« AnteriorContinuar »
1,091.8 pounds; at the end of 104 days they had gained 409.2 pounds; they consumed 772 pounds of barley, 1,042.8 pounds of peas, and 9,504 pounds of potatoes; giving equivalents, we have 26,245 pounds of pota. toes; the provender equivalent to 100 pounds of bay gave 4.91 pounds live weight, or 456 bushels of potatoes made 409 pounds of live pork. Mutton is fattened at a cost about the same as beef. With such proof of expenditure of vegetables for the production of animal flesh, the writer concludes that course to be true economy which leads us to support ourselves on the products of the garden, the orchard, and the field ; reducing our animal food to its minimum, below which vital energy will be lessened, and our usefulness abridged.
SOUR KROUT. A letter to the secretary upon the manufacture of sour krout gives the following as the popular method of preparation among the kroutmakers of Lincoln County :
The outside and loose leaves should be cut off and the heads quartered and thrown into a tub of clear water, from which they should be taken, one piece or more at a time, and placed in a small box, open at top and bottom, and running in the grooves of the krout machine, which is about four feet long, one foot wide, and six inches deep. The box runs over three or four knives, sometimes made of old scythes, fixed diagonally across the bottom of the machine. The edges of the knives are slightly raised above the level of the bottom, and when the box is moved backward and forward in the grooves, and pressure made with a small piece of board on the cabbage, the latter is cut into thin, small slices, which drop into the tub beneath the cutter. As the cabbage is cut, it is transferred to a clean barrel (a pork barrel is preferable) and pounded with a heavy wooden mallet. The more closely it is packed the better; and, with care, from 250 to 300 pounds of cabbage may be put into á barrel of 40 gallons. One pint of fine salt to the barrel is sprinkled with the cabbage as it is packed down. No addition of water is required. Fill the barrel to a point two inches from the top, cover the Krout with large cabbage leaves, and place over the whole a wooden cover small enough to be inserted within the barrel, where it must be kept firmly, by a heavy stone, until the process of fermentation is past. Place the barrel within five or six feet of the kitchen fire, and in a few days fermentation will commence, which may be hastened by the addition of a little blood-warm water; a frothy scum will rise and run off, when the krout is all right and ready for use, and the barrel may be set in the cellar, porch, or shed. Freezing does it no injury, and it will keep in the cellar until March or April without depreciating, and longer in a cooler place. A barrel of krout can be made in two hours by two men. Any prejudice existing against sour krout, for want of cleanliness, is not well founded where even ordinary care is exercised in its preparation. There are various modes of cooking it, while some prefer it raw, eating it as a salad. It is frequently boiled, three hours or more, with salt pork cut into small pieces. Perhaps the nicest style is to fry it in pork fat or with the gravy from roast pork. For frying, it should be boiled two hours to make it tender. It is a wholesome, hearty food, and is particularly appreciated by men requiring a substantial diet, while it is also relished by many of more fastidious taste.
CULTURE OF BUCKWHEAT. The report of Mr. Harries, on the culture of buckwheat, recommends increased attention to the production of this grain in Maine, where it matures in about ninety days from sowing. The writer states that it can be raised as cheaply as oats, while one bushel of it is worth two of oats for making beef, pork, or mutton. When used for feeding purposes the flour and bran are not separated, and thirty to thirty-three pounds per bushel are obtained ; in separating, the bolt divides it in about equal parts. It is asserted that the flour is worth as much as wheat flour in the family. If sown on land in high condition it will lodge, and not yield so much as on land in a lower state of cultivation. It will grow on poor soil, and yield a good crop for several successive years without seeming to make the soil poorer, as it is thought to receive a large share of its nutriment from the atmosphere, through its great amount of leaves. The best way to harvest is to cradle it, setting it up in small bunches to dry. It will not sprout at harvest time, and the poor man, without a barn, may raise it. It is best threshed on a bed made of sinall poles, supported at suitable height from the ground, the grain falling beneath. The grain is ready for the mill at any time. Preference is given to the rongh variety, as not being liable to blight, and yielding more, while making as good flour as the smooth variety.
Samuel L. Boardman says, in a paper upon the agriculture and industry of Kennebec County, that farmers do not cut their hay soon enough; that hay, by the present mode of cutting it, loses a large part of its most valuable constituents; that to be properly cured, it should, when this operation is performed, resemble dried grass as much as possible; and, to accomplish this, it needs to remain exposed to the air, after cutting, only long enough to have the water dried out; and that the right time for cutting grass is when it coutains the largest amount of matter soluble in water, and not after this has changed to woody matter, as when passing into seed.
