Editors' Musings


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

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

October 3, 2012

I recently listened to a wonderful talk about black bears given by biologist Ben Kilham, who has spent more than a decade studying these fascinating creatures. Black bears are a hot topic in my neck of the woods, as evidenced by the well-attended lecture hall that was standing-room-only by the time I arrived. From Ben, we learned that: Black bears have social hierarchies: Momma bear may have daughters and granddaughters that share her territory for food and shelter, but they must obey... more

July 21, 2011

How’s your garden growing this year? Please share below! I asked this question last year and learned so much from our Almanac community. Here are my 2011 update and a few tips. Despite the current heat wave (I feel for so many fellow gardeners!), my patch of New Hampshire had a nice, wet spring followed by more sun than we usually receive.  The weather gave my small, raised-bed garden (10 x 10 feet) a great start. I bought only a small bag of compost to mix into the soil and supplemented from... more

July 15, 2011

I love to watch the hummingbirds at my feeders. I have one close to my deck and the other one is hanging on my front porch. I make my own sugar water (1 part white sugar to 4 parts water) and usually have to fill the feeders twice a week. A couple of days ago I noticed wasps around one feeder and very little hummingbird activity. This feeder was red with yellow plastic flowers attached. A friend told me that wasps and bees are attracted to the color yellow. She suggested that I paint the... more

March 21, 2011

I recently attended an interesting lecture on outdoor container gardening at The Boston Flower and Garden Show. I thought I’d post some of the tips on how to create a basic planter. Whether you’re planting a container for outdoor flowers, vegetables, or herbs, the basic planter components can be the same. The trick is in the layering. Start with the right container. For example, a hanging container covered in moss provides drainage and ventilation. The size and material of your container... more

October 13, 2010

Late in the harvest, we often find some extra-large veggies. This morning, I finally pulled up a monster carrot that I’d been eyeing in my garden. (See pic below.) Just for fun, I’ll pick a “winning” photo on November 30 and send the winner The 2011 Old Farmer’s Almanac and an All-Seasons Garden Guide on November 30, 2010.   UPDATE: The winner for 2010 is … “Ruby and Opal” by Carl Wayne Hardeman. Congrats, Carl! There were so many great—and humorous—entries. It was Carl’s caption that clinched... more

September 6, 2010

As much as I love roasted Roma tomatoes, Tomato Tarte Tatin, which appeared in the August issue of Bon Appetit, has become my new second-favorite way to cook these plum-shaped fruits. This is a sweet, not savory, dish best enjoyed as dessert or a treat—not a vegetable side dish. My homegrown tomatoes are smaller than the market variety (we had a dry summer) so I used more and my taste is not as sweet as the BA chef’s, so I adjusted the butter and sugar down by roughly a third. The original... more

July 16, 2010

There is something special about summer reading. Sitting back in the porch rocker with a glass of iced tea sweating on the table next to you…heaven! Now imagine this– you are completely immersed in a book. You cannot put it down. You have totally unplugged yourself from the television, phone, and computer. You deprive yourself of sleep so you can read just one more chapter. And then you get to the last page. And you hate the ending! I recently found myself in this situation. I wish I’d stopped... more

July 16, 2010

Through the summer, I have suet hanging on a hook on my deck next to the hummingbird feeder. I can see the feeders from my kitchen table and have enjoyed the best bird watching in years. In addition to many hummingbirds, a downy woodpecker family has visited my deck every day. The mother and father have been taking such good care of the two babies (teenagers now). I have heard the hungry shrill screeches for food and seen mommy or daddy hurry to get some suet in their beaks to feed the starving... more

May 3, 2010

This past weekend, I hauled compost from the recycling center across the road. (I make my own but not enough for this space. It's best for pots.) I got four banana boxes from the supermarket and made, I think‚ 10 trips. Round trip was less than a mile and it was backbreaking work at 90+ degrees, but it enabled me to get some greens seeds in. One favorite is Cracoviensis, aka asparagus lettuce in some circles. The leaves grow in a swirl around a relatively thick stalk, which, to me, is the best... more


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