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sively; but he went on too fast; taking so much land for the purpose, and at so high a rate, that mismanagement and ruin were speedily the consequence. Probably, if he had been contented to increase his growth by a few acres yearly, he might have done well enough. I have sometimes thought that we farmers confine ourselves too much to the
crops we have been used to; yet I do not like, in these times, to speculate much with soil and money, and so, like the dog on the river's bank, lose the substance for what may prove but an illusion.
Now for TEASELS. These are plants somewhat resembling thistles. When the flower has faded, the seeds are contained in a sort of honey-comb structure, shaped like an egg, abounding in small hooks of a hard and stubborn substance. This teasel head, with its scratching hooks, is used by the wool-combers for raising what is called the nap on cloths. Several of the heads are fixed, either on boards, or to the outer circle of a large wheel, by which the purpose is accomplished. Nature supplies us with abundance of materials, but with very few tools, like the teasel head, ready for our use.
Fields of teasels, which are to be seen in some places, are not the most convenient thoroughfares for persons in flowing robes, very few of which would be left on the backs of such as might be compelled to hurry through them.
I rather think that, farmer as I call myself, I have omitted to take any account of a very material article of agricultural produce, which should have been noticed whilst treating of corn. Philip, to whom I have read this part of my performance, has had a very hearty laugh at my expense, and calls me “ a farmer not worth a straw !”
Well then, I suppose I must say that the stalks of corn, and some other plants, are called STRAW; and as this article covers houses, litters horses, manures the land, forms the door-mat to the cottage, and the head-covering of the ladies, a word or two must be said about it; more especially as I have not forgotten such things as caraway seeds and teasels.
Wheat straw, being the strongest and longest, is so much better than any other, that little else is sent to market for common use.
After threshing, it is either stacked by itself, or gathered and tied in bundles, called trusses, to be loaded away for sale. Thirtysix trusses, each weighing thirty-six pounds, form a load of straw. This commodity is disposed of in the markets in the same manner as hay. I may just add here, that the stalks of
potatoes, beans, and some other such plants, are not called straw, but halm.
It is evident that, owing to the varied qualities of land, and the equally varying management which the numerous vegetable productions require, a farmer, if ignorant, unskilful, or negligent, will soon find an enemy in every circumstance around him. The wrong time, , or the wrong place, or the wrong method, will