An almanac is a yearly publication that includes all sorts of information. The next time you’re at the library, grab an almanac and browse through it. If you can’t find one, you can always browse an almanac online.

You’ll be amazed to find tons of interesting information, such as weather predictions, the best dates for planting crops, when the sun will rise and set, the dates of eclipses and the times of tides. Almanacs even include such miscellaneous information as world records, population statistics, recipes, holiday trivia and predictions about trends in fashion, food, home decoration, technology and lifestyle for the upcoming year.

The oldest almanac in North America — The Old Farmer’s Almanac — has been published annually since 1792. In the early years of publication, the almanac cost approximately four cents!

Farmers, in particular, learned quickly to appreciate The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s weather forecast for the upcoming year. In order to determine the weather predictions for the next year, editor Robert B. Thomas first studied solar activity, astronomy and weather patterns.

He then used this information to develop a secret forecasting system. Current editors still use his system today!

Some people say the information is so secret that it is kept in a special box at the almanac’s offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.

So, just how accurate are the weather predictions in The Old Farmer’s Almanac? Well, there is some debate about that.

Although the editors admit that nobody can predict the weather with total accuracy, they claim an accuracy rate of 80 percent. Critics claim their accuracy rate is closer to 2 percent, while others say the forecasts are so vague there is no way to really tell.

If you’ve ever seen The Old Farmer’s Almanac, you might be curious about the hole in the corner. This special feature allowed subscribers to hang the book from a nail or a string.

Why would someone want to hang their almanac from a string? Believe it or not, The Old Farmer’s Almanac came before toilet paper, and many subscribers would hang their copy in their outhouse and tear out pages to use as toilet paper!

 

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is an almanac?
  • What kinds of information can you find in an almanac?
  • Why does The Old Farmer’s Almanac have a hole in the corner?

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Try It Out

Now that you know what an almanac is all about, it’s time to make your own! All you need are a few sheets of paper and some art supplies.

Imagine a farmer from the year 1792 has traveled through time to today’s modern world. In order to help him adjust to modern life, you will need to put together an almanac for your hometown.

Here are some things you might want to consider including in your almanac:

  • Climate: What is the climate of your hometown in spring, summer, autumn and winter? If you live in Arizona, you will have a very different climate than someone who lives in Minnesota. Need some help? You can find a lot of information on average temperatures in your area online.
  • Planting Dates: When is the best time of year to plant flowers and vegetables in your area? Does your family plant a garden in the spring? What types of plants and flowers grow well in your area? Include drawings or photos!
  • Recipe: Do you have a favorite family recipe you’d like to share in your almanac?
  • Miscellaneous: What special information about your area might be helpful to know? If you live near a beach, maybe you could include some information on surfing. If you live in a colder climate, you could provide information about skiing or sledding! Your farmer friend might also need some up-to-date tips on fashion trends. He would probably appreciate knowing he should pack a bathing suit for the beach and a snowsuit for the ski lift!

When you’re done, share your work with us! Email us your almanac or send a copy of your almanac to:

Wonderopolis HQ
325 West Main Street, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40202-4237

 

Still Wondering

In colonial America, the most popular book after the Bible was Poor Richard’s Almanac. Visit EDSITEment to explore 300 Years of Benjamin Franklin to learn more about this almanac’s author!

 

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