It’s not every day that Robert Fulford, a Canadian icon and the country’s preeminent man of letters, writes glowingly about a project you’re deeply wedded to. So today’s column on The Old Farmer’s Almanac – Farmer’s Almanac more ‘weed-dating’ than game-changing – has put an extra spring in my step. Here’s an excerpt:
The secret of the Almanac writers is poise. They know their worth and take a quiet pride in their heritage. They believe in their knowledge and believe in spreading it, just like Robert Thomas. The anonymous author of the 2011 Farmer’s Calendar describes his habits and outlook with a sense of authority no one would think of defying.
He discusses his treatment of the lawn on his property with the pride of someone who expects a medal for his accomplishment. The world is full of disorderly lawns, a frequent cause of neighbourhood scandal, but the Almanac guy brags about his. He’s proud of owning a messy, weed-strewn lawn. It’s environmentally sound, for one thing: It needs little water and no fertilizer or chemicals. Weeds attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, good for plants in the neighbourhood. And, making this a perfect item in the Almanac, you can use the dandelion greens in a salad.
I interviewed Fulford back in the late 1980s for Trent Radio when he was on a swing through Peterborough; he was incredibly kind and patient, taking the time to respond with wit and intelligence to what must have been the annoyingly mundane questions of a 20 year old.