Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming

Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming
Title: Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming
Release Date: 2018-02-25
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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PLEASANT TALK

ABOUT

FRUITS, FLOWERS AND FARMING.

BY

HENRY WARD BEECHER.

NEW EDITION,
WITH ADDITIONAL MATTER FROM RECENT WRITINGS,
PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED.

Illustration: Printer Logo

NEW YORK:
J. B. FORD AND COMPANY.
1874.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873,

BY J. B. FORD AND COMPANY,

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

University Press: Welch, Bigelow, & Co.,
Cambridge.

[Pg iii]

PREFATORY.


The Preface to the first edition of this volume, whichfollows these few words, will give some idea of the book’sorigin. Much of the material is of only passing importance,and is retained now rather from retrospective interest. Aconsiderable addition has been made, however, consistingof articles contributed to Mr. Bonner’s New York Ledger,bearing upon rural affairs, and also an unpublished addressupon The Apple. This was delivered at Iona Island, ona fair summer day, when ladies and gentlemen, severalscore,—editors, pomologists, singers, preachers, poets, andinventors,—gathered under Dr. C. W. Grant’s hospitabletrees,—for the house was too small to hold them,—to eatapples and pears, to discuss grapes solid and liquid, and tolisten to the venerable poet, Mr. Bryant, to Horace Greeley,to Charles Downing, and to notable songsters, whose warblesput the birds to envious silence,—at any rate, so thecompliments ran at the time.

The address had better luck at Iona than its great subjectdid in Paradise; though it will never give rise to such aliterature of results.

H. W. BEECHER.

Brooklyn, February, 1874.

[Pg v]

PREFACE

TO THE FIRST EDITION.


No one of our readers will be half so curious to knowwhat this book contains as the author himself. For it ismore than twelve years since these pieces were begun, andit is more than ten years since we have looked at them.The publishers have taken the trouble to dig them out fromwhat we supposed to be their lasting burial-place, in thecolumns of the Western Farmer and Gardener, and theyhave gone through the press without our own revision.

It is now twenty years since we settled at Indianapolis, thecapital of Indiana, a place then of four, and now of twenty-fivethousand inhabitants. At that time, and for yearsafterward, there was not, within our knowledge, any otherthan political newspapers in the State—no educationaljournals, no agricultural or family papers. The IndianaJournal at length proposed to introduce an agriculturaldepartment, the matter of which should every monthbe printed, in magazine form, under the title, IndianaFarmer and Gardener, which was afterward changed tothe more comprehensive title, Western Farmer and Gardener.

[Pg vi]It may be of some service to the young, as showing howvaluable the fragments of time may become, if mention ismade of the way in which we became prepared to edit thisjournal.

The continued taxation of daily preaching, extendingthrough months, and once through eighteen consecutivemonths, without the exception of a single day, began towear upon the nerves, and made it necessary for us to seeksome relaxation. Accordingly we used, after each weeknight’spreaching, to drive the sermon out of our headsby some alterative reading.

In the State Library were Loudon’s works—his encyclopediasof Horticulture, of Agriculture, and of Architecture.We fell upon them, and, for years, almost monopolized them.

In our little one-story cottage, after the day’s work wasdone, we pored over these monuments of an almost incredibleindustry, and read, we suppose, not only every line, butmuch of it many times over; until, at length, we had atopographical knowledge of many of the fine English estatesquite as intimate, we dare say, as was possessed by manyof their truant owners. There was something exceedinglypleasant, and is yet, in the studying over mere cataloguesof flowers, trees, fruits, etc.

