Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 3, January 19, 1884. - A Weekly Journal for the Farm, Orchard and Fireside
Author: Various
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J. E. YOUNG, 71 Park Avenue, Chicago.

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Breeder of Light Brahmas, Plymouth Rocks, Bronze Turkeys, Toulouse Geese, and Pekin Ducks. Stock for sale. Eggs in Season. Have won 200 prizes at leading shows, including 1st on Toulouse Geese at St. Louis and Chicago Shows. Write for prices.

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YOUR NAME printed on 50 Cards

ALL NEW designs of Gold Floral, Remembrances, Sentiment, Hand Floral, etc., with Love, Friendship, and Holiday Mottoes. 10c. 7 pks. and this elegant Ring, 50 c., 15 pks. & Ring, $1.

12 NEW "CONCEALED NAME" Cards (name concealed with hand holding flowers with mottoes) 20c. 7 pks. and this Ring for $1. Agents sample book and full outfit, 25c. Over 200 new Cards added this season. Blank Cards at wholesale prices.

NORTHFORD CARD CO. Northford, Conn.

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Our large GARDEN GUIDE describing Cole's Reliable Seeds is MAILED FREE TO ALL. We offer the LATEST Novelties in SEED POTATOES, Corn and Oats, and the Best Collection of Vegetable, Flower, Grass and Tree SEED. Everything is tested. COLE & BRO., Seedsmen, PELLA, IOWA

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Agents Wanted, Male and Female, for Spence's Blue Book, a most fascinating and salable novelty. Every family needs from one to a dozen. Immense profits and exclusive territory. Sample mailed for 25 cts in postage stamps. Address J. H. CLARSON, P.O. Box 2296, Philadelphia, Pa.

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Procured or no charge. 40 p. book patent-law free. Add. W. T. FITZGERALD 1006 F St., Washington, D.C.

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40 SATIN FINISH CARDS, New Imported designs, name on and Present Free for 10c. Cut this out. CLINTON BROS. & Co., Clintonville, Ct.

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WANTED EVERYWHERE to solicit subscriptions for this paper. Write PRAIRIE FARMER PUBLISHING CO., Chicago, for particulars.

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REMEMBER that $2.00 pays for THE PRAIRIE FARMER one year, and the subscriber gets a copy of THE PRAIRIE FARMER COUNTY MAP OF THE UNITED STATES, FREE! This is the most liberal offer ever made by any first-class weekly agricultural paper in this country.


Horticulturists, Write for Your Paper.


The members of the Southern Illinois Horticultural Society recently held a meeting at Alton, and resolved to put a little more life into the organization. A new constitution was adopted, and the following officers were elected for the ensuing year:

President—E. A. Riehl, Alton. First Vice-President—G. W. Endicott, Villa Ridge. Second Vice-President—Wm. Jackson, Godfrey. Secretary and Treasurer—E. Hollister, Alton.

The following select list of fruits was recommended for the district, or Southern grand division of the State:

Apples—Summer—Red Astrachan, Keswick Codlin, Benoni, Saps of Wine, and Maiden's Blush.

Fall—It was unanimously agreed that fall apples were not profitable for market purposes.

Winter—Ben Davis, Rome Beauty, Jonathan, Wine-Sap, Winter May, Gilpin, and Janet.

Apples for family use—Summer—Early Harvest, Red Astrachan, Carolina Red June, Benoni, Maiden's Blush, Bailey Sweet and Fameuse.

Fall—Fall Wine, Rambo, Grimes' Golden, Yellow Belleflower.

Winter—Jonathan, Rome Beauty, Winesap, Ben Davis, Janet, Gilpin, Moore's Sweet, Sweet Vandevere.

Peaches for Market—Bartlett, Howell, and Duchess.

Pears for Family Use—Bartlett, Seckel, Howell, White Doyenne, D'Anjou, and Sheldon.

Peaches—For Family Use and Market—Alexander, Mountain Rose, L. E. York, Oldmixon Free, Crawford's Late Stump, Picquet's Late, Smock, Salway, and Heath Cling.

Grapes—Home Use and Market—Worden or Concord, Cynthiana or Norton's Va., Mo. Reisling, Noah, Ives.

Strawberries—Home and Market—Capt. Jack, Downing, and Wilson.

Raspberries—Black Caps—Doolittle and Gregg.

