Editors' Musings

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Your Old Farmer's Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments. too.

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August 21, 2014

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s …? There’s just something about a cloud, how it floats across the sky and constantly changes shape and size and color, drawing your eyes upward to watch, even for the briefest moment during a busy day. Sometimes you can find recognizable shapes in clouds, such as a sailboat, a spear of broccoli, or even a Tyrannosaurus rex. The term for this leisurely sleuthing activity is nephelococcygia, which is a word that comes from the Greek nephelo,... more

July 28, 2014

I love attending garden tours and shows. This past summer, I was entranced by a garden called “The Night Sky” at a garden show. (See my last post with pictures from the Chelsea Flower Show.) As soon as I saw “The Night Sky” garden, I couldn't wait to share with Almanac readers. Some of you may recall our story, “Create an Astronomical Garden,” from The 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac. Not only might you all appreciate the earth and sky theme, but I think many of us feel that the best gardens get us... more

June 1, 2014

This year, I had the fortune of visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in England—which is over one hundred years old. Wow! So inspiring and amazing beautiful. I brought back photos for your viewing pleasure—wherever you live! There was SO much to cover. On this page are just three of the large show gardens. We'd all love to hear which garden YOU like best. Please vote for one of the three gardens simply by commenting below. We can't wait to see which garden wins our “Almanac Readers’ Choice” ... more

December 11, 2013

Where I live, winter temperatures are often in the single digits. Whether your area is colder or warmer, keeping warm is a basic need that we all share. I've posted some tips—from both Almanac editors and readers—about how to stay warm. These aren't “big” projects like buying a new heating system—just inexpensive, resourceful ways to help you warm up now! 1. Dress in layers. Bundle up. Wear long underwear, sweaters, and even hats indoors. Remember the days of “sleeping caps”? They make sense... more

October 3, 2013

Ever walked the winding path of a labyrinth? My mother-in-law has created a beautiful outdoor garden labyrinth—and introduced me to this curious new trend that's also an old tradition. If you own land, perhaps you'd like to create your own labyrinth. Learn more … What is a Labyrinth? In a labyrinth, you follow a curving pathway that winds to a center. (Unlike mazes, which have false paths and dead ends, labyrinths are not designed to be difficult to navigate.) Once at the center, you simply... more

September 21, 2013

If you're a gardener who lives with frost, it's important to get your vegetables harvested in time. Here are tips on how to predict the arrival of Jack Frost. See average frost dates for your area. Click here for the U.S. Frost Chart and for the Canadian Frost Chart. Keep in mind that frost can vary greatly by microclimate. In fact, I had frost in my garden one year and my neighbor down the hill did not! Another year, I harvested all my tomatoes due to a frost warning that turned out to be a... more

July 17, 2013

Did you know that ferns have a prominent place in folklore? Ferns are an ancient family of plants—which first show up in fossil records from a time over 100 million years BEFORE dinosaurs walked the Earth. In fact, ferns grew before flowering plants existed. Long ago, people couldn't explain how ferns reproduced since they lack flowers or seeds. (Today we know that ferns reproduce from spores.) It was this mystery of the non-flowering fern that led to folklore about mystical flowers as seeds.... more

June 25, 2013

Wonder what's soaring in the sky? It may be a bird of prey. I had the opportunity to see four live birds of prey at a presentation by the Indiana Raptor Center and thought I’d share the experience with you. First, it’s important to know what is meant by “bird of prey.” These predatory birds kill their food—with their feet! At the end of their toes are talons—needle-sharp claws used to catch and kill prey. There is a channel down the back of each talon to help their prey bleed out. This may... more

May 16, 2013

Ever hosted a big group for a special occasion (other than the holidays) and wondered: Now what should I cook?  Recently, grandparents, aunts, and uncles visited from out of town for a family event—and I wanted to think of a dish worthy of the occasion. I decided it was time to go “all out” and make a “big” dish that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time: “TIMPANO!” “Timpano” is an Italian baked pasta dish that’s a meal in itself—a giant bowl of crust stuffed with delicious ingredients—... more

May 9, 2013

Cicadas do not have red coats like the colonial British soldiers had, but many sport red eyes and appear in large numbers. These large flying insects with broad heads and clear wings are often mistaken for locusts, but are more closely related to treehoppers and lack the large hind legs found in the majority of grasshoppers and locusts. Cicadas are grouped into two main types. The “nonperiodical” or “annual” type are found in many parts of North America and hang around each year in small... more


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