250 years of wit and wisdom wroth revisiting in Farmer's Almanac


Two longtime American almanacs full of wit, wisdom and weather are celebrating milestones. The Old Farmer's Almanac from New Hampshire is marking its 225th anniversary and the Farmer's Almanac in Maine is ringing in its 200th.

Here are some excerpts from the early days, with some spellings modernized for today's readers:


"As to my judgment of the weather, I need say but little; for you will in one year's time, without any assistance of mine, very easily discover how near I have come to the truth."

— Robert B. Thomas, in his preface to the first edition of "The (Old) Farmer's Almanac in 1793.

Beauty remedy

"To cure a pimpled Face, and sweeten the Blood:

Take jena, one ounce; put it in a small stone pot, and pour a quart or more of boiling water on it; then put as many prunes as you can get in, cover it with paper and set it in the oven with household bread; and take of this every day, one, two, three or more of the prunes and liquor, according as it operates; continue this for at least half a year."

— The (Old) Farmer's Almanac, 1793.

Practical advice

"Economics: How to save expense in clothing. Purchase that which is at once decent, and the most durable; and wear your garment despite the frequent changes of fashion till it becomes too defaced to appear decent, then turn it and wear it thenceforth as long as it protects the body. A blue coat is as warm after fashion requires a green one as it ever was."

— Farmer's Almanac, 1848.


"The Art of Kissing: Don't peck a woman on the forehead or end of the nose, or jerk at her bonnet strings in haste to get through. ... Draw her gently and lovingly to your heart. Don't be in a hurry."

— Farmer's Almanac, 1896.

August folklore

"Observe on what day in August the first heavy fog occurs, and expect a hard frost on the same day in October. If the first week of August is unusually warm, The winter will be white and long."

— Farmer's Almanac

Goose-bone method

"Back around the turn of the last century, in the days before the National Weather Service, the so-called goose bone method was a famous weather-forecasting technique.

Around Thanksgiving, Grandma would cook a freshly killed goose. ... After the goose had been eaten, she would carefully remove the breastbone and cut away all the meat and fat left clinging to it and put it on a shelf to dry, keeping an eye out for the coloration that would follow. If the bone turned blue, black, or purple, a cold winter lay ahead: White indicated a mild winter; Purple tips were a sure sign of a cold spring; A blue color branching out toward the edge of the bone, meant open weather until New Year's Day; If the bone was a dark color, or blue all over, the prediction was for a real bad winter.

That's it. And there was even an explanation. An overall dark color meant that the bird had absorbed a lot of oil, which acted as a natural protection against the cold. The darker the blue coloring, the tougher the winter ahead would probably be."

— The (Old) Farmer's Almanac, 1980


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