Reds—Cuthbert, Brandywine, and Turner for home use only.

Notes on Current Topics.


Now, if one wants to ascertain how many agricultural implements are used by the farmers of the West, let him take a trip across the country for a day or two, and he will see reapers and mowers, and hay rakes and cultivators, and plows and seeders, standing in the fields and meadows, at the end of the rows where they had last been used. A stranger might think that this is not the place for them at this particular time of year. But in this he shows his ignorance of Western farm economy—for it is the very place for them; the identical locality where a great many of our farmers choose to keep their costly implements. Besides—don't you see, our farmers believe in fostering the manufactures of our country; and this place of caring for their tools after using them adds 15 or 20 per cent to the business of the manufacturers.


I referred to the fact that I had lately been cutting away, digging up, and making stove-wood of a number of dead and decaying apple trees. Some of them had been dead and dying for two or three years. In splitting up the body and roots of one of these, I dislodged scores of the borers, of all ages and sizes—making quite a dinner for a hen and chickens that happened to be nigh. This fact brought forcibly to my mind what I should have thought of before, namely—that these dead and dying trees ought not to be allowed to remain a day after their usefulness has departed; but should be removed bodily and consigned to the flames. Otherwise they remain as breeding places for the pests, to the great detriment of the rest of the orchard. Cut away your decaying trees at once.


Now that coal has become so common as a substitute for wood for fuel, not only on the railroads and manufactories, but in the villages and on the farms, wood ashes will still be harder to procure. Though not near so valuable for the purposes for which wood ashes is chiefly used in horticulture, it is believed that ashes from the coal has too great a value to be wasted. It should all be saved and applied to some good purpose on the garden or orchard. Has any one tried it as a preventive to pear blight? or mildew on the gooseberry? or the grape rot? or for the yellows or leaf-curl in peach trees? or for the rust in the blackberry and raspberry? In any or all of these it may have a decided value, and should be faithfully experimented with. As an absorbent alone it ought to be worth saving, to use in retaining the house slops and other liquid manures that are too often wasted.


in our orchard trees, of which we read and hear so much in late years, is doubtless to be found in the fact that we fail to feed them properly. A hog will fail to put on fat if he is not fed; a hen will not lay eggs if she is starved for food; and is it more reasonable to expect an apple or a peach or a pear tree to thrive and grow and yield of its luscious fruit in perfection while it is being starved? Our fresh soils—some of them at least—contain a fair proportion of the food needed to support the life of a tree; we plant our orchards, and for some years, more or less, they give us paying returns for our investments. But that food will not always last; it is gradually exhausted, and we fail to feed them again, or in that proportion their necessities require. They languish and die; a disease seizes them, and we complain and grumble at the dispensations of Providence.

Think of it, fellow fruit-growers; let us begin to treat our fruit trees as we do our hogs and our hens, and see if we can not be favored with corresponding results. It is doubtless true that many of the diseases to which our trees are subject are caused by starvation, or by improper feeding; and a sickly tree is much more certain to be attacked by insects than a healthy one.

Rare, indeed, is the case where a tree is carefully fed and cared for, and its wants regularly and bountifully supplied, that it does not repay as bountifully in its life-giving fruits.

T. G.



It is assumed that this pest has cost agriculturists many millions of dollars during the past decade; not only in the loss of trees, but the time—as it seldom appears until after the first crop—consequently the land, manure, labor, enclosure, and taxes are not insignificant items. Climate, soil, and cultivation have utterly failed, so also the nostrums, such as "carbonate of lime" suggested by the best authority, and the experts now admit that parasites (such as cause the rust or smut in our cereals) are the cause of this mischief. The only question is whether they act directly or indirectly: this question determines whether it is remediable. If these parasites accomplish all this mischief by direct contact, as in the case of rust, their ubiquitous character is so demonstrated that we are utterly discouraged; whereas, if we prove that their indirect action is the only one that is to be dreaded, and that indirect action is remediable we are encouraged to cultivate the pear, though we have lost more than five hundred of one variety and almost all of the other varieties before we discovered the real cause of the failure. "Where you lose you may find;" success does not indicate merit, and "fools never learn by experience." As a celebrated surgeon said in his lecture. "A good oculist is made at the expense of a hatful of eyes."

