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mill which detained the zealous business agent, Mr. Fales, and Mr. Hammond, who resides on the farm, was also absent.
But the committee learned that the intention was to underdrain thoroughly, and otherwise generally improve the farm. After a pleasant hour's inspection of the beautiful place, including the examination of some fine Jersey neat stock, grade and thorough bred, among the latter an imported cow of unusual size for that race, and with a thoughtful glance over the way to the new establishment for putting up sweet corn in hermetically sealed cans, being erected by Mr. John Jones upon the site of a similar one destroyed by fire, which is to furnish (as the other did) a convenient market for neighboring farmers, your committee passed to the examination of the farm of Messrs. Solomon and Edward Cloudman, in Gorham, calling on the way
to invite Gen. Edward T. Smith, of the Executive Committee to aid in the subsequent examinations.
The Messrs. Cloudman propose constructing a new barn with cellar, &c.; new farm implements; an improvement in live stock; a general clearing off of bushes; and, above all in importance, to break up the present encroachment upon their land, of water from the Presumpscot river and from the hills, by underdrains where practicable, otherwise by open ditches, and a thorough system of high, narrow beds.
The farm of Mr. John Yates, in Standish, was next examined, the visiting party being increased by the accession of another member of the Executive Board, Mr. Theodore M. Bradbury. Mr. Yates has put upon himself an immense amount of work; clearing off bushes from eight acres of pasture; building stone wall; moving walls for bettering the shape of fields; removing granite boulders; improving a wet meadow which requires a very long drain; carrying water from a spring to his house and barn; new barn; new fences; and underdraining in orchards and fields. Mr. Y.'s farm consists of more than two hundred and fifty acres, and he carries his thought of improvement over pretty much the whole.
Mr. Frederick Lowell, also of Standish, purposes a general improvement of his farm, in part by the systematic drainage of about five acres of a very wet hill side field; by clearing a rough and bushcovered pasture, &c., &c., including withal a particular regard to the advancement of his live stock. Mr. L.'s underdraining is in one
of many similar fields in his town, and if it proves efficacious in exterminating a species of brake or fern called polypod, by some, podgum, which prevails in them, it will satisfy many farmers who are looking to the results of his experiments, and encourage them to follow his example.
Your committee then examined the farm of Mr. Alvah Weeks, in Standish. Mr. W. purposes a general improvement, which comprises, among many minor details, the restoring an old orchard; setting out new trees enough to cover about two acres already enclosed by stone wall; clearing some four acres of pasture; ditching and underdraining; building fence and stone wall. Mr. W. exhibited one piece of land to the committee with the remark that, "unless grasshoppers carried knapsacks filled with food, they could not live upon it,” and said that he hoped to bring to a productive condition, even that forlorn looking place.
Mr. J. R Thompson, who also entered his farm in Standish, proposed an improvement of a rough and fern-covered pasture, underdraining of fields, &c. The stone underdrains already laid by Mr. T., cost, he says, "just about one dollar a rod, completed.” And judging from what can be seen at the ends, they are very substantially and properly constructed.
Mr. Josiah Moulton of Standish, whose farm was entered, purposes an increase of an acre and a half of land to his orchard; surface and underdrains; sinking a well on a hill where there appear strong indications of living water, which he intends to carry to his barn; building good wall in place of a poor brush and stone fence; improvements in his buildings and to his farm generally. Mr. M. had already commenced in good earnest upon his barn cellar.
Mr. Ebenezer Moulton and son, also of Standish, propose to obtain a premium by building a new barn and shop, by general repairs to old buildings; by setting out fruit trees; building new fence; making smooth a rough field of about twenty acres extent; and by surface and underdraining. The underdrains already laid by Mr. M. have cost, he said, “about 75 cents a rod.” A markedly improved condition of the land, in consequence of the drainage was evident, and he was, he said, well satisfied that in a district where land cost only twenty-five dollars an acre wherever it required draining, and consequently was of lower market value thare the average, it paid well to underdrain.
