Logo

    Farmer's Almanac: Literature to Poop To

    The Farmer's Almanac, although not as accurate as modern technology, serves as a reminder of our agrarian past and offers a respite from the modern world, emphasizing the importance of nature and alternative forms of knowledge.

    enAugust 22, 2023

    About this Episode

    The Farmer's Almanac has a long rich history that is more than just moon phases and long-term weather patterns. Tune in to learn all about it. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • People's interests and experiences can sometimes surprise you, leading to unexpected connections and discoveries.
    • The Old Farmer's Almanac is a unique publication that offers a wide range of content, including farming advice, weather forecasts, and entertainment, making it a valuable resource for planning and preparation.
    • Almanacs have a rich history dating back to the medieval era and have been both informative and satirical. They have played a significant role in literary and cultural history.
    • Pursuing your passions and taking risks can lead to unexpected opportunities and outcomes.
    • The Farmer's Almanac's success lies in its clever writing style, consistent content, and ability to adapt, creating a comforting and familiar experience for readers for over 230 years.
    • Both the old and new Farmer's Almanac have a rich history and rivalry, but both offer valuable information for farmers and enthusiasts.
    • The Farmer's Almanac has evolved over time, from being distributed through businesses to being sold in retail stores, with successful campaigns to generate attention and discussion.
    • The USPS and Almanac both have fascinating histories intertwined with customer preferences and rivalries, showcasing the audacity and unique stories behind these institutions. The Almanac also played a role in a trial involving Abraham Lincoln.
    • Despite the advancements in modern weather prediction, the Farmer's Almanac remains popular and reliable with its 80% accuracy rate, captivating readers and selling millions of copies.
    • The Farmer's Almanac may not be as reliable as it claims, using generalizations instead of specific forecasts, but its popularity persists due to people's desire for consistency and nostalgia.
    • The Farmer's Almanac, although not as accurate as modern technology, serves as a reminder of our agrarian past and offers a respite from the modern world, emphasizing the importance of nature and alternative forms of knowledge.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Benefits of a Composting Toilet for Camping Comfort

    Having a composting toilet can be a convenient addition to a camping setup, especially for those who prefer not to squat in the woods. Chuck installed a composting toilet at his camp to make it more comfortable for everyone and to encourage more people to go camping there. Additionally, Chuck added an old farmer's Almanac to the outhouse as a fun and common reading material. Although not particularly interesting for kids, Chuck's grandmother, who was a backyard farmer, believed in the value of the farmer's Almanac. This unexpected revelation about Yumi's childhood reading habits highlights the fact that people can have surprising interests and experiences. In the end, Josh decided to order himself a farmer's Almanac as well.

    The Old Farmer's Almanac - A Trusted Source of Useful Information and Entertainment for Over 200 Years

    The Old Farmer's Almanac is a long-standing and popular publication that provides a unique blend of useful information and entertainment. It has been continuously published since 1792, making it the oldest periodical in North America. The Almanac offers advice on farming, including when to plant crops and tips on cattle, as well as astronomical charts, recipes, jokes, and poetry. However, its main draw is the long-range weather forecasts, which are claimed to be 80% accurate. People put a lot of trust in these forecasts, using them to plan their crops and prepare for future weather conditions. The Old Farmer's Almanac's mixture of folk wisdom, astrology, and legitimate astronomical data sets it apart from other publications.

    The History and Influence of Almanacs

    Almanacs have a long and fascinating history. They originated in the medieval era, with medieval French astronomers inventing the term "Almanac" in the 13th century. These handwritten books became popular for their discussions on celestial bodies, moon phases, and other useful information. However, they were also widely satirized, starting with a French satirist in 1532. One of the most famous parody Almanacs was "Poor Richard's Almanac" published by Benjamin Franklin, which contained both humor and helpful information. Franklin's Almanac even coined phrases that are still in use today. The craze for Almanacs continued in the late 18th century when Robert Bailey Thomas, inspired by his love for astronomy and science, decided to publish his own. This shows that Almanacs have been a significant part of literary and cultural history.

    Chasing Dreams on Unconventional Paths

    Sometimes pursuing your dreams requires taking unconventional paths. Josh decided to chase his dream and enrolled at a lesser-known mathematics school in Boston. Despite the school's now-judged reputation, it provided him with the necessary knowledge to create astronomical charts for his Almanac. Following a logical sequence of events, Josh's background as a farmer's son, interest in science, and work experience as a book binder and teacher all led him to this path. He published his Almanac, called The Farmer's Almanac, in 1793, containing a variety of useful and entertaining information in just 46 pages. He took a risk and followed his passion, ultimately achieving success. This story reminds us that taking the road less traveled can lead to unexpected opportunities and outcomes.

    The enduring legacy of the Farmer's Almanac: wit, engaging content, and timeless appeal.

    The Farmer's Almanac, despite being centuries old, has managed to stay popular and relevant due to the wit and clever writing style of its creator, Robert Bailey Thomas. While he didn't invent the concept of the Almanac, his interesting and engaging content touched a nerve with readers, leading to its continued success for over 230 years. The Almanac's contents, such as gardening advice, home remedies, poetry, math puzzles, and jokes, have remained consistent throughout its history, providing readers with a familiar and comforting experience. It is worth noting that even today, the Almanac incorporates interactive elements, such as math problems, to engage its audience. This timeless appeal and adaptability have contributed to the enduring legacy of the Farmer's Almanac.

