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cellar last spring to plant, I found at least one half of them as diseased as any I had in the cellar. I planted, this last spring, those that were sound, and at harvest time in the fall, I found them almost all rotten. I think we shall have to give up cultivating potatoes at present, for it has been an unprofitable business the last four or five years in this part of the country.

Fruit Culture is having increased attention. Apples and pears I consider to be a very profitable crop for market, and for feeding hogs and cattle. Peaches, plums, and grapes do not suceeed so well with us.

Very respectfully,


SOUTH BARRE, VERMONT, January 1, 1851. Sir: Having received one of the Circulars from your Office, the object of which is to collect information on the various branches of agriculture, I will give you a few facts, to which I have been an eye-witness, and I am confident if they were generally known would benefit mankind.

Clover.—Northern clover is one of the most important crops for seed grass and hay we have. It is a grass which roots deeper, and consequently gets nutriment deeper down, than any other grass here grown. Its leaf is broader, and covers more surface, and it also absorbs more nourishment from the atmosphere than most other grasses, and of course does not impoverish land, in proportion to its value, more than many other kinds of grass.

In the year 1849 the season was very dry, and all crops were very light. I had eight acres of new stocked clover. I mowed it as soon as the grass was ripe, threshed it, and got two bushels of seed per acre. In 1850 the season was very wet, and the clover on the eight-acre piece above mentioned was very tall, intermixed with red-top and white clover, producing from two to three tons per acre. Clover seldom seeds as well the second year as the first. I noticed some seed in this. If I had let it all stand until the seed were fit to thresh, or mowed it all together, and let it lie until the chaff would thresh off, the hay would have been much impoverished, and the labor of handling it, together with the hay which would have been broken and lost in the chaff, would have been a great drawback on the crop of seed. To avoid all this, I took my cradle-scythe, which is four inches wide, and commenced cradling off the tops of the clover, taking off from four to six inches, (a man will cradle one acre per day.) I let the clover heads lie until they were dry, carted and threshed them with one-quarter the labor it would cost to mow and get them in the usual way. They yielded two bushels per acre. I mowed one acre of the stubble, and got one and a half ton of hay, which my cattle and sheep eat well. I then ploughed in the remainder, and shall probably get a good crop of wheat next year.

I will state my method of harvesting maize, (Indian corn,) which very much improves its value as an article of food. As soon as it becomes seared, cut it up, bind it with straw or grass in bundles which one man can handle, and hang it up on a pole, or joist, supported by props, or across a fence. Let it hang about three weeks, or until it gets dry; then husk and put the best ears into a crib, to be shelled when wanted for use.

In the year 1838, a road was laid through my farm three rods wide, on land of a black soil, the hard earth being within 18 inches of the surface. I ploughed the road, also a strip of land three rods wide each side of the road, and then scraped all the valuable soil from the strip three and a half rods wide (enough for the road and sence) on to the adjoining land each side of the road. The next spring I planted potatoes in it, and raised 400 bushels per acre, without manure, (200 bushels being the average yield of the same land without this extra soil,) and it still continues to produce more than the adjoining land. I removed the soil from 15 square rods in a day with one team.

I will now state my method of making the road after this soil was removed. I commenced ploughing in the centre of the road; I ploughed it in the centre four times, (breaking the earth two rods wide,) then ploughed and scraped enough from the ditches to make a good road. It has required but little repair since, and will never need much, from the fact that it was made of hard earth, and there is nothing but hard earth within the bounds of the road to repair it with.

In 1846 I invented and put in operation an implement consisting of three rollers, or drums, for the purpose of rolling land in summer and roads in winter. * I have used it for four years past, and it has exceeded my most sanguine expectations in regard to its utility. One span of horses' (weighing twelve hundred each) will roll from 20 to 25 acres per day. In winter, when the snow is one foot deep, four such horses will roll a road three miles per hour, leaving the track 12 feet wide, the snow being hard and smooth, and bu ree inches deep. On Monday, the 230 December, 1850, the snow fell in the vicinity where I live two feet deep, drifting on the road to the school-house one foot, making it three feet deep. On Tuesday we drew the roller over it twice, with three yoke of oxen and one horse, the weather being cold. On Wednesday I trotted my horse (weighing fourteen hundred) over this road, at the rate of eight miles per hour, drawing a sleigh and six persons, averaging in weight 120 pounds each, passing sleighs in perfect safety without breaking the trot, the horse's hoof not indenting the snow more than two inches, and the sleigh not cutting in more than half an inch. I have, in years past, commenced rolling when the first snow falls, repeating the rolling every snow storm, until, in some drifting places, the hard snow has accumulated to the depth of six feet, and have seen loaded teams pass each other as fearlessly and safely as an eagle will sail over our hills.

