Workers with Tot's Landscaping in Licking place shrubs and other plants at the entrance to the Lone Star Annex and University Extension office north of Lone Star Plaza in downtown Houston. The project was completed with the application of mulch on Monday.

The 2017 Farmers’ Almanac is out, and as always, it makes for some interesting reading. My copy says it is the 200th edition. That means for 200 years, folks have relied on it to determine the best days to wash their windows and wax their floors. How is that possible? There are many mysteries to be uncovered in the almanac. It seems to raise more questions than answers.

Torn down to its basics, the calendar on your wall or phone is a simple almanac. The earliest almanacs referenced celestial events much like people reference their horoscopes today. In the 17th century, only the Bible was more popular.

As time progressed, secret mathematical formulas were created using sunspot activity, tidal action and planetary positioning to forecast temperatures and other weather conditions. Those fairly accurate formulas are supposedly known by one weather forecaster, whose identity is closely guarded by a few editors.

But, how complicated formulas predict the best time to wax your floors is just plain weird, and only compounds the mysteries. It is all part of what makes the almanac so useful and entertaining at the same time. Just follow its pages to find the best day to do just about anything.

If you have some demolition work to be done on your home, please don’t do it in February, June or October because you will only have three really good days to do it in any of those months, according to the almanac. November only gives you two.

You may want to go on vacation during those months. Although time is short this year, you can demolish your spare bedroom and expand it into a man cave on Nov. 9 or 10 and still have time to vacation Nov. 18-20.

Granted, that’s not a long vacation. In fact, the days during the other months don’t conflict either. Think how much time you can spend demolishing and vacationing during the other eight months. April and August are particularly swell times.

Now, if you are getting married, or marrying off a son or daughter, and plan to do a big remodel in time for all of those guests coming in, by all means avoid November. So, says the almanac. My daughter got married on July 30, a good date, per the 2016 almanac. The wedding went off without a hitch. It wasn’t until the 30th turned into the 31st that my new son-in-law broke a leg going down a flight of stairs. I’m still looking for some reference in this year’s almanac about broken bones, or at least what days to avoid the stairs.

Since I work for one of the best farm organizations around, I would be remiss not to mention something of agricultural significance. So, here it goes. If you’re going to dig a fence post hole, do it between May and October. The almanac gives us quite a bit of latitude in building fences. Ideally, September looks like your best bet.

So that’s it, just a small glimmer of what you can glean from your almanac. It’s not just for farmers or gardeners anymore.

Chris Fennewald, of Jefferson City, is editor of publications for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization.

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