𝘕𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 22, 2021
Over the weekend I had to finally admit my vegetables were no longer going to produce more fruit. I mentioned I removed the tomato plants several weeks ago, but I was still holding out the peppers would give one last push. The last few cherry tomatoes had finally ripened, and I got a regrowth spurt from both my poblano and jalapeno pepper plants. With the freezing weather at nights the small peppers had turned soft, and the tomatoes had begun to drop to the ground. I reclaimed as much of the crop as I could and then pulled the plants out of the ground, knocked off the adhering soil, and threw them unceremoniously over the fence and into the yard. I was done for the season.
When I looked online, I found the growing season in Arkansas is approximately 200 days. On average the last Spring frost is around April 14th and the first Fall frost is around October 18, with a 10% chance for frost to occur either before or after those dates. Knowing the season to plant flowers and gardens has long been the purview of the Farmers’ Almanac. This annual American periodical has been in continuous publication by Geiger of Lewiston, Maine, since 1818. The Almanac provides long-range weather predictions for both the US and Canada, and provides calendars, articles on folk lore, natural remedies, and the best days for various outdoor activities. Predictions for each edition are made as far as two years in advance. Scientific analyses of the Farmers’ Almanac forecasts have found a 50% rate of accuracy, which is higher than Punxsutawney Phil’s groundhog prognostication.
Publishers of the Farmer’s Almanac point to the fact that “many longtime Almanac followers claim that their forecasts are 80% to 85% accurate” on their website. Their website also contains a list of the many more “famous” weather predictions they have accurately forewarned of, and it points out that they have been predicting the weather longer than the National Weather Service. The publishers will only state publicly that their method is an “exclusive mathematical and astronomical formula, that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position (astrology) and many other factors”. The Almanac’s forecaster is referred to by the pseudonym Caleb Weatherbee. I guess it is better than flipping a coin . . . oh, wait?
𝗧𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀: When Melissa’s succulents faced their first winter season, I got a new perception on the difference between a frost and a freeze. A frost is visible frozen condensed water droplets, and a freeze is when the air temperature drops below freezing (32F/0C). There are times when we get frost when the temperatures are above freezing, and we often have a freeze without a frost. Persi Diaconis is a statistician who grew up in the circus and became interested in analyzing the perception of randomness. Diaconis states the carnival coin flip is not random. People, and himself one, can control the coin depending on the way you flip it. Which side comes up depends on the physics of the toss. Apparently, probability is not a fact about the world, but a fact about an observer’s knowledge. Observation can predict our perception of the world. When we only see or hear a single point of view, we are controlling the outcome of the decisions we make “based on the flip of a coin”. Do the work. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.