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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

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Is Your Pet’s Name On The Most Popular List?

Is Your Pet’s Name On The Most Popular List?

According to the 2014 Farmers’ Almanac, the following cat and dog names were the most popular in 2013. Was your pet’s name on the list?

Cat Names

Female Male
1. Bella 1. Oliver
2 Lucy 2. Max
3. Kitty 3. Tiger
4. Luna 4. Charlie
5. Chloe 5. Simba
6. Molly 6. Milo
7. Lilly 7. Smokey
8. Sophie 8. Joe
9. Nala 9. Jack
10. Daisy 10. Kitty

Dog Names

Female Male
1. Bella 1. Max
2. Daisy 2. Buddy
3. Lucy 3. Charlie
4. Molly 4. Rocky
5. Sadie 5. Cooper
6. Sophie 6. Duke
7. Lola 7. Bear
8. Chloe 8. Jack
9. Zoey 9. Bentley
10. Maggie 10. Toby

*Vetstreet developed this list of names from a database of 925,000 puppies and 425,000 kittens and born in 2013.

Did your pet’s name make the list? If not what’s your dog or cat’s name?

 

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Attack of the acorns! What does it mean?

Attack of the acorns! What does it mean?

Recently we posted information about the persimmon seed and how it depicts what the upcoming winter will look like. We shared Melissa Bunker’s (“The Persimmon Lady”) annual prediction featuring seeds that showed spoons inside (i.e., lots of snow).

Another popular sign of winter is the abundance of acorns and the observation of squirrels activity. Five years ago, my lawn was filled with buckets and buckets of acorns and it was only July 8th. Yes, it was a snowy winter that year. Acorns have been dropping on a more timely basis this year but I am reminded of just how many are coming down. Friday, I cleaned my back deck, but Saturday morning (no wind), the entire deck was loaded with acorns. It was as if Mother nature just let go. When I started to clean up again, I had to wear a hard hat because I was getting dinged again and again.  And, yes, the fat squirrels are loving it.

It doesn’t matter if there are lots of acorns in Maine if you live in New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, or elsewhere. So, what is  your acorn situation and what does it tell you about this winter?

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October 4th is National Frappe Day!

October 4th is National Frappe Day!

In some parts of the country, the name frappe is synonymous with milkshake: both made with milk, ice cream, syrup, and maybe some whipped cream. But here in New England, home of the Farmers’ Almanac, a frappe is typically made with ice cream, and a milkshake, as evidenced by its very name, may not always contain it, rather being made with blended milk, ice, and syrup.

In Greece, it is reported that the 1957 Thessaloniki International Trade Fair developed its version of the frappe: a drink born as a children’s liquid confection, but by fair’s end, evolving into a grown-up drink with the addition of instant coffee to its sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and ice. And of course global coffee purveyor Starbucks has taken the coffee frappe concept to new heights with its sweet, creamy, signature Frappuccino® drinks.

As October 4th is National Frappe Day, the genesis of the frosty, fabled frappe bears some exploration, not to mention an explanation of what makes this sweet treat so irresistible to so many people in so many places.

Culinary curators tell us the origin of the drink’s name came from France, the word frapper meaning “to hit; strike.” Frappe ultimately came to mean chilled by shaking. In the United States, the word first appeared in the 1848 edition of the American English dictionary.

In Japan, red beans (adzuki) are sometimes added, and the dulce de leche frappe is said to be popular in Argentina. If you live in New Orleans, your frappe du jour is likely laced with Absinthe!

For the rest of us, why not celebrate this ice-dreamy delicacy by making October 4th the day you discover your own fabulous frappe!

New England Traditional Chocolate Frappe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk (skim or low fat is OK)
4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
4 large scoops chocolate or vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Blend together, adjusting to taste with more syrup if desired.

Iced Mocha Frappe

Ingredients:

4 cups brewed hot coffee
4 one ounce packages hot cocoa mix (3/4 cup each)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
.2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream

Directions:

In heat-proof bowl, add hot coffee, cocoa mix, and sugar. Combine well. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze thoroughly. Add frozen cubes to blender. Add cream and vanilla, pureeing until smooth. Divide into glasses and top with whipped cream.

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What Does The Persimmon Lady Say About Winter 2015?

What Does The Persimmon Lady Say About Winter 2015?

