Q: When was Route 66 first opened, and why is it thought of in such a nostalgic manner?

A: Route 66 was first created in the mid-1920s by joining a succession of mostly unpaved roads. This new route answered the nation’s fledgling need for well-kept highways, interconnecting the states from the Midwest to the West.

During this period, Henry Ford was producing cars that were affordable for the average family, and forever eliminated past, rigid travel barriers. By the 1930s, Route 66 served as the country’s main artery, moving westward those families broken by the continuing drought in the Midwest and Southeast. John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” immortalized Route 66 with the story of a family’s flight along the highway toward the land of opportunity.

World War II returned prosperity to the Midwest farmers. Factory workers earned two-week vacations and enough in wages to buy a car. Thus, the interest in driving on Route 66 was fueled, so to speak, and continued to be a path for vacationers and dreamers to follow.

Thanks to artists such as Nat King Cole, who sang “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” and many others, Route 66 conjures up thoughts of the true small towns, where penny candy, and mom-and-pop stores lined the highway.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for keeping my bulb flowers from fading prematurely?

A: One natural suggestion is bone meal. Try adding 1 to 3 pounds of bone meal to the top layer of a 100-foot flower row. Do not put manure on bulbs, as over-fertilized bulbs will concentrate on growing leaves instead of beautiful flowers.

Q: What causes lightning?

A: Lightning is the product of violent updrafts of air. When sultry air is thrown into the cold heights too quickly to dissipate its electrical differences, it will overcharge a cloud. Raindrops and tiny pieces of ice (called graupel) located within a cloud serve as the sources of negative electrical charges, while the earth (the ground) contains an opposing (positive) charge. The raindrops and ice particles are constantly colliding with each other, which helps build up the negative charges within a thunderhead.

When there is an overload of negative particles, they are discharged or conducted out of the cloud, usually toward the positively charged earth, thus creating the brilliant flash that you see.

Q: Where did the term “tie the knot” come from?

A: The term “tie the knot” goes back to Roman times. Back then, a bride would wear a girdle that was tied in many knots, which the groom had the “duty” of untying.
Write to Farmers’ Almanac, P.O. Box 1609, Lewiston, ME 04241 or e-mail: [email protected]
Q: Which American president fathered the greatest number of children?

A: President John Tyler, with 15 children, earns the title of the president who had the most children. He had three sons and five daughters with his first wife, and five sons and two daughters with his second wife. From a single marriage, William Henry Harrison was the father of 10 children, four girls and six boys, and was the grandfather of another president – Benjamin Harrison.

Q: Which American president fathered the greatest number of children?

A: President John Tyler, with 15 children, earns the title of the president who had the most children. He had three sons and five daughters with his first wife, and five sons and two daughters with his second wife. From a single marriage, William Henry Harrison was the father of 10 children, four girls and six boys, and was the grandfather of another president – Benjamin Harrison.


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