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1852, when we purchased it. A more dilapidated, neglected, and exhausted Sahara could not well be found.
To give minute details of every renovating process could not have been intended by the requisitions. We will, therefore, only cite a few operations. Weeds were exterminated in time by not allowing any to mature. Grass was cut early for the best hay, particularly if it contained “white weed,” which being propagated by seed was thus yearly lessened. “ Dog grass,” and other noxious perennials were completely eradicated from arable portions by thorough digging up and securing their roots. All annual weeds were uniformly raked up,
but were never saved for manure. IVe were consequently soon troubled by succession, only from seeds wafted from the premises of our otherwise good neighbors, or deposited by the numerous birds. Moreover, we seldom used any manure besides wood ashes—the best nutriment, by the way, for all vegetation, and free from weed seeds.
Tilling the soil was early, frequent, superficial or deep, according to circumstances. Trenched or drained and subsoiled land can be worked quite early in the spring, and does not require to be often repeated during the season, and vice versa. Continual growth and successful crops, notwithstanding drought, are also sure and gratifying, as well as the annual saving of labor. Properly prepared soil, planted, and free from weeds, receives, therefore, but little subsequent stirring, and that chiefly for hilling. We plant potatoes, corn, etc., in drill rows, the former six or eight inches apart in the furrows, and at the usual time of hoeing form the continuous hill row, and turn back the same soil in the fall, with the plough, thus obtaining more produce with given land and labor.
Of the buildings—the house was not made by modern hands, but in 1776; is fifty fect square, with white oak frame, high studded, and filled in with bricks, and having been modernized inside and out, is now faultless. We built a barn same size, the most economical form and most convenient for interior arrangements. The ample cellar is a substitute for out
louses, and we would build another barn, or even larger, if liecessary, to contain all carts, implements, etc., too often left unhoused, or more or less exposed to the weather in sheds.
We removed at once all division fences, and liave only the boundary line fenced. Some 300 feet of this has stone posts set five fcet in the gravel ground. Another, 400 feet, has large stones on the surface of clayey soil, ten feet apart, with one and a half inch iron posts sulphured in to drilled holes; and these, together with the rails and slats, rise and fall with the freezing and thawing clay. This novel and useful fence, and that of the stone posts, give great satisfaction. A live fence of the honey locust is also being tried. Other fences are of the usual varieties.
An old apple orchard has been rejuvenated by draining, trimming and grafting. Several trees grafted with the Hubbardston Nonsuch bore so profusely as to destroy their vitality. We have forty varieties, many of them on paradise stocks, which gives a smaller tree, but larger fruit. Many pear trees are also in this orchard.
The exclusive pear orchard is well drained and trenched, with horn piths thrown in from one to three feet below the surface, as a permanent phosphate manure. We have 75 varieties of the fruit comprising the kinds we think most worthy of cultivation. Each year, however, we think more of standards and less of dwarfs. The former, particularly of the Lawrence, do as well in grass ground as the apple tree.
Crops have not as yet been raised to sell, with the exception of hay, which, on the prepared land, is fourfold compared with former cuttings. Crops for domestic use are growncorn and carrots for horses, turnips and bects for cows. All are in abundance and indispensable.
Stock generally consists of a pair of horses and two cows. The latter have been “ soiled” during the summers for three ycars, and the practice is quite satisfactory. They are contented, thrifiy, give more and better milk.
“ Other appendages” with us must be trees, hedges, ponds
and glass houses. Of the former there is a supply, and evergreens predominating, they have naturally given the name to the place. So numerous are they that they protect each other and all about them. As screens to secure and perfect fruits, they are of great service, unless the source of too much damp
It is incredible to an unobserver of the facts, how perceptibly masses of trees affect temperature and moisture. Where land is plenty and cheap it is singular that groves and screens are not oftener planted.
Where trees are trimmed to hedges, they become ornamental divisions, or borders, are easily cared for, and add much to the value of any place. We have hedges of the Norway spruce, hemlock, arbor vitæ, holly, weigelia, honey locust, and cornus sanguinea.
Artificial ponds, like hedges, on a place called a farm, may be viewed by some as superfluities. To others they are a great source of pleasure, and not un profitable. We long since discarded the c!unghill fowl as too troublesome, and find water fowls more remunerative in themselves, while they decoy valuable wild game instead of hawks. The question has also been settled by cultivators of fish, that an acre of water surface may be made to pay better than an acre of land merely.
Glass houses also compensate, except to the exclusively utilitarian, whose income is only in dollars and cents. We have been many years building three of these, thereby obviating much extra labor, and at the same time have some of the most scientific and convenient structures in the country, unsurpassed for the purposes intended. We thus have employment for self and family the year round, and with only one man for help, quite enough of a good thing—care.
It might be deemed presumption to present a farm of sixteen acres to the consideration of your Committee, had not one of only fifteen been offered and accepted last year. It is, however, on the idea of “ten acres enough," "a small farm well lilled,” and the like, that it is undoubtedly justified.
Our profit and excellence, if any, have not been in the
many acres carried on by numerous hired men, with a list of merely profitable and perhaps forced crops, without annual and permanent improvements. On the contrary, we have only put in practice our theory advanced some twelve years ago, in the annual address before the Society, on Home Improvement.
We have perfected a few acres, doing the right thing at the right time, and added so much to their nominal and real value for the comfort and tastes of life, that for the original outlay and subsequent expense, a present market price might show a profit not exceeded by any other land operations.
The Committee award to Dr. E. G. Kelley the first premium of $30, and diploma.
Committee-Wm. Sutton, George B. Loring, Charles P. Preston.
IMPROVED PASTURE LAND. The Committee on Improved Pasture Land have attended to their duty and report :
One entry only was made—that by Mr. Gilbert Conant of Ipswich.
The pasture which Mr. Conant offers for a premium, contains thirty acres, which from present appearance must have been pretty nearly covered with bushes at the time he commenced his improvements. The Committee, three in number, examined the pasture June 30th, and found there had been quite an improvement effected by the course which Mr. Conant has adopted, that of simply burning. We found quite a number of spots in the pasture where the bushes were wholly killed out, and in course of time we think he will overcome them entirely.
We unanimously recommend the award of the first premium of fifteen dollars to Mr. Conant.
For the Committee-H. L. Moody.
STATEMENT OF GILBERT CONANT.
I would hereby respectfully inform you of my intention to enter for premium about thirty acres of old pasture lands, upon which for the last five years I have been making improvements in order to increase their value for pasturage. At the time that I commenced improvements upon these lands, they were mostly run over to bushes, and were of but little value for pasturage. One piece of them containing ahout twenty acres, previous to that date had been let for several years at eight dollars per year. Now it will pasture five cows well. My improvements upon the remainder of said lands have been equally successful. My method of renovating these lands has been by the process of burning. This I have continued from the commencement of my experiment, every year when a fire could be made to run. These lands are a part
farm in Ipswich, and are situated near my dwelling house. I will hereafter give you a detailed statement of my experiment in renovating them, the expense of which has not amounted to five dollars a year.
The Committee on Manures have received but one invitation 'from the farmers of Essex to examine the progress and results of experiments with manures or commercial fertilizers. The farm of Wm. R. Putnam, of Danvers, was visited by his request in September, and some crops upon which he had applied various kinds of fertilizers were examined. Mr. Putnam has handed us a report of these experiments, which we herewith transmit for publication. Mr, P. deserves commendation for his zeal and painstaking in procuring and applying to his crops some of the well known compounds, called fertilizers. In examining the crops to which they had been applied, but little