« PreviousContinue »
which I now refer to, are rats, mice, weasels, stoats; many kinds of birds and insects; and last, but not least in mischievous importance, almost all the tribes of four-footed or flying game. The last are privileged classes, for reasons stated elsewhere. With regard to the others, no qualification for killing them is needful, but the power of catching or finding them; and, for this purpose, various schemes and arts, and clever ones too, are made use of. Rat-catching and mole-catching are professions by themselves, which are as useful to the community as many of higher reputation. As moles burrow and pass in long subterranean passages, but near the surface, the catcher inserts, in the track-way of the little miner, a spring trap, the catch of which is attached to a strong stick, thrust in the ground, and bent down with force, so as to rise and pull vio
RAT AND MOLE CATCHING.
lently a string to which the under-ground snare is attached. The animal, in passing, is thus noosed and choked without the possibility of escape. The mole-catcher has two-pence or three-pence apiece for every mole he destroys.
Rats and mice are destroyed in various ways, and to a great extent, by dogs and cats, and owls, which are more useful in a farm-yard than many persons who are paid in money to do their work. Otherwise, they are taken by traps and snares, or destroyed by poison. They are, however, rarely got rid of entirely, when even all these methods are continually adopted. The other animals of the mischievous sorts are destroyed by the gun, when
PRODUCE OF THE FARM.
We have taken a little notice of the farm, and the husbandman's needful labours upon it, before he can enjoy the fruits. Let us now see what those products are; how he gathers them in, and disposes of them for his benefit.
It is evident that these things consist of varieties of the vegetable or animal kingdoms of nature. We will attend to vegetables first, for they were man's first food, and occupied his earliest agricultural thoughts.
The vegetables chiefly cultivated in England for the food or use of man are of three principal kinds :-grain, or seeds ; roots; and
PRODUCE OF THE FARM.
the herbs whose substance chiefly is used for food or manufacture.
In the first class, I include the principal species of corn, and some other seeds: as wheat, oats, barley, rye, peas, beans, tares, &c. In the second division, we have potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots, and mangel-wurzel. In the third class, we must put the species of grass, clover, and other pasture plants ; also, cow-cabbages, and other leafy products of the soil : likewise hops, hemp, flax, and teasels.
Now I do not pretend to say that my list or arrangement will include, by any means, all the plants which may be found on farm lands : indeed I could easily add many others which I can call to mind; but they are not grown in quantity, or for purposes of nearly equal importance with those I have named ; and are, perhaps, in many cases, sown only by way of experiment.
Neither must it be thought that all the plants and products which I have named and described are grown on every farm. Some lands grow no barley, potatoes, or turnips ; and I scarcely ever knew a farmer who attempted all in one season.
WHEAT._Of all grain, this is the first in importance and value, at least to the civilized world. There are several sorts ; but I do not see that I have room and opportunity to distinguish them much in this little book. So I shall only say, that we farmers talk chiefly of white and red wheat, spring wheat, and revets.
I dare say if man had been employed to contrive or invent a seed, or fruit, for the