The celebrated Johnson who wrote the Encyclopedia of Agriculture a few years since, is now regarded as an old fogy, because he assumed that the spores of smut travel from the manure and seed of the previous crop in the circulation of the plant to the capsule, and thus convert the grain into a puff-ball, so also the ears of corn, the oats, and rye. This monstrosity on the rye grains is called ergot, or spurred rye, and when it is eaten by chickens or other fowls their feet and legs shrivel or perish with dry gangrene, not because the spores of the fungus which produced the spurred rye circulate in the blood of the chicken, nor that the spawn or mycelium thus traverses the fowl, but the peculiar and specific influence acts upon the whole animal precisely like the poison of the poison oak, producing its specific effect on the most remote parts of the system, and not as mustard confined to the part it touches. The mustard acts directly, but the "poison Ivy" acts indirectly; so also the virus of cow-pox poisons the whole system, but usually appears in but one spot unless the lymphatics of the whole arm are weak, and in that case crops of umbilicated pustules precisely like the original, may recur on all parts of the arm for several months. The specific effect of ergot or the fungus when indirect is manifested by contracting and even strangulating the tubes or capillaries causing them to pucker up (as a persimmon acts directly on the mouth), but in this case permanently though indirectly, so that rye bread sometimes causes dry gangrene in the human subject; the shins and feet shrivel precisely as those parts of the limbs of the pear do, moreover a dark fluid exudes (as the circulation is arrested where a patch occurs) in both cases alike, consequently if the remedy in both cases is based on the same principles, and is demonstrated to be equally effectual, the cause and the disease are similar.

I have seen dry gangrene in the human subject originate apparently from an old "frost bite;" which means merely chronic debility of the capillaries of the foot or shin. Thus the extremities of the pear, or the weakest part, always succumb first, and the most vigorous trees never manifest it until they are weakened by their first crop of fruit. All are familiar with the fact that an old frost bite will swell or succumb to a temperature which will be innocuous to any other part of the body. The microscope may invariably reveal fungi in the patch of pear blight precisely as the housewife discovers the mold plant in her preserves and canned fruit, and even in the eggs of fowls, the mycelium (or spawn) penetrating the fruit or preserve though it be covered while boiling hot. If so, the reason why all parts of the tree are not attacked at the same time, is not because the fungus is not ubiquitous. We first notice the action of strychnia in the legs, or in paralyzed limbs exclusively, because they are weaker and become subject to its influence more easily; so also the same tree may escape for a long time after the limb which has succumbed is removed. Moreover the grafts, however numerous, may all be blighted, but the standard seedling on which so many varieties were grafted has survived more than fifty winters, and it fruited last year.



Valuable trees that have been wounded or mutilated are often sacrificed for lack of the discreet surgery which would repair the injury they have suffered; and Professor C. A. Sargent, of the Bussey Institution, has done good service to farmers, fruit-raisers, and landscape-gardeners, by translating from the French the following practical hints, which we give with slight abridgment:

Bark once injured or loosened can never attach itself again to the trunk; and whenever wounds, abrasures, or sections of loose bark exist on the trunk of a tree, the damaged part should be cut away cleanly, as far as the injury extends. Careful persons have been known to nail to a tree a piece of loosened bark, in hope of inducing it to grow again, or at least of retaining on the young wood its natural covering. Unfortunately the result produced by this operation is exactly opposite to that intended. The decaying wood and bark attract thousands of insects, which find here safe shelter and abundant food, and, increasing rapidly, hasten the death of the tree. In such cases, instead of refastening the loosened bark to the tree, it should be entirely cut away, care being taken to give the cut a regular outline, especially on the lower side; for if a portion of the bark, even if adhering to the wood, is left without direct communication with the leaves, it must die and decay. A coating of coal-tar should be applied to such wounds.

LOOSENED BARK.—It is necessary to frequently examine the lower portions of the trunk, especially of trees beginning to grow old; for here is often found the cause of death in many trees, in large sheets of bark entirely separated from the trunk. This condition of things, which often can not be detected, except by the hollow sound produced by striking the trunk with the back of the iron pruning-knife, arrests the circulation of sap, while the cavity between the bark and the wood furnishes a safe retreat for a multitude of insects, which hasten the destruction of the tree. The dead bark should be entirely removed, even should it be necessary, in so doing, to make large wounds. Cases of this nature require the treatment recommended for the last class.

