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not do for food, must serve for the stables; and leaves and cornstalks are all that can be applied to the pens. To do this work effectually, let the cornstalks be cut down by a few careful people with sharp hoes, so low as never to be in the way of scythes at harvest; and, whenever the wheat will admit carts to run on it without injury, let them be brought off and stacked near the farm pens. In like manner, let the people, with their blankets, go every evening, or as often as occasion may require, to the nearest wood, and fill them with leaves for the purposes above mentioned; bottoming the beds with cornstalks, and covering them thick with leaves. A measure of this sort will be, if strictly attended to, and punctually performed, of great utility in every point of view. It will save food, make the cattle lie warm and comfortable, and produce much manure. The hogs also in pens must be well bedded in leaves.
As stock of no kind, according to this plan, will be suffered to run on the arable fields or clover lots, (except sheep in the day on the rye fields, as has been mentioned before,) partition fences between the fields, until they can be raised of quicks, may be dispensed with. But it is of great importance, that all the exterior or outer fences should be substantially good; and those also, which divide the common or woodland pasture from the fields and clover lots, are to be very respectable.
To accomplish this desirable object in as short a time as possible, and with the smallest expense of timber, the post-and-rail fence which runs from the negro quarters, or rather from the corner of the lot enclosing them, up to the division between fields Nos. 7 and 8, may be placed on the bank (which must be raised higher) running to the creek. In like manner, the fence from the gate, which opens into No. 2, quite down to the river, along the Cedar Hedge-row, as also those rails which are between Nos. 1 and 2, and between Nos. 2 and No. 3, may all be taken away, and applied to the outer fences, and the fences of the lanes from the barn into the woodland pasture, and from the former (the barn) into No. 5; for the fences of all these lanes must be good, as the stock must have a free passage along them at all times, from the barn-yard to the woodland pasture,
All the fencing from the last-mentioned place, (between me and Mr. Mason,) until it joins Mr. Lear's farm, and thence with the line between him and me, until it comes to the river, will require
to be substantially good; at its termination on the river, dependence must be placed in a water fence; for if made of common rails, they would be carried off by boatmen for fire-wood. The fences separating fields No. 1 and No. 8 from the woodland pasture must also be made good, to prevent depredations on the fields by my own stock.
Crops, fc. for 1801. No. 5 is to be in corn, and to be invariably in that article. It is to be planted (if drills are thought to be ineligible until the ground is much improved) in rows six feet by four, or seven feet by three and a half, the wide part open to the south. These hills are to be manured as highly as the means will admit; and the corn planted every year in the middle of the rows of the preceding year; by doing which, and mixing the manure and earth by the plough and other workings, the whole in time will be enriched.
The washed and gullied parts of this field should be levelled, and as much improved as possible, or left uncultivated. Although it is more broken than some of the other fields, it has its advantages. 1st, It has several inlets extending into it, with easy ascents therefrom ; secondly, it is convenient to the mud in the bed of the creek, whensoever (by means of the scow) resort is had thereto, and has good landing-places; and, thirdly, it is as near to the barn as any other, when a bridge and causeway shall be made over the Spring Branch. To these may be added, that it is more remote from squirrels than any other.
No. 6 and No. 7, or such part thereof as is not so much washed or gullied, as to render ploughing ineligible, are to be fallowed for wheat. One of which, if both cannot, is to have the stubble ploughed in and sown with rye, and the low and strong parts to have timothy or orchard grass seeds, perhaps both, in different places, sprinkled over them, for the purpose of raising seed. On the rye pasture the sheep are to be fed in winter and spring, and treated in all respects as No. 3 in 1800.
In the years 1802, 1803, and so on. The corn ground remaining the same, two fields, in the following numbers, will be fallowed for wheat, and treated in all respects as mentioned above ; and if pumpkins, cymlins, turnips, pease, and such like growth, are found beneficial to the land, or useful and profitable to the stock, ground may readily be found for them.
These are the great outlines of a plan, and the operations of it, for the next year, and for years to come, for the River Farm. To carry it into effect advantageously, it becomes the indispensable duty of him, who is employed to overlook and conduct the operations, to take a prospective and comprehensive view of the whole business, which is laid before him, that the several parts thereof may be so ordered and arranged, as that one sort of work may follow another sort in proper succession, and without loss of labor or of time; for nothing is a greater waste of the latter, and consequently of the former, (time producing labor, and labor money,) than shifting from one thing to another before it is finished, as if chance or the impulse of the moment, not judgment and foresight, directed the measure. It will be acknowledged, that weather and other circumstances may at times interrupt a regular course of proceedings; but, if a plan is well digested beforehand, they cannot interfere long, with a man who is acquainted with the nature of the iness, and the crops he is to attend to.
Every attentive and discerning person, who has the whole business of the year laid before him, and is acquainted with the nature of the work, can be at no loss to lay it out to advantage. There are many sorts of in-doors work, which can be executed in hail, rain, or snow, as well as in sunshine; and if they are set about in fair weather (unless there be a necessity for it), there will be nothing to do in foul weather; the people therefore must be idle. The man of prudence and foresight will always keep these things in view, and order his work accordingly, so as to suffer no waste of time, or idleness. These same observations apply with equal force to frozen ground, and to ground too wet to work in, or which, if worked, will be injured thereby.