Another advantage is, that a wheel carriage is enabled, by the use of this roller, to run with ease and safety, enabling teams to cross over hills and vales in the spring, when the snow is melting and the ground is bare in spots. Again, when the snow is going off, it melts gradually, and does not gully the road, as it otherwise would. In 1848, one foot of snow fell in December. I rolled the road from my house to the village, (it being two miles.) Soon after the wind arose and blew the snow out of the road in spots, drifting it in other portions on all the roads in this vicinity. No more snow fell ihat winter. There was no good sleighing or wagoning on the roads that were not rolled all winter; but on the rolled roads we had both.

The cost of a triple roller here is $15, and I presume there are but few school or highway districts in Vermont, or in any of the neighboring States where snow abounds, which have not team enough to draw a roller. And it would be one of the greatest favors the State legislatures could confer on the people to pass an act requiring them to furnish themselves with rollers, and roll the roads of their respective districts every time the snow falls four inches. The same roller will be sufficient to roll the land for a whole district by putting on a body and a pair of thills to each roller- thus giving you three one-horse rollers.

{* The general nature of the implement, the details of which do not clearly appear from Mr. Thomson's drawing and description, is as follows: Two of the three rollers are placed in a line, on the same axle, four feet apart. The third one is placed some d stance behind, and rolls over the space left between the two front ones. The front rollers are four feet long, each, and the rear one five feet. They are all four feet in diameter, and are made in the form of drums; the heads of two inch, and the staves of one and a half inch plank. The machine is. loaded as occasion requires.]

In regard to the utility of rolling land there is some dispute. One class of men affirm that more hay will be obtained in a given number of years, if the grass is mown above the stones and ridges, than would be if the stones were removed and the land rolled smooth and mown close. But the dry season of 1849, in our vicinity, has induced many to abandon that theory. The grass did not head out that season, and was only from four to six inches high ; consequently, the stone and ridge advocates had no hay for their cattle, while those who removed the stones and rolled the land had enough hay for their cattle, and some to spare.

In 1848 I sowed six acres of oats in one piece, on land of a black soil, with hard earth within 18 inches of the surface, sowing on two and a half bushels of oats per acre. I rolled it all, except a strip two rods wide, through the middle of the piece. It produced 65 bushels per acre where it was rolled, and 40 where it was not rolled The oats were one week earlier where it was rolled. The roller works well, as hundreds will testify. I am often asked why I do not get it patented. My reply is, if I can see it in general use, and have the privilege of travelling where it has been used, it will be remuneration enough for me.

Respectfully, yours,


Commissioner of Patents.

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December 21, 1850. Sir: The most skilful husbandry remains unfruitful without propitious sea

Unless cultivation is assisted by fertilizing rains, or unless, to use the words of the sacred writer, He calleth for the waters of the sea and poureth them out upon the face of the earth," the labors and science of the husbandman are vain. Hence, in answering some of the questions of your Circular, the course of the weather being so intimately connected with agriculture as to reward or destroy, in the whole or in part, the labors of the farmer, it may not seem useless or uninteresting to say a word of the weather, as we often expe rience it in the northern part of this county during the season of tillage and harvest. The land being mostly level plateaux, gradually rising south from the Black river, and descending northerly towards the river St. Lawrence, or inclining westerly towards Lake Ontario, it follows that we are almost surrounded by two powerful water-currents, which seem, by common belief, to act with great force of attraction upon the gathering clouds which come within the power of the current of these rivers, and often expose us to extremes of wet and dry weather. The south part of the county, being surrounded by highlands, east and south, is generally better favored by natural limits, and less subjected to the same extremes; and the clouds brought with the southwest wind from the Lake, after encountering these obstructions to their passage onwards, whirl round, open upon the country by refreshing showers, and thence roll down the Black river. Our springs are variable, and it is not until June that the weather becomes settled. The spring rains have, then, mostly past; it grows warmer-sometimes hot; and showers are often needed. Well, the clouds are gathering, lightning flashes, we hear the roll of distant thunder; the storm hovers around us for a while, as if uncertain which course to pursue; we hope and prepare for a shower; vegetation is suffering. Suddenly the clouds are set in motion, and, descending, follow the current of either river; and some parts of the country only, as they lie near or under the outer edge of the storm, receive a slight sprinkling. It is a common observation that the storm must gather




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just so thick to overwhelm the current of the rivers; and then we get a succession of rainy days, or a spell of wet weather, as the farmers are wont to call it, followed again by another spell of dry weather; and were it not that during those often long intervals of drought we were blessed with a copious supply of the dews of heaven, all our hopes would nearly be blasted. Notwithstanding this local contingency of the seasons, we have not only seed time and harvesi, but generally bountiful crops. Could we have our rains equally divided at reasonably short intervals, this would be one of the most productive regions of the world. To guard against these irregularities of the weather, we find it beneficial to plough deep, and to sow as early as the season will admit. By early sowing, we think, the plants get a good start before June, and, covering the ground, keep it from the drying influences of the sun and lessen evaporation ; and by deep ploughing and mellowing the ground, besides promoting vegetation, the ground easier imbibes the rains or dews, and is better enabled to free itself from what might be superabundant. This year we had a long wet May, and crops were mostly got in late. This was followed by dry weather till the end of June, and made us fear a repetition of last year's drought. Then commenced a succession of storms of rain, wind, and hail, in some parts, which lasted during the season, causing a great growth of straw, laying most crops flat down to the ground, so that nothing but the scythe could be used, and perplexing and protracting the haying and harvesting to an unusually late time, and at nearly double the usual amount of labor. We have, however, had a good yield of all crops grown here; but I do not think the grain has generally so well formed and filled as otherwise, owing probably to the heavy straw and the many rains, keeping the heads down.

