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used in this city is brought from Missouri, and varies in price from 50 to 75 cents. All persons who are acquainted with this country acknowledge it to be one of the finest grazing regions on the face of the earth; and were it not for the unchecked depredations of the Indians on all sides of us, it would be as preposterous to bring butter here as to “carry coals to Newcastle." The small herds of goats and sheep that find subsistence in the immediate vicinity of the town, and thus escape Indian robbery, furnish to the inhabitants a precarious supply of inferior milk and cheese. Cow's milk is still less attainable, especially during the winter months.
You ask in your Agricultural Circular, “How do you break oxen to the yoke?” The native oxen of New Mexico are subjected to the yoke at so early an age that the process of breaking is never one of much trouble or difficulty. The yoke is a rude and primitive affair. A light piece of cotton wood is fashioned at either end, so as to adapt itself to the posterior part of the horns of the ox, to which it is securely lashed by strips of raw hide. A rope of the same material connects the central part of the yoke with the beam of the plough, or tongue of the wagon. This plan, of course, increases the burden as felt by the ox, and diminishes his effective strength. The custom, although a bad one, must needs continue to prevail here, as the country furnishes little or no tim. ber that is well adapted to the construction of ox bows. The Mexican carreta, or cart, is a two-wheeled vehicle, so heavy and so rudely contrived that the draught power of two, or at least one yoke of oxen, is consumed alone in moving it. This inconvenience is now somewhat remedied by the substitution of the wheels of American wagons, which are yearly brought here in large numbers by the merchants.
The New Mexican plough does not differ materially from the pictures familiar to school boys of the Roman plough, anterior to the Christian
A piece of timber, with two branches, is the material of which it is made. One branch serves for the beam, and is left about six feet in length; the other is left eighteen inches or two feet long, and answers for the plough-share. A straight piece of wood is attached to the afterpart of this implement for a handle, by which it is directed. The oxen are urged on by a small stick, some five or six feet in length, armed at the end with a sharp nail. This is a cruel instrument, and is often used with such freedom as to leave the sides of the ox covered with blood.
Grasses.--Artificial mcadows are entirely unknown in this Territory; nor do the native population ever make hay of any kind. Since General Kearney's invasion, however, the natural grasses of the country have been cut and cured, in quantities greater or less, in proportion to the wants of the cavalry. Excellent hay, thus made has been this year delivered to the quartermaster in Santa Fé at $20 per ton. The grama grass, which is not found in any of the States, covers pretty generally the entire surface of New Mexico, both mountains and valleys. For the most part, it does not cover the ground very thickly; but in certain localities it is found sufficiently thick and luxuriant to be cut for hay. All experience proves it to be more nutritious than any cultivated grasses with which we are acquainted. Mules, and even horses, (the native, and those from a distance, after one year's acclimation,) will remain fat upon it alone, if otherwise well treated. Its fattening properties are due partly to ihe oil of the seeds, which are very numerous,
and partly to its being well cured, in situ, by the natural aridity of the climate in the dry season. As the atmosphere is not sufficiently humid to produce vegetable decomposition, this grass retains its nutriment as long as it lasts. Hence it is that the sheep of New Mexico require no winter feeding
I doubt whether this grass could be profitably introduced into any of the older States of the Union; as, where lands are very valuable, its yield per acre would perhaps be too small to prove remunerative. There are other valuable grasses in this Territory, but, being of minor relative importance, they cannot be noticed in the liniits of this article.
Rye.--I have never seen any of this grain in the Territory, and I cannot learn that it has ever been introduced, even by way of experiment.
Barley, oats, and buckwheat all succeed admirably. These crops, however, have never been cultivated to any extent. Occasionally, only, an American farmer will be found who produces enough for his ow'n wants. Oats are said to grow wild throughout the mountains in the northern parts of the Territory.
Root Crops. With the exception of potatoes, all crops under this head succeed here far better than they do in the States. They certainly, as a general thing, attain to a great size, and contain much more saccharine matter. Mr. George Gould, of Taos county, has produced on old lands, unmanured, beets weighing as high as 17 pounds, turnips 16 pounds, and onions 14 pound. In December last, the late Governor Calhoun was presented with a beet which was within a fraction of a yard in circumference.
All fruits, grains, vegetables, and plants generally, that grow in this singularly clear and dry climate, are remarkable for their extraordinary sweetness. The corn-stalk abounds in saccharine matter to such an extent as to furnish the native population with molasses. It is true this article is hardly so good as the most inferior Louisiana molasses, but this is doubtless owing to their rude and imperfect mode of manufacturing it. Those persons who do not supply their own wants purchase it at the rate of $1 50 per gallon.
