F AR jg
FARM AND ITS SCENES,
DESCRIPTIONS BY MRS. R. LEE,
AUTHOR O TH AFRICAN WANDEBERS," "ADVENTURES IN AUSTRALIA,"
ANECDOTES 0 ANIMALS," ETC.
FROM DRAWINGS BY HARRISON WEIR.
GRANT AND GRIFFITH,
(svCCzasos TO NX'WBZIT AND HARRIs,)
CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.
A WELL-ORDERED and well-kept farm-house, with
all that belongs to the operations of farming sur-
rounding it, is perhaps the highest picture of com-
fort and wholesome enjoyment that the world can
produce. As we write these words, recollections of
one of these establishments, often visited by us in
our youth, rise before us; and we cannot offer a
better description of the generality of English farm-
houses than by giving an account of this one in
particular. Like that in our plate, it had two
gables and several tall chimneys, and doubtless it
had been an ancient manor-house; the upper rooms
projected over the lower; but every appearance of
antiquity had been obliterated by a general white-
washing, from which only the roof and chimneys
had escaped. In front was a small, square garden,
enclosed in front by' a row of white palings, with a
white gate in the centre. Close to this gate stood
a white horse-block, which enabled Dame Newman
to seat her round, plump figure upon a fat, solemn,
old, white horse, with a long mane and tail, the
only parts of him which ever frisked, and who seemed
to look down upon the stout pony, ridden by the
farmer, with a sort of dignified contempt.
A straight gravel-walk led from the gate to the
house; and two grass-plats, with a bed in the mid-
dle of each, were filled with cabbage-roses, red stocks,
lilies, and hollyhocks. On the lower part of the
house were trained, roses, honeysuckles, and jasmine.
The front-door opened into a stone passage, and
the staircase was directly opposite, On the right-
hand side was the best parlour, the chairs and
tables of which were placed against the wall, the
latter having club-feet. A large fireplace was filled
with geeen boughs and dried flowers; the tall chim-
ney-piece had on it tall China jars; the looking-
glass was decorated with peacock's feathers; and
the beaufet in the corner contained some splendid
punch-bowls, and curious old glasses. On the floor
was a red and green carpet, not nailed to the boards,
because it was always shaken after using.
On the left side of the passage was the keeping-
room, as it was called, being neither more nor less
than a lofty, stone kitchen. The fireplace was so
ample that there was room for a bench on each
side by. the fire. Rows of hams, flitches cut in
halves for convenience, pigs' faces, tongues, and
dried herbs, hung upon the large beams, which
crossed each other on the ceiling. On one side
was an ample store-closet, with rows of pickles and
jams; crockeryware and bright pewter-plates deco-
rated shelves at the farther end; by the window
stood a round table, on which Mrs. Newman's work-
basket was placed, and where Mr. Newman's stock-
ings were most conspicuous. In a large kitchen
beyond were performed all the baking, boiling, and
roasting. The passage ended in a cellar, where
stood goodly rows of beer of all kinds, and home-
made wine. The bed-rooms, with their pointed
roofs, were decorated with white dimity; and fresh-
ness and wholesomeness were the first considerations.
On quitting the house at the back, we entered
the kitchen-garden, stocked with currants, goose-
berries, apples, and cabbages, &c. Against a dead
wall were trained two ample pear-trees.
The internal arrangements of the house taught
the stranger what to expect in the farm-yard; the
cool air rushing through the well-ventilated dairy,
where stood the pans of milk, with rich cream
at the top; the stores of butter, both potted and
fresh, the latter made up daintily into half pounds,
stamped with a cow and Mrs. Newman's initials,
as if the cow had been her own portrait; the very
white churns, the casks of pickled pork, were all there.
In the cheese-room, some cheeses were made of cream
for immediate use, others for market; then the long,
low, cow-houses, where the "wicked" Alderneys
stood with their legs tied, ready for the milking,
during which they always kicked if they could.
The genteel-looking piggery, where cleanliness was
evidently considered as good as half the keep; the
spacious barns, with pigeon-houses at the top; he
stables, where the numerous stalls afforded accom-
modation for teams of stately chesnut-horses, whose
harness, decorated with bells and fringe, was hung
up, opposite each owner's division. The poultry-
yard and hen-houses, almost all deserted for the
ample stack-yard, where the saucy birds pulled out
the ears of corn. The wagon-sheds contained red
and blue wagons, and a taxed cart. The geese and
their young were feeding on a small common close
by, and the pond was well filled by ducks and duck-
lings, occasionally disturbed when the fat pony, and
some of the cows, after nibbling a little of the de-
licious hay put into a bin on purpose for them, came
to slake their thirst.
