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whether long or short, or middle woolled; whether hairy or woolly, or a more even mixture of the two extreme varieties. In plain words, let us take the sheep as we find them, good, and build up fitting varieties by nice selections, vigilance and suitable food.
The true question appears to be, not whether Maine, like Saxony, is capable of raising sheep which shall produce wool of a maximum degree of fineness, without regard to the cost; but, what varieties of sheep are by their nature best adapted to our climate and soil, to the general condition and situation of our farms, and which will at the least risk and cost, make the greatest return in federal money.
It may be that Dr. Browne is correct in assigning to Maine, the Merino. They are certainly fast growing into favor in those counties where the most attention is given to large flocks of sheep; while in the immediate vicinity of each great market of the State, the mutton sheep-South Downs, Cotswolds, Oxfordshire Downs, and the hairy Leicester, with its loose and open pile-are each paying large profits to their respective breeders.
Upon due consideration, it is recommended that every farmer in the State qualify himself, by his own practical experience and careful observation for argument upon (as it is assumed to be) the yet unsettled question, "What is the most suitable and best breed of sheep for Maine?" Let each one immediately procure more or less, as good as he can select, of the kind which seems to him fitted to his wants; then with a specimen of each fleece in hand, numbered to correspond to a number upon the sheep from which it came, consult some intelligent wool sorter, and thus learn which ones are of nearly uniform quality; then with the aid of his friend the butcher, choose from the select,' those which develop the fullest proportions, and the most perfect forms, and thus determine upon his breeding ewes; after which he should not hesitate to put himself to still greater trouble, or even to a considerable expense, to procure an active buck of robust health, excelling in that quality of wool towards which he intends to breed. This is particularly urged because all the authorities agree in attributing to the buck the greater effect upon the wool, and many consider his influence paramount in conveying all qualities to the progeny. Let him, in both buck and ewes obtain as thick a fleece as possible, always rejecting one that has the wool thin and open along the back, and the belly bare or imperfectly covered.
By pursuing this course for a few years, he will not only be able to throw light upon a dark question and aid his brother farmers to an important decision, but he will find that he has made a profitable investment pecuniarily, and if it happens that he has bred in the right direction for his locality, and the neighborhood is not infested with dogs, his progress to wealth will be opposed only by the extent of his farm.
In sheep keeping it should never be lost sight of, that these ranging animals require a frequent change of pasture, more than any other sort of live stock, and that they never fail to pay handsomely for every such change. Blacklock says, "Nothing will conduce so much to the health of sheep, and to the speedy taking on of fat, as the frequent shifting of the flock. Disease will, doubtless still affect the animals, but illness will be rare, and mortality diminished, if by the care of their rulers, they are enabled to obtain what instinct tells them is the best of medicine." Judge Buel said, "Keep your sheep dry, give them pure air and plenty of food, and carry them to spring grass, by all means, in good flesh. Stint them not in salt, and feed turnips, potatoes and coarse grain occasionally, particularly to such as have to give suck."
The following extract from the Patent Office Report of 1851, p. 97, accredited to the "Wool Grower," was discovered after the above was penned. Identical as it is with much, corroborative of nearly all, that has been here advanced, and adding still more, it is hoped that it may give force, if not dignity, to this paper.
"Everywhere and anywhere the sheep will live and thrive, and, with proper care, pay more for the labor and capital invested, than any other animal or any other system of farming. It is one of the most useful and economical modes which have been given us to convert the vegetation of the farm to money. There is no animal in which there is so little waste or so little loss. For at least seven years of its life, it will give an annual fleece, to the value of the carcass, and the yearly increase will be nearly or quite equal to the cost of keeping, giving as a general thing, a profit of cent per cent. Of all the other animals, the cow comes nearest to the sheep, in the profit it returns to the farmer, if well cared for; it will pay for itself each year, by the milk it yields, and defray also the cost of keeping. We aver, without fear of contradiction in truth, that there
is hardly a locality in the whole Union, where any kind of farm animals can subsist, that the sheep, if properly attended to, will not give a net profit on the investment, of at least fifty per cent, and that with the ordinary management of farms, it will give some twenty to forty per cent. * * We cannot glut the market, nor will there be any long time that the market will be depressed below a point of profitable production. On the contrary, it is certain that no farm product goes less below that point, than wool." The last position advanced above, brings to mind the statement in a late journal, that while the sheep of Great Britain had doubled in number, during the last one hundred years, the price of wool per pound, had also doubled, and the price of mutton had quadrupled.