The method of curing hay employed by Allen Lambard, of Augusta, is given as follows: He never commences cutting grass in the morning until the dew is all off, which is usually about 9 o'clock. It then lies until afternoon, when it is put up in bunches, in which state it remains through the night and all of the next day, without being disturbed. The second day after mowing, the bunches are all made over with a fork, commencing at the top, shaking it apart somewhat and rebuilding, thus bringing the bottom of one bunch to the top of the other. It then remains until the third day, when, if the weather is good, it is opened, has the sun for an hour or two, and is hauled in. If the weather is not good, it remains untouched until the next day. Hay cured in this way retains its sweetness, brightness, and all the leaves and blossoms until fed out; and not having been burnt up, the best part is not left in the field when it is harvested. The mixture of seed used in seedingtwenty pounds of clover and half a bushel each of herd's grass and redtop to the acre-gives pure grass of an excellent quality.
In a report upon this subject Mr. Prince states that in 1860 there were in Maine 53,956 farms of more than twenty acres, upon each of which it is estimated there are 500 rods of fence, making an aggregate of 26,978,000 rods; that at least two-thirds of this is of wood, and liable to need repair every season, which, at ten cents per rod, will make an annual outlay of nearly $2,000,000, constantly increasing with the cost of wood and timber; and that this expense must in time become burdensome in the extreme, unless some cheaper and more systematic mode of inclosure shall be devised. It is stated that embank. ment fences and hedge fence, though pretty to look upon, have been found impracticable in Maine. Another member said it should be a point with farmers to build fences that will last a lifetime. A fence made of pickets, with an iron post and stone foot, is becoming common in open fields devoid of stones, making an excellent fence, and one which will last twenty-five or thirty years. The most substantial fence is the cheapest. Better build a picket fence than to patch up a fence every year with long, straight sticks from the forest, that in a few years would make valuable timber.
SHEEP IN NEW ENGLAND,
At a meeting of the State board it was resolved that the interests of Maine farmers demand that more attention shall be given to the production of mutton, both for sale and for the farmer's table. The opinion was expressed that the keeping of sheep, primarily for the production of wool, cannot be profitably pursued for any length of time in Maine or in New England; that the advantages of the far west for sheep husbandry, and the portable qualities of wool, would so reduce the price as to cause the abandonment of the pursuit in the former section. An increased tariff on wool was regarded as only a temporary relief, which must hasten the time of its cheap production at home. As yet, the native grazing lands of the United States have hardly been reached by civilization. The Indian, the buffalo, the elk, and the wolf have had undisputed possession. These must soon give place to the shepherd and his flocks and herds, producing wool for the New England manufacturers, and meat for the miners in the mountains. A large part of the vast territory lying west of the Mississippi is admirably adapted to sheep husbandry, and the belief was expressed that the time would soon come when a pound of wool would be produced in the United States more cheaply than a pound of cotton. Yet New England should not be discouraged in sheep husbandry, as it will always have a market for mutton without competi. tion. It was argued that the East can also produce finer wool than the West, the climate and condition of the new Territories not being favorable to the production of very fine wool, or the long combing wools for lustrous goods. The Merino was recommended as suited to the situation. It was stated that little good mutton is produced in New England, and no special pains are taken to raise it, though the section is possessed of the elements requisite to the production of mutton sheep in perfection. Th3 farmer can produce no meat so cheap and convenient for his table; he can have it fresh or corned at any time; and it would be a cheapand healthy substitute for much of the pork now used. A resolution was also adopted by the board, that sheep husbandry ought to be elicouraged not only as a direct means of support, but also as indirectly tending to maintain the productiveness of the soil, thus enabling it to support a larger number of producers under conditions more desirable than now enjoyed.
USE OF ARTIFICIAL FERTILIZERS.
A report by Mr. Wasson, discussing the question, “ Can artificial manures be profitably used by farmers; if so, what kinds and to what extent ?” holds that, only where adequate returns cannot be made to the soil without paying out, should fertilizers be bought. Plaster, fish guano, and superphosphate are named, as occupying positions greatly elevated above other artificial fertilizers. The value of plaster in some localities is great, in others it appears to be utterly worthless, and it is difficult to predict, with any certainty, its effects upon any given crop; but, as it is cheap, every one can test its influence upon particular soils. Fish guano, the dried refuse of the porgy fisheries, is rich in nitrogenous matter, which is readily given out as ammonia, and proves an active stimulant to nearly all cultivated plants. The superphosphate is designated the great agricultural improvement of the age, and for the culture of corn in short seasons in that latitude is considered almost indipensable; nor is its employment less successful in the culture of roots, especially the turnip, the beet, and the carrot; while upon exhausted pasture lands it proves highly satisfactory, being urged as the only means, at least the cheapest, for renovating worn-out pastures, inaccessible to cultivation except in the use of artificial manures. As to the extent to which these fertilizers should be used, the writer thinks they ought not to be used in place of farm-yard manure, nor of any home resource for fertilization, but in addition to them, and also with the view of thereby increasing, through the increase of crops and consumption at home, the home supply of manure.