CAVITIES IN THE TRUNK.—Very often, when a tree has been long neglected, the trunk is seriously injured by cavities caused by the decay of dead or broken branches. It is not claimed that pruning can remove defects of this nature; it can with proper application, however, arrest the progress of the evil. The edge of the cavity should be cut smooth and even; and all decomposed matter, or growth of new bark formed in the interior, should be carefully removed. A coating of coal-tar should be applied to the surface of the cavity, and the mouth plugged with a piece of well-seasoned oak securely driven into the place. The end of the plug should then be carefully pared smooth and covered with coal-tar, precisely as if the stump of a branch were under treatment. If the cavity is too large to be closed in this manner, a piece of thoroughly seasoned oak board, carefully fitted to it, may be securely nailed into the opening, and then covered with coal-tar. It is often advisable to guard against the attacks of insects by nailing a piece of zinc or other metal over the board in such a way that the growth of the new wood will in time completely cover it.

Coal-tar, a waste product of gas-works, can be applied with an ordinary painter's brush, and may be used cold, except in very cold weather, when it should be slightly warmed before application. Coal-tar has remarkable preservative properties, and may be used with equal advantage on living and dead wood. A single application, without penetrating deeper than ordinary paint, forms an impervious coating to the wood-cells, which would, without such covering, under external influences, soon become channels of decay. This simple application then produces a sort of instantaneous cauterization, and preserves from decay wounds caused either in pruning or by accident. The odor of coal-tar drives away insects, or prevents them, by complete adherence to the wood, from injuring it. After long and expensive experiments, the director of the parks of the city of Paris finally, in 1863, adopted coal-tar, in preference to other preparations used, for covering tree wounds. In the case of stone fruit trees it should, however, be used with considerable caution, especially on plum trees. It should not be allowed to needlessly run down the trunk; and it is well to remember, that the more active a remedy is the greater should be the care in its application. The practice of leaving a short stump to an amputated branch, adopted by some to prevent the loss of sap, although less objectionable in the case of coniferous trees than in that of others, should never be adopted. Such stumps must be cut again the following year close to the trunk, or cushions of wood will form about their base, covering the trunk with protuberances. These greatly injure the appearance and value of the tree, and necessitate, should it be found desirable, the removal, later on, of such excrescences, causing wounds two or three times as large as an original cut close to the trunk would have made.


Through the co-operation of packers in all parts of the United States, the American Grocer was enabled to present its annual statement of the 1883 pack of tomatoes some weeks earlier than usual. Despite a cold, backward spring, unusually low temperature throughout the summer, with cool nights in August and September, drouth in some sections, early and severe frosts in others, the trade is called upon to solve the question: Can the demand absorb a supply of three million cases?

The pack of 1883 is heavily in excess of that of 1882, due to an increase in the number packers, and to an unusually heavy yield in New Jersey and Delaware. In detail, the result in the different States is as follows:

Cases, two doz. each. Maryland 1,450,000 New Jersey 612,703 Delaware 156,391 California 117,000 Ohio 112,000 Indiana 90,000 Virginia 75,000 Kansas 65,000 New York 59,344 Iowa 47,925 Missouri 34,500 Michigan 30,700 Massachusetts 25,000 Canada 20,000 Connecticut 18,000 Illinois 14,516 Pennsylvania 15,000 ————- Total 2,943,579

The above total of 2,943,579 cases, of two dozen tins each represents seventy million, six hundred and forty-five thousand, eight hundred and ninety-six cans, as the minimum quantity of canned tomatoes packed in the United States this year.

Never in recent years have the holdings of the jobbers been as light as at present. Undoubtedly there is an unusually large stock of tomatoes in packers' hands, but there are innumerable parties in all the great centers of trade ready to take hold freely at 80 cents.

At no time has the stock of extra brands been equal to the inquiry, and hence we have seen the anomaly of a range in prices of from 80 cents to $1.40 per dozen. There is room for improvement in quality, as well as for methods of marketing the large production of Harford county. A move in the right direction has been started by the forming of associations, which seek to build extensive warehouses and aid weak packers to carry stock, instead of forcing it upon a dull market.

Three million cases or seventy-two million cans means a supply of only one and two-fifths cans per capita per annum, or seven cans per annum for every family of five persons. With tomatoes retailing from 8 to 15 cents per can, the consumption could reach three times that quantity, and then each family would only find tomatoes upon its bill of fare once every fortnight.

