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If somebody walked up to you and offered to predict the weather for the next year (or even for the coming winter), you’d probably be looking for a way out of the conversation, right? So, what can be said about folks who have been doing a surprisingly good job at it for 224 years?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac was first published in 1792 by Robert B. Thomas “For the year of our Lord, 1793”. George Washington was President and a copy could be purchased for a “sixpence”…about 9 cents. It has appeared every year since and is today the oldest continuously-published periodical in America.
Wikipedia defines an almanac to be an “annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, tide tables, and astronomical data.” There were lots of almanacs already in publication when Mr. Thomas introduced his, but the Old Farmer’s quickly became the most popular and it has withstood the test of time. Some attribute this success to Mr. Thomas’s witty and creative nature. His vision was for his almanac to be “useful, with a pleasant degree of humor”, and he continually made improvements…like drilling a hole through the upper left corner to facilitate hanging on a string or nail. Legend has it that well-equipped outhouses of the day had a current edition for reading…and the expired edition for “other” purposes.
The real reason that more folks chose the Old Farmer’s, though, was the long-range weather forecasts…they were the best around. “Accurate 80-85% of the time” was a phrase often used. Again, legend has it that this is the result of a complex set of formulas incorporating natural cycles that Mr. Thomas developed to produce his forecasts…and which remain a closely-guarded secret to this day. Yankee Publishing, the current owner of Old Farmer’s, preserve’s Mr. Thomas’s original notes & instructions in a tin box at their headquarters in Dublin, NH. His wisdom continues to be a central part of their annual weather forecasting process to this day.
Kind of a neat story, huh? So…why do we care? Well, the new 2015-2016 winter forecast is hot off the presses and the folks in Dublin are calling for a big ol’ cold & snowy season here in the northeast! All lovers of snow sports rise up and proclaim HUZZAH!
It would be uncool of us to pilfer the details and report them here. For that information, you’ll need to procure your own copy, which you can do by visiting www.almanac.com. It’s not “sixpence” anymore, but it’s a great read for a very fair price.
For now, just kick-back, soak-up this summer heat, and savor the fact that Mr. Thomas and his minions are calling for much whiteness in less then 100 days. Life is good!
From The Slopes
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Malone, NY 12953-5927
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