In the discussion which followed the reading of the report, several causes were given for the failure of artificial manures to possess the virtues expected of them. Thus, the cheap guanos come from countries where rain falls, and the soluble portions are washed out, leaving littlo of value except insoluble phosphates. Poudrette is usually made of night soil which has parted with most of its efficacy. Peruvian guano is sometimes adulterated largely with sand or soil. Superphosphate is sometimes made of inferior materials, and not unfrequently mixed with muck and dirt and other cheap stuff. The frequent failures attending the use of fish guano arise from loss by reason of its perishable nature; if rapidly and immediately dried, however, there need be no difficulty in preserving its fertilizing properties.
Fish guano contains a comparatively small amount of phosphate of lime; and, when freely used without supplying phosphates and other ash constituents of plants, there is liability to exhaustion of the soil, by reason of the large crops obtained, and which the farmer may think can be repeated for years in succession by subsequent additions of the fish guano, while in fact this has but enabled the more rapid drawing out from the soil of what was in it. The chief uses of fish guano are, first, for the growth of grass; and when the manure yielded by the consumption of the bay grown as a result of the use of the guano is returned to the same ground, a high degree of fertility may not only be estab. lished, but also fully maintained; second, for use in old gardens, where there are considerable accumulations of plant food yet in an inert and unavailable condition.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF BARNS WITH REFERENCE TO THE PRESERV.
ATION OF MANURES.
A report by Mr. Farley suggests the construction of barns, with close or open cellars, so that the solid and the liquid manures made in them may be saved from waste, evaporation, or washing away, and so deposited as to allow of an admixture of muck, top-soil, rock weeds, leaves, straw, or other substances suitable for absorbents and compost. It is asserted that more than one-half of the animal manure made in the
State, during the season when farm animals are housed, is lost with the barn arrangements now existing. With barns properly constructed, this enormous waste may in a great measure be obviated, and the manure heap may be largely increased by the addition of absorbents and compost matter, which the animal manure thus saved will bear, and the increased heap possess sufficient strength for the production of the lead. ing crops of the State. The compost manure is preferable to clear manure for top-dressing with reference to hay crops, for the reason that the former operates not only as a manure but as an addition to the soil itself, which is required in the top-dressing of sandy, gravelly fields. For top-ctressing purposes fire times the quantity of compost substances may be added, if of good quality. Probably nine-tenths of all their farms have the materials-either salt or fresh muck, top-soil, or rock weed-required for compost; and, when deposited, spring and fall, in suitable proportions to the solid and the liquid manures dropped in the barns, the bogs will do almost everything else requisite to prepare the heap for use.
The report of the secretary of the Board of Agriculture, and editor of the annual publication, Charles L. Flint, presents returns from twentynine local agricultural societies, which, with the State society, acknowledge receipts amounting in the aggregate to $136,712 92, and of disbursements $128,019 21; of which $63,435 65 were for current expenses, and $25,326 42 for premiums. Of the latter amount $15,245 16 was paid on live stock, $1,905 71 on farm products, $1,552 90 on farms, improvements, manures, &c., and $556 25 on agricultural implements. Of the amount paid on stock $6,401 45 was on horses, $5,658 06 on cattle, $965 50 on sheep, $799 on swine, and $497 75 on poultry. The premiums were awarded to 6,491 persons. The aggregate permanent fund of the societies is $342,282 41, and the value of their real and per. sonal property, above indebtedness, $327,684 57. From the secretary's abstracts of county reports the following facts and experiments are gleaned:
- FARM PROFITS.
Richard Webster, of Essex County, reports his receipts and expenditures on a farm of forty acres, for which he paid $1,950 in 1859, as follows: In 1860 sold $873 31; expenses, $464 25. In 1861 sold $652 33; expenses, $688 33. In 1862 sold $693 67; expenses, $834 16. In 1863 sold $1,115 80; expenses, $1,083 80. In 1864 sold $1,945 50; expenses, $1,371. In 1865 sold $2,274 16; expenses, $1,763. In 1866 sold $2,595 83; expenses, $1,647 70. In 1867 the receipts and expenditures were about the same as in the preceding year.When purchased, fourteen of the forte acres were what is called field land; the remainder bush pasture with alders, birches, &c., and would pasture three head of cattle. In 1860, on his best mowing field of four acres, he cut only three-quarters of a ton of poor hay. In addition to other improvements made, buildings, &c., have been added, at an expense of about $4,200. The farm is now estimated to be worth from $5,000 to $8,000.
PROFITS ON FARM PRODUCTS.
Corr.-0. P. Kellam, of Essex County, produced on three and threequarter acres, 600 bushels of corn in the ear, valued at $450; eight tons butt stalks, valued at $64; and 40 tons top stalks, valued at $60; total,