Monday, January 2, 2012

Home Questions for the New Year

The following is from the 1849 edition of Old Farmers Almanack, Jenks, Palmer & Company, Boston.

 I wanted to post a photo of the cover of this almanac, but the cover is missing.   (This book is in my personal library.)

Even though this was written 163 years ago, these are still some very relevant questions! (This was originally written in one big paragraph, but to make it easier to read, I have added some spacing.)

Home Questions for the New Year

What do you intend shall be the great ruling principle of your life this year? Have you learned to respect yourself too much to be rough or uncivil to those when Providence has placed around or beneath you in life?  Did you ever reflect, that one quarter of an hour per day misspent would amount to over nine days, of ten hours each, wasted, in a year? How much we all might accomplish, if we would put there quarters of hours to a good use!

Did you ever know cattle to leap fences to get into a poorer pasture? Are you aware that in laying in winter fodder for your stock, too much is just the right quantity?  Do you know three better or cheaper physicians than Water, Exercise and Temperance?  You may call freely upon these, and we will guarantee that if ever they send in their bills, it will be with the refreshing words, "received payment," at the bottom! Have you learned not to grumble about the weather?

Which is the rich man, he with large means and small soul, or he with a large soul and small means? Don't you know you should estimate your duty rather by your ability than your inclinations? Do you try to deserve prosperity by imparting of your abundance to those less blessed than yourself? Do you keep an iron brand to mark your tools with? Are you insured and is the policy all straight?

How many trees shall you plant before this time next year? Do you sign your name plainly? Did you ever know a man who did not "lose his luck," if he fished, gunned, gadded, or loafed, instead of attending promptly to his business? Are your children punctual at school? Do you look in, now and then, upon the school master, or mistress, to encourage them, and see that all is going on rightly? I suppose you know that horses and oxen thrive better on hay and grain than on whipcord?

Have not you noticed that hundreds acquire competency by industry, integrity, and economy, where one does by a "lucky chance?" Are your buildings protected from lightning, and properly ventilated? Have you set out any grape vines near your premises? Do you cherish a social, cheerful, thankful spirit? Do you provide good tools for your workmen, and see them properly taken care of? Have you made your will?


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milkin', seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-layin, five golden rings, four colly birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

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