Page images
PDF
EPUB

get off a tirade against calomel and the faculty. He who trusts book-farming altogether, and is guided only by the written rule, without variation on account of circumstances, resembles another class of physicians, who never deviate from the written directions on account of different constitutions, or different stages of the disease, but administer the regular doses, at the exact mark of the clock, kill or cure.

The farmer, to be successful, should understand the nature and properties of his soil, the constituents and requirements of the plants, the chemical combination and application of such elements as are suited to the growth and maturity of the same. And in order to attain to this, it is, in my opinion, highly necessary to place the profession of agriculture on a level, at least, with the other professions ; and the farmers have only to will this, and it must and will succeed. They have the control of these matters, and have contributed liberally to other professions, and ought now to elevate their own standard to that respectable position attained by others. A geological and agricultural survey of the State, an agricultural college, or school of some kind, that would interest and secure to the profession the highest intellectual capacities, is indispensible to success.

I cannot but hope that the farmers of Maine will give this subject of agricultural education a candid consideration.

CLEARING NEW LAND.

By Alfred Cushman, Golden Ridge. As soon as the leaves attain their full size, which is generally the first week in June, the operation should commence. First, cut every green thing, up to an inch in diameter, with a bush scythe, and everything up to six inches in diameter, with the axe. Then fell the trees as much side the hill as convenient, to ease the rolling of the logs. I think much the best way is, to fell the tops together in winrows about one hundred feet wide. That saves about one-half the labor in limbing, insures a much better burn, burns up much more timber, often a large part of the bodies of the large trees in the middle of the winrows. If they are intended for burning the season they are felled, the limbs and tops should be cut off immedi

ately; when, if the weather is dry, they will burn well in four or five weeks.

If they are intended for lying over, (which is better than twenty five per cent interest on the outlay,) the limbs may be cut down early the next spring. A very important point in clearing new land, is to secure a good burn, which can be done when well dried, with a good wind. Then different modes are pursued. The one I think best, is to cut all the timber two men can conveniently handle, in pieces fifteen or twenty feet long; and pile them against the large trees, much of which will be consumed in the burning piles. When the piles are burnt down so the brands can be handled, with an old axe or picaroon draw them across the burning logs, wherever it is necessary to cut them off. This is the most cheap and expeditious way the cutting up can be done. If it is intended for piling with oxen or horses, it may be cut long; if by hand, short; and the difference in the two ways, so far as expense is concerned, is small. If there is much hemlock, a team is much more necessary. Land intended for planting may, or may not be cleared clean; the less timber, however, there is left on the land, the better the crops will be. With a good burn on hard wood land, two experienced men will clear an acre per day, so it will do to plant; or clear an acre clean in two days.

Land inclining to moisture, where grew rock maple and birch, should be planted with corn, beans and turnips; and that more dry, where grew hemlock and spruce, should be planted with potatoes. All the ashes of large burnt piles should be spread on the surrounding knolls. On land fully cleared, an average crop would be about thirty bushels of corn, fifteen of beans, three hundred of potatoes or turnips, and on land well hand piled, about two thirds the quantity.

On new land, all kinds of grain flourish abundantly; one, two or three crops may be taken off before sowing grass seed; if three, for the last one the land should be plowed, to smooth the surface and insure a good crop of grass. When properly managed, the yield will be from forty to sixty bushels of oats, buckwheat or barley, or from twenty to thirty five of wheat and rye.

FACILITIES OF NORTHERN MAINE FOR STOCK-GROWING.

By Elbridge Knight, Fort Fairfield. [This topic was assigned to Iliram Stevens, who writes me that his engagements were such as to prevent his attending to it, but he had secured a paper on the subject from his townsman, Mr. Knight. ED.) I

propose to consider, briefly, some of the advantages for stockgrowing in the northern part of Maine, as compared with the middle and southern portions of New England.

Nowhere else can the Eastern States boast of a primitive soil equally fertile, if we except, perhaps, the alluvial flats of the Connecticut River. It generally consists of a deep yellow loam, with a pan of loam, clay, and coarse, gravelly, decomposing fragments of rocks, resting upon a stratum of lime-stone. The pan, or sub-soil, if exposed to the atmosphere for a few months, will produce a crop of hay or oats, without the addition of any fertilizer; hence, we may infer that the soil has every necessary ingredient, to render it enduring and almost inexhaustible. As we go south or west from the Aroostook valley, we find more clay and less loam, until we gradually approach the prevailing granite soil of New England. The few stones that are found here, lie mostly upon the surface, or so near it, that they are thrown out by the plough, without interrupting the furrow. Farms are so level and free from stone, that the pasture, which cannot be conveniently ploughed, is an exception, and not the general rule.

