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Random Thoughts

Fall back plan

Hudson Cooper
Posted 11/19/21

It happens twice a year. Once in the spring and again in the fall, we get to adjust our time pieces. The actual time change occurs at 2 a.m. but for most of us the manual resetting of time begins …

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Random Thoughts

Fall back plan


It happens twice a year. Once in the spring and again in the fall, we get to adjust our time pieces. The actual time change occurs at 2 a.m. but for most of us the manual resetting of time begins either the night before or upon waking up. Some clocks automatically reset. Computers, cable television boxes, most car clocks and your cell phone all adjust the time while you sleep. If you enjoy counting down as the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, you can recreate that experience as you stare at your cable box right before 2 a.m.

Changing those devices that require manual manipulation sometimes resembles an Easter egg hunt. You begin by pulling out that little doodad on the side of your watch to change the time. That being accomplished, you begin the hunt for anything else that has not automatically corrected the time. That old clock radio that still wakes you up in the morning must be reset. Even though, you have made the time adjustment for over a dozen years, you still must consult the now-tattered instruction booklet. Eventually, you have adjusted your household in a timely fashion.

Many people erroneously believe that while not flying kites, Ben Franklin created Daylight Saving Time. In 1784 he wrote a satirical essay in a Paris journal suggesting that turning the clocks back an hour would save money on candles and oil to illuminate the maison. But as they say in France, “mon Dieu.” Franklin wrote it as a joke. For those readers not familiar with the French language, maison is a house and “mon Dieu” translates to “my Dieu.”

With the clocks adjusted, it is “time” to send the next few days pondering the effect it has on your life. Personally, it takes almost a week before I stop trying to figure out if it would be darker or lighter without the time change. One thing for certain, turning back the clock in the fall seems to make sundown occur very early.

Some people say the daylight is saved for the morning. Turning the clock back yields an extra hour of sunlight as you begin your day. Is that really necessary? My house has lights. Do we need more sunlight to brush our teeth and put a strawberry pop tart in the toaster oven, which thanks to a dog-eared instruction manual, now has the correct time?

Speaking of dogs, how do animals adjust to the time change? Wild animals usually show no change in their daily life. They exist by their internal body clock mostly based on sunlight. Deer, bears, turkeys and squirrels prefer to have little interaction with humans especially those with a hunting license.

Domestic pets and livestock, on the other hand, who are forced to live based on our external clocks are confused by the time change. To find out how dairy cows react to the time change, I consulted with dairy farmer Hayley Bale, author of “You Herd It Here.” Dairy cows grow accustomed to being milked at the same times every day. So, when the clocks spring forward or fall back, they are confused at first when the farmer enters the barn to milk them. In many cases the morning milk production is off for a few days. To help with their adjustment, Ms. Bale begins to milk her cows 15 minutes early for each of the four days leading up to Daylight Saving.  

Dogs and cats exist on their own body clock. They could care less what time it says on your clock radio. They do notice a change in their daily routine. They are used to waking up, eating and being walked at a certain time. For the first few days, they are just as puzzled as I am.

Sometime soon, I think we will realize that changing our clocks twice a year is an antiquated notion and will be discontinued. But those programmed devices that automatically adjust the clock will still require you to remember to manually spring forward or fall back…just in the nick of time.


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