Thursday, January 3, 2008

A mating table, hex signs and pet ghosts: what more can you ask from a book?

If you want to really have fun with a book, pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. I first read this book as a girl in my grandmother’s kitchen. It’s become a lifelong habit. If I want to raise a crop of chickens or grow a bunch of herbs, this book has the info I need.

There are weather pages for each section of the U.S., and as far as I can tell, the forecasts are pretty accurate. The forecast missed Florida’s bitter cold weather over the last couple days, but at least it called for “cool” weather. One of my favorite tools lists sky watch events for each month. If I want to test my soil for pH preferences, I can learn the optimum range to bring bliss to my trees, shrubs, veggies and flowers.

There’s poetry too—each month has a verse at the beginning of the listing that also provides the names of Feast Days, exact sunrise and sunset, and all manner of other data.

This year there is a rather strange article about pet ghosts. It never occurred to me my dog might return from the other side. Also included in the book are recipes, trivia and any number of how-to instructions for all things related to homesteading.

I’ve developed a tradition of giving a copy to select loved ones each year. I really can’t assess the number of articles, poems and stories just reading this book has inspired. By the end of this year, my copy will be well-worn, that’s for sure.

So take my completely subjective advice and go pick up a copy and read for yourself. Of the hundreds of thousands of books printed each year, The Old Farmer’s Almanac is one of the most unheralded, un-reviewed, best books on the shelf. I think I'll try to find out if they need freelance writers.

(No financial compensation of any kind is derived from my comments about this product.)

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