerings. Visiting almanac.com/shop will offer a listing of local retailers, including amazon.com, to have a copy of the book sent out. Digital versions are also available through almanac.com.
Thank goodness for the familiar yellow-covered book and all the simple goodness it carries on its pages. If ever there was a moment to celebrate normalcy this year, the publication of The 2021 Old Farmer’s Almanac is it.