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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Category — Blog

Welcome, From The Farmers’ Almanac New Web Content Editor

Last month, when I first called my father down in Florida to tell him I was going to be the new Web Content Editor for the Farmers’ Almanac in Maine, he was elated. I don’t want to say more elated than I was, but it was pretty close. Because like me, Dad is a big fan of all things weather related. He proudly passed to me (what I like to call) the weather “gene,” and we talk incessantly about clouds, storms and temperatures. Our TVs are always tuned to the same weather-related channels, we swoon over the bells and whistles of various portable weather radios, we report in regularly on our conflicting regional climates, and we know which corner of our houses is the southwest in case of a tornado.

Here’s how the conversation went:

ME:    Hi Dad! I start my new job at the Farmers’ Almanac soon! Pretty exciting, eh?
DAD: This is fabulous! You’ll be able to give me the inside scoop on Super Bowl weather (*muffled cheering*)!

Sadly, I didn’t get the football gene. So this definitely makes up for it.

In the short time I’ve been here, I have learned so much, and I’m honored to be working for such a great company. While I keep a print copy of Farmers’ Almanac in my car as a general rule (one of Dad’s rules, too), for various trivia night or star gazing emergencies, delivering Farmers’ Almanac content online is really a dream come true. I am responsible for opening up an entirely new and exciting world of information to others. Enabling others to receive Best Days at the click of a mouse? Thrilling (especially after I, myself, got a really bad haircut once, scheduling it on the wrong day). Empowering others with the online tools to create their very best gardens, to discover sustainable farming, to understand Moon phases, and test time-honored recipes, is truly exciting for me. I am also impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of our Facebook and Twitter fans, and I respect their loyalty to the Farmers’ Almanac. When they share with us that they, too, love all things weather, just like Dad and me, it makes me feel part of a very special family.

My goal is to ensure that those visiting our web site (www.FarmersAlmanac.com), and signing up for our weekly newsletter, enjoy the wealth of fresh and useful content delivered right to their inboxes, which they can access instantly via their smartphones, home computers, or tablets. While nothing can replace the printed version of the Farmers’ Almanac, the synergy between it and our web site will provide a robust experience for all. You can never know too much, I always say. Knowledge is power.

I welcome any feedback or input on things you’d like to see online, topics you find most interesting, and of course, what’s the weather doing where you are?

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One Penny At A Time

One Penny At A Time

I think we are all born with characteristics that make us special. Here is a young hero story that works well with our Pennies 4 Profit article featured in the 2014 edition of  the Farmers’ Almanac.

The concept of our idea is:
•   A penny by itself is worthless.
•    Because pennies are of little value people toss them into drawers or jars.
•    If you collect enough pennies, there is value.

With your help we honored three non-profits with our donation of 50,000 pennies to their organizations. They included Rescue Mission of Roanoke Virginia, Forgotten Felines of Maine, and Liberty House for veterans in New Hampshire. We thought this was wonderful until I read about a young man in Brockton, Massachusetts. Eight-year-old Aidan Feeney has a determination to help the homeless of his community. How does he raise money? With pennies of course.

Aidan collects one penny at a time and then figures out how to do the most good. His mom, Karen, told me in an email that he is currently saving up for backpacks to fill with essentials for those in shelters.

“He recently turned in his jars and raised $331.58.  He plans on having party/cookout for them and any left over money will go toward the backpacks he plans to fill.  What Aidan and his pennies are showing those around him is that you’re never too small to make a difference and that’s what he plans on doing (for centuries according to him…).”

All year long I save change for my famous Halloween exploits. But, this year (and because of our pooling pennies initiative), I am keeping the pennies in a separate container. Come October 1st, my haul goes to Aidan for his efforts.

If you want to help send your pennies or funds to:

Aidan Feeney/Pennies for the Poor
C/O South Shore Community Church
119 Torrey Street
Brockton Ma
02301

Kudos to Aidan.

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Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get the new edition of the Farmers’ Almanac! Of course :)

For fun, here are some of our favoirte chicken jokes. Try them out this weekend and report back. Favorite s:

On what side does a chicken have the most feathers?
The outside.

How do chickens dance?
Chick to chick.

Why couldn’t the hen find her eggs?
Because she mislaid them.

What’s the best kind of car to be driving when you want to play chicken?
A coupe.

What do you call a chicken crossing the road?
Poultry in motion.

Why didn’t the chicken skeleton cross the road?
Because she didn’t have enough guts.

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Saturday—A Full Supermoon

Saturday—A Full Supermoon

Full Moons tend to get a lot of attention. Especially here at the Farmers’ Almanac’s web site. This Saturday the full Moon will seem even bigger and perhaps brighter due to the fact that it’s not only full but also a “supermoon.”

