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The 2014 Farmers Almanac
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‘Tis The Season To Say Thank You

‘Tis The Season To Say Thank You

At this merry time of year, all of us at the Farmers’ Almanac would like to extend our well-wishes and appreciation to you, our web visitor and reader of the Farmers’ Almanac. While it’s sometimes hard to grasp how quickly time flies, it’s always good to find the time to thank the people who help make our publication and web site successful.

2015 marks the Farmers’ Almanac’s 198th edition! We are already planning on how to celebrate two centuries worth of publishing in a few years. If you have any suggestions, feel free to send us a note or email, but plan on being part of a big celebration.

We hope that 2015 brings you much happiness, health, and prosperity and that you continue to find our site and publication helpful and useful.

Merry Christmas!

From all of us at the Farmers’ Almanac

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Let It Snow!

Let It Snow!

After I took my first “header” last week (a scary misstep on a patch of ice in front of my apartment), I started thinking about my relationship with winter.

It’s important to note, for the sake of this story, is that I live in Maine, where weather is a hot topic. And around winter time (which officially starts on Sunday, 12/21), even more so. The local weather forecast is the lead story in each night’s news broadcast (above all other stories), and everyday conversations float toward the topic no matter what the season.

While winter is seemingly our longest season here in the Northeast, usually extending from early November to mid-March, you will not hear me complaining. It is true that you might hear me chime in with others who are complaining, with a standard, “Brrr, it’s cold!” or “oh no, is it really going to snow?” and a convincing look of worry, but the truth be told, I don’t mind winter one bit. I actually enjoy it. Even when I’m sprawled on the sidewalk, red with embarrassment, hoping no one saw anything.

When the Farmers’ Almanac called for lots of shovelry for this coming winter, I was thrilled. Not only do I enjoy cooler weather, but when the first snow flies, I mark it on my calendar. When the forecast calls for snow, I get goosebumps. I love how quiet and peaceful things become in a snowstorm, where the hustle and bustle of everyday activities seem to fade at the first hint of falling flakes. Do I like to drive in a snow or ice storm, you ask? No, I do not. I’ll get that right on the table. But in all fairness, I’m not a fan of driving through thunderstorms either.  Driving aside, when it snows, things seem to turn slightly magical, almost as if nothing bad can happen. Things that are dirty and ugly disappear under the blanket of white. The general mood of things changes, making it the perfect time for a book, a cup of hot cocoa, and a chance to hunker down with the kittens and my Slanket (basically a blanket with sleeves). And when I hear the sounds of the hard-working plow guys clearing paths in the distance, I feel a sense of comfort.

I also find that even if my vehicle gets stuck in that beautiful snow, all is not lost because inevitably, someone appears from out of nowhere to help. Your wheels can be spinning and wildy going nowhere, when suddenly, reassuring voices and strong hands are pushing you to freedom.  It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of your neighbors has even shoveled your walkway or dusted off your windshield, too. The Good Samaritans and Guardian Angels seem to appear when it’s snowing. It seems to gently bring out the good in people.

And of course Christmas, the holiday of goodwill and cheer, is my favorite of them all, in part, because of snow.

So, let it snow, I say.  But you might want to check back with me in March to see how I’m holding up.

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The Farmers’ Almanac Holiday Gift Of Ideas

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The Fifty States and Their Nicknames

The Fifty States and Their Nicknames

Here’s a list of the fifty states and the nickname associated with each. Do you think your state has a fitting moniker? If not, what would you change it to?