Corn has come in unusually good and heavy.

Potatoes were never more luxuriant in growth of tops, and the greatest crop was expected, when the rot made its


and I
regret to


that about one-half of the crop, at least, was affected, and mostly lost.

A few patches of winter wheat were raised, and what little was grown prored good, the midge doing very little or no damage. Our farmers here think that the only remedy against the midge is to stop raising wheat, or, to use their own words, to starve the weevils out. I think, myself, that this is the only safe remedy, unless we could procure such spring or winter varieties as will, by early or late sowing, grow in a manner to be out of danger during the short period of existence of the destroyer. The fact is, that since we have left off raising the old-fashioned varieties, the midge has already greatly diminished, and is expected entirely to disappear. I hear of a farmer in St. Lawrence county who raised, this year, a great crop of winter wheat, said to be of the Soule variety, which was harvested and threshed in July, without any damage from the midge. I was shown some of the wheat-a beautiful, white, plump berry; and, if the story proves true, this would be the winter variety suited here ; but as long as the Black Sea spring variety will not degenerate, escape the midge, and readily sell at 80 cents the bushel, there cannot be great inducement here to raising winter wheat for one dollar.

In a former communication I have given the average yield of the several crops raised here per acre, and as to the quantity of seed to be sown per acre, though there seems to be a difference of opinion among practical farmerssome using more, some less seed. I have always had reason to be satisfied with sowing the quantities of seed set down, per acre, for the several crops in that same communication, excepting, when seeding down in the spring, I prefer sowing half a bushel less per acre, to prevent the grass and clover from being smothered by a too great growth of straw.

Peas are cultivated here as an alternate crop, to loosen, improve, and mellow the soil, for which, by completely shading the ground, they are peculiarly adapted. I have no doubt that worn-out lands might be reclaimed by ploughing a pea lay under; but unless clover is higher than $6 the bushel, it would be considerably more expensive; and upon the whole, where clover can be had, and will thrive, it is much preferable.

As fertilizers of meadows, drawing barn-yard minure in the fall on the highest knolls of the meadow, and then spreading it evenly, has been considerably practised within a few years, and I have myself derived great benefit from the practice. By this management those higher grounds run into a heavy sward, the wash, if any, settles, and enriches the lower parts of the meadow; and where the year previous but a scanty herbage grew, I generally cut, after thus manuring, a good, heavy swath, equal to any in the meadow; and if this process is coupled with the sowing of plaster, the spring following, the plaster will have a better effect in increasing the quantity of hay grown. Our meadows average from one to one and a half ton of hay per acre--sometimes two tons, on the best meadows. It costs us, per acre, from $2 to $3 to cut and secure the hay; and the common price of hay being $5 the ton, leaves the remainder as profit. The seeds used in laying down meadows are timothy and clover, and red-top on lowlands. Clover, however, seldom lasts over one winter, when it gradually runs out.

Dairy.In cheese-making I have no experience. The prevailing opinion is that cheese dairies give less work and are more profitable. Whether this is actually so, I am unable to say. The fact is, that most dairies here have gone from butter to cheese-making. On comparing notes, however, with the yearly returns of cheese dairies where an equal number of cows were kept, I have uniformly found that there was, all things considered, little or no difference with the same yearly returns of butter-making on my farm, and that the difference in the profits altogether depended on the prices butter and cheese commanded in market. Good dairy cows can be bought here at from $12 to $15 in the fall, or from $20 to $25 in the spring. Milking qualities do not belong to any particular breed, and may be found, in my humble opinion, in all crosses; and even our natives often make excellent dairy cows. Allowing the cows to yield from 150 to 175 pounds of butter, and from 350 to 400 pounds of cheese, during the season, and taking the highest yield to establish estimates upon, we will arrive at the following results: 25 cows, at $20

$500 00 90 acres of land, at $20

- 1,800 00 Dairy utensils, &c.

75 00

2,375 00

25 cows, at 175 pounds butter each, at 15 cents
Drawn skins, (say,) worti
Skim milk, per cow, $2

$562 50

10 00 50 00

622 50

Deduct interest on $2,375, 12 months
Deduct expenses of cutting hay, making butter, &c.

$166 25

120 00

286 25


336 25

The dairy being a cheese dairy, deducting $1 per cow for skim milk, the result will be in favor of butter if cheese sells at $6 per hundred, and in favor of cheese if it sells at $7 per hundred in market.

My cows are regularly milked twice a day, at equal intervals, evening and morning. The dairy room is a cellar, 28 by 38 feet, stone walls two feet thick

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