Some say that almanacs have been around for thousands of years, but perhaps the oldest American almanac most people are familiar with is Poor Richard’s Almanac published by Benjamin Franklin long before he fiddled with kites and string or became our Ambassador to France. Baer’s Almanac is new to me, but the editor’s give a bow to Franklin with a few of the aphorisms that helped to make him popular. How about “A slip of the foot, you may soon recover: but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.” At least not in our minds, as those of us who have agonized over a mis-spoken or ill considered remark.
In these hard economic times “A light purse is a heavy curse,” is something many of us have knowledge of.
But Baer’s looks forward as a good almanac must — to weather prognostications, national and church holidays and anniversaries. Did you know that the first sperm whale was caught at sea by Christopher Hussey in 1711, marking the birth of an important industry? I am always interested in library anniversaries; in 1911 the magnificent New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue was finally dedicated.
Of course, while general information and amusing trivia have long been important to almanac readers, agricultural and gardening information is what I look for first. There is advice on planting dates, information about the 10 easiest plants to grow from seed, important pollinators and trends. No surprise to me that most of the gardeners who planted their first vegetable garden in 2010, said they will increase the size of that garden this year. Times are hard, from food from the garden is a delight, not only a budgetary assist.
Baer’s has been published for 186 years, but it is not commonly seen at bookstores. If you’d like a copy send $7 to John Baer’s Sons, PO Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17608.