Alabama – Yellowhammer State
Alaska – The Last Frontier
Arizona – The Grand Canyon State
Arkansas – The Natural State
California – The Golden State
Colorado – The Centennial State
Connecticut – The Constitution State
Delaware – The First State
Florida – The Sunshine State
Georgia – The Peach State
Hawaii – The Aloha State
Idaho – The Gem State
Illinois – The Prairie State
Indiana – The Hoosier State
Iowa – The Hawkeye State
Kansas – The Sunflower State
Kentucky – The Bluegrass State
Louisiana – The Pelican State
Maine – The Pine Tree State
Maryland – The Old Line State
Massachusetts – The Bay State
Michigan – The Great Lakes State
Minnesota – The North Star State
Mississippi – The Magnolia State
Missouri – The Show Me State
Montana – The Treasure State
Nebraska – The Cornhusker State
Nevada – The Silver State
New Hampshire – The Granite State
New Jersey – The Garden State
New Mexico – The Land of Enchantment
New York – The Empire State
North Carolina – The Tar Heel State
North Dakota – The Peace Garden State
Ohio – The Buckeye State
Oklahoma – The Sooner State
Oregon – The Beaver State
Pennsylvania – The Keystone State
Rhode Island – The Ocean State
South Carolina – The Palmetto State
South Dakota – Mount Rushmore State
Tennessee – The Volunteer State
Texas – The Lone Star State
Utah – The Beehive State
Vermont – The Green Mountain State
Virginia – The Old Dominion State
Washington – The Evergreen State
West Virginia – The Mountain State
Wisconsin – The Badger State
Wyoming – The Equality State or The Cowboy State

 

Make it a game! This is also a great list with which to quiz your kids, friends and other family members!

 

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Towns That Make You Hungry

Towns That Make You Hungry

Did you ever wonder why your town’s name is what it is? Some towns are named after people, others for their landscape and some after food!  The following towns have some tasty names that might make you hungry:

  • Apples not only keep the doctors away but they also make for great town names. There’s an Apple Orchard, Virginia, Appleton, Minnesota, Appleton, Wisconsin, and an Appleyard, Washington.
  • For those with a sweet tooth, you may want to visit or live in Sugar Grove, Arkansas, Sugar City, Colorado & Idaho, Sugartown, Louisiana, or Cocoa Beach, Florida!
  • For more sour taste buds, there’s Lemmon, South Dakota, Lemon Grove, California, or Lime Village, Alaska.
  • For breakfast fans, Oatmeal, Texas, Two Egg, Florida, and Coffee, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama are the places to be!
  • Pennsylvania is a tasty state. It boasts cities by the names of Cooksburg, Feasterville, and Bakers Summit.
  • In Europe, there’s a city in Italy named Bologna, and a Hamburg and Frankfurt, Germany! These food names actually derived from these city names!
  • Alaska has quite a few appetizing towns, including Chicken, and Clam Gulch!
  • In Alabama, there is a little town named Burnt Corn. Legend has it that Indians used to store their corn in this town until enemies came and burned down the village as well as all of the corn.
  • Did you know that there is a Cucumber, West Virginia? Some believe this name was chosen for its many magnolia trees, known to many as “cucumber trees” as they bear fruits that look similar to cucumbers.
  • Fruitdale, Oregon, and Fruitland, Maryland are also two popular towns as are Orange, New Jersey, Orangeburg, South Carolina, and Peach Creek, West Virginia.
  • Buttermilk, Kansas, Bourbon, Indiana, Tomato, Arkansas, Cranberry, Maryland, and Spuds, Florida are also tantalizing cities to visit!
  • And for dessert, there’s Strawberry Point, Iowa, Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, or Strawberry Point, California!
  • And then there’s Muttonville, Michigan!

Do you know of another town with a food name? Tell us in the comments below!

The above article appeared in the 1995 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac.

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What’s Your Meteorologist Name?

What’s Your Meteorologist Name?

If you were delivering the local forecast where you live, you’d need a weather name! Have fun with our Meteorologist Name Creator (scroll down).

To create your new meteorologist name, use your middle name, plus add the name that corresponds to the first letter of your last name in the chart. Post your new name in the comments section, below!

meterologist5

 

 

 

 

 

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Buffalo

Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Buffalo

I have visited Buffalo, New York, on three occasions. I was taken by its people and how such a large city could seem so warm and friendly, even though the weather can be quite the opposite. While lake effect snows are the norm in this area, what occurred last week was one for the history books.

