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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Don’t Forget to Fall Back!

Tomorrow night marks the end of Daylight Saving Time and the beginning of Standard Time. This is the time of year when, at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning (or before you go to bed on Saturday night, if you’re not a night owl), we all turn our clocks back one hour, resulting in an extra hour to sleep, read the morning paper, or do just about anything else you might enjoy. Don’t get too excited, though. You’ll have to pay it back come spring.

The return of Standard Time means the Sun will rise a little earlier (at least according to our clocks), which may please the early risers of the world. On the other hand, it also means evening will come earlier, too. Here in Maine, Standard time means the Sun has already gone to bed by the time most of us are leaving work for the day.

Many countries around the world observe Daylight Saving Time, which was widely adopted during World War I as a means to conserve energy. Benjamin Franklin was the first person to suggest something like Daylight Saving Time when he wrote a letter recommending that people save on candles by simply adjusting their sleep schedules to match the Sun. He didn’t propose Daylight Saving Time, exactly, because time wasn’t as important in his day as it soon became. Businesses, transportation, radio and television broadcasts, and so much more rely on exact time in a way that couldn’t have been comprehended in Franklin’s time.

Since Daylight Saving Time was introduced here, lawmakers have, on occasion, seen fit to fiddle with it. This happened in the 70s, during the oil crisis, and again just a few years ago. Starting in 2007, Daylight Saving Time got longer, beginning in March and ending in November, instead of April and October, respectively. At that time, we published a crusade recommending what we thought was a better way.

All of this reminds me of an anecdote that you hear every year around this time. “After hearing about Daylight Saving Time and the reason for it, and old Indian said, ‘Only the white man would believe that you could make a blanket longer by cutting off the top and sewing it onto the bottom.’” Ha! It makes sense, but I still enjoy those late summer evenings.

Comment below to let me know what you think of our suggestion for Daylight Saving Time, what you think of changing the clocks in general, or to share what you plan to do with your extra hour.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.