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Several years ago, Almanac editor Ray Geiger would make a personal visit to newspapers across the country — including the Douglas County Herald — and drop off our copy of the little book. I didn’t have to read the Almanac those years because while he was here he would tell me everything that was in it, that he thought I needed to know. The Almanac is now edited by Peter Geiger, a son I believe of Ray Geiger. But the amazingly accurate weather forecast is still provided by Caleb Weatherbee. Just in case you want to know, Weatherbee predicts this winter will have a “split personality.” The eastern third of the country will experience colder than normal temperatures, the western side will be warmer than normal, and the midsection where we live will be about normal. Now, if we only knew what normal is for this part of the country.
“All things considered,” Weatherbee says, “when comparisons to last year are made, we belive that for most, it will turn out to be a ‘kinder and gentler’ winter.”
The Almanac has a section on “Gardening by the Moon.” Crazy you say? I figure if the moon can affect the tides in the ocean, it probably affects other things, too.
I’ve never been one to check the “signs” before doing this or that, but I know those who do, and I’ll have to admit it works.
Whether it has to do with planting root crops or flowers, weaning calves or potty training a toddler, there’s something to be said for going to the almanac and checking the “signs.”
As for the Farmer’s Almanac, this little book contains some of the most interesting facts about things you really don’t care to know, like “Weird Presidential Trivia” and expiration dates on food. For example, did you know that, by law, only infant formula and certain baby foods are required to have dates stamped on them? Most foods are edible and completely safe after the “expiration date” has passed, although in some cases the taste may be affected.
On the other hand, if something doesn’t smell or taste right, don’t eat it even if it hasn’t reached the expiration date.
There’s also a section on outdated items, such as slide projectors and correction fluid. When’s the last time you used a rotary-dial telephone, or a typewriter, for that matter.
Here’s another one for you. Did you know you can burn up 200-230 calories per hour by cleaning house? Splitting firewood you can burn up to 500 calories per hour.
Now let’s go back to the weird presidential trivia. Bet you didn’t know John Adams and his family got lost on their way to the White House and wandered aimlessly in the woods for hours just because he was the typical male and would not ask for directions.
Zachary Taylor didn’t receive notification of his presidential nomination until several days after the fact due to his policy of refusing all postage-due correspondence.
There’s been lots of talk about George Washington’s dentures, but did you know he ordered daily teeth brushing for his six horses?
By the way, weather forecaster Caleb Weatherbee is a real person who lives somewhere in the United States. But his real name and true identity is kept a secret. We are pretty sure, however, that the Weatherbee who made the predictions for the 2011 Almanac did not make the predictions when the Almanac began back in 1818.