Monday, 4 July 2011

July Old Farmer's Almanac Posting (July 1911)

I thought it would be fun and interesting to see what the Old Farmer's Almanac of 1911 had to say for the month of July. I regret that I haven't a copy of the 1811 Old Farmer's Almanac - the earliest I have is 1814. But this is still a work in progress...

(I really, really, REALLY want to find them from the 1700s but not only have I not seen any - not even a replica - I suspect that for the worst-condition copy it will still be prohibitively expensive. That is just how this works!)

OK, so here it is:

Farmer's Calendar

"Remember to continue the succession plantings in the garden. Carry out your plans to sow a cover crop as soon as possible after any field is cleared. Cover crops conserve or accumulate nitrogen, keep down weeds, prevent erosion and the humus supplied will help the lighter soils to retain moisture.

Go about through your fields and commune with your crops. What makes the corn in this part of the field yellow? Why has it been found so difficult to keep Smart Weed from growing in that spot? These are but examples among innumerable questions to which you should seek an answer. Having found the answer you will probably discover that the cause is removable, and will no doubt lay your plans at this time to prevent a repetition of the difficulty. Resolve now that another year those parts of your fields which are the poorest shall be equal to the best. If you have confidence in your land and in your business the result will justify it, providing you intelligently study conditions and judiciously and energetically carry out all needed improvements. Too often the farmer's money is invested in stocks or bonds of questionable value rather than put into the land, which would make safer and better returns.

When driving, don't keep twitching your horse's mouth with the reins in the fruitless endeavor to make him go faster."

The sense of humour that comes with these same pages now is not there. But I'll have to put in one of the "Farmer's Calendar" from the 1800s that is much more preachy than this. As serious as the writing was, it was funny that the author was haranguing the reader in those pages.

There is no Sky Watch section for each month in the 1911 - Almanacs were considered a serious household utility that governed all aspects of farming. The kind of interesting, fun-pact Almanacs that I'm used to really have done the heavy development in the [as far as I know] 1950s, 1960, 1970s and through to 2003m when it was first released in book format. It does have the phases of the Moon but I see no reason to post figures that happened a century ago.

This Almanac does not list Pluto, which was discovered by Percival Lowell in 1930. It has the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Vesta, Juno, Pallas and Ceres (the last four are asteroids that are big enough to be seen with binoculars or the naked eye - Vesta is coming into view the end of this month, as it happens.)

On coincidence is that Earth was at aphelion on 3 July 1911 & 2011. Too bad perihelion didn't match up!

Just for fun, let's see what other fun tidbits are here...

After one gos through the twelve months of statistics and Moon and tides settings, then there is two pages listing all "Colleges, Business & Normal Schools. I haven't the faintest why, in case that's what your wondering. When I have time to research this better, I will. Then there are four pages listing courts by state. Curious... I guess the telephone was very new then, so other media had to be used. This is it! Then there is a table on Receipts & Disbursements Year ending June 30, 1910; the second table was Public Debt Statement, July 31, 1910 and the third was Circulation statement - August 1, 1910. The Circulation Statement had to do with the gold treasury (including bullion in treasury), gold certificates, standard silver dollars, silver certificates, subsidiary silver, treasury notes of 1890, United States notes and National bank notes. It showed how much general stock of money in the U.S., Held assets of the government, money in circulation as of Aug. 1, 1910 and money in circulation as of Jan. 1, 1879. (I don't know why that is significant to print in the Old Farmer's Almanac, but there it is.)

There are lists of cost for purchasing postal money orders, carriage fares in Boston and holidays in New England.

Flip the page and there is an article on Halley's Comet from its return in 1909 - 1910 (oh, what a show I missed! I saw its return in 1986 but only because I was taking an astronomy class to graduate high school and we went to the observatory on Garrett Mountain to see its passing Jupiter. That's pretty much as close as it got. Not the most phenomenal sighting. Not to worry, it will return in mid-2061, when I will be a young 92. I'll be sure to be out there with my then-telescope to see it) and how delightful it was. They documented everything about it and mentioned that in January 1911, it will be 355,000,000 miles [or 3.7 AU] from the sun.

Under that was an article entitled "White Diarrhea of Young Chickens". Apparently that is a disease among chickens. Who knew... I won't bore you with those salacious tidbits of information...

On the following page there is the World's Product of Gold & Silver, and Trans-Atlantic Passenger Service. Flip that, there is an article on Nebulae, then on the opposite page there is "Improving Pastures" and "Jerusalem Artichokes" (I'll read "The Nebulae", but can skip the other two.). Flip it again, and we have "Dutch Bulbs", "Available Nitrogen in Fertilizers". It continues on with different astronomy viewings (I'll read the one called "Comet 1910", not about Halley's Comet, of which was named by Edmund Halley in 1705, who determined its periodicity - every 74 - 76 years.)

What is eerie and by this time they'd stopped printing this information was when the final pages had information of slaves printed in it. New England did not have slavery, but yet there it was - years worth. I have all of the 1840s, 1850s (except 1850), 1860s and 1870s (except 1878). I have all of the 1880s to 1891, but then I am missing 1891, 1892, 1894, 1895, 1898 (a particularly desired year since my grandfather was born then. I also want 1895 (two copies - one for me and one to send to my former manager at Baltusrol, the year it was founded).

I have most of the 1900s, but am still looking for 1901, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1920 - 1924, 1927, 1928 - 29, 1933 - 34, all of the 1950s except 1952 and 1958, and 1960. In the earliest releases, well, the gaps are huge. I'm missing 1792 (its first year) through 1813, 1815, 1817 - 18, 1820s except 1827 and 1829, 1830 - 32, and 1837 - 1847. Once I get all of those, I'll have all (as of now) 219 periodicals. Of course, as one gets closer to the 1790s - 1820s, the cost goes up. Unless the copies are in less-than-perfect condition, but I haven't seen any in mint condition that early. Even the crappy ones are going for a fair amount, due solely on their age. I have not seen any dating in the 1790s. I cringe to think of the cost of those...

But some day...

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