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listed the services of some of our most useful, influential and public-spirited citizens, we have now two town associations, both in flourishing condition, and three farmers' clubs, diligently devoted to the investigation of topics belonging to practical agriculture. Various sections of Massachusetts, and of other New England states, have supplied themselves with many valuable cattle of pure blood, particularly Ayrshires for the dairy, from the breeders of Essex. The three-year-old stallion, which took the first premium this season at one of the largest exhibitions in Vermont, was bred in this county, as were his sire and grandsire before him. Some fine specimens of Shorthorn blood have been brought to our notice this year; descended from one of the best bulls of this class in New England, and introduced into our section of the county two years since. The interest in sheep-husbandry has materially increased; and, for the first time for many years, fine-wooled sheep have been introduced among us from the various families of Vermont Merinos.
We mention these facts, as proofs that our agricultural enterprise is not on the wane. The various root-crops of our county still hold the high position they have so long held among the cultivated crops of Massachusetts.
of Massachusetts. The cultivation of fruit is still pursued with untiring diligence. The hay crop of Essex county fills its usually important place in the market. And in addition to all this well-known and recognized industry, we add with pleasure the new evidence of skill and attention which has been brought to our notice.
Much, however, remains to be done ; and to a few points of improvement we propose to refer in this report.
One great obstacle in the way of profitable agriculture at the present time, is the scarcity of labor. Wages of farm hands have increased to such a degree, during the past year, that it seemed at one time as if the earth must be abandoned to its
spontaneous productions. In this condition of affairs, the importance of good labor-saving farm machinery becomes very apparent. The stout and heavy and unwieldy weapons, with which our ancestors subdued the wilderness, were useful enough when wielded by their own strong arms, whose strength was increased by a firm will and vigorous industry. But we can no more employ such implements in any modern profitable agriculture, than we could substitute the hand-labor of China for our own well-ordered and powerful engines. It is one of the most important questions which the farmer is called upon to decide—how far he can devote his capital to the best farm machinery?
It is indeed doubtful whether any machine can be employed in tilling the earth, in digging and manipulating the soil, in applying manure, in sowing seed, in harvesting, with so good an effect as that produced by the hand of the skillful husbandman. But this can be applied only to small tracts of land, unless by the employment of a large and expensive force. We must resort, then, to such machinery as will enable us to carry on our business economically and profitably.
Perhaps the time has not yet arrived when we can equip our farms with all the intricate implements which constitute a part of the outfit of an English farmer. We can, however, employ with advantage the improvements which have been made by the skill of our own people. In all the smaller tools, there is no doubt that we are far in advance of any other nation. Our shovels, and spades, and forks, and hoes, and rakes are light, well-balanced, and, when carefully made, very strong and durable. No American farmer would think it possible to carry on his farm with the implements used in most parts of Europe. At the recent International Exhibition at Hamburg, the steeltined pitch-forks exhibited by American manufacturers, were examined with fear and trembling by the German farmers, who considered them dangerous instruments, when compared with their own clumsy, and by no means formidable wooden forks, used by them in their hay-fields and farm yards.
tot complain of our smaller agricultural tools, when compared with those of any other nation.
Perhaps the same may be said of our ploughs, upon the construction of which we have devoted so much time and skillful attention, during the last quarter of a century. It is a fact worthy of notice, however, that the American, who claims to have the best plough that can be made, is by no means the best ploughman. In this respect, many other people excel us; the Italian somewhat, even with his rude implement, and the Scotchman very considerably, with his model plough for heavy lands. That straight and even furrow, so characteristic of the farming of the latter, is but little known to us. And we would suggest that for ploughing our heaviest and strongest lands, the length of our ploughs from heel to point should be materially increased, and with it the length of the mould-board ; believing as we do, that a plough thus constructed is more easily handled by an unskillful laborer, than one which is shorter, lighter, and more difficult to control.