Around this time each year, Melissa Bunker of Star, North Carolina (AKA, “The Persimmon Lady”), sends us her winter prediction based on opening up some persimmon seeds. Traditional lore is that if the seeds are shaped like forks, winter will be mild; if they are shaped like spoons, there will be a lot of snow; and if they are shaped like knives, winter will be bitingly cold.

Here’s what Melissa had to say:

Here is the 2014/15 persimmon readout. Never have seen all spoons before!!! Tell the readers to prep for lots of snow. Even our ground hornets are moving up into our pecan tree.

Thanks, Melissa! We hope to hear from you again next year.

Have you cracked into any persimmon seeds? If so, where are you from and what did you see? Share your photos on our Facebook page!

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Apples are good eating and so much more!

Apples are good eating and so much more!

Reportedly 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world, with 2,500 in the U.S. alone where the annual crop exceeds 220,000,000 bushels. Pomologists are discovering and cultivating new varieties all the time. In fact historians believe apples have been consumed in one form or another since 6,500 B.C. The Greeks and Romans regarded them as symbols of love and beauty.

But what about alternative uses for this varietal, abundant, and crisp autumn crop? These possibilities will expand your apple database and perhaps inspire you to come up with some creative uses of your own!

Alleviate allergies: Apples are high in quercetin, a plant compound said to slow down the secretion of histamine – released during an allergic reaction. (Maybe the adage about an apple a day – or more? – has some merit after all!)

Freshen stale cookies or cake: Slice an apple and place into an airtight container with stale baked goods. The apple’s moisture can revitalize.

Soften hardened brown sugar:  An apple slice placed inside the sugar canister overnight is known to soften the contents.

Ripen green tomatoes: Place tomatoes—and/or other unripened vegetables and fruit – in a paper bag with apples, which give off the gas ethylene, to speed ripening.

Remove excess salt from soups and casseroles: While potatoes are the old rule of thumb, some cooks say a sliced apple also does the trick.

Soften skin: Add sliced apples and/or a cup of apple cider vinegar to your warm water soak to help smooth callouses. (Do not add vinegar if you have diabetes or poor circulation.)

Manage a migraine: While not yet recorded in the annals of science, some studies reveal that inhaling the scent of a cut green apple can reduce symptoms and shorten an episode.

Combat dandruff: Massage apple juice into scalp after washing and allow to remain on several minutes. Rinse well.

Treat oily hair: Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a pint of water and pour through hair after shampooing and rinsing. The solution removes residue which can encourage oily hair. The vinegar smell will leave when hair dries.

Festive apple candle holder: Simply remove the center with an apple corer, insert tapered candle.

Crafts stamp: Slice an apple in half, dip in ink and use to stamp seasonal designs onto wrapping paper, gift bags, invitations and the like.

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10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer

10 Ways to Say Goodbye to Summer

As of today, there is a week left of summer 2014. For some areas, fall is offering a preview with some chilly temperatures.

With seven days left, (more if you live in warmer areas where fall doesn’t mean packing up the bathing suit just yet), here’s our list of what we’d like to and need to do before fall officially sets in.

1.    Visit the beach one last time. The sun feels so wonderful even on a chilly day and you’ll probably get a good parking spot.
2.    Eat watermelon and ice cream. (Next will be pumpkins and apple pie.)
3.    Get ready for shorter days. Daylight Saving Time officially ends November 2, but as you may have noticed, the sun is setting earlier these days.
4.    Pick the last of your flowers before a hard frost.
5.    Take that bike ride or hike you’ve been talking about all summer.
6.    Swim – if it’s not too cold, or pack up the bathing suit and summer shorts until next year.
7.    Light those Tiki torches and enjoy a BBQ before it gets too chilly.
8.    Close the pool or keep it open as long as possible.
9.    Do some yoga or exercise to get into shape for that raking that will take place in a few months.
10.    Order those vacation photos that have been sitting on your phone or computer.

Are you ready to say goodbye to summer? What would you add to the list of what you’d like to or need to do before fall officially starts next Monday, September 22, 2014?