Your committee then called upon Mr. Joshua E. Hall, in Gorham, near “Great Falls Village.” Mr. Hall was absent from home, but his farm was viewed in part then, and more thoroughly since by two members of the committee. Mr. H. purposes a general improvement, comprising the building of wall; underdraining; planting new orchards, and improving some dozen or more acres of pasture.
There may be seen on this farm evidence of the most complete success in a restoration of peat bog; where the very
last season his cattle were mired so that he was obliged to get them out one at a time, and that only by the aid of planks. Mr. Hall had this season a very even and luxurient growth of potatoes, corn, peas and pumpkins, over the whole of this acre which only last year was a mere basin of soft mud matted over with an insecure carpet of moss and fresh grass, tufted with rushes.
With the examination of Mr. Hall's farm the field duties of the committee terminated. Two of the members on their way home, accompanied by Mr. Goodale, called upon Mr. Woodbury P. Manes, in Windham, who with sufficient capital and enthusiasm has undertaken to restore and improve the farm where he passed his boyhood; à portion of it consisted of a low, flat, boggy piece of land, full of water, and covered with logs, stumps, bushes and other such rubbish. Some fifteen acres of this piece is entirely changed; the land has been cleared by the axe and fire; open and underdrains and deep plowing have drawn off the water; the harrow and clod maul have made smooth the surface of twelve acres, into which two hundred and forty well trodden cords of stable manure was plowed, and this year five acres of it " laid down” with wheat, five with barley, and the other two planted with potatoes. Not a stump, or stone, or inequality of surface can be seen any where upon the broad flat beds. Within the last two years one hundred cords of wood, and the stumps with which one hundred and forty rods of fence was constructed have been removed from this now smooth field. And the plow was still in active operation, moving steadily on its way to subdue other twelve acres; it was such plowing as we read of, but seldom see, twelve heavy oxen dragging a No. 28 (Eagle) plow to its very beam, which cut below the surface nineteen inches, and broke "as obdurate a hearthpan as ever resisted the root of an oak” hacmatac or swamp spruce.
An underdrain here, only ten rods long, was discharging, with the velocity of a sluice, a volume of water ten inches wide by five inches deep. On the 16th of August this farm was again visited, and the stream from this drain seemed to have lost no force, and to have diminished less than two inches in depth in that unusually dry
We were tempted to exclaim as Dobson did to the chronicler of the Clay farm, “You've tapped the dropsy on it, for one thing, that's sartin.”
Mr. M. had also made straight the crooked ways of a wandering trout brook, thereby relieving his low fields of a wide-spread flow of troublesome water. At our last visit he had just completed his annual painting up, and no one would suppose that the plows, cultivåtors, &c., had undergone such hard service as we had seen them in, but might reasonably think the farm had just been stocked with an entire new set of tools and implements. Before leaving here, "we took a deep drink all around" from a fine spring on the place, having within its "true blue” curb six feet in depth of limpid water. Mr. M. says he has just commenced bis operations—he has certainly begun in earnest.
It will be perceived that the committee did not confine its examinations strictly to the farms exhibited in competition for premiums, but wherever invited, or whenever an opportunity offered, to observe anything new or interesting, connected with agriculture, anywhere upon the route required to visit the farms which were entered, sufficient time was bestowed upon such observation. This is in accordance with what the members of the committee conceive to be their duty; basing this belief upon their own understanding of the circular from the Executive Board, the last clause of which entertains the idea of an agricultural survey of each town in the county in case no applications were made for the premiums,—thus indicating, as it appears, a desire for more general knowledge of the agricultural doings of our fellow-workers of the soil. The future proceedings of the committee will of course be governed by such action as it may please the Society to take upon the matter of this report. It will be
very gratifying to the several members of the committee if the Society should see fit to charge them with more explicit directions and instruction than can be gathered from the circular of 1857.
JOHN F. ANDERSON, Chairman.
NOTE. In connection with land drainage, the committee feel it is incumbent upon them to bring to the notice of farmers purposing this as part of their improvement, the excellent work on this subject by Judge French. It is a highly practical and instructive book. The price paid for it will be saved over and again by every man who reads it, if he undertakes but a few rods of open or thorough draining. It may be had for a dollar at the bookstores. .