A seedsman’s list, a nurseryman’s catalogue, are morefascinating to us than any story. In this way, throughseveral years, we gradually accumulated materials andbecame familiar with facts and principles, which paved theway for our editorial labors. Lindley’s Horticulture andGray’s Structural Botany came in as constant companions.And when, at length, through a friend’s liberality, we became[Pg vii]the recipients of the London Gardener’s Chronicle,edited by Prof. Lindley, our treasures were inestimable.Many hundred times have we lain awake for hours, unableto throw off the excitement of preaching, and beguilingthe time with imaginary visits to the Chiswick Garden, tothe more than oriental magnificence of the Duke of Devonshire’sgrounds at Chatsworth. We have had long discussions,in that little bedroom at Indianapolis, with VanMons about pears, with Vibert about roses, with Thompsonand Knight of fruits and theories of vegetable life, andwith Loudon about everything under the heavens in thehorticultural world.

This employment of waste hours not only answered apurpose of soothing excited nerves then, but brought usinto such relations to the material world, that, we speakwith entire moderation, when we say that all the estatesof the richest duke in England could not have given ushalf the pleasure which we have derived from pastures,waysides, and unoccupied prairies.

If, when the readers of this book shall have finished it,they shall say, that these papers, well enough for the circumstancesin which they originally appeared, have no suchmerit as to justify their republication in a book form, we begleave to tell them that their judgment is not original. It isjust what we thought ourselves! But Publishers are willfuland must be obeyed!

Brooklyn, June 1, 1859.

[Pg ix]

CONTENTS.


PAGE
Political Economy of the Apple 1
A few Flowers easily raised 16
Flower-Farming 21
A Letter from the Farm 25
The Cost of Flowers 28
Haying 31
The Value of Robins 34
Sounds of Trees 39
Unveiled Nonsense 43
Natural Order of Flowers 46
Roses 49
Chestnuts 51
Green Peas 55
Hens 58
Farming 60
Gardening under Difficulties 63
Corn 66
Dandelions 69
How to beautify Homes 72
Birch and Aspen 75
Autumn 78
Plant Trees! 81
Farewell to "Summer Rest" 84
Preliminary 87
Our Creed 88
Almanac for the Year 89
Educated Farmers 98
An Acre of Words about Aker 101
Farmer's Library 105
Nine Mistakes 107
Agricultural Societies 108
Shiftless Tricks 111
Electro Culture 114
Single-Crop Farming 117
Improved Breeds of Hogs and Cattle 119
Absorbent Qualities of Flour 122
Portrait of an Anti-Book Farmer 124
Good Breeds of Cows 128
Cutting and curing Grass 131
Country and City 133
Lime upon Wheat 134
Culture of Hops 136
White Clover 138
Plowing Corn 139
Clean out your Cellars 142
When is Haying over? 144
Laying down Land to Grass 145
Theory of Manure 149
Fodder for Cattle 151
The Science of Bad Butter 153
Cincinnati, the Queen City 157
Care of Animals in Winter 161, 243
Winter Nights for Reading 163
Feathers 163
Nail up your Bugs 165
Ashes and their Use 168
Hard Times 170
Gypsum 171
Acclimating a Plow 171
Scour your Plows bright 173
Plow till it is Dry and plow till it is Wet 174
Stirring the Soil 175
Subsoil Plowing 176
Fire-Blight and Winter Killing 177
Winter Talk 179
"Shut your Mouth" 181
Spring Work on the Farm 182
Spring Work in the Garden 185, 292
Fall Work in the Garden 190
Guarding Cherry-trees from Cold 191
Shade Trees 192, 252
A Plea for Health and Floriculture 195
Keeping Young Pigs in Winter 198
Sweet Potatoes 199
Management of Bottom Lands 199
Cultivation of Wheat 202
Pleasures of Horticulture 214
Practical Use of Leaves 215
Spring Work for Public-spirited Men 218[Pg x]
Farmers and Farm Scenes in the West 220
Ornamental Shrubs 224
Gooseberries 227
Pulling off Potato Blossoms 229
Blading and topping Corn 230
Maple-Sugar 231
Lettuce 237
Geological Definitions 238
Draining Wet Lands 240
O dear! shall we ever be done Lying? 242
Deep Planting
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