The forecast for Weyburn for the upcoming winter will be cold and snowy, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It is a forecast many go by, with the historic publication having a roughly 80 percent accuracy rate. However, how did they become such an authority on the weather, and what exactly is the Old Farmer’s Almanac?
“The Old Farmer’s Almanac Canadian edition, which is different from the U.S. edition – but has the same origin – is really a compendium of many different things,” explained Jack Burnett. He is the managing editor of the annual book. “Weather is only five or six percent of it.”
The Old Farmer’s Almanac has its roots back in the 18th century in Boston, Burnett continued. Founded 232 years ago, it is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, and the founder, Robert B. Thomas, wanted to provide useful information with a degree of humour, something that is embraced by the book to this day.
“Back in the day, farmer’s almanacs of all types, they were like the Google of their day,” Burnett said. “They had stagecoach routes, and when universities would be on vacation.” They also included information like postal rates, growing advice, harvesting advice and more.
The book has continued to have a strong following in southeast Saskatchewan throughout the years.
“We’re happy to help out people in southern Saskatchewan, and we know from our voicemails, and the emails and snail mails, and comments on our website and so on, that right in the Weyburn area we have hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of members of our ‘family’, so we’re always happy to be able to reach them and let them know that there’s more good stuff on the way this year,” said the editor.
Burnett pointed out that over more than two centuries, the Old Farmer’s Almanac has evolved, but the goal has been to maintain the same balance. The book continues to have articles and pages on gardening, food, history, astronomy, folklore and home remedies as well as contests. One of those contests is making a comeback as well.
“This year, we’re repeating a puzzle that we ran in the 1824 Old Farmer’s Almanac,” Burnett stated. “Two hundred years ago, ten people got it right, so we’re going to see how many people in North America get it right this time.”
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