A supermoon, simply stated, is when the Moon makes it closest approach to Earth, also called perigee. A supermoon occurs when the Moon is at least 90% of the way to its perigee position at the same time it is full or new. An extreme SuperMoon is when a full or new Moon happens at the same time the Moon is close to 100% perigee (happens in August).

2014 actually has five supermoons. The first was during the new moon of January 1, the second was on January 3, the third is July 12, and the next two are during the full moons of August (10) and September (8).

You should note that August’s full supermoon  on the 10th will be extra “super” or close because it occurs during the closest approach of the Moon to Earth.

July’s full Moon, also known as the Full Buck Moon, will be full at exactly 7:25 a.m. EDT, Saturday, July 12, 2014, but you may notice how large and full this moon looks all weekend. So get outside and check it out. Might be a great night for a nighttime boat ride or to try out your camera.

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Favorite Summer Memories

Favorite Summer Memories

It’s almost the 4th of July, already! Summertime is here. To help celebrate summer, last Friday we asked people to share their favorite childhood summertime memories or places. Here are some of our favorite replies:

A memory that captures summer for me was our summer holiday at the beach, so many awesome memories of being at the cottage with my grandma and going to the beach, the flea market, garage sales, church supper; enjoying a game of cards at night in the cottage. I truly miss those days but have an opportunity to create memories at the cottage with my own children.            
                                                                             
I had a wonderful Aunt and Uncle who took me with them every summer  for vacation and we traveled the states !! Mountains, reservations ….all the things this little city girl would never have gotten to see otherwise.                                                                                                        
Sitting on the front porch glider with a cold Coca-Cola (we didn’t call them Cokes back then).                                                                                            
The river! Going swimming, fishing and having bon-fires. Eating hot dogs and s’mores. As a kid and no air-conditioning it was the place to be! 

We would make homemade ice cream and we would all take turns turning the crank. We would eat watermelon under the shade tree. Oh how I miss those days.”                                                                                            

Flashlight tag, catching night crawlers in the middle of the night, and eating fresh watermelon                                               

Running for the ice cream truck! Sometimes we had to catch it on the block behind our house.                                                   

Going to my Grandpa and Grandma’s home for the summer, and my Grandpa digging for earthworms so we could go fishing, while my Grandma made fresh Lemonade. Yummy                                                                                            

Having the freedom to ride our bikes all over the place and know we had to be home when the street lights came on.        

Hanging out at the local pool with my Mom and my best friend. Mom would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we would picnic under a huge tree. I can still recall the music they played at the pool, (early 80s songs, especially “Roseanna” sticks out for some reason) and every time I hear them I can close my eyes and I”m at the pool, smelling the chlorine, tasting PB&J and craving my youth all over again…        

Traipsing behind my big brother to play in his secret fort in the woods and “pretend” fishing in the small pond there…he “let” me go because he was told to watch out for me but I think he had fun too!  :)  

Even today, many many years later, whenever I smell pine needles in the sun or see large pitchers of Kool-aid-like drink I think of happy days in summer camp.  The activities were fun but it’s the smells and tastes of summer camp I remember most!
                    
The memory that best captures my childhood summers is riding my bike to the park and swimming in the pool with all the kids in the village.  Some nights the pool would stay open for the moonlight swims!  They would turn the lights on in the water.  On those nights I went to bed with pruned skin on my fingertips and toes and the smell of chlorine in my hair…….miss those days!                
            
Enjoying or small towns 4th of July activities.  Watching the fireworks, antique tractor pulls, and going to the street dance in the town square.                

Sitting on the front porch with my family on a hot hot summer night and watching the thunderstorm roll up from the valley to the top of our mountains.

Lying on the ground as a kid and feeling the earth move as I looked into the sky at the beautiful clouds and seeing what could be animals. Also, loved climbing the pine trees we had in our yard because I would climb to the top and I could see for miles. Absolutely beautiful memories.

Waking up to the bedroom curtains gently billowing from the morning breeze coming through the open window.

Badminton under the dusk to dawn light in the backyard at times you did not know if you were swinging at the birdie or if it was the bat chasing the birdie.

Climbing the apple tree with my little sister, stuffing our faces with fresh apples,  (sometimes green, still good )  then throwing the cores at our three older brothers.  They always acted surprised but I know now they were expecting it.       

Spitting the watermelon seeds into the flower beds to grow more watermelons.        
    
Using a clothes pin to attach a baseball card to the spokes of my  bicycle tires to make a cool noise while riding my bike!  

Catching lightning bugs in a jar when it got dark.        

What was your favorite childhood memory of summer?

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Top Tips from Pete

Top Tips from Pete

Summer is officially here, which means it’s a great time to spend outdoors. Here are a few of my favorite tips for making the great outdoors more enjoyable.

