Pleasant Talk About Fruits, Flowers and Farming
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FRUITS, FLOWERS AND FARMING.
HENRY WARD BEECHER.
WITH ADDITIONAL MATTER FROM RECENT WRITINGS,
PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED.
J. B. FORD AND COMPANY.
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.,
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 Bonner’s New York Ledger,bearing upon rural affairs, and also an unpublished addressupon The Apple.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.
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.
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.
|Political Economy of the Apple||1|
|A few Flowers easily raised||16|
|A Letter from the Farm||25|
|The Cost of Flowers||28|
|The Value of Robins||34|
|Sounds of Trees||39|
|Natural Order of Flowers||46|
|Gardening under Difficulties||63|
|How to beautify Homes||72|
|Birch and Aspen||75|
|Farewell to "Summer Rest"||84|
|Almanac for the Year||89|
|An Acre of Words about Aker||101|
|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|
|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|
|Nail up your Bugs||165|
|Ashes and their Use||168|
|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|
|Fire-Blight and Winter Killing||177|
|"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|
|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|
|Pulling off Potato Blossoms||229|
|Blading and topping Corn||230|
|Draining Wet Lands||240|
|O dear! shall we ever be done Lying?||242|