Califonia Bountiful

Old Farmer's Almanac: Everything under the sun, including the moon

Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012 California Bountiful magazine

The 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac combines a top-secret formula with old-fashioned know-how to predict the weather and provide tips for your home and garden.

The 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac combines a top-secret formula with old-fashioned know-how to predict the weather and provide tips for your home and garden.

If there was a theme for the 2012 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac, it would be "what's old is new again." The tried-and-true resource for more than 220 years predicts trends in hobbies and home décor, while also providing recommendations for life's daily challenges.

California Bountiful spoke to the almanac's associate editor, Amy Nieskens, to learn more about the book and glean a few nuggets of wisdom from the country's oldest published periodical.

Nieskens explained that Old Farmer's Almanac was established in 1792 by farmer and astronomer Robert B. Thomas. Thomas was enthralled by climatology and meteorology. This was fairly advanced thinking, considering at the time we had a president with wooden teeth and women used lemons as deodorant.

Thomas used his knowledge of climate-related science to analyze sunspots and create a secret formula that, combined with climatology and meteorology, was able to predict the weather. The formula is so precise it is still used today with what Nieskens reports is an 80 percent accuracy rate. The information is kept under lock and key in New Hampshire, where not even some almanac editors have access to it.

Old Farmer's Almanac may be more than two centuries old, but it has leaped into the 21st century with both feet, Nieskens said. Fans can now "follow" the almanac on Facebook to receive recipes and a daily dose of what she describes as the book's "pleasant degree of humor."

In the "2012 At A Glance" section, the book states that things once considered old-fashioned will be back in style, including canning your own fruits and vegetables, as well as panning for gold. The almanac also predicts that there will be more vending machines with fruits and veggies in packages that keep them ripe.

The wisdom within the book is shared by editors as well as readers. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks from the 2012 Old Farmer's Almanac:

In the kitchen:

  • To get the smell of garlic or onion off of your hands, rub your fingers on anything made of stainless steel (a pan, faucet or sink). You can also scrub your hands with fresh coffee grounds.
  • To clear the air of fish smell, hang a wet towel in the kitchen. The towel will absorb the odor.
  • If you've had a cooking faux pas in the kitchen or your house smells of smoke, try spreading lemon or orange peels around the room.

In the garden:

  • To deter deer from your rosebushes, combine 1 raw egg, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent and 1 gallon of water. Lightly spray the mixture over plants. Respray after rain.
  • To stop chipmunks, moles and squirrels from tunneling in your yard, sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil.
  • Use old ice cube trays, plastic trays from microwavable dinners or empty plastic pudding cups to start seeds. You can also use eggshell halves; once the seeds sprout, you can plant the seedling still in the shell.

If you'd like to submit article ideas, recipes or household tips for the 2013 Old Farmer's Almanac, visit the book's website and Facebook page, or email the editors at

Just 4 Kids!

The Old Farmer's Almanac 4 Kids is a fun book printed in full color without advertisements. Children can learn about caring for pets, complete puzzles and receive tips for their own gardening adventures. It's available at

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