Weekly Feature

2017-12-13 / Editorials

Farmers’ Almanac advises investing in goats in 2018

Managing Editor

Time once again for 200 pages of vintage guesswork, vague predictions and homespun advertisements. Time for the 2018 version of the Farmers’ Almanac.

In addition to the front and back covers, the initial 64 pages are printed in full color. Products within those glossy pages range from “Mosquito Dunks” to “Mosquito Bits” to control pesky summer insects to the Vermont Bun Baker oven.

Published in Lewiston, Maine, the handy publication’s 200-year-old theme remains rural and agricultural.

“Always close to the earth, always dedicated to living in harmony with nature, and always astonishing readers with amazingly accurate weather predictions, the Farmers’ Almanac is more popular than ever. The reason is simple; smart living never goes out of style,” according to its website.

“In fact, the definitive issue of our age is environmental conservation, and the Farmers’ Almanac was the authority on hacks, sustainable, and green long before those words became trendy.”

While information in the Farmers’ Almanac is ample and diverse, it has evolved into a go-to resource for weather predictions.

Its authors anticipate a return to a colder, more normal winter here in the East.

“From the Great Lakes and into the Northeast, snowier-than-normal conditions are expected,” they add.

Based on a basic and reliable set of rules that were developed 200 years ago by David Young, the Farmers’ Almanac’s first editor, the formula has been altered slightly and now includes both mathematical and astronomical factors.

Have the moon and the stars changed that much since 1818?

“Our predictions over time have been 80 to 85 percent accurate and continue to be a valuable planning tool for the year ahead,” they said.

After all, the publication’s weather prognosticator is identified as “Caleb Weatherbee.” Its famous long-range weather predictions are made two years in advance. Weatherbee is said to use a top-secret mathematical and astronomical formula, taking sunspot activity, tidal action, the position of the planet, and many other factors into consideration.

For the record, “Caleb Weatherbee is a pseudonym the Farmers’ Almanac uses for all of its weather forecasters, past and present. The true identity of its prognosticator is as secret as its nearly two-centuries old formula for weather prediction.

No one in that company appears willing to shake off the cloak of tradition.

“During America’s early days, publishers of almanacs were held in great esteem for their knowledge, and often carried the title “Philom” after their names.

“Both Ben Franklin and Young used the title, as did Ray Geiger, the longest-running Almanac editor in history. When the Almanac’s current editor, Peter Geiger, joined the editorial team, he renewed this almanac tradition, taking the title for himself and, later, conferring it to Managing Editor Sandi Duncan.”

Moving past the weather reports, Western New Yorkers may find some animal news of interest.

“As chickens become even more of a mainstay in homes across the country, goats are becoming the next “it” animal to keep in back yards. With a bit of knowledge and planning you can raise your own goats. We will explain the benefits, and provide helpful tips. Plus we’ve included a recipe for goat cheese you’ve got to try!”

Indoor tropical gardening anyone?

“Almost any tropical or subtropical fruit tree can be grown indoors under the right conditions. Learn how you can grow everything from bananas to citrus to rare and exotic fruits you won’t find in the produce section.”

Where else can you get a year’s worth of diverse of reading for $6.99?

(David F. Sherman can be reached at dsherman@beenews.com.)

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