While many packers have failed to secure a fair return for their work, others have been well paid. Some few have made heavy losses, and will, in the future, be less inclined to bet against wet weather, drought and frost.

If general business is good during the first half of 1884, The Grocer can see no good reason why the stock of tomatoes should not go into consumption between 85 cents and $1 per dozen for standards. Any marked advance would be sure to check demand, and, therefore, low prices must rule if the stock is absorbed prior to the receipt of 1884 packing.

The year closes with Maryland packed obtainable from 75 to 85 cents; New Jersey and Delaware, 90 to 95 cents; fancy brands, $1.10 to $1.35, delivered on dock in New York.


According to the Popular Science News, apples do not sweat after they are gathered in the autumn. Here is an account of what takes place with them.

The skin of a sound apple is practically a protective covering, and designed for a two-fold purpose: first, to prevent the ingress of air and moisture to the tender cellular structure of the fruit; and, second, to prevent the loss of juices by exudation. There is no such process as sweating in fruits. When men or animals sweat, they become covered with moisture passing through the skin; when an apple becomes covered with moisture, it is due to condensation of moisture from without. Apples taken from trees in a cool day remain at the temperature of the air until a change to a higher temperature occurs, and then condensation of moisture from the warmer air circulating around the fruit occurs, just as moisture gathers upon the outside of an ice-pitcher in summer. This explains the whole matter; and the vulgar notion of fruits "sweating" should be dispelled from the mind.

It is almost impossible to gather apples under such conditions of temperature that they will not condense moisture after being placed in barrels. It would be better if this result could be avoided, as dryness of fruit is essential to its protracted keeping.

Our northern autumns are characterized by changes from hot to cold, and these occur suddenly. The days are hot, and the nights cool, and this favors condensation. Apples picked on a moderately cool day, and placed in a moderately cool shed, protected from the sun, will not gather moisture, and this is the best method to pursue when practicable.


Mr. N. Atwell, one of the Michigan commissioners, whose duty it is to look after the peach districts of that State and check if possible the ravages of the destructive disease known as "yellows," claims that there is no known remedy, and that the only safe plan is to uproot and burn the trees upon the first appearance of the disease.

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If you are going to set a new orchard this spring, remember that it is an excellent thing to prepare a plan of the orchard, showing the position of each tree, its variety, etc. If a tree dies it can be replaced by one of the same sort. Some fruit-raisers keep a book in which they register the age and variety of every tree in the orchard, together with any items in regard to their grafting, productiveness, treatment, etc., which are thought to be desirable.

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Cor. California Rural Press: The first generation of codling moth begins to fly about the first of May. To make sure gather some in the chrysalis state in March or April, put in a jar, and set the jar in a place where you will see it every day. When they begin to have wings, prepare your traps thus: The half of a kerosene can with the tin bent in at the top an inch; a half inch of kerosene in the can, a little flat lamp near the oil. The light reflected from the bright tin will draw the moth five rods at least. If your orchard is forty rods square, sixteen traps will do the work. The moth will fly about the light until it touches the oil. This will end it.

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The Industrial South has the following in relation to Albemarle and Nelson (Virginia) apple orchards in the space of fifteen square miles: "What would you think of an orchard planted, if not since the war, as I think it was, a very short time before, and away up on the side of the Blue Ridge, that to look from below you would think of insuring your neck before setting out to it, producing eighteen hundred barrels? This was the produce of picked fruit, to say nothing of the fallen—enough to keep a big drying establishment running for months. These are true figures—and it is the property of a worthy citizen of Richmond, who, in its management, has cause to exclaim "ab imo pectore," save me from my friends. Then there is another from which the owner, with a dryer of his own, has sold five thousand dollars of the proceeds besides cider, vinegar, and brandy. There is yet another, that the lady-owner sold as the fruit hung in the orchard, for forty-five hundred dollars. The fruit in the area referred to brought over fifty thousand dollars, bought by the agent of a New York house, and doubtless much of it will reach Europe."