Insects

Mosquitoes — put out a dish of water mixed with Joy dish soap, away from where you are sitting. It attracts the biters.

Goodbye fruit flies — fill a small glass with ½ inch of apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid and mix well. Fruit flies will be drawn to the cup and will meet their demise.

Insect bites — make a paste using meat tenderizer and water. Apply to sting or bite.  Or, toothpaste, regular flavored, when applied to an insect bite (especially fire ant bites) will relieve itching immediately.

Gnats — ever have gnats or other small insects swarming around while you eat on your deck? Take a powerful fan and aim high to say good bye.

Rashes and itches

Sunburn relief — Mix 2 tsp. tomato juice and ¼ cup buttermilk. Apply to affected area. Rinse.

Poison ivy — apply witch hazel to soothe the area. Or, add 8 oz. jar of instant tea to warm bath water and soak for 15 minutes.

Rashes — add ½ cup baking soda to a warm bath. Soak for at least 15 minutes.

Plants and Weeds

Weeds growing in your walkway — sprinkle baking soda on them.

Healthy flowers — after brewing coffee, toss the grinds on your flower bed.

Slug-fest — place a ring of petroleum jelly around plant containers which will stop the slugs and snails from climbing in for dinner.

Plant dill near tomato plants to prevent tomato worms. It works.

Better Living

Grass stains — rub in molasses, scrub well, let soak for a few minutes and wash.

Save on electricity. During the summer, hang a clothesline and let Mother Nature dry your clothes, especially towels which consume energy.

Fishermen (or women) — to make scaling fish easier, try rubbing vinegar on the scales first.
Summer is a great time to be outdoors — enjoy and stay safe!

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Wood For Winter

Fresh off one of the coldest winters ever, the early bird is the one who is ready for the next winter. This is actually, the best time to purchase firewood for next fall/ winter. I took delivery (and stacked) two cord of mixed wood types a few weeks ago. We have a couple videos on our website about firewood. If you purchase wood, buy now for the cheapest prices (green wood) and allow it to dry in the summer heat for next  winter.

Not all trees are created alike. Here is a quick guide to gallons of fuel/ oil per cord air-died wood:

Hickory          –  177 gallons
White Oak     –  170
Sugar Maple  – 155
Red Oak        – 155
Beech            – 149
Yellow Birch  – 149
White Ash      – 149
Red Maple     – 136
White Birch    – 130
Elm                – 126
Gray Birch     – 125
Poplar            – 100

Firewood is sold by the cubic foot or loose cord.  So, when buying firewood, ask about the mix of wood types to make sure you will get the best heat for your buck.

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How Rare is a Friday the 13th Full Moon?

How Rare is a Friday the 13th Full Moon?

Tomorrow morning, actually very early in the morning — 12:11 am to be exact, Eastern Time — the Moon will be Full and the date on the calendar is Friday the 13tth;  however, in many areas of the US and Canada, the Full Moon will take place on Thursday the 12th.! (Full Moon for the Central Mountain and Pacific time zones is on Thursday, the 12th)

Rare?
A Friday the 13th full Moon happens on average once about every 14 years. Last time was October 2000 and the next time will be August 2049, so you could say it’s kind of rare.

Interestingly,  there was a Friday the 13th Moon in July 1984, and less than 3 years later there was another, in Feb. 1987.

And consider this for those places in the US that will not have Full Moon fall on the 13th this year, they haven’t had one since 2000 and must wait until 2049 for their next opportunity–almost half a century!

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Summer Weather Safety

Summer Weather Safety

Being outdoors when a massive thunderstorm approaches is a very scary thing. In 1975, I was on a camping trip with 14 boys and another counselor. We packed our equipment and headed to base camp when we rounded an island to be met with the most powerful thunder/ lightning storm I had ever seen. Not a good place to be with boys in aluminum boats and 9.9 hp motors. We scurried to the rocks, threw tarps over ourselves and waited it out. But, it was one of the most terrified moments I have ever been through.

It is also the reason I try to remind folks about the dangers of summer storms. Over a 30 years span, the average deaths attributed to lightning strikes is 70 per year. Thanks to great education efforts by NOAA and changes in how athletic events handle storms, we saw the fewest deaths in  2013 — only 23.

It’s not quite summer and already we have recorded 5 deaths — all men 40 years and older , and 3 of them were in Florida. Central Florida is the lightning capital of the US. The most recent case was working on a roof in Pompano Beach under clear skies when a single bolt struck him. It reminds me of a young female soccer player in Maine who, under clear skies, was killed by a bolt from a storm 10 miles away.

Be safe as you enjoy all that the summer outdoors has to offer. And check out some of our helpful lightning tips on our site.

Outdoor Safety for Summer
When is Lightning a Danger

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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.