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Inside the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac

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In the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac you will find tons of curiosity-driven articles, helpful hints, weather and gardening advice and much more. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the articles you will read about in the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac:

Ever Wonder Why We Say The Things We Do?
Dead as a Doornail . . . . The phrase dead as a doornail harks back to the 14th-century Vision of Piers Plowman and to William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II. What’s so dead about a doornail?

To find out, we must look back through the centuries to the craft of carpentry. Long-ago carpenters would drive big-headed metal nails into the heavy studs surrounding doors to strengthen or beautify them. Because metal nails were precious then, the carpenters would hook the tip of the nail back to “clinch” the nail (as we clinch a deal). The nail was “dead,” meaning “fixed, rigid, immovable,” as in deadline and deadlock. Carpenters today still use the term “dead-nailing.”

It didn’t take long for the pun on “fixed, rigid, immovable” and “not alive” to become clinched in our language. . . .

Read more about word phrase origins (including hallmark, masterpiece, touchstone . . .) in Richard Lederer’s article, “Getting Down to Business: How commerce gave us “acid test,” “dead as a doornail,” and other common sayings” on page 26 of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

What Color is Your Water?
Beyond the vociferous fan base for alternative energy, there’s another small, but just as enthusiastic, environmental movement afoot–greywater reuse–the recycling of some water used in the home, especially for irrigating gardens and the landscape, or flushing the toilet.

Water-starved homeowners–driven by dwindling resources or the rising cost of water–are working with scientists and plumbers to find ways to use household water two times, three times or even more, before the water is allowed to percolate back into the water table…

Read more about Greywater in Farmers’ Almanac freelancer Jim Kneiszels’ article on page 44 of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

Make the Most of Your Meal Money

Make the Most of Your Meal Money

Make the Most of Your Meal Money
By Deborah Tukua

Making the most of your time, energy, and money is important in this busy world. This goes for grocery shopping and meal preparation as well. Here’s a strategy for stretching one meal into two or more and saving energy, preparation time, and money in the process–without skimping on taste or creativity.

Stretching One Meal into Many
Stretching one meal into many does not mean making one huge casserole or crock pot meal and eating that all week. It doesn’t limit creativity in meal planning or preparation either.

And it’s not about using just the cheapest cuts of meat. It’s about using good ingredients for more than one meal, of taking advantage of what is on sale, and of buying in bulk. Planning ahead and buying when items are on sale reduces eating expenses. So can shopping the discount stores and stocking your pantry with bargain dry goods. There is no need to have the same dish four times a week, if you prepare enough for two or more meals and freeze the surplus in meal-size portions. . .

Gain more tips and ideas on how to stretch your meals and grocerly dollars on page 50 of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

The Dirt on Germs
Could Your Home Be Brewing Up “Superbugs?”

Everyone knows germs are bad. So the best thing to do is fight them off with antibacterial soaps and cleaners, right? Not so fast! Recent research indicates that the use of antibacterial products can actually be making us more vulnerable to health problems. . . . for more dirt turn to page 185 in the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

What to do Now for a Better Lawn and Garden in the Sprin

What to do Now for a Better Lawn and Garden in the Sprin

What to do Now for a Better Lawn and Garden in the Spring.
Written by Glenn Morris

When the weather begins to cool down and the days shorten, there are things that you can do to prepare your lawn and garden for a better, greener spring next year. When to start and what to do is a matter of degrees (temperature degrees). Since northern gardeners generally have fewer of those (degrees), and a killing frost can arrive in mid-September, fall gardening begins in August. Gardeners living farther south can easily wait a month after that daunting start.

Here is a good checklist to follow . . . page 171 of the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

The Spirit of America(ns) as told by Ken Burns

Documentary Filmaker Ken Burns

Documentary Filmaker Ken Burns

For three decades, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has been exploring the people, places, and events that comprise the fabric of America. Whether the subject has been a bridge over the East River in New York, a five-year war between the states, or the transformative writer of the late 19th Century, the driving force at the heart of all his films has been what he describes as a “deceptively simple question: Who are we as a people?”

His latest project, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, is a six-part, 12-hour history of some of the most sacred and spectacular places in our nation, the efforts to preserve them in the face of competing interests, and the men and women who struggled to make sure that these lands were, indeed, “our lands.”

Farmers’ Almanac caught up with Burns in advance of the debut of his film, to talk about the national parks, the documentary, America, history, and more. Read the highlights in the 2010 Farmers’ Almanac.

Read the complete interview here »

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 1919, 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.

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