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TO BRING UP WORN-OUT LAND.
Probably the most effective way to improve and bring up an old and exhausted pasture, would be to plough and cultivate the land and bring it into good condition. If that is not practicable, it would be a good plan to haul on a good compost topdressing, and spread it in the fall. Then as soon as practicable in spring, that is, as soon as the team can go on without poaching and injury to the land, sow on a thick seeding of clover and orchard grass, say ten to fifteen pounds to the acre, and go over first with a tooth, and then with a brush harrow. If you cannot command a sufficiently heavy dressing of compost or yard manure, add a dressing of plaster of Paris, say one hundred and fifty pounds to the acre at the time of sowing the seed or harrowing, or directly after.
The distance to haul the manure may be less objectionable in winter when there is more leisure, and when possibly it may be sledded. If you have not the manure to spare, you can easily make arrangements for it in the fall, when the top-dressing may go on earlier, say in December. If no yard manure can be spared for it, you can use some artificial manure, like guano and plaster, carly in spring, when a little clover seed would, no doubt, be beneficial.
The cheapest way may be to stock the lot with sheep, if it is so situated as to be practicable. Stock a little hard, and feed them extra, and they add to the fertility of the land, and rapidly bring it up.
But ploughing, where it is practicable, or thorough cultivation, is probably the best way to treat it. The coating of manure we speak of can be got on when the ground is frozen much better and cheaper than in spring.
If the pasture is rough and rocky, full of bushes, so that it cannot be ploughed, cut the bushes, and stock heavily with sheep. Sheep will keep down almost all, except huckleberry bushes and alders. The former should be loosened with a heavy harrow, and the latter are easily killed by cutting. Go over the huckleberry pasture with an iron-toothed harrow, and then grub up the bushes. It is rather expensive, but the cheapest way in the end. Blueberry bushes, sumachs, wild blackberry vines, and many others, the sheep will surely destroy, and they will improve the land while doing it.
During the long evenings of the late fall and early winter, it is a capital plan to start up, and keep up, a farmers' club. It may be made the means of great good, whether considered in an educational, or social point of view. It won't do to get rusty and dull, as any one is apt to do, who has nothing to interest him, and much time to fill up. Farmers' clubs are kept up with interest and spirit in some towns, while in others they languish after the first year of novelty. We are inclined to think the interest flags from some want of management on the part of those who assume to lead off. There is certainly variety enough in the innumerable subjects connected with agriculture, and there would seem to be no good reason why the attendance and the interest in the meetings should fall off. At the same time there is constant need of effort, to make each meeting attractive, and this effort should be directed to drawing out facts and the results of experience, the procuring and distributing pamphlets, books, reports, seeds, &c., and the bringing out of new men, especially young men, who may be too modest to put themselves forward without a little gentle urging.
We believe it has been found by experience, that meeting at each others' houses has been more satisfactory all round, than meeting in any central hall. There is greater freedom, more of a social and home feeling about the meetings, less stiffness and formality. A subject is assigned for special investigation, to be presented, say by the member at whose house the meeting is held, who is followed, after he is through, by others who take part in the discussion, asking questions for further information upon certain points, &c.
Now, in those cases where the interest, for any cause, seems to languish, we would suggest that the plan of meeting around be adopted, if it is not already practised, or that some new plan be tried to awaken the interest of those who need it. It is not advisable to leave the management to take care of itself. It is better to have a fixed and well understood subject assigned beforehand; and if the programme can be made up at the beginning of the season by a committee appointed for the purpose, so much the better. It gives time for thought and investigation, and will bring out better matured results than any reliance upon chance, or any dependence upon the spur of the moment.
The exercises may profitably be varied occasionally by essays, lectures, and social gatherings, visiting and uniting with neighboring clubs, &c.; but at any rate let the Interest be kept up by a study of novelty and change, if necessary. One thing is certain, and that is, a farmers' club can be made successful, interesting, and useful, for we know that such is the case with many clubs; and what has been done may be done again.
MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE.
The Agricultural College is now fairly opened, and it promises to be a success. The large number of students that have presented themselves shows, at least, that there was a want of such an institution in the community. It is, perhaps, too soon to pronounce it a final and complete success till one or more classes have graduated, and chosen their occupations for life. If a large percentage of them should adopt farming as a pursuit, go out into the community, and show that the practical training which they have received is what it purports to be, such a fact would settle the doubts which some have entertained in regard to the value of a careful education for the farm, as well as for the professions.