IT is not always that such light horses as those m
our plate are used for the plough; they are gene-
rally those which drag the carts and wagons; but
Mr. Newman seems to have purchased a pair of old
carriage-horses, and is trying to make them perform
this duty; he stands there himself to superintend
their first trial; but, at other times, they are gene-
rally committed to a boy.
Bullocks are often employed for ploughing, even
in England; and in other countries the most dis-
similar animals are frequently yoked together. We
have heard of an ass and a pig conducting themi-
selves very sedately on such occasions. To form
straight furrows and go deep enough, are the great
requisites for good ploughing; and it is a process
which brings to the surface a number of insects which
live beneath the soil, and they attract numerous
crows, which feed upon them. The smell of newly
turned-up earth is said to be extremely wholesome;
but most agricultural labours are so, unless they be
those which are carried on in marshy lands.
Frequently land is ploughed without being in-
tended to bear a crop, and is thus laid open, be-
cause a portion of the nourishing materials in it has
been absorbed by previous crops; so it is left what is
called fallow, to regain some of them from the rain
and atmosphere; others are supplied by different
substances laid upon it, and what is called "plough-
ing-in" takes place. In light land it is not a la-
borious task, but in the heavy loams it is hard
work; and we do not know any English pig that
would continue the operation after making one fur-
The man at the farther part of the field is sow-
ing, in the manner called "broad-cast," by which
he, with a half-circular motion of his arm, scatters
the seed far and near, and then the harrow, which
is a machine made of crossed bars of wood, and
thick iron spikes underneath, is dragged across, and
covers up the seed with the soil. There are many
other ways of putting the seed into the ground, so
many that we cannot here point them out, and
several of which are effected by machinery.
As Mr. Newman goes himself to the plough, we
cannot wonder that his sister or daughter, we do
not know which, is sent into the hayfield, and there
she stands, with her polka jacket, her loose sleeves,
and her broad-brimmed hat.
When the grass of the meadows or pastures,
which is often mixed with sweet-smelling herbs, is
to be allowed to grow, the sheep or cattle which
have been feeding on it are taken away, the en-
closures are shut up, the grass shoots forth, even as
high as three feet, and comes into blossom in June, or
thereabouts. The mowers with their shining scythes,
and whetitones stuck in their waistbands, come some
fine morning and cut it all down; they are followed
by men and women with pitch-forks, who spread it
out lightly, so that the sun may shine upon every
part, and the rakers, in the afternoon, gather it into
ridges. When it is sufficiently dry, it is tossed into
cocks, and then the fun of the hayfield begins. To
knock these haycocks down, to roll upon them, to
cover each other with the hay, to sit upon them
with a book, and be lulled to sleep with the soothing
perfume, are enjoyments of which few are ignorant ;
for even the inhabitants of London steal out to the
hayfields near Hampstead.
If a shower should come, a scamper ensues, and
the haycocks have to be again spread out; but at
last, when dry, the wagons enter the field, the hay
is lifted up into them with forks, and it is carried to
the owner's yard to be stacked. Great care must
be taken to let it be quite dry before the stack is
thatched, or it will catch fire, and not only be itself
burnt, but set fire to its neighbours. To prevent
this, a large piece of sacking is often suspended
over the top of the stack, at a distance of two or
three yards, so as to admit the air; till at last, when
all danger is supposed to be over, the pointed top is
piled up, and a covering of straw put on. Notwith-
standing all these precautions, the hay sometimes
catches fire, and when cut for the cattle in the win-
ter, a black streak of ashes may be seen, which for-
tunately, for want of air, has only smouldered.
WE will suppose the grain to have been sown, its
tender green blades to have peeped above the soil,
sometimes, in a warm early spring, a little faster
than will bear the blighting winds and frosts of
March and April; when a heavy roller has been
made to pass over and crush their heads to keep
them back: we will have laughed at the apprehen-
sions of the ever-grumbling farmer, and turning to
our plate, where the golden harvest is ripe, imagine
the reaping of the corn to have begun. This opera-
tion is performed by an instrument called a sickle,
which is a half-circle of iron, tapering at one end to.
a point, and the other fixed into a wooden handle.
