Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ah for the Farm Life!

This photo of two Plymouth Rock chickens takes me back… when I was an 11-year-old boy in Port Arthur, Texas, my family moved from downtown to Griffing Park, a bucolic suburb with a cow in the lot next door. 
Dad ordered a load of chickens, and we went from a city bound family to good old chicken farmers. 
We raised the chickens mainly for eggs, but about once a week we’d grab up some lucky chicken and wring its neck and pluck it and cook it for Sunday dinner.
Cleaning chicken mess out of a henhouse, and feeding chickens, and all the rest of the chores was great preparation for life.. I think. 

If you’re homesick for a view of chickens in action, click on this Live Chickencam at Nicky Vasalini’s Chicken Ranch on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts:

The Personal Navigator is not handling chickens, though.  The only navigating I do these days is to find interesting books, papers, maps, advertising and pictures to offer customers on several book listing sites.  While we are on the subject of "Farming" here are some items that caught my interest, and might catch yours:

Boston Cultivator, A Family Newspaper devoted to Agriculture and Horticulture, Rural and Domestic Economy, Miscellaneous Reading, General Intelligence, Reports of Cattle and Produce Markets, Shipping List, &c., &c. Vol. IX 1847 Boston, MA Boston Cultivator, No. 22 No. Market St. 416 pp. 32 x 45 cm. A year in the life of our young nation: comments on fattening pigs, the starvation in Ireland, German immigrants arrive in Galveston, TX; Scott's fighting in Mexico: Mexican officers captured elect to go to New Orleans rather than prison in Vera Cruz.
"The Captain of a Lake Champlain steamboat declines to bring people who are obviously drunk from New York to the Vermont side, on the ground that bringing liquor into Vermont in hogsheads would be an evasion of the license law."--July 31, 1847
Paper on board cover with leather spine, worn, paper coming loose from cover. Pages are good, but with several large brown stains on edges. Several maple leaves have been pressed in the pages. Overall good. (1243) $120.00. Ephemera/History/Nature.

and this.....

Farming As It Is! An Original Treatise on Agriculture with the Rights and Duties of Farmers by Pinkham, T.J.   1860 Boston, MA: Bradley, Dayton and Company.   Pinkham takes on the dark influences upon New England farming. First, the Agricultural Society of Massachusetts, “which collects an annual stipend from the Commonwealth and the aristocratic farmers of State Street  have a good dinner, and do nothing more!”  Next is "Happiness"-- and Pinkham lists various towns in the Commonwealth with their population, then the number of paupers, insane persons and idiots. Much discussion of manure.   Incompetence of the Board of Agriculture. "They are fond of nice roasts, porter-house steaks, and plum pudding..."  Still more on the perfidy of the Board of Agriculture (Chas. L. Flint, Secretary) ...Author clearly has an axe to grind.  393 pp. 12 x 19 cm. Blindstamped black cloth on board, spine torn, biopredation on cloth on back cover, poor.  (5221) $28.00. Farming.


Massachusetts Agriculture: Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture, 1876; with an appendix containing reports of delegates to visit county exhibitions By Flint, Charles L., Secretary of the Board of Agriculture. 1877. Boston, MA: Albert J. Wright, State Printer. Frontispiece chromo-lithograph of Plymouth Rock fowls from breeding stock of Edward A. Samuels, Waltham, MA. Report notes that the American Centennial Year of 1876 has passed without bringing any material relief to the general depression of the business and financial  interests of the Commonwealth or of the country. Remedies against the Colorado Potato-Beetle. Paris Green. People of Philadelphia are much better served with milk supply than are people of Boston. Discussion on the home: "Kept rooms, curtained and fine, and hung with photographs and smelling of the varnish of new furniture you never use, are dreadful places. In the country.. they smack of funerals, or of Dorcas societies..." Discussion on manures and chemical fertilizers by Hon. Levi Stockbridge. The Danvers Onion is "probably the best onion that has ever been grown for profit." Abstract of Returns of the Agricultural Societies of Massachusetts. Engraving shows Rye and Onion Smut and spores of Corn Smut. . 207 pp. 15 x 23 cm. Black cloth on board, blindstamped design, very good. (1610) $29.00. Farming

New England Farmer, The, July 31, 1829, Vol. VIII No. 2 Fessenden, Thomas G., Editor. Boston, MA: John B. Russell. Greville Rose--many have bloomed this season in great splendor. Culture of the strawberry. Importance of wholesome water to cattle. Culture of silk. Wolf killed in Sandwich, MA. 8 pp. 24 x 28 cm. Paper periodical, very good. (3585) $24.00. Printed matter/Ephemera/Agricultural

New England Farmer, The, December 25, 1829, Vol. VIII No. 23 Fessenden, Thomas G., Editor. 1829 Boston, MA: John B. Russell. Wet feet: A child who plays and gets wet feet can end up as a corpse; Further improvement in locomotive engines; The canker worm on fruit trees. Start of railway in Charleston, SC. 8 pp. 24 x 28 cm. Paper periodical, some foxing, very good. (3709) $25.00. Printed matter/Ephemera/Agricultural.

New England Farmer, The, January 8, 1830, Vol. VIII No. 25 Fessenden, Thomas G., Editor. Boston, MA: John B. Russell. 8 pp. 24 x 28 cm. Selection of fruits; Silk worms; Isabella Grapes; Poem honors hot coffee instead of wine; Rail road to be built from Petersburg to the Roanoke River. Paper periodical, tiny tears in folds. Good. (3632) $25.00. Educational/Ephemera/Agricultural.
Even China's boast must hide its pallid face,
Gunpowder, Hyson, all the Imperial race,
When coffee comes, hot smoking from the vase.
The evening feast, and morning's chief delight,
Like nectar, fragrant, and like amber, bright,
Health and good feeling, sparkling in the bowl,
We quaff delight and elevate the soul…"
Hot Coffee by Tyro, Florida, NY, in The New England Farmer, January 8, 1830  

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