A reason has already been given for the reference made in this report to Dr. Browne's essay. It may be thought that too much. space has been accorded to that; perhaps there has. But when it is considered that the Patent Office Reports are looked upon, by a great many farmers as almost standard works and text books upon such agricultural matters as they treat of, and that they are, more or less, in the possession of every neighborhood, it does seem to be a duty incumbent upon those publicly entrusted with a regard for these great interests, that they should not suffer to pass unchallenged any new and startling theory, the prevalence of which would very materially change the existing practice; but that all such ought to be fairly investigated upon their own intrinsic merits, and if the new doctrine then appears to be correct, the practice might more reasonably and confidently be adopted, than it could upon a dogmatical assertion of its truth.
By Samuel Wasson, Franklin.
With neither time or inclination to indulge in doubtful or speculative theories, I can only indite such deductions as have been drawn from experience and observation. Marine manures, in common parlance, are rock-weed, kelp, eel-grass, muscle-bed, and pogy chum. Rock-weed and kelp grow upon the rocks and ledges of an "open shore. Eel-grass, upon the "flats," left dry at low water. Muscles
are formed in beds, varying in size, from half an acre to ten acres, and in depth, from one foot to five feet. Chum is the remains of the fish called pogy or menhaden, after the oil is pressed out, and somewhat resembles fine chopped hay.
Prof. Johnston says, "sea-weed contains potash, soda, sulphuric acid, salt and magnesia, the predominating constituents being potash, sulphuric acid, and salt;" substances needed by crops. prime compost, especially for seeding-down, is made of rock-weed and muck, mixed in alternate layers. Fresh rock-weed, spread over newly-sown turnips, is a sure preventive against the ravages of the fly, and the turnip will be smooth and fair as a maiden's brow. As a top-dressing, it is fast going into disuse, an impression prevailing that it "drives" the land. The fairest and best flavored potatoes, grown along shore, are raised upon eel-grass. Complaint is yet to be made of the rot affecting potatoes planted upon it, although the yield is much less than on yard manure. The only objection to eel-grass is, that it takes too long to decompose, but if mixed with lime-which increases its manurial value-it will rot as quick as straw. Some of my thriftiest potatoes are growing upon this mixture, it having been in stack but fourteen days. For wet, heavy, adhesive soil, it is first rate to make it dry, light and friable. With both rock-weed and eel-grass, their "virtues are many, and vices few." Of muscle-bed, our farmers, one and all, acknowledge its merits, yet but few practically appreciate its worth, while it is neglected by many, and mis-applied by others. As a top-dressing for grass on clay soil, among the long list of concentrated manures, it has no compeer; rapid and energetic in its action, and durable in its effects. Land, that for years has only grown wire-grass and white-weed, will, immediately after its application, produce a luxuriant crop of Timothy.
On a field in western Hancock, liberally dressed during the winter of the "Aroostook war," its influence is still perceivable. To spread broadcast, it is preferable to bone, superphosphate or guano. It must, however, be hauled during cold weather, so as to freeze, or it is valueless. Nature seems to have made those deposits especially to renovate worn-out grass lands.
For several years, some few of our maratime farmers have devoted a month or two after haying, to the catching of pogies for the oil,
proving a profitable business. Yankee-like, everybody is into it, saving (oil) at the spigot, but wasting (chum) at the bung. But within a few years, either experiment or accident discovered that the chum-hitherto food for maggots-would furnish an important source of fertility, as it decomposed rapidly, and acted with great energy in hastening the growth of plants. Some of the more knowing ones began to spread it upon their mowing fields, and of the result, "seeing is to believe." Upon sandy fields, where grass "no-how wouldn't" grow, a single year's spreading produced two tons per acre. If applied consecutively, it will after a year or two impart a fishy taste to the hay not relished by cattle.
As the "hite" of fishing is in the heat of summer, when the chum cannot be preserved any length of time, sufficient care is not had in spreading—the spreader, for the time, being more of fisherman than farmer-hence the cause for the complaint.
In the compost heap or elsewhere, above the sea or underneath, it will make its mark. When science shall discover how to preserve it as an article of commerce, pogies will be caught for the chum and not for the oil. Already it is known that if immediately from the press it is packed in good barrels and salted with lime, it will keep for several weeks.
That down in the "deep caverns of the briny sea "there are other forms of fertility, there's no doubt, but 'till those already known are fully appreciated and properly applied, why should Neptune be invoked to "give, give?"
By B. C. Bailey, Bath.
With regard to these, I will at present merely say, that the kinds used in this vicinity are taken from the bed of Stevens' or New Meadow's River, so called, when the tide is out, at low water, and from the inlets and coves, or arms of the sea around and about the sea shore, and from the rocks and islands about the shore at low water.
Stevens' or New Meadow's River, is an arm of the sea running inland perhaps eight or ten miles, with no fresh water streams running into it of any note, leaving the bed of the river very much im