Pat Shingleton for Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

The day after President’s Day, formerly Washington’s Birthday, recognized the birthday of our first president in 1732, we can read weather-related excerpts from his diaries.

As noted in a previous column, Washington wasn’t a scientific weather observer, as was Thomas Jefferson. His weather interests mirrored his agricultural interests. In writing to his farm manager, William Pearce, on Dec. 22, 1793, he recognized the importance of a thermometer at Mount Vernon.

His diary notes the weather difficulties he experienced, including his seasick days during a stormy voyage to Barbados and the cruel winter at Valley Forge.

An ill-advised horseback ride in a December storm possibly contributed to his death. His prized weather instrument was the weather vane, remaining in use atop the cupola at Mount Vernon. Fastcast: Clearing.