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More Money Saving Tips

My favorite part of the Farmers’ Almanac is the many useful tips and hints it provides that make it easy to save money without trying. Here are just a few:

  1. Soap:  When you purchase a package of bar soap, remove the wrapping and allow the soap to be exposed to air for a couple of days. It will give you 25% more use.
  2. Drain cleaner: You don’t need chemicals. Put one cup of baking soda down the drain, pour in white vinegar and it bubbles it clean.
  3. Scuffs marks on wood or linoleum floors? Take an old tennis ball and puncture a small hole, insert a broomstick or mop handle, and rub the mark with the ball. Gone.
  4. Use less electricity: Strategically place night lights around the house. During the night you can navigate without turning on overhead lights.
  5. Got weeds? Here are two options: Either sprinkle baking soda or boil water and pour on the uninvited growth.
  6. Ants: Sprinkle powdered soap on the area where you see ants, and let them carry it off. This will destroy their nests.

The Farmers’ Almanac has hundreds of great money and time-saving ideas, and we can eliminate so many chemicals. Here’s an even more extensive list.  If you have something that works for you, please share in the comments below.

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Farmers’ Almanac On The Radio

We have had an exciting couple of weeks here at Farmers Almanac with the launch of our 2015 edition hitting retail store shelves. Interviews (in person and by phone) have been the order of the day for both Sandi Duncan and me, as we spread the word about this wonderful little book that’s been in continuous publication since 1818. The hot topic, of course, is the frosty weather prediction.

As you know by now, we’re predicting lots of “shivery” and “shovelry” for just about everyone across the US and Canada for this coming winter. That news has generated a lot of buzz with the media, and most certainly a lot of smiles from owners of ski resorts, snowmobile clubs and the like. And while I like to remind people that the Farmers’ Almanac has been publishing a lot more than long-range weather predictions for 198 years, that is the subject that garners the most attention this time of year.

One of the bigger media outlets in the Greater Portland, Maine area invited me in to talk on-air about the new edition, which I gladly accepted. Each of the morning show personalities had their copy in hand, which they excitedly thumbed through, learning things as they did.  For me, as editor, it is very gratifying to see people of all ages enjoying the Farmers’ Almanac so much. Be sure to get your copy and enjoy it regardless of the season or weather.

Here’s how one of those interviews went. We had a lot of fun! If there is a station in your  community that I should be on, send the radio station’s call letters and host’s name and I’ll do the rest.

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Thunderstorm Rumblings

As we were expecting some storms in the Northeast earlier this week, I started thinking about how when I was a kid, I hated thunderstorms. Over the years, we had gone through our fair share of them on our family excursions to the Jersey Shore every summer, but I never got used to them. With some of the feistier ones, Dad would have to pull off to the side of the road to wait them out. And boy, were they feisty: high winds, hail, cloud-to-ground lightning. Yikes! They always scared me. They still do. My friends love them, and they often rib me for being a chicken, and regale me with tales of how they actually enjoy sitting outside on their front porches to watch a good storm roll in. No thank you.

Growing up, my sister and I survived the majority of summertime thunderstorms by huddling in our clothes closet, which we turned into a makeshift fallout shelter, during the really bad ones. And while our encampment stayed off the scary for the most part, I think the real appeal was that we enjoyed snuggling together with our flashlights, counting the one-Mississippis after each flash of lightning, with our hands over our ears, waiting for them to dissipate.

A lot of people think it’s silly that thunderstorms still make me uneasy.  (In fact, one recent memory stands out: I was staying at my brother’s place in Massachusetts, sleeping on a metal rollaway cot in front of an open window during a very strong thunderstorm. I decided to move it away from the window. My brother, ever the realist, mocked my taking precautions against a phantom lightning bolt that was going to come through the window and hit me in my metal bed. On cue, a bolt of lightning struck the house with a giant boom, setting off the internal alarm system that couldn’t be shut off without a circuit breaker. That was pretty much the end of the teasing). But I can state with certainty that I don’t seek shelter in my clothes closet anymore. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, the fear of those big storms has more or less turned into a healthy respect, and while I’m not about to go outside in metal shoes during one, I do find them fascinating.

While the statistics are low regarding annual deaths from lightning strikes, it’s still vital to take proper precautions. I think it’s very important to heed all warnings and follow the important rules for lightning safety (like, stay away from windows!).  Read our article on lightning safety here.

So while I was waiting to hear the sound of rumbling on the horizon, I realized that I was actually looking forward to a good thunderstorm. Probably because it means summer is still kicking around.

How about you? Thunderstorms: love them or loathe them? Tell us in the comments below!

We have a great article in the 2015 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac, “6 Ways To Ease Your Dog’s Fear of Thunder and Fireworks,” page 58. Check it out!

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.