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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Rural 'home office' centered on farmer's almanac

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
There was a time when every rural home featured wall space containing a wooden crank telephone, a Seed & Feed calendar, a telephone directory and an Old Farmer's Almanac.

The telephone was the miracle link to the outside world, and the directory listed the neighbors' numbers plus hand-written addresses of every person and every business known or needed by the family.

The give-away Seed & Feed calendar listed the dates, holidays, rainfall amounts, birthdays of both humans and livestock, and a handy foldout pocket to hold all current bills and receipts. A slot held a bullet pencil and either inside or on the back of the calendar, a spreadsheet was printed to record a financial accounting of the current year's business. This small but significant wall space was the equivalent of today's modern office facilities.

Last and most importantly hung the latest issue of The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Established in 1793, it is the oldest continually published periodical in America. Its success is attributed to the entertainment features, tried and true helpful hints, the 80-percent accuracy of long-range weather predictions, and the 100-percent truthfulness of advice and common sense offerings.

Actually, the booklet is an astronomical calendar listing times and dates of seasonal and natural phenomenon occurring from the changing phases of the moon.

The Trew clan always has been true believers in the moon signs. All crop and garden planting dates were carefully calculated and listed on the calendar. All seeds were soaked or dusted with Garrett's Snuff to keep the worms and birds away.

Time and again we learned 12 hours too early or too late meant a poorly sprouted crop.

Grandpa Trew could kill blue weeds and Johnson grass by deep-plowing on a certain day in August. A lifetime of experience leaves no doubt working livestock produces better results if the proper signs are observed. Transplanting trees and shrubs is more successful if you mark the south side and plant it back facing the same direction, all under the signs recommended in the almanac.

Springs and creeks produce more water during certain phases of the moon.

Grandma Trew believed babies should be weaned and potty-trained by the signs.

Dad thought a calf crop should be weaned by the moon signs.

Cousin Clifford Mathews wouldn't go fishing unless the sign was right.

In looking back, I find it strange that with all the attention paid to the moon signs that no one ever mentioned they were a Leo, a Scorpio or other zodiac sign. Is this a different type of sign?

Well, I have to close now and plant my onions. They are sweeter if you plant them by the right sign.


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
- August 7, 2005 column
 
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