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Prof. Cook in the New York Tribune: The Rev. W. W. Meech writes that he has seen in several papers of high standing "the beetle Saperdabivitati, parent of the borer," described as a "a miller"—"a mistake very misleading to those who are seeking knowledge of insect pests." He adds that among hundreds of quince trees growing he has had but three touched by this enemy in eight years. He simply takes the precaution to keep grass and weeds away from the collar of the tree, "so that there is no convenient harbor for the beetle to hide in while at the secret work of egg-laying." He thinks a wrap of "petroleum paper around the collar" would be found a preventive, as it is not only disagreeable but hinders access to the place where the eggs are deposited. It is an unfortunate error to refer to a beetle as a moth. It would be better if all would recognize the distinction between "bug" and "beetle," and between "worms" and "larva," in writing popular articles. I notice that some of the editors of medical journals are referring to bacteria as "bugs." Surely reform is needed. I am not so sure of Mr. Meech's remedy. I imagine that fortune, not his pains, is to be thanked for his grubless trees. I have known this borer to do very serious mischief where the most perfect culture was practised. The caustic wash is much safer than a petroleum wrap. The eggs are often laid high up on the trunk or even on the branches. Nothing is better for the borers than the soap and carbolic acid mixture.


Gleanings by an Old Florist.


Smilax, as now used by florists, is but a very recent affair. Although introduced first into Europe from the Cape of Good Hope as early as 1702, it remained for the florist of our time to find out its great adaptability for decoration and other uses in his art or calling. To Boston florists belong the credit of its first extensive culture and use, and for several years they may be said to have had the monopoly of its trade, and Boston smilax, along with Boston tea roses, which was pre-eminently the variety called the Bon Silene, was, for years, shipped to this and other cities. It is scarcely a decade of years ago, in this city, when a batch of one hundred strings could not be bought here, home-grown; now there would be no difficulty in getting thousands. Like everything else of like character, the first introducers reaped a golden harvest, so far as price is concerned, having often obtained a dollar a string; while now, the standard price, even in mid winter, is $2 per dozen, and often in quantity, it can be obtained at less. But where there was one string used then, there are now thousands. In olden times the florist was often put to his wits to find material to go around his made-up pieces and for relief as a green; now, everything green is smilax, and it must be confessed, that with the choice ferns, begonia leaves, and the like, that he used to have to prepare with, his work then was really often in better taste, so far as relief to flowers is concerned, with the old material than the new.

But for the purpose of festooning buildings, churches, and the like, smilax is by all odds the very thing wanted, and as much ahead of the old-time evergreen wreathing, that we had to use, as the methods now in use for obtaining cut flowers are ahead of the old. It is hard to say what the florist could do without smilax, so indispensable has it become. There are now probably twenty of the principal growers of this city that have at least one house in smilax, who will cut not less than three thousand strings in a winter, while of the balance of smaller fry enough to make up the total to 100,000 strings per year. In times of scarcity of material, it is cut not over three feet long; again, when the supply exceeds the demand, the buyer will often get it six to nine feet long, and at a lower price than he can buy the short—supply and demand ruling price, as a rule, between $1 and $3 per dozen.

The plant now under consideration is called, botanically, Myrsiphyllum asparagoides; by common usage it is called smilax, although not even a member of the true smilax family, some of which are natives of this country.

The plant seeds readily, hence every one who grows smilax may, by leaving two or three strings uncut, grow his own seed; it is then sure to be fresh—which is sometimes not the case when purchased. The seed is more likely to germinate if soaked twelve hours in warm water or milk before sowing.

A bed may be formed any time of the year, but the usual custom is to prepare it so as to be ready to cut, say, in the fall, for the first time. Take a pan or shallow box and sow the seed any time during the winter before March. When well up, so they can be handled, transplant into small pots, and from these shift into larger, say to three or four inch pots. Keep the shoots pinched back so as to form a stout, bushy plant. During winter they will require an artificial temperature of not less than 50 degrees. When summer comes they may be kept in the house or stand out of doors until the bed in which they are to grow is ready. This may be prepared any time most desirable, but if to cut first in the fall, so manage it that they may have two or three months to perfect their growth.

The common practice is to give the whole house to the use of the plant, but this may be varied at pleasure, growing either the center bunch, the front bunch, or both, as may be desirable.

The best soil is decayed sod from a pasture enriched with cow manure. It requires no benches to grow this plant; all that is necessary is to inclose the space designed by putting up boards one foot high to form a coping to hold the soil. Into this the plants are set evenly over the entire space, in rows nine inches to one foot apart. At the time of planting, a stake is driven into and even with the soil at each plant, being careful to have them in true lines both ways, and driven deep enough to be quite firm; on the top of this stake is driven a small nail or hook. Directly over each nail, in the rafter of the house, or a strip nailed to them for the purpose, is placed another nail, and between the two a cord similar to that used by druggists or the like—but green, if possible, in color, for obvious reasons—is stretched as taught as may be, so that when finished the whole house or space used is occupied by these naked strings, on which, as the growth proceeds, the plants entwine themselves. Some care will be required at first to get them started, after which they will usually push on themselves.

