Older Than Dirt (almost): The Old Farmer’s Almanac

I am finding that being a blogger has certain advantages. These advantages are mainly concerned with getting free stuff. Free books, free garden things and this week, it is a free almanac (or two, actually).

This week in the mail I received 216th edition The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the 2nd edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids. This just tickles me to no end (and not just because it was free). I have many a fond memory of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

If you haven’t noticed, I am a trivia freak and you can’t get much more trivia packed into a book than The Old Farmer’s Almanac. When I was a kid, I would sit for hours reading the copy my mother bought every year, looking at all the strange and wonderful facts as well as the predictions for the year to come. In many ways, it is almost like the country version of the supermarket tabloids. The predictions, zodiacs and news for the upcoming year have that same feel of dubiousness, the true stuff is just fascinating and the ads are almost spot on the same.

By the way, if any of you happen to be looking for some quality choir gowns, Regency Cap & Gown (page 186) has the “finest fabrics including permanent press and wash & wear” or your very own composting toilet (page 177) or the answer to Psoriasis (I didn’t know it had asked a question but the answer is on page 87). Okay, so maybe not spot on the same but the ads have the same feel.

To tell the truth, reading The Old Farmer’s Almanac reminded me of something. It reminded me that there really are places left in the US that are still more innocent than where I live. Where real cowboys wear real hats and boots and real farmers get up each morning to feed chickens and milk cows.

Alright, you got me. I knew they were there (I grew up there and while trauma induced memory loss has wiped out some of those memories, it has not wiped them all out) but I just forgot what that world felt like or, rather, what I always wanted that world to feel like.

I got some of that feeling back while reading. The people who religiously read The Old Farmer’s Almanac are people who listen to the hog prices on the local radio station and still have to walk a half mile to get to a neighbor’s house. They have homemade apple pies, cute little scrubbed kids on Sunday and lonely looking white washed houses that are spotless inside and out. A romanticized version, no doubt, but a nice one to think about.

This rural world is fast disappearing as noted on the next to last page of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. They note that according to the United Nations, sometime in August of 2008, in the world, the number of people living in cities will finally outnumber the number of people in the rural areas.

As a gardener, I find it fun to read The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  As a trivia freak, it is just a feast for the brain.   But in reading it, I sometimes wonder if I am peeking into the leading edge of a dying lifestyle.

I suppose since they sent this to me free I should mention that it is coming to a book or feed store near you this September 12 (Get yours today… er… next week). The Kids version is already out in stores. It is not as folksy. Think Discovery Channel meets Jeopardy meets a twelve year old.

5 thoughts on “Older Than Dirt (almost): The Old Farmer’s Almanac
  1. I love those almanacs. I feel old fashioned when I read one :) Haven’t ever seen the kids version though, have to check the grocery store for it.

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  2. I, as I have stated, used to live on a farm. John, the farmer, used to shake his head at the weather predictions, but loved the “filler”. His mother, Granny (you can’t make this up), who was a multi-generational farm woman and taught in a one room school house, would read it cover to cover. Mildred, her real name, had one brother who did not want to farm. She married a German immigrant who owned a neighboring farm with his brothers. The resulting farm covered over 1000 acres. This is huge for my area, where farms average around 300 acres. The last section was sold for development a few years ago when John and his brother retired. I was very lucky to be a part of this for a short eight years. All this comes to me as a result of your musings on the almanac. Thank You.

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  3. I love the Old Farmers Almanac…my sister has been getting them for years and years….plus you can’t beat free can you !!

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  4. Thanks for reminding me to get a new Almanac! I usually order mine from Lehman’s, a catalog full of old-fashioned, non-electrical gadgets for farming and living. They were originally designed for the Amish and other “plain” people, but the rest of us who dream of a life off of the grid love to windowshop there too.

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  5. I was interested to read this article. I am from the UK and would be interested to learn more about farming in the US in days goneby. I will be looking at the Old farmer’s almanac in more detail. Thanks.
    Sara from farmingfriends

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