Not so much in our plough, however, may any improvement be made for the benefit of those deficient in skill, as in those implements employed for pulverizing and cleaning the land. These are very important to the farmer who is engaged in raising roots, or any other crops which require careful cultivation. We need very much a convenient and effectual grabber and horse hoe; one which can be used previously to planting, to rid the land of weeds and grass roots ; and afterwards among the plants for stirring the soil and keeping it clean. We need a light and cheap, and easily managed dibble, for seeding our turnips and mangolds and carrots. This of itself would save great labor in the outset ; but we need still more some implement which will take the place of that great number of hands which we must now employ in weeding and thinning these crops.
Of the machinery now used in haymaking, we have a very good supply. The construction of the mowing-machine has gone so far, as to leave hardly anything to be desired in the way of improvement. And the skill of the farmer in its use
has kept pace with the invention of the mechanic in its construction. It will not be an easy matter to improve our mowing-machines.
We wish we could say as much of the horse-rakes and ted. ders, which are in use among us. The problem of horse-rakes remains to be solved. It is unfortunate that the “revolving rake,” with all its difficulty of management, should still stand very high on the list–in the estimation of many, who like clean-raked lands, and hay free from dust, the highest. It is unfortunate also that the mechanism of a tedder, which will work easily, with light draft, and effectually, should apparently be so difficult to devise. But so it seems to be.
For loading hay in the field, it will probably be difficult to invent a machine superior to a strong arm with a good fork. But for unloading hay in the barn, we would direct the attention of our farmers to “ Wheeler & Merrick's Excelsior Pitch Fork.” It is simple in its construction, can be managed by any able-bodied farm hand; and not only saves the heating and exhausting labor of pitching hay from a load, in a close barn, and perhaps to a great height, but it avoids the necessity of employing a large number of men in stowing hay, and in passing it from one part of the building to another. It is difficult to estimate the precise amount of labor which it will save. It is certain, however, that in raising a ton of hay to the top of a well filled mow, it can perform the labor of three able-bodied men, and save the time of three more. And more than all-when it is generally introduced, we shall see no; more of those permanent scaffolds over the driveway of our barns, which, with their narrow scuttle-holes, are the most inconvenient design, which ever “entered the heart of man to conceive.” And this brings us to the consideration of our
We do not propose to discuss the dwellings of the farmers of the county ; for the location and style, and adornment of these structures depend so much upon the taste of the builder,
and are intended so much to gratify taste as well as to conform to convenience, that any rules relating to them are not easily laid down. With regard to the farm buildings proper, those buildings intended to shelter the animals, and to store the crops of the farm, something more definite may be said. They should be as compact, and at the same time as commodious as possible. It is important to avoid as much as may be, all ex. travagance of roofing—for the roof is the most expensive part of the building to keep in repair. Whether the building be a stable, or a piggery, or a granary, or a barn, economy of roof should be one of the first considerations. It would be well to cover all these offices referred to with one roof if possible.This may be done to a very considerable extent, by a properly arranged barn with a cellar.
Such a barn as this is rarely seen. There are many buildings erected for the purposes of a barn, which are more remarkable for their intricate and labarynthine passages, and their inconvenient arrangements than for anything else. In structures like these, the visitor is constantly astonished with some new and unexpected receptacle for hay, or some suddenly discovered retreat for a few cattle, or a concealed stall or two for horses, or a bit of a cellar, just where a cellar was least anticipated. He is never impressed with the simplicity, and convenience and capacity of the building, never surprised to find how many cattle can find shelter in it, nor what ample storage it furnishes for hay, grain, etc. And yet this is the 'great requisite for a barn.
In the cellar of a well-designed barn, can be found room for the deposit of manure, the storage of roots, and the shelter of swine. In the building itself, it is easy to arrange a granary, stalls for horses, and accommodations for cattle. The mows, bays, and space over the driveway, may be filled with hay, and whatever buildings may be required on the farm for sheep, or poultry, or for the protection of carts, wagons, etc., may
be connected with it. A multiplication of buildings is always a misfortune to the farmer. It increases the original cost of