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CINDY DAY: Happy birthday, Mr. Thomas

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The Old Farmer's Almanac. FILE

When I think back to my childhood, I have so many fond memories of the farm.

I spent as much time as possible outside or in the barn. The air was fresh, the food was delicious and sleep came easily after a long day of hard work, or play.

Cindy Day
Cindy Day

I also recall sitting in the living room every Saturday night to watch hockey with the entire family. Each one of us had our “place” in the living room. I sat at the end of the couch, next to the end table that proudly displayed the Old Farmer’s Almanac. During commercial breaks, or when Montreal was being badly outplayed, I would reach over and grab the Almanac. I learned so many things by flipping through our well-worn copy of the “Weather Bible.”

So today, I thought we should acknowledge the founder of the Almanac, Robert B. Thomas. He was born April 24, 1766, in Grafton, Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, Robert was brought up on a farm in Shrewsbury, Mass. He was fascinated by science and, at age 16, read Ferguson's Astronomy, which he came across in his father's library. He later wrote that, "it was from the pleasing study of this work I first imbibed the idea of calculating an almanack." With this dream in mind, he became a bookseller, taught school and studied astronomy in his spare time.

In early 1792, he went to Boston to study mathematics under the tutelage of another almanac maker, Osgood Carlton, and, that fall, delivered the copy for the first edition of what he called “The Farmer's Almanac” to the printers.

The tradition of giving and receiving the Almanac is still alive and well back on our family farm. Each Christmas, my father finds one in his stocking. Last year, my brother Ronnie bought me an “Old Farmer’s Almanac Engagement Calendar.” Every day, I look forward to opening it and reading the many gems inside!

Although Mr. Thomas died more than 150 years ago and 12 Almanac editors have followed him, no other name but his has ever appeared on the cover of The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Happy birthday, Mr. Thomas, and thank you!

Today in weather history

In Summerside, P.E.I., the temperature is headed for the mid-teens. We could come close to setting a record high for April 24; on this date in 2005, it was 18.6 C!

In St. John’s, N.L., it’s going to be lovely today, we won’t even come close record warm territory.  April 24, 1986, the mercury soared to 24.1 C!

Today’s afternoon temperature will be close to 10 degrees warmer than normal in some parts of the Nova Scotia.  There’s lots of heat in the April sun, especially when it’s not reflecting off ice or snow. On this date in 2015, there was still 40 cm of snow on the ground in Truro.

Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.

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