The Folly of Daylight Saving

| 11/3/2014 9:00:00 AM

Renee-Lucie BenoitThe recent change of the clocks to an hour earlier got me to thinking, "How in the world did such a thing come about?" As we all know the clock doesn’t mean a whole lot to people on a homestead, ranch or farm. Chickens still need to be fed, cows milked, fields plowed and so forth. None of this is by the clock and certainly the animals don’t care a fig for what time it is. They have one time: feeding time and that’s that.

So what’s the point? I decided in my own mind that daylight saving time. (And by the way it’s daylight SAVING time not daylight SAVINGS time) (really, Renee? does anybody care?) is for city dwellers who have to punch a clock. On the ranch we still get up at the same time. The clock just says something different now.

So I looked into it for my own education and I thought you might be interested in what I found.


Morning light on the hay barn. Photo:

Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward. By the time he was a 78-year-old American envoy in Paris in 1784, the man who espoused the virtues of “early to bed and early to rise” was not practicing what he preached. After being unpleasantly stirred from sleep at 6 a.m. by the summer sun, the founding father penned a satirical essay in which he calculated that Parisians, simply by waking up at dawn, could save the modern-day equivalent of $200 million through “the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.” As a result of this essay, Franklin is often erroneously given the honor of “inventing” daylight saving time, but he only proposed a change in sleep schedules – not the time itself.