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Rules of Thumb

August 30, 2013

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A “rule of thumb,” according to Tom Parker, who has collected many hundreds from people in every state in the Union, “is a homemade recipe for making a guess . . . and falls somewhere between a mathematical formula and a shot in the dark.” We take a look at some of his examples from The 1985 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Rules of Thumb

Catching Crabs in Texas:
Crabbing season in Texas consists of all the months with the letter r in them. You can catch crabs during the other months, but they aren’t good to eat. –David Hechler, writer, Rockport, Texas

Weaning a Calf:
Wean a calf when it has gained 15 pounds over its birth weight. –Edward Dalrymple, dairy farmer

Calling in Sick:
In half of all cases, when an employee calls in sick, he’s actually sick. –Walter Pitkin, literary agent

Estimating the Size of Your Foot:
The distance from your elbow to your wrist equals the length of your foot. –Carla Corin, biologist, Eagle River, Alaska

Raising Pigs:
When a sow conceives, make a notch just above the Moon on your fingernail. When this marks grows off the end of the nail, the sow is about to give birth. –Doug Webb, Brooktondale, New York

The Survival Rule of Three:
You can live 3 seconds without blood, 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. –Sandy Figuers, geologist, El Paso, Texas

The Traveling Rule of Two:
When traveling, take twice the money and half the clothes you think you will need. –Betsy Wackernagel, Ithaca, New York

The Cold Rule of Three:
It takes 3 days to get a cold, 3 days to have a cold, and 3 days to get over a cold. –Veronica Cunningham, chemist, Plattsburg, New York

The 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac will be available everywhere on September 10!

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