Editors' Musings


About this Blog

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

September 14, 2016

It’s my favorite time of year again. Autumn is in the air. What signs of the seasons do you observe in your area?  Please share. Ever noticed how birds behave in autumn? Swallows Near the seacoast in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, masses of birds swarm above the ponds. They are tree swallows feeding on mosquitoes. It’s almost eerie to see the black clouds of small birds darkening the sky. Have you ever seen such a sight? It turns out that tree swallows gather in coastal locations to feed on... more

August 31, 2016

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. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s …? 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

May 20, 2016

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. Two Kinds of Cicadas Cicadas are grouped into two main types. The “nonperiodical” or “annual” type are found in many parts of North America and hang around each... more

May 17, 2016

Gardening in the woods can be a challenge, especially when you love plants and flowers. But the forest is where I choose to live; it provides great shelter for many birds and critters that we love to watch, so I don’t intend to clear the property of a lot of trees just to have a huge garden. Instead, my ultimate goal is to create a series of smaller gardens that blend with the existing landscape, which is full of ferns, mosses, and evergreens, and to use this natural growth to enhance some of... more

May 8, 2016

With a Phillips screwdriver and some inexpensive hardware-store washers that cost a dime or so, you’ll fix those annoying loose knobs and pulls on your kitchen cabinets in no time! Ten-cent Fix for a Loose Knob Most knobs and pulls are attached on the backside of your cupboard doors and drawers with a standard-length, threaded screw. When the door or drawer is not thick enough for the screw to tighten the knob flush against it, grasping that perpetually wobbly knob each day can be an enduring ... more

April 28, 2016

Read on for a surefire remedy for getting rid of hiccups that can strike a person anytime, anywhere!   It’s hard to forget the embarrassment of being attacked by hiccups in a library. From that moment, I vowed to share my no-fail, portable hiccup antidote with everyone I met. Best Cure for Hiccups Some hiccups just can’t be stopped by breathing into a paper bag, drinking water fast while holding your nose, or having someone suddenly scare you.  Fortunately, you can find the ultimate cure for ... more

April 19, 2016

You’re invited to our LIVE Pink Moon Show this Thursday evening, April 21, 2016! We, your Almanac editors, are hosting a free, 45-minute broadcast devoted to you, our Almanac community, and the Full Moon of April. This year, the April Full Moon is at “apogee” or furthest from the Earth, but you’ll see it all vividly through SLOOH’s giant telescope in the Canary Islands, Spain, where there are dark skies!  Pretty cool. Sit in your own home. The lens of your eyes will be enhanced by the lens of a... more

April 1, 2016

Sap buckets hang on maple trees all around our small town of Dublin, New Hampshire. The buckets are everywhere—at the local school, in neighbors’ woods, and along the road. Sugar’s sweet, but sap is sappier; Cold nights make the farmers happier! –The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1989 When I drive by one of our local sugarhouses, Morning Star Maple, and see steam billowing, I know that they’re boiling the sap. I quickly pull over and walk in for a free tasting of this liquid gold. Last week, I stopped... more

March 18, 2016

LIVE this Saturday night! It’s the March Equinox 2016 show!   OK, this is not “Saturday Night Live” you may know. It’s more of a “Celebrate Spring” party! Ready to have some fun? Live on Saturday! Here at the Almanac, we’re hosting a live show to celebrate spring this Saturday, March 19 at: 2PM PDT / 5PM EDT.  It’s a half-hour and free! (Some people asked whether the equinox is on March 20.  It depends on your time zone. For many North Americans, it falls on Saturday; for others on Sunday. See... more

February 6, 2016

I love ferns, fiddleheads, and fauna. 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... more


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