These observations might be spun to a greater length, but they are sufficient to produce reflection ; and reflection, with industry and proper attention, will produce the end that is to be wished.
There is one thing, however, I cannot forbear to add, and in strong terms; it is, that whenever I order a thing to be done, it must be done, or a reason given at the time, or as soon as the impracticability is discovered, why it cannot be done, which will produce a countermand or change. But it is not for the person receiving the order to suspend, or dispense with, its execution ; and, after it has been supposed to have gone into effect, to tell me, that nothing has been done in it, that it will be done, or that it could not be done; either of these is unpleasant and disagreeable to me, having been all my life accustomed to more regularity and punctuality. Nothing but system and method are required to accomplish any reasonable requests.
UNION FARM. DIRECTIONS CONCERNING CROPS FOR THE UNION FARM, AND OPERA
TIONS THEREON, FOR THE YEAR 1800.
Field No. 1, – Is now sown with wheat, to be harvested in 1800; the stubble of which is to be immediately ploughed in, and rye sowed thereon for a sheep pasture. Grass-seeds must be sown therewith, on such parts as will yield grass for seed, to supply my own wants, and the market, so far as it can be spared. This field, after the rye has been eaten off by the sheep, is to be kept from stock of all kinds, and nothing suffered to run thereon, until it comes, in course, to be cultivated, in the regular routine of crops.
No. 2, — Will be in corn, and, although but an indifferent field, washed in some places, gullied in others, and rich in none, is, all things considered, best to be appropriated constantly for this crop. First, and specially, because it is most contiguous to the barn, and the corn therein more easily secured and attended to. Secondly, because it is as handy to the mud from the pocoson and the bed of the creek as any other, to mix in a compost, and more convenient to the manure from the farm-yard and stables. Thirdly, because it is entirely out of the reach of squirrels. And, fourthly, because it is hoped and expected, from the manner of treating it, that it will be so much amended as to become more and more productive every year, and the impoverished places, if not restored to some degree of fertility, prevented from getting worse, and becoming such eye-sores as they now are.
The corn will be planted in rows, six feet by four, or seven by three and a half; the wide part open to the south. It must be as highly manured in the hill as the means on the farm (respect being had to other species of crops) will admit. The rows of the succeeding year will be in the middle of the last, and alternately shisted ; by which means, and the workings the field will yearly receive, the whole will be enriched, and, it is hoped, restored.
No. 3. — As No. 2 is to be appropriated as a standing field for corn, and of course cannot be sown with wheat in the autumn of 1800, this field, that is, No. 3, ought, if it be practicable, to be fallowed, and sown with that article; otherwise the farm will produce no wheat the following year, and the stock must suffer for want of the straw; and it is to be treated in every respect as has been directed for No. 1, that is, the stubble to be ploughed in immediately after harvest, and rye sowed thereon, with grass-seeds where the soil is strong enough to rear them, for the purpose of producing seed again.
No. 4. — The part thereof which lies northeast of the meadow, commonly called Manley's Field, is to remain well enclosed, and no stock suffered to run thereon until it comes in rotation to be fallowed for wheat in 1801. The other part of the same No. 4 is to be equally well enclosed, and kept from stock; and, except the part along Muddy-Hole Branch (which is to be added to No. 5, in order to supply the deficiency occasioned by taking the clover lot No. 2 from it), is to be planted with peach trees, at sixteen feet and a half asunder, except so much of it as lies flat, by the gate on the Mill road, which, if properly prepared, it is supposed would bring grass, and on that account is to be planted at double that distance, namely, at thirty-three feet apart. What is here meant by enclosing this part of No. 4 well, is, that the outer fence shall be secure, for it will remain as now undivided from No. 3, otherwise than by the Branch.
No. 5, — Is also to be kept from stock; and, when it comes in course to be fallowed for wheat, is to have the addition above mentioned, along the Branch, added thereto, and sown in this article. No. 6,
Will receive such an addition to its size from No. 7, as will make it, exclusive of the lot for clover, lucerne, &c., of equal size thereto. Part of this field is now sown with, and will be in wheat in 1800. Part will be in oats, particularly where the pease grew; and all that part of it, and No. 7 also, which lies low, from the meadow fence by the overseer's house, quite up to the head springs of the Branch, reclaimed in the spring, is to be planted with rare-ripe corn ; and in the fall to be treated in every respect as the great meadow at this farm (but at an earlier period) has been this year. For, although I am not sanguine enough to expect, that it will make good mowing meadow, I shall be much disappointed if it does not produce grass, yielding a good deal of seed, which, until the fields come into cultivation, in regular rotation, and afterwards, if it answer expectation, will be an annual profit without any other labor than gathering it. The other part of No. 6, which will be taken from No. 7, lying south of this low ground between it and No. 1, might, if it does not involve too much ploughing, be put in corn also; but this is a measure, which will require consideration, and probably must depend upon circumstances. The poor and washed parts of No. 6 must remain VOL. XII.