Editors' Musings

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About this Blog

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

July 18, 2017

The peonies in my backyard always have ants crawling on the flower buds. Many people think ants are a pest on peonies.  A popular myth that ants “tickle the buds” or “lick the sugar” to help them open is not really true. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless. They are NOT needed to “open” flower buds. They are attracted to the sugary droplets on the outside of flower buds (nectaries) or to the honeydew produced by scale insects (discussed below). The blossoms would open regardless... more

July 16, 2017

Ready for a road trip? Here are eight places to see the 2017 total solar eclipse at its finest. From wide-open western skies to small towns to the eclectic, there are some great destinations for eclipse watchers. You can only see the total solar eclipse from a location which is on the “path of totality,” a 70-mile band that crosses the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. (See an interactive eclipse map showing duration of totality of any place.) On this path, the Sun will be completely... more

July 4, 2017

Ever wondered how books are made? The Almanac for Kids is hot off the press, just in time for summer reading! Take a peek inside the printing process and then take a look inside the book! A Very Short History of Printing People have been reading books for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians pounded the stems of papyrus to make sheets of paper-like material and then wrote on it. They also glued papyrus sheets together to make scrolls. Eventually, people shifted from scrolls to pages by either... more

May 11, 2017

What should you do in case of a power outage? Here’s some advice on preparing for and enduring any emergency outage. The best way to get through a power outage is to avoid it altogether. Investing in a home generator can save you a lot of time and stress during emergency outages, as it can keep your heat and light running when you really need it. If you can’t get a generator, here are some more power outage survival tips: How to Have Light in a Power Outage Attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark... more

February 21, 2017

Here are tips to learn how to predict a frost, differentiate between a light frost and a hard freeze, and protect your garden from frost. 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. Or, find out the frost dates using your zip code. Keep in mind that frost can vary greatly by... more

January 11, 2017

Wonder what’s soaring in the sky? It may be a bird of prey.  Here are pictures of a few common raptors to help you identify them! I had the opportunity to see four live birds of prey at a presentation by the Indiana Raptor Center—a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitation of sick and injured birds of prey. First, it’s important to know what is meant by “bird of prey.” They are predatory birds which kill their food—with their feet! At the end of their toes are talons—needle-sharp... more

December 14, 2016

New Year’s resolutions have a long history. The month of January was named for the two-faced Roman god, Janus, who looks forward for new beginnings as well as backwards for reflection and resolution.  New Year’s History In fact, the practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back to ancient times. In 2000 B.C., the Babylonians celebrated the New Year for 11 days (starting with the vernal equinox). One popular resolution was the returning of borrowed farm equipment (which makes sense for an... more

October 20, 2016

Cook up a Halloween dinner for something fun! Here is an easy Halloween menu with three recipes for a main dish, scary punch drink, and creepy dessert! Jack-O’-Lantern Hamburger Pie This hearty main meal is easy because you use prepared refrigerator pie crusts. Just make a meatloaf mix such as our Bonnie’s Meatloaf recipe but instead of shaping it into a loaf, put the mix into a pie crust. Take a second pie crust, cut out a jack-o’-lantern’s face, and place the crust top of meat mix. Bake at... more

October 18, 2016

Make our own Halloween Makeup out of pantry potions. Here’s recipes to paint your face, make fake blood, and more! My son was trying to decide between Dracula and Frankenstein. The masks in the party stores were so expensive. Plus, he hates wearing masks because they block his vision and get very hot! He usually ends up taking the masks off. This is a great solution. Try it! Paint Your Face! For each paint color, you will need: paper cup 1 teaspoon cornstarch ½ teaspoon cold cream ½ teaspoon ... more

October 11, 2016

It’s time again to shine the spotlight on a certain caterpillar—the woolly worm! According to folklore, this fuzzy fellow has the ability to predict the weather. Also called the woolly bear caterpillar, the banded woolly bear, or just woolly worm, he’s the larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella). In terms of appearance, the caterpillar has segments of either rusty brown or black.  Often, he is black with more rust segments in the middle, although he might be almost all black or... more

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