While the media has focussed on the amount of snow and now the possibility of flooding, what I wanted to focus on is a story of human compassion and kindness. Two friends of mine, Rob and Gail Radder, who live in Elma, New York — a town in Erie County, southeast of Buffalo, shared their personal experience with this crazy November storm with me last week.  They were traveling when the storm occurred and it took them several days to get into their home (see photo). But the point they made to me is just how incredible everyone has been. Neighbors helping neighbors with snow blowers, bucket loaders, generators, and more. This is a prime example of how many times the worst brings out the very best in people. It is the one thing that, despite whatever else is happening in the world, gives me hope.

To all our friends in Buffalo, congratulations on surviving a once in a lifetime event and for doing it with the grace and dignity that makes Buffalo a special community. Stay safe.

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Take Our Thanksgiving Poll

Take Our Thanksgiving Poll

With Thanksgiving nearly on our doorstep, we at the Farmers’ Almanac have decided to take a closer look at the date of Thanksgiving, and suggest that as a nation, we move the date of this celebrated holiday from the 4th Thursday in November to the second week in October; the main reasons being:

  1. The two major family holidays are within 4 weeks of each other on the calendar. Why not spread out the visits and holidays?
  2. Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest – shouldn’t “the day” be closer to the harvest?
  3. Usually, weather for folks coming from or to northern states makes travel hazardous and time consuming. That is not an issue mid October. Since this is the most traveled holiday, why not have it land on a date that might insure safe travel and fewer hours getting there?

Read more of the arguments for moving the date in the full Press Release going out to the news media here.

In 1991, when we posed the question to our readers, asking, “Should We Tinker With Thanksgiving?” it was divided. Many of you said to leave the date where it is because it could get confusing, while others said the tradition is not with the date but with the event. Here’s a link to the original story we ran in 1991. So now, in 2014, we’re revisiting the question again and we want to know what you think. Take our poll below:

Farmers’ Almanac Official Poll Question:

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How Much Snow Is Too Much?

How Much Snow Is Too Much?

Yesterday, the residents in parts of western New York got clobbered with a ferocious snowstorm.  The magnitude of it was quite a surprise to many who, while most likely used to large amounts of snowfall in that region, probably weren’t prepared for the 5 feet that fell on Tuesday.

That wasn’t a typo. Five FEET of snow fell in a 24-hour period. And it’s still snowing.

Authorities are saying that by Thursday, another 2 feet is expected to blanket the eastern Lake Erie and Lake Ontario regions. The storm is blamed for at least 7 deaths, and some people are still stranded on major roadways.  There are travel bans, road closures, cancellations and snow emergencies — all in effect. It’s looking like this storm could turn out to be one of the history books — the week’s totals will undoubtedly rival the all-time snowfall record for Buffalo, which was 81.6 inches over the course of five days in 2001. The people of this region will no doubt be immersed in “shovelry” for a long time.

That part of the US was hit with a wallop of what’s known as “lake effect snow.” So what exactly lake effect snow?

Lake effect snow occurs when cold, arctic air moves over a body of warmer water, in this case, the Great Lakes, picking up moisture while crossing the lake, then releasing it as snow when the air cools over land. The lakes produce lake effect snow and continuous cloudy skies throughout the winter months, as long as air temperatures are colder than the lake water temperatures.

In 2000, the Farmers’ Almanac published North America’s 100 Most Memorable Weather Events of the past one hundred years. There are all kinds of storms on that list from tornadoes to hurricanes to snow storms. A portion of that list can be found here. We want to know: do you think this recent storm should be added to the list? How much snow is too much?

Photo: The New York State Thruway, south of Buffalo. Photo courtesy of the New York State Police.

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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.