Cornpone plus: Ye Olde Farmer’s Almanac

Summer’s over. The calendar says fall. But people are already talking about winter — that magical time of year in New England that starts any day now and overstays its welcome by a fistful of calendar pages.

Fortunately, the new Old Farmer’s Almanac is here!

Chock full of can’t-miss long-range forecasts, Yankee wisdom and timely tips on how to grow a prize-winning, 600-pound radish, this old-timey little tome with the busy, pale yellow cover has everything we need to endure, persevere, even thrive right through the winter and on into spring.

A marvel of modern publishing, the almanac offers very specific information (P. 248) on the “Best Days for 2014” to: “quit smoking,” “cut hay,” “have dental care” or “castrate animals.”

The sheer variety of information is staggering. From the tides and the terra firma to the stars — to the winners of the 2013 Beet Recipe Contest. The Husbandry section dishes out info on “gestation and mating habits” of a menagerie of farm animals. Vegetable gardeners learn the three most important words are: Rotation. Rotation. Rotation.

Some farming folklore anyone? I quote: To make a plant grow, spit into the hole you have dug for it. Sleet in February portends a good apple crop. Plant corn after the first woodpecker appears.

This year’s edition even offers the helpful feature “How to Get Bitten by a Pet.” Trends for 2014 include the rise of robotic farming equipment and “vibrating forks that tell us to eat more slowly.”

Even the ads are priceless. “RINGING in the EARS? GREAT NEWS For You!” Another one — for Athena Pheromones that boost your attractiveness to the opposite sex — is deceptively honest (“Not guaranteed to work for everyone”).

This must-have booklet has been coming out every year since a guy named George W. was president. (You know, wooden teeth? Cherry tree?)

That’s right. The year was 1792 when Robert B. Thomas — a schoolteacher, book-seller and amateur astronomer in Boston — cranked out the first Farmer’s Almanac. It’s now produced in Dublin, N.H.

Strangely, there is also a rival Farmer’s Almanac published since 1818 — founded in New Jersey and now printed out of Lewiston, Maine. So legend has it Mr. Thomas added “Old” to the title of his Almanac in 1832.

Now I’m thinking I want to get into the almanac game as well. Since there’s already a Farmer’s Almanac and an Old Farmer’s Almanac, I’ll need an original name to avoid any confusion.

So I’m thinking of calling mine the New Old Farmer’s Almanac. Better yet, and classier, Ye Olde Farmer’s Almanac (est. 2013).

First up — spoiler alert — my long-range forecast.

Winter 2013-14: The first snowstorm will be kind of fun and picturesque. The second one might even have that quaint New England winter feel. But the barrage of squalls, blizzards and nor’easters over the subsequent 5-6 months will pretty much blow.

My extended winter forecast for the nation’s midsection also calls for roughly 1-2 inches of seasonal blubber.

In addition to dishing inside dirt on where to score this year’s hottest designer topsoil, my almanac is brimming with golden nuggets of homespun lore on topics including, but not limited to, mulch, cornpone and milking the donkeys.

Autumn prediction: Leaves on trees throughout the Northeast will turn a rainbow of brilliant colors — prompting tourists to travel from far and wide to see and photograph this so-called “foliage.”

Springtime predictions: The shocking, violent death of a beloved Pennsylvania groundhog will prompt calls for stricter limits on “varmint rifles.”

Holiday news: Thanksgiving will come at the regularly scheduled time this year, despite attempts by tea party Republicans to shut it down unless Congress repeals Obamacare.

Astronomy: Jupiter’s rings will be visible in the night sky Feb. 9-12. Now, sharp-eyed readers might point out that the planet Jupiter does not have any rings. Well, you heard it here first — Jupiter is due to sprout rings in early 2014. Mars will follow with rings of its own in mid-2016. But Earth is expected to remain ring-free until at least 2020.

Down on the farm: City slickers can learn about an amazing invention capable of turning ants and insects into eggs. It’s called a frickin chicken.

Recipes: Tantalize your friends and family with delicious recipes for ferret pot pie and lima bean cobbler.

Social life: Your one-stop guide to the hottest chemical-free quilting bees in the tri-county region and good times at the Grange Hall.

Our indispensable how-to section includes an array of timely tips: How to whittle like a pro. How to ward off magpies using only a shotgun, pistol or AK-47. And how to hold your stockings up using ordinary household garter snakes.

But wait, there’s more.

Shocking information about the skyrocketing cost of milk thistle and the looming worldwide shortage of pinking shears.

Updates on a new strain of lime disease. Plus warnings about the threat of the Japanese cherry dung beetle, the destructive five-alarm firefly and the dreaded Super Bowl weevil.

Inspirational quotes from such American icons as Will Rogers, Mark Twain and Tony Danza.

Also: What to do when the twister comes. Feng shui your pig sty. And safety tips from Marvin “Three-Finger” Stubbs.

Apart from some confusion in the Want Ads involving a gentleman seeking a hoe, my inaugural Ye Olde Farmer’s Almanac is receiving rave reviews from fewer than millions of readers.

Order yours today! Operators are standing by. Offer void where prohibited. Please allow 6-8 years for delivery.

— John Breneman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *