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Hebe’s here, May is here!
The air is fresh and sunny;
And the miser-bees are busy
Hoarding golden honey!

–Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836–1907)

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Unusual Weather Events

May 6, 1989
A cold wave brought morning lows of 17 degrees F to Bismarck, North Dakota.

May 7, 1987
Sacramento, California, had a temperature of 105 degrees F.

May 9, 1977
Boston got its first May snow in 107 years.

May 11, 1934
A strong, two-day, dust storm removed massive amounts of topsoil from the Great Plains in one of the worst weather events of the Dust Bowl era.

May 13, 1995
Grissom Air Force Base, near Peru, Indiana, reported wind gusts of 136 miles per hour in a heavy thunderstorm.

May 16, 1924
The temperature in Blitzen, Oregon, reached 108 degrees F, a record high for this date.

May 19, 1987
Heavy rain and golf ball-size hail destroyed 80 percent of the crops in northwestern Texas.

Find weather history for your location. Or, to see if a May snowstorm is approaching, go to The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s 7-day or long-range forecasts.

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While the Mother’s Day we celebrate is a fairly recent development, in 16th-century England a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was inaugurated — a Sunday set aside for visiting your mother. The eldest son or daughter would bring a “mothering cake,” which would be shared by the entire family. Family reunions were the order of the day, with sons and daughters assuming all household duties and preparing a special dinner in honor of their mother.

Sincerely, The Old Farmer’s Almanac

P.S. Please visit our brand-new blogs about everything Almanac. Comment on random reflections, advice, and ideas from the editors of The Old Farmer’s Almanac.


The best time to see Mercury is tonight, about 35 minutes after sunset, when the planet floats next to the crescent Moon in the western sky.


Our observance of Mother’s Day originated in 1907 with the efforts of a devoted daughter, Anna M. Jarvis of Philadelphia, who conceived the idea of an annual nationwide celebration. Send an E-card to your mother!


Whitsunday, or Pentecost, is the seventh Sunday after Easter. For Christians, this commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit in tongues of flame upon the apostles. Whit, a corruption of white, refers to the white baptismal garments worn on this day. It is also a time of spring festivals throughout Europe, with echoes of pagan spring rites such as Morris dancing and dressing a young boy in greenery (Jack-in-the-Green) and marching him through the village.


These three days, named for three early Christian martyrs, are traditionally the last cold spell before planting season begins.
In the middle of May comes the tail of winter.

ST. DUNSTAN (May 19)

According to legend, St. Dunstan made a pact with the devil to spare apple and pear blossoms from late frosts nine years out of ten. In the tenth year, there was a frost on this day.


Victoria Day in Canada commemorates the May 24, 1819, birthday of Britain’s Queen Victoria. The British have always celebrated the birthday of the ruling monarch. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, the people of Canada continued to mark her birthday to show loyalty to the British Empire. This holiday is regarded as the beginning of the gardening season in many parts of Canada.

Soil Mix for Containers

1 part peat moss
1 part rich garden soil or potting soil
1 part sand

With a trowel, mix the ingredients in a bucket or wheelbarrow until well blended. Use for outdoor potted vegetables or flowers.

Growing Herbs

In selecting herbs for your home garden, it is crucial to recognize which ones are meant for culinary use. In many cases, the old favorites are still the best choices: sage (Salvia officinalis), dill (Anethum graveolens), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), chives (Allium schoenoprasum), and parsley (Petroselinum crispum), to name a few. See our Growing Herbs chart for helpful advice. If you don’t have a garden plot, try some of these fragrant herbs in a window box or container.

If you have a gardening question, visit our Gardening Forum or search our Gardening Pages.

Try some of the herbs mentioned in the Gardening section (above) when cooking these delicious recipes:

Herb Olive Bread

Herbed Cheese Spread

Herb-Stuffed Pasta

Carrots With Dill Dressing

French-Style Potato Salad

Herb Rice

For more herb recipes, go to our recipe search page.

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