The reaper takes the corn in one hand, and bringing
the sickle round it, cuts it off a few inches from the
ground, and laying it down, proceeds to a fresh
handful. He is followed by men, who make it up
into bundles called sheaves, fastened with a wisp
of straw, and these sheaves are set up obliquely, with
their heads touching each other, forming a group,
which is called a shock. When these are dry, they
are carted to the stack-yard, to be piled up and
thatched over; and -when the last wagon-load issues
from the last field, it is generally decorated with
green boughs, and accompanied by the labourers,
who utter loud cheers.
As many ears of corn inevitably drop from the
hands of the men who tie up the sheaves, the poorer
villagers are allowed to gather them for themselves,
which is called gleaning; a beautiful description of
which is to be found in the Bible, in the book of
Ruth, and in the pages of the poet Thomson. The
Americans have invented a machine for reaping,
which supersedes human labour, but which has not
been tried in this country.
When the harvest is quite over, the farmer al-
ways gives a supper to those who have gathered it,
which is often attended by the gentry of the neigh-
bourhood, who generally sit round the upper part
of the table, while the farmer takes the bottom
amidst his men. All the rustics put on their best
attire, and some look a little abashed at the com-
panionship of the upper end; all the stores of good
things are brought forward; and the feast generally
ends with heartily singing God save the Queen."
WHEN the corn is all gathered into the barns, or
packed into close, compact stacks, with straw roofs,
then it is gradually threshed. Our plate represents
this operation as performed by hand, when the
thresher makes use of a flail. It is formed of two
slender poles, the shorter of which is fastened to the
top of the longer by a leather thong. He flings it
above his head, with a peculiar motion only to be
attained by practice, and brings down the shorter
piece upon the corn, with great force. A machine,
however, has been invented, which, when farmers
are anxious to get their corn soon to market, is hired
from the owner, and is taken from farm to farm.
It speedily does its work, but some say not as effec-
In olden times (and even now in eastern coun-
tries) the ground used to be beaten hard and smooth,
the space enclosed with strong railings, the corn
spread upon it, and bullocks made to tread the
grain from the husk. In the Steppes of Asia,
horses are driven into such an enclosure, fright-
ened by shouts and gestures from those outside the
railing; and the more these animals rush about,
the more thoroughly is the object effected.
When threshed, the wheat, barley, rye, and oats
are winnowed, or separated from the husks, put
into sacks, and taken to market. In London is
a large place, where corn-merchants come from all
parts of the world; and to those who regularly
have stalls there, quantities of corn are entrusted
for sale; many ships from the Baltic and other
places being laden with the precious grain, to be
consumed in this country.
ALTHOUGH the vintage is one of the most beautiful
sights connected with the vegetable productions of
the earth; if we mistake not, hop-picking would be
equally so, if the dresses of the peasantry were
equally picturesque in England. It might not be
advisable for our people to expose their throats and
chests as those in the south do; but some of the
gay colours used by them would much enliven our
The hop is said to have been brought to us by
the monks of former times, and there is an old
Hops, pickerel,* and beer,
Came to England all in one year.
However this may be, they now grow wild in our
hedges; and the young tops are much sought for
by country people; as, when boiled, they taste like
asparagus. The roots of those cultivated are set
at some distance from each other; and when the
climbing stem is sufficiently long; tall, straight poles
are placed close by them, to which they cling.
Their blossom is of a pale' green, hanging in clus-
ters, like bunches of. grapes, and beautifully con-
trasting with the dark, toothed leaves. It is from
these blossoms that we mostly derive the bitter
flavour of beer; but quassia and other substances
are often substituted for them.
When -the stamens of the flowers are covered
with their usual dust, the pole is taken up, the vines
or stems are cut from the root, and the pole is
placed over a bin or a basket, for the flowers to
be picked off with the fingers. The air in the
neighbourhood of hop-grounds is so full of the fine
dust, that no one can go out without receiving its
taste upon the tongue.
Kent and Sussex are the principal hop coun-
ties, although they are grown elsewhere. They
are a very uncertain crop, being so liable to de-
struction from insects; and in consequence of this,
large sums of money aft won or lost by their cul-
tivators and buyers. They are packed in bags, and
sent to marketare used for medicine, and form a
powerful means of producing sleep; thy are also
used for making a yellow dye.
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