Do you know if this year’s weather is strangely abnormal, or is it a sign of the next ice age?

One could argue that every year has its share of abnormal weather. The Farmers’ Almanac called for a wet 2004 with a continued “Wet and Wild” winter and early spring. Most regions of the United States have had unusual weather. Is it a sign of the ice age? That is one for the scientists to debate. One thought is that global warming is changing and increasing the temperature of the world. Other scientists believe that this is the beginning of a gradual change toward another ice age. Whatever happens, it will be hundreds or thousands of years in the future.

Do you know how to make good old-fashioned sauerkraut?

Here is a recipe we had in our files for homemade sauerkraut. Place a 2-to-3-inch layer of thinly shredded cabbage in a large stone or earthenware crock. Sprinkle lightly with non-iodized salt (use 3 teaspoons of salt for 5 pounds of cabbage).

Pound vigorously with a potato masher. Repeat this process until the crock is almost full. Cover the cabbage with a clean cloth and set a round board on top. Place something on the board to weigh it down. Set in a warm place to ferment. After about six days, remove the film that has formed on top. Wash the cloth in cold water, replace it and move the crock to a cool place. In about two weeks, the sauerkraut will be ready.

I sometimes get cabin fever during a cold, snowy winter. Do you have any good suggestions on ways to beat the winter doldrums?

Of course, we have a few suggestions on ways to help keep the winter blahs from wearing you down. Inside the house, why not tackle a home improvement project such as painting or wallpapering, or do minor things like changing a room around. These projects will keep you busy and will help give you a small change of scenery.

n Try making winter time a family time. Pull out the board games, shut off the television and pull out those craft projects (scrapbooks or photo albums, etc.) that you never seem to get to. Winter is a bonding time.

n Think spring! Get a jump on housework by doing spring cleaning early. This will allow you to head outdoors once the warmer temperatures finally arrive.

n Don’t stay inside. Just because it’s cold and snowy out, there’s no reason why you can’t dress appropriately and head to the great white outdoors.

Skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowman building, and other winter activities help keep cabin fever at bay. You might be surprised how a walk on a not-too-cold winter day will refresh you and your spirits.

If you have a question for the Farmers’ Almanac write to Farmers’ Almanac, P.O. Box 1609, Lewiston, ME 05241 or e-mail: [email protected]

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