Perhaps the question of success or failure should not turn upon this point; but it will, undoubtedly, in the minds of many, since there are institutions enough already devoted to the preparation of young men for teaching and the learned professions, and the training requisite for these pursuits might as well have been obtained in them. Besides, the farmer has been inclined to feel that the Agricultural College was an institution peculiarly his own, and if the course of education there should result in leading students away from the farm, instead of attracting them to it, the experiment would be regarded as a failure, whether justly or not. The course of instruction is, in many respects, an excellent one. It is more practical, and better calculated to prepare the student for the active duties of life, than that pursued in the older institutions of learning. Less time is given to studies designed merely to train the human mind, and more reference is had to the living present. Such sciences as botany, chemistry, geology, and the applied mathematics, like surveying and engineering, may be said to form the basis of the course, while little or no attention is given to the dead languages. German and French are well taught, as they should be in every school or college.
It must be admitted that the tendency of public sentiment among educated and well-informed men is, at the present time, strongly in this direction. More direct, practical instruction is demanded. Men have come to feel that less time should be given to mere abstractions; that the same discipline may be acquired upon studies that are useful as well as ornamental. So strong has this impression become that the older colleges are fast modifying their classical course, and adapting it to the wants of the age in which we live.
There are now in the College three classes, known as the Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior, with the same relative grade as in the older colleges. Another year will give it a Senior class, to graduate in 1871.
TIME TO CUT GRASS.
One of the most important things in the whole range of practical farming, and one which every farmer must consider, is the best time to cut grass for hay. The hay crop is our chief reliance in this cold climate. To raise and cure the largest amount of the best winter feed is, therefore, the great object, and it so far surpasses all others, that the money value of a farm is estimated in practice, and for the purposes of buying and selling, by the quantity of hay it can raise.
There is a great difference in the actual nutritive value of hay, depending, in a great measure, upon the time at which it was cut, and the condition in which it was cured. The time when it contains the largest amount of rich nutriment, is just when it comes into blossom. Previous to this time it abounds in rich juices, or, in other words, is more succulent. If cut as it is coming into blossom, it will produce more milk when fed to milch cows, than if it stands longer.
Immediately after coming into blossom, the formation of woody fibre begins, and advances rapidly till the plant arrives at maturity. This process is the change of the rich, nutritive elements, the starch, gum, sugar, &c., whereby they are stored away in the seed, while the stock is changed into a hard, and comparatively indigestible, substance. After this period the nutritive substances are concentrated chiefly in the ripened seed. The object of the farmer should be to arrest this process at the very beginning, when all the rich juices of the plant are elaborated, and before the formation of this woody fibre.
Practically, however, it is difficult to do this at precisely the right moment, on a large farm, because the grasses arrive at this stage of growth at so nearly the same period. It is vastly better to cut before this exact period, than it is to follow it-better for the grass, better for the land, and better for the stock which is to consume it. It is plain, therefore, that the rule should be to begin early, that is, take the more advanced pieces, and that, a little before they come into full blossom, or at the latest, as soon as the blossoms appear.
This point is perfectly well settled, by careful, practical experiment, which shows that the actual money value of early cut hay, is very much greater than that of late cut. Early cut, and properly cured hay, that is hay not over cured or exposed too long to a "broiling sun," is more like green grass, more succulent, juicy, palatable, and nutritious. All stock will thrive better upon it. Many a farmer now begins haying by the 20th or 25th of June, who never used to begin till after the 4th of July. Every one who has tried it carefully will continue it.
POETRY, ANECDOTES, ETC.
THE INDEPENDENT FARMER.
To bees that gather honey,
To him the Spring comes dancingly;
And household angels round him;
N. Y. Christian Advocate.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. There's food for reflection in the following calculation. If a man buys and pays the present price for two glasses of liquor and two cigars a day, it will amount to 146 dollars a year, which sum will purchase two hats at $6 each, two bonnets at $12 each, three barrels of flour at $14, one hundred pounds of beef at 24 cents, 40 pounds of butter at 45 cents, two pairs of boots at $8, and two pairs ditto for $5 each which would go a long way in supplying the needs of a man and wife.
