The Farmer’s Almanac

 

You probably don’t realize it but the Old Farmer’s Almanac goes on sale today, each 2nd Tuesday of September.

This is the oldest continuously published periodical in the U. S. It was first published in 1792 during George Washington’s first term as president. The editor was Robert B. Thomas. It sold for six pence or nine cents a copy.

It originally carried the name of Farmer’s Almanac but the word “Old” was added to the title in 1848 after several other farmers almanacs came out.

Farmers and city dwellers alike have depended on the Farmer’s Almanac to know when to plant and what the weather for the next year will be like.

Robert Thomas came up with a complex formula using his observations of natural weather cycles to predict the forecast. He had amazing results and was said to be uncannily accurate 80 percent of the time. (Even today, his formula is kept locked away at the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.)

It’s had thirteen editors since its existence, the latest of which is a woman who took the helm in 2000. Her name is Janice Stillman.

But the Almanac does much more than predict the weather. It has advice on gardening, cooking, and fishing in addition to astronomical data. Sometimes there is a blend of trivia and human interest stories and even recipes. You can find most anything in one of these books from anecdotes to fashion predictions for the coming year.

In 1942, the almanac came close to halting publication when a German spy came ashore on Long Island, New York and was apprehended by the FBI. They found a copy of the 1942 Old Farmer’s Almanac in his pocket. It appeared the Germans were using the Almanac as a source of weather forecasts because it was so accurate. Indirectly the book was supplying information to the enemy. The editor at the time quickly changed the format to only show weather indications, not forecasts, until the war ended.

Today the Old Farmer’s Almanac sells for $6.95 in paper print and $5.90 for the Kindle edition. There are folks who swear by the information inside each copy.

Have you ever used the weather forecasts to tell you when to plant? Or maybe you know of someone who does.

Linda Broday
I live in the Texas Panhandle where we love our cowboys.There's just something about a man in a Stetson that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules/
Updated: September 7, 2012 — 2:48 pm

18 Comments

  1. Good morning, Linda!

    My grandparents swore by the Farmer’s Almanac. There was always a copy at the farm. I can still here them say, “Well the Farmer’s Almanac says…”

    –Kirsten

  2. Good Morning to you Kirsten! Boy, you’re an early bird. Guess you get the worm this morning. I think most of the old timers planned their life around the Farmer’s Almanac. It was an excellent guide though. So much so that spies used it. Ha! That just cracks me up.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. I have an old copy of this book somewhere, Linda. It’s a jewel. Had no idea it was still being updated and sold.
    Here in frosty Utah I pay attention to the TV forecasts, but the rule of thumb is you don’t put your tomatoes out till after Mother’s Day.
    Thanks for a delightful blog.

  4. It is amazing to me that a formula developed hundreds of years ago is still proving so accurate. Just goes to show that technology isn’t everything. I’m so glad this publication is still in print.

  5. My Aunt swore by the Almanac to get her hair cut and to get a perm. I did her hair for years and we always had to wait until the BOOK said it was a good day because getting it cut on certain days retarded hair growth and getting it cut on the incorrect day sped up the growth. Same with the perm…lasted longer and took better on certain days. She also planted according to the BOOK! The only books I ever saw in her house were The Bible, the Almanac, and seed catologs! Her garden fed several families.

  6. Hi Elizabeth…….Glad you enjoyed my blog. I’m just amazed that the Farmer’s Almanac has been so for so long and is still in circulation. Robert Thomas must’ve been a man of great vision. I’d like to have known him. And I’d sure like to see that old formula he devised for predicting the weather.

    Hope you have a great day!

  7. Hi Karen……….Glad my blog caught your interest. Yes, I agree that it’s refreshing to still find something that technology isn’t involved in. Hard to believe for sure. I doubt none of this younger generation uses the Farmer’s Almanac but I know the older people still read and embrace it. I sure hope this 2013 forecast calls for more rain for us here in Texas. I’ve been meaning to download it into my Kindle and see what it says.

    Have a wonderful day!

  8. Hi Connie……..your aunt sounds like my mom. I’d forgotten about women who used the Almanac to tell them when it get their hair permed. I do think they have something there. The stars and planets have to be in the right positions for the perm to take. I’ll bet your aunt had one of the best gardens around. And I’m sure her hair always looked good.

    Enjoy your day and find plenty of reasons to laugh.

  9. My grandparents and father swore by the Almanac, and I remember reading them as a kid. And it’s on Kindle; I didn’t know that! What a wonderful thing for the next generations of gardners. Thanks for an informative post.

  10. Hi Nat……..Great that you came by. Glad you enjoyed my post. And glad that I could share the fact that it’s on Kindle now. That might get these younger people reading it. I’m so curious to know what’s in store for 2013. Sure am praying we’ll have more rain. Lord, we can use it!

    Hope your day goes well, dear friend!

  11. I remember we used to have one of these at my house growing up. We never put much stock in it. Or maybe we (my dad was a farmer) was just to independent (or disorganized) to make many decisions based on it. It was more for how interesting it was than for serious use.

  12. Hi Linda, I love the Almanac. Several years back I purchased “The best of the Old Farmer’s Almanac” and I love the articles it contains from years’ past. Great stuff. It’s given me ideas for more than one book.

    Thank you for sharing!

  13. Hi Mary………I’m shocked, absolutely shocked, that you and hubby don’t plan your lives around the Almanac. LOL However do you know when to plant your crops and do the wash and perm your hair and milk the cows? You’re probably lost and confused. Seriously, I’m sure you have better things to do with your time. A farmers work is never done. Yes, they do have some interesting things in it.

    Wishing you a smooth relaxing day! 🙂

  14. Hi Margaret……..Glad you enjoyed reading about the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It never occurred to me that you could ideas for books from it. How neat! Now, I for sure am going to have to download it into my Kindle. Besides, I’m hoping and praying that it has a wet winter and lots of rain in the coming year.

    Have a great day! 🙂

  15. Hi Linda, I have read the Almanac in the past, but not recently. It reads like your daily Astrology report.
    My planting in the spring comes from looking at my Black Locust trees. As soon as they give signs of budding, that is when I know there will be no more heavy frost. It works EVERY year. We have a short growing season and it pays off. Otherwise you plant when something else tells you and you get frozen out. My step-son showed me this event about 25 years ago and it has worked out well for us.

  16. Hi Linda, oh I love this little book! It just feels homey. My friend Nancy gives me a copy almost every year since it’s my birthday Month. I never used it to predict anything, but it sure is an interesting read that has given me plot ideas and little tidbitty details.

  17. Evening Linda, sorry I’m so late in getting into the conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I have a copy of one from the late 1800’s and have used it in research for a book. There’s so much interesting information in one. You and Mary made me laugh … and with five of my grandkids plus one of their friends here at the moment, I need a laugh! Again, thanks for another great blog and I hope you and your sister have a grand time together. Big hugs, Phyliss

  18. I have no idea how my husband decides to plant anything. That’s my husband’s job. I think it has something to do with spring.

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