    The History and Rivalry of Farmer's Almanac

    The Farmer's Almanac has a long and storied history, with different editors and name changes over the years. It was originally founded in 1792 as the old Farmer's Almanac and later changed to the Farmer's Almanac. However, in 1832, it was renamed back to the old Farmer's Almanac due to competition. The rivalry between the old Farmer's Almanac and the other Farmer's Almanac has continued for centuries, with both publications trying to outdo each other. Despite their differences, they both provide valuable information and insights for farmers and enthusiasts. So, whether you prefer the old or the new, both Almanacs have a wealth of knowledge to offer.

    The Farmer's Almanac's history and marketing strategies explained.

    The Farmer's Almanac has had a long and interesting history, with various marketing strategies used to keep it relevant. One key difference mentioned is that in the past, the Almanac was primarily sold through businesses, who would brand it and give it out as a promotional item. This changed in 1994 when the Almanac started being sold in retail stores as well. The conversation also highlights the efforts of Ray Geiger, who ran the Almanac for 60 years and was known for his extensive interviews and national campaigns. These campaigns aimed to generate attention and discussion around various topics, such as moving Thanksgiving or using coins instead of paper dollars. One successful campaign was to keep place names on postmarks instead of replacing them with numerical codes. Overall, the conversation sheds light on the history and marketing strategies of the Farmer's Almanac.

    USPS and Almanac: Unique Histories and Rivalries

    Both the USPS and Almanac have interesting backstories. The USPS decided to keep place names on postmarks after realizing that customers preferred the personal touch over robotic numbering systems. As for Almanac, both the regular farmer's Almanac and the old farmer's Almanac claim to have originated the hole in the top left corner. It turns out that customers were nailing a nail through the Almanac and hanging it from a hook. Despite both Almanacs having the same story, they both assert that they were the ones to start the practice. This rivalry exemplifies the unique history and audacity of the farmers' Almanac. Additionally, there was a trial involving Abraham Lincoln known as the Almanac trial, where the Almanac had a significant role.

    The Farmer's Almanac: A Timeless Guide to Long-Range Weather Forecasts

    The reliability and popularity of the farmer's Almanac stem from its long-range weather forecasts. Despite the availability of modern weather prediction tools, people still buy and depend on the Almanac for its 80% accuracy rate. The Almanac covers different regions in the US and Canada for up to a year or more in advance. It is interesting to note that the old Farmer's Almanac was believed to have a secret formula for weather prediction created by Robert Thomas, the founder. However, upon investigation, editor Janice Stillman discovered that there were no secret formulas, only handwritten notes about the weather by Thomas. Nevertheless, the Almanac continues to captivate readers and sell millions of copies each year.

    The Farmer's Almanac: A Popular But Questionable Predictor of Weather

    The Farmer's Almanac, despite its historical popularity, may not be as accurate as it claims to be. While it incorporates sunspot activity, which is not typical in meteorology, it still relies on generalizations and historical averages rather than specific forecasts. The Almanac's 80% success rate is questioned by meteorologists who argue that it is nearly impossible to accurately predict weather conditions a year in advance. Studies have consistently shown that The Farmer's Almanac falls short of its accuracy claims and often ranges below 80%. However, its enduring popularity can be attributed to people's desire for consistency and a nostalgic attachment to its traditional methods.

    The Farmer's Almanac: A Beloved Connection to Nature and Tradition.

    The Farmer's Almanac holds a significant cultural and historical value despite its accuracy for weather predictions. While modern technology can predict weather more accurately, the Almanac serves as a connection to an agrarian past and a reminder of the importance of nature. People still rely on it for planning their gardens or crops. The Almanac's longevity and folksy charm make it a beloved publication that should be preserved. It offers a respite from the modern world, allowing people to focus on the natural world and appreciate its beauty. Furthermore, it reminds us that there are different ways of thinking and being beyond technology. Ultimately, The Farmer's Almanac stands as a testament to our past and a reminder of the diversity of knowledge that exists.

    Recent Episodes from Stuff You Should Know

    Short Stuff: Hobo Signs

    Short Stuff: Hobo Signs

    By definition hobos are people who travel from town to town taking odd jobs as they go. But some towns are friendlier than others, and hobos developed a system of symbols they left one another to know what to expect from a town.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Stuff You Should Know
    enMay 22, 2024

    The Silurian Hypothesis

    The Silurian Hypothesis

    The idea that we aren’t the first advanced civilization to live on Earth sounds like a fringe theory, but it raises a good question: How can we be so sure that a civilization didn’t arise and die on Earth so long ago that any trace of it has been erased?

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Stuff You Should Know
    enMay 16, 2024

    Selects: How Stuttering Works

    Selects: How Stuttering Works

    Despite as much as one percent of the adult population having the condition, science doesn't actually know how stuttering works. The best it's come up with so far: there seems to be an issue between the physical process of speaking and the thought process that underlies it. Find out what science means by this in this classic episode.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Stuff You Should Know
    enMay 11, 2024