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If it were permitted the old Revolutionary patriots of the Mohawk, whose trials were at Schuyler, Dayton, Oriskany, and on these hills and flats, to rise in judgment on the loyalty, patriotism, and bravery of their posterity, we are persuaded their stout old hearts would be gladdened and reanimated in the thought that the soil made memorable by their privations, their many trials and sufferings, and tears-sprinkled by their blood for the cause of freedom and good government—had not degenerated, since everywhere over its hills and dales has been heard the tramp of armed men-soldiers hurrying forward in defence of the Union and of the "Old Flag," so dearly bought and so worthy to be preserved.
These thoughts are due from us, as members of this Club ; from us who have remained at home in our usual occupations, far from camps and the horrors of war--for we have not remained unnindful of the struggle, while our friends, and relatives, and brothers, and sons, have battled and fallen in the conflict. Our hearts have been torn and lacerated, as one after another of loved ones, full of promise, has taken his last long journeyperchance
" To the island-valley of the Avilion;
Never, for a moment, have we been unmindful of our regiments; they have been constantly in our thoughts during their long and weary marches during their exhaustive labor in trenches, in the camp, in rebel prisons, and in the perils of battle; always receiving our heartfelt sympathy, and, we trust, earnest prayers for their preservation and deliverance-prayers not only for them, but for our regeneration as a people; for the time comes when
" The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfills himself in many ways' And we have faith that,
“ More things are wrought by prayer
Than the world dreams of. Wherefore let our voice
SEMI-MONTHLY MEETINGS. The semi-monthly meetings of the club, during the year, have been kept up and pretty generally attended, not, perhaps, with that promptness and regularity as formerly, owing partly to the causes above enumerated, or the occupation of mind with the absorbing topics of the times. And yet a goodly amount of work has been done in the way of essays, reports and discussions.
Early in the year the subject of abortive cows was brought before the
club, in the hope that, by a thorough examination of the dairies and premises where this disease had been most active and virulent, its causes could be discovered and the habit arrested. There seemed to be urgent necessity on the part of the club for well directed action in this matter, since the habit was rapidly increasing among the herds of the county, and no one seemed to have any definite idea of its cause, or the remedy to be applied. That the club might get at the facts, separated from the various and conflicting theories and opinions of dairymen, some of which were believed to be purely imaginative, Hon. Lester Greene was appointed and sent out on a tour of inspection, with instructions to make a thorough examination of the farms and premises, and to collect all the facts that appeared to have any bearing on the disease. He faithfully fulfilled his trust, and attention is called to his report, which is an able and valuable paper.
In the month of June, the club had the pleasure of listening to an address by Luther H. Tucker, of the Country Gentleman, who came into the county for the purpose of looking at our cheese dairies, and learning the manner in which they were generally conducted. The club was particularly pleased with the address by Mr. Tucker, since it was suggestive, by comparing our system of agriculture with that of other localities in the states and in Europe; and particularly gratifying to members, from the hearty words of encouragement given and the assurance of appreciation in which our labore were held by people in other parts of the state. In the year 1862 a committee, consisting of several members of the Farmers' Club, was appointed to take observation of the different crops grown in the county, and to report at the annual meeting. These papers were made up, published in our annual report, and it was intended to pursue the same course the present year. From some oversight, the appointment of the proper committee was delayed until it was too late, but it is believed no plan could better subserve the interests of agriculture, by town associations, than by making reports of this character in their various localities, since, by the publication of them together, the reader gets a history of crops in every part of the state, and can note and compare changes from year to year. What a valuable record would these be for every locality, were they made and continued for a number of years.'
We shall make a minute of important facts connected with the operations of the year, and touch briefly on some of the leading crops grown in the county.
' THE WEATHER_RESULTS FLOWING THEREFROM, &c. About the 10th of November, 1862, there was a considerable fall of snow, which necessitated the feeding of stock, and although it did not last for any great length of time, yet the cold weather so much injured the nutritive element of grasses that the foddering of herds was generally kept up from this time until spring opened. There was no great depth of snow at any one time, and, with the exception of a few days, no unusually cold weather during the season; and yet it was regarded as a somewhat remarkable one in consequence of the length of time in which stock feeding was carried on, inasmuch as the herds could not get a full bite of grass until about the 20th of May. The immense hay crop, harvested generally in unusually good order, began to grow wonderfully small or disappear from the devouring and hungry kine, long before spring opened; and the farmer watched with curious interest the empty bays and the quantity of fodder on hand. Then began measurements of mows, and calculating as to quantity required, and careful feeding, and long faces, and great faith in an early spring, and utter blank astonishment, as if the ten and twenty tons of hay to spare in the fall had been stolen, or gone no one knew whither. The herds, meanwhile, insatiate in appetite, were constantly demanding more, and the dairyman, with team and heavily laden wallet, wends his way to the hay and feed market, with the delightful consciousness that the symmetrical proportion of his pile of greenbacks is to be broken, which draws from him, perhaps, a few mild expletives that he will not be caught in such a scrape again.
Pressed hay was brought by railroad into the county in the spring of 1863, in considerable quantities, and sold quickly at $16, $18 and $20 per ton. It was the first time, within the “remembrance of the oldest inhabitant," that an importation of hay was demanded or needed.
The cause which brought about this result was not altogether the long season. A large stock was wintered, and many, supposing they had feed more than enough, fed profusely and carelessly, until too late to be remedied.
During the month of May, June, and the early part of July, the prevailing weather was dry. Then followed frequent storms of rain up to the latter part of August, rendering the harvesting of crops not only difficult, but subjecting the farmer at times to serious losses. September, October and November were all that could be desired, the weather being mild and just so tempered with moisture as to induce a vigorous growth of grass, and produce pasturage to perfection. We have seldom in this county been able to kuep stock in the field so late as the fall just past, the foddering of the herds having commenced about the first of December.
The season has not been marked by extremes of heat or cold, and is regarded as one of the best for the business of dairying that we have had for some years.
DAIRY PRODUCTS-MARKET PROSPECTS, &c. The building of cheese factories in the county may be regarded as a distinguished feature of operations for the year, since cheese factories went into operation in Herkimer, Salisbury, and in the northern part of the county, on the opening of spring. The plan of associated dairying was agitated by the farmers of the county the year previous, and a trial was nade of its merits in the town of Russia, but the opinion now prevails that a considerable time must elapse before the system gets a foothold in the best dairy districts. We do not know but the factories can manufacture as fine quality of cheese as can be made in families. It is conceded that factory cheese is more uniform and much superior to the average of that in families; but the most skillful in families surpass all the factories in making a tip-top, strictly prime article for home use. This, I believe, is an admitted fact by cheese dealers of long experience and close discrimination in selecting cheese for the home and foreign trade. For the foreign
trade, a uniform firm, clean flavored cheese is sought after; and, though, without doubt, rich quality and delicate flavor are appreciated in the European market, commanding extra prices, yet shippers do not make the proper discriminating difference; they want a good article, well cured, and one not likely to injure in transportation—with this, it would seem, for the present, they are satisfied, while the home market is always willing to advance extra prices for a perfect article. This is one reason why skillful dairymen, turning out 120 to 150 pounds of cheese per day, are unwilling to make a change and enter upon associated manufacture. They are obliged to keep a force on hand for running the dairy, which, it is thought, may as well be employed in manufacturing, and there is an impression prevailing that more cheese can be made in the family than would be obtained if manufactured at the factory. Hence, there is not that enthusiasm on the part of Herkimer county dairymen, in favor of cheese factories, as in other localities.
There has been a large quantity of cheese made the past year, the season having been unusually favorable, and the prices paid for prime cheese have ruled high throughout the whole season.
Most of the Herkimer county cheese was sold and shipped at 30 to 40 days old, and the average price will not, it is believed, fall below 12 cts. per pound.
The market prospects of dairy produce for the coming year, we sce no reason to apprehend, will be otherwise than good. We have established a firm footing in Europe for our goods; our exportations have been larger than last year; heavy shipments having been made earlier in the season, and the stock of cheese on hand being comparatively light for the opening of the spring trade. Of course, the price of gold and bills of exchange have a controlling irfluence on extreme prices; but, in view of every circumstance likely to happen, so long as we have peaceful relations with Europe, well made cheese must rule high rather than low, and the farmer be amply remunerated for his labor and skill in this branch of his business.
In this connection, it may not be out of place to introduce the following letter from an old friend, formerly a resident of this county, and member of the club, since it is of interest to dairymen and from the pen of an accomplished scholar and writer, who, from both theory and practice, is well able to discuss the topics therein set forth.
Ithaca, Dec. 14th, 1863. FRIEND WILLARD, Secretary of the Farmers' Club, &c.:
I have received and read your article on “ Associated Dairies." My thanks for the same. I have for some time past been anxious to know something about the modus operandi in associated dairies, and the proof sheets you were kind enongh to send me have allayed that anxiety. Cheese factories, except the one at Rome, have sprung into existence since I left Herkimer, and I had only a vague idea of how they were got up and managed. I think your article a good one and needed by the public at this time, more, perhaps, outside of Herkimer, than in the heart of the dairying district. I have read it with much interest and satisfaction, notwithstanding you have advanced some ideas to which I can hardly give assent. I am just now thinking of the assertion that adding sour whey to sweet milk will make a richer cheese than when coagulated by rennet alone. I do not design to discuss the point here; I will only say it is contrary to my experience. That cheese manufactured in all other respects alike will be firmer with the acid than without, is doubtless true, and perhaps may be preferred in the present state of the market; but, though I have made several with lactic and other acids, alone and combined with rennet, I have never found anything that would act so effectually upon the cream, and cause it to adhere so firmly to the particles of casein, and thus be retained in the cheese, as the steepings which first soak out of a good rennet from a calf four or five days old. The fact that a particular kind of cheese is preferred in the market I consider no test of its richness. I remember well of hearing a member of the club, who went to market with his own cheese, say that his poorest cheeses brought the best prices, being preferred for their solidity.
From your remark that freshly drawn milk often reddens litmus paper, I conclude you have experimented to test the chemical condition of milk. I have made a great number of experiments upon newly drawn milk, both with litmus and blue fag, and have never failed to find a clear and decided evidence of acidity, notwithstanding the books say it contains free soda in solution and that its natural state is alkaline. But, after trying the freshly drawn milk from more than two hundred cows, separately and collectively—the cows including all ages and conditions—I begin to think the books are in error, and that the natural state of milk is acid instead of alkaline. There may be cases of alkaline milk, but I think they must be exceptions rather than the rule.
Notwithstanding there are but five or six cheese dairies anywhere in this vicinity, there is an effort making in an adjoining town to erect two cheese factories, to go into operation next spring, one of them to receive the milk of over 1,000 cows. I have been invited to visit three of the dairies in this vicinity, and have done so. Though an account of what I saw may afford no instruction to an old dairyman, perhaps yourself, and possibly the club, may feel a little curiosity in knowing how people make cheese in other parts of the country. So I will venture a brief sketch:
The first dairy was that of our friend, Aaron Mekeel. I found friend Aaron located in Schuyler county, about sixteen miles northwest of Ithaca, and ten miles west of Cayuga Lake. His farm consists of about 200 acres, lying some 800 feet above the level of the lake. It has a handsome, rolling surface, but is destitute of small streams, the soil being too porous and gravelly to admit of them. A good spring supplies their place. On the 27th day of May his farm wore as lively and beautiful coat of green grass as ever graced the river flats or the black slate hills of Herkimer. His pastures and meadows had been liberally spread with sawdust. All that could be was used in his pens and stables for absorbents, and what could not be thus employed was spread on without any preparation. It was used lavishly, several hundreds of loads being annually drawn from a convenient mill. By contrasting his farm with others in the neighborhood, it was evident that the dust had added very much to its productiveness. He was satisfied it paid well.