The beet, when grown in New Mexico, contains so unusual a quantity of saccharine matter that the manufacture of beet-sugar offers strong inducements to gentlemen of enterprise to embark in that business. A manufacturer would always find here a “protection" of at least ten cents on the pound, as that is the least cost of transportation alone to the merchants who import their sugar from St. Louis, and there is no apparent prospect that freight will materially diminish for a long series of years. The population of this Territory is something more than 60,000, and nearly all the sugar which they consume comes from St. Louis, Missouri. For the most part, the most inferior kind is brought, and its usual wholesale price ranges from 19 to 25 cents. Sugar brought from the valley of the Mississippi, in wagons, across a desert of nearly 900 miles in extent, surely could never compete with sugar made from the beet in this country, where labor is abundant at from $4 to $8 a month. The enterprise could not fail richly to repay the employment of skill and capital. But the manufacture of beet-sugar has never been attempted, perhaps, because there is no one in the country who has the slightest knowledge of the art.
Our Irish potatoes are of excellent quality, and their cultivation is sometimes very successful; but on many occasions, from some cause, which appears to be as yet unknown, the failure is complete. To say the least, the potato crop has heretofore been a very precarious one. A wild potato, similar to, if not identical with, the Irish potato, is found in the mountainous parts of the Territory, but they are too small and too sparse to repay the trouble of gathering them.
I had intended to speak of the grape culture, and wine manufacturea very important interest of New Mexico—and also of sheep-growing, the most important of all; but as I have perhaps already written to a tiresome extent, it is proper that I should close. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOMAS E. MASSIE. To the COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS.
BENTON, OREGON TERRITORY,
December 8, 1853. Sır: Your Circular of the date of August, 1852, has just reached me, to which I proceed to make a brief reply.
In the production of wheat guano is not used at all in this Territory. The average product per acre, to the best of my knowledge, is about 30 bushels. The general time of seeding is from 25th August until the last of October; but my experience has taught me that the best time to sow wheat is in the month of May, in this climate, which gives it eleven or twelve months to grow and mature. When thus sown, its yield has been as high as 40 bushels an acre on land newly broken; quantity sown is from 1} to 2 bushels. The yield per acre is increasing, from the better attention paid to farming.
The Hessian fly and the weevil are not known in this country.
The prices of wheat, at this time, cannot be considered as a general thing. It is now worth, at our barns, $3 per bushel, and our best markets are paying $5 per bushel; but this cannot last long. Corn is not much raised, but with proper management we
an raise a sufficiency for home use. I raised at the rate of 30 bushels per acre on the small spot I planted.
Oats I sow in October, about 2 bushels per acre, and the yield is most universally 40 bushels per acre. Peas and beans do well. Peas enrich the land rather than exhaust it.
Butter.-Average yearly product of butter per cow, 75 pounds. Mode of churning is with the old-fashioned dasher churn. Average price per pound, 50 cents, though now selling at 75 cents at home.
Neat Cattle. -Cost of rearing till 3 years old is nothing more than a little salt and a little time to look after them; worth at that age, for beef, from 8 to 12 cents per pound.
Milch cows are worth from $60 to $85.
Horses and Mules.— The raising of these animals is profitable, the expense of rearing being small.
Sheep do well, and are profitable both for wool and for driving to the mines to be used for mutton.
Turnips, carrots, beets, G'c., are very prolific, but are raised principally for home consumption.
Irish Potatoes.-Average yield per acre, 200 bushels. Most profitable varieties are the Kidney and large Blues.
Fruit culture is receiving great attention. We have most every variety of fruit trees adapted to our climate now in cultivation.
The above remarks are brief, and, should they be deemed worthy to be inserted in your valuable book, I shall be more than compensated. Respectfully, &c.,
0. C. MOTLEY. To the COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS.
THE POTATO-ITS NATURAL HISTORY-DETERIORA
TION AND IMPROVEMENT.
Under the auspices of the New York State Agricultural Society, the Rev. C. E. Goodrich, of Utica, has devoted much time and research to the propagation and improvement of the potato; and his labors are regarded by the officers of said society, (very competent judges,) and others, as having developed facts of some importance in the course of experiments continued through several years. We copy from the proof. sheets of the Transactions of the Society for 1852, kindly furnished for that purpose by its secretary, B. P. Johnson, esq., so much as is deemed of general interest and as our limits will permit.
The Rev. Joel Blew, of Howard county, Maryland, has bestowed con: siderable thought on the diseases of this tuber, and made experiments in cultivating it, from whom a communication has been received on the subject. Indeed, the “potato rot” is a fruitful theme, and no disrespect is intended in declining to fill the annual agricultural report from this Bureau with speculations more voluminous than profitable.
1.- THE NATURAL HISTORY OF THE POTATO.
This subject is treated at some length in the Transactions for 1847, as before referred to. I here add some further facts:
A friend of the writer spent some time at Bogotá, a city of New Gra. nada, situate upon the mountains, 8,500 feet above the sea, 5o of north latitude. During his residence there, in 1847 and 1848, he found the climate free from frost through the whole year. The thermometer never rises above 64°, nor sinks to the freezing point; nor does it ever vary more than 50 in any one day. There he found, as Humboldt had more than 40 years before, potatoes of the very best quality. The climate was found too cool for melons and many other tropical plants, which were brought on mules from warmer regions lower down the sides of the mountains. Here, too, many species of plants-as some varieties of peppers and cabbage--never cease growing. It is, hence, obvious that the potato loves a cool, uniform, and long season, the very reverse of what it finds here, where we frequently have a hot, unsteady, and short sea