THE GENEROUS HEART.
O! cramped and narrow is the man who
By the REV. HENRY WARD BEECHER. In the United States every worthy citizen reads a newspaper, and owns the paper which he reads. A newspaper is a window through which men look out on all that is going on in the world. Without a newspaper a man is shut up in a small room, and knows little or nothing of what is happening outside of himself. In our day newspapers keep pace with history and record it. * A good newspaper will keep a sensible man in sympathy with the world's eurrent history. It is an ever unfolding encyclopædia; an unbound book forever issuing, and never finished.
Swing on, old pendulum of the world,
Forever and forever,
Keeping the time of suns and stars,
Long as you swing shall earth be glad,
As sure as morning follows night;
SWIMMING WITHOUT BLADDERS.
It is an old truth which Dr. Arnold here states; but it will bear repetition.
Many an unwise parent labors hard, and lives sparingly all his life, for the purpose of leaving enough to give his children a start in the world, as it is the money left him by his relatives, is called. Setting a young man afloat with like tying bladders under the arms of one who cannot swim; ten chances to one he will go to the bottom. Teach him to swim, and he will never need the bladders. Give your child a sound education, and you have done enough for him. See to it that his morals are pure, his mind cultivated, and his whole nature made subservient to the laws which govern man, and you have given what will be of more value than the wealth of the Indies. To be thrown upon one's resources is to be cast into the very lap of fortune, for our faculties then undergo a development, and display an energy, which they were before unsusceptible.
Twice in the year the maple tree
Grows red beneath our northern skies; Once when October lights the lea
With splendid flames and Tyrian dyes, And once when April and the bee
First greet us with their glad surprise, And on the budding twigs we see The first faint color rise.
These morning hours blend joy with grief That draw the fuller spring-time near, And hint the tender opening leaf,
And pour the robin's carol clear; For not the time of ripened sheaf,
And rainbow woods, is half so dear As this, the boyhood, bright and brief, The earliest of the year.
Every man has his faults, his failings, his peculiarities. Every one of us finds himself crossed by such failings of others from hour to hour; and if he were to resent them all, or even notice all, life would be intolerable. If for every outburst of hasty temper, and for every rudeness that wounds us in our daily path, we were to demand an apology, require an explanation, or resent it by retaliation, daily intercourse would be impossible. The very science of social life consists in that gliding tact, which avoids contact with the sharp angularities of character, which does not argue about such things, which does not seek to adjust or cure them all, but covers them as if it did not see. So a Christian spirit throws a cloak of love over these things. It knows when it is wise not to see. That microscopic distinctness in which all faults appear to captious men, who are forever blaming, dissenting, complaining, disappears in the large, calm gaze of love. And it is this spirit which our Christian society lacks, and which we shall never get until each one begins with his own heart.
That the victory you will gain.
Of the dauntless souls in life. On life's changeful scene of action Though defeat may oft appear, Laurels, prizes, wealth, and station Are for those who persevere.
THE PROBLEM OF THE STOICS. When a man says "I lie," does he lie, or does he speak the truth? If he lies, he speaks the truth; if he speaks the
UNDER THE CLOUD.
BY CHARLES G. AMES.
O, kind and constant friend!
O, Lord of truth and grace!
A shadow on my heart
Yet something in me knows
And something makes me sure
And that th' Eternal Good
Fed from a hidden bowl,
If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keep ing thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately; if thou holdest to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.
The Emperor MARCUS ANTONINUS.
Yet love will dream, and faith will trust, That somehow, somewhere meet we must. Alas for him who never sees
The stars shine through his cypress trees; Who hath not learned in hours of faith,
The truth to flesh and sense unknown, That life is ever Lord of death,
QUESTION IN GEOMETRY.
A ship was in a perilous situation, with a hole in one of her planks of 12 inches square; and the only plank that could be had was 16 inches long by 9 in breadth. Required to know how this said piece must be cut into four pieces, so as to repair the hole perfectly, and without waste.
Rethe si a rowd ni veyer limec,
I am composed of 22 letters. My 14, 11, 22, 16, 17 is used to separate bran from meal.
My 13, 15, 3 is what people are often glad to do.
My 18, 12, 11, 5, 7 is a very common name.