We have, then, in the soil, the important advantage of natural depth, that may be increased by sub-soil ploughing to any desirable extent; and the surface may be easily freed from stone, and fitted for the mowing machine and other labor-saving implements, which will lessen the expense of cultivation far beyond what can be done upon the verdant hill-sides of Vermont, or, upon the rocky lands that join the sandy plains which skirt the mighty ocean.

The porous condition of the soil, owing to its small proportion of clay, permits the roots of grass to extend freely in every direction; hence its natural security against drought; its draft for sustenance reaches a larger portion of the soil; and the roots are seldom or never found matted together near the surface, which is commonly called " binding out,” and which lessens the crop to such an extent

[ocr errors]

that it is scarcely worth harvesting until it has been ploughed and again seeded to grass. Here we can suffer the grass to remain, without deterioration, many years, by giving it the necessary food in the form of top-dressing; and experience has shown that our soil and sub-soil absorb and retain manure, so that it does not

"Waste its sweetness on the desert air." I consider this no small desideratum, for a saving of about fifty per cent. in labor and manure is made, by this mode of cultivation, over the one commonly practiced with the plough. Top-dressing may be denominated nature's own method of distributing fertilizers. The hay crop is also protected against the wet weather of fall and spring, by the porous condition of the soil. It is also more secure against injury from insect tribes than in lower latitudes. I consider the hay crop less liable to injury from these causes, and consequently more certain, than in any other portion of the country.

Red clover, herds grass, and most of the other valuable perennial grasses, are well adapted to our soil, and our climate is well adapted to them, for they are seldom winter killed, unless enough of the crop is left upon the ground to smother the red clover.

The porous state of the soil is a preventive against injury from the late and early freezing of the ground; while in the colder months we are secured from this evil by a covering of snow, that almost wholly prevents frost from entering the ground, and producing the deadly effects so often seen in the pastures and mowing lands of the sea-board. The plants of clover and grass are in a healthy, and even vigorous condition, when the snow leaves the ground. I say vigorous, for, if frost was in the ground when the snow fell, it has disappeared, and the plants have already commenced the growth of the season—a growth that is scarcely checked by cold after the snowy disappears in spring. Hence the full development of these plants, and the abundance that greets both man and beast.

As I shall have further occasion to remark upon our climate and its effects upon the stock-growing interests of the region, I will briefly describe our winters as commencing upon an average about the middle of November, by the fall of deep snows, which generally leave the earth’s fair face about the middle of April. We can hardly be said to have a spring, for it ceases to be winter, and summer with its verdure has already commenced. By this protection from the

1

[ocr errors]

cold, our pastures, like our mowing lands, are found verdant when it disappears, and at this period, young cattle and sheep are turned out to shirk for themselves.

The vigorous condition of our pastures in spring, is continued through the season by the dampness of our climate, and the aid of frequent showers. It should also be known that we are not subject to summer droughts as in other portions of the country.

It is not uncommon for cattle to be taken from our pastures to the shambles; and sheep are frequently slaughtered here weighing one hundred pounds after they are dressed, and having from an inch to an inch and a half of fat upon the ribs. It is no small advantage to have cattle become beef in the pasture, or even to make a near approximation to it. Nor would I here omit the remark that, so even a supply of food is favorable to the quality and quantity of dairy products, and also to the health and vigor of the animal. The long winters, during which our cattle do not graze upon the earth, are also favorable, for they retain their appetite until spring, and are generally in good condition when they leave the barn. In many minds, an impression exists, that our long winter is an evil that cannot be counter-balanced by any existing advantages.

I have already enumerated the advantages of a vigorous forage over a weak, puny, and often times, perishing one. I have also remarked upon the better health and condition of the animal, both summer and winter, as a natural consequence; and I am further prepared to express, most confidently, from actual observation in each of the New England States, the opinion that cattle need forage prepared for them, one year with another, as short a time, upon the Aroostook, as in any portion of these States.

Our winters may be colder, as tested by a thermometer, but they are not as uncomfortable as in more mountainous regions. We have feyer driving storms, less frequent tempests, and almost entire freedom from the cold, damp, chilly winds of spring. We have warm, growing weather in May and June, when the Green and the White Mountains are sending forth their chilly blasts from their snow-capped eminences, to the discomfort of thousands who need, at least, one over-coat more than is required in the valley of the Aroostook.

All kinds of English grain are very luxuriant here, which sug

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »