Try the Vermont Rural Almanac
It takes about 30 seconds to check the weather on a given day. Just open a smartphone app and the forecast is at your fingertips. However, a smartphone will not give advice on the gardening season or what to expect for folklore that month. This is where an almanac comes in handy.
The Farmer’s Almanac is traditionally a book published annually that contains traditional rural wisdom about the weather and land for each month, recipes, gardening tips, and traditions of rural American life. For the month of July, The Farmer’s Almanac site offers the following folklore: “If the anthills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.
Since 2020, Vermonters have worked hard to create our own editions of the Vermont Almanac, a publication that connects Vermonters from different careers, cities, and lives together across the country.
“They have this connection to someone in another part of the state doing something completely different,” said editor Patrick White. “But you can’t live in a rural place like this without being shaped by the land and I think we’re probably all connected that way.”
The Vermont Almanac
In 2020, the first edition of the Vermont Almanac was published, with chapters for each month. The publication’s editors include White, as well as Virginia Barlow and Dave Mance. The Commercial Director is Amy Peberdy. White noted two incentives for the publication’s staff.
“We all live in rural Vermont and kind of saw that as an area that didn’t get a lot of attention,” White said. “Working the land, farms and forests as well as nature and conservation lands was the other passion we had and I think those two come together.”
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The almanac reflects Vermont itself. The book is comprised of stories, tips, historical trends, recipes, poems and more from Vermonters from all walks of life, from every corner of the state. On their website, Vermont Almanac staff details their vision:
“Our goal is for the Vermont Almanac to bring together the many individuals and organizations in Vermont whose mission and purpose fit within the ethic of the land we live in – an ethic that combines economic vitality with environmental stewardship. and the values of rural life.”
The publication’s staff spread the news by word of mouth and soon over 60 contributors joined the effort. The Vermont Almanac is published by the group, which created a non-profit association: For the Land Publishing. All stages of the almanac, which has published two editions so far, take place in Green Mountain State, from writing to printing to illustrations.
Stories for and from the land
Each chapter begins with a story from one of the contributors encapsulating a typical activity and emotion for that month, a look back and ahead on the weather and an aspect of agriculture, whether it be logging, dairy or countless other Vermont agricultural staples, according to White.
When the first edition came out in 2020, it sold out quickly and For The Land released a reprint. Local bookstores have been Vermont Almanac’s biggest sellers and supporters, White said.
The almanac is rooted in Vermont, but its reach is wide. Almanac staff sent several hundred copies to deployed Vermont National Guard members, according to White.
“We had great feedback about how nice it was for them to be able to read about their home while they were somewhere, you know, halfway around the world,” White said.
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Editors and contributors are currently working on the third edition of the Vermont Almanac, which is expected to be published in December. However, White feels that the almanac, and the stories and lore it contains, may be timeless.
“Hopefully if we if this rural way of life continues and the land continues to be respected 100 years from now, it could be extinct again,” White said.
Kate O’Farrell is a reporter for the Burlington Free Press. You can contact her at [email protected]