The most convenient height of the rafters above the soil is from four to ten feet, which will give long enough strings, and, what is important for quick growth, keep the plants when young not too far from the glass.

In planting, some make a difference of a month or two in the time, so that the crop may not come in all at once; but usually the plants will vary some in their growth, and hence, by cutting the largest first, the same result is obtained. If a heat of 55 degrees can be obtained as a minimum, and care is taken in keeping a moist, growing temperature, a crop can be taken off every three months at least. So as soon as ready to cut and a market can be obtained for the crop, strings should be strung again at once, leaving some of the smaller shoots when cutting for a starter of the next crop. Like everything else, heavy cropping requires heavy manuring, and hence a rich compost should be added to the soil at each cutting.

Some plant their beds fresh every year, others leave them longer. The root is perennial in character, and consists of fleshy tubers, not unlike asparagus, and may be divided for the new beds; but the general practice is to grow new plants. Always beware of buying old, dry roots, as they will sometimes refuse to grow, even if they look green and fresh. With many, in cutting, the practice is to cut clear through at the bottom, string and all, then by a deft movement of the hands the smilax is slipped from the string which, with the addition of a foot or two to tie again, is at once ready for the next, while others bring to market string and all, these being simply matters of practice or convenience.


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Was Noah's voyage an arktic expedition?

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invested in a postal card and addressed as below


give to the writer full information as to the best lands in the United States now for sale; how he can


them on the lowest and best terms, also the full text of the U. S. land laws and how to secure


of Government Lands in Northwestern Minnesota and Northeastern Dakota.



Land and Emigration Commissioner,


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I have a positive remedy for the above disease; by its use thousands of cases of the worst kind and of long standing have been cured. Indeed, so strong is my faith in its efficacy, that I will send TWO BOTTLES FREE, together with a VALUABLE TREATISE on this disease, to any sufferer. Give Express & P. O. address, DR. T. A. SLOCUM, 181 Pearl St., N. Y.

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NOW is the time to Subscribe for THE PRAIRIE FARMER. Price only $2.00 per year is worth double in money.

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THE PRAIRIE FARMER is printed and published by The Prairie Farmer Publishing Company, every Saturday, at No. 150 Monroe Street.

Subscription, $2.00 per year, in advance, postage prepaid. Subscribers wishing their addresses changed should give their old as well as new addresses.

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The Prairie Farmer



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[Transcriber's Note: Original location of Table of Contents.]

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1841. 1884.





For forty-three years THE PRAIRIE FARMER has stood at the front in agricultural journalism. It has kept pace with the progress and development of the country, holding its steady course through all these forty-three years, encouraging, counseling, and educating its thousands of readers. It has labored earnestly in the interest of all who are engaged in the rural industries of the country, and that it has labored successfully is abundantly shown by the prominence and prestige it has achieved, and the hold it has upon the agricultural classes.

Its managers are conscious from comparison with other journals of its class, and from the uniform testimony of its readers, that it is foremost among the farm and home papers of the country. It will not be permitted to lose this proud position; we shall spare no efforts to maintain its usefulness and make it indispensable to farmers, stock-raisers, feeders, dairymen, horticulturalists, gardeners, and all others engaged in rural pursuits. It will enter upon its forty-fourth year under auspices, in every point of view, more encouraging than ever before in its history. Its mission has always been, and will continue to be—

To discuss the most approved practices in all agricultural and horticultural pursuits.

To set forth the merits of the best breeds of domestic animals, and to elucidate the principles of correct breeding and management.

To further the work of agricultural and horticultural organization.

To advocate industrial education in the correct sense of the term.

To lead the van in the great contest of the people against monopolies and the unjust encroachments of capital.

To discuss the events and questions of the day without fear or favor.

To provide information concerning the public domain, Western soil, climate, water, railroads, schools, churches, and society.

To answer inquiries on all manner of subjects coming within its sphere.

To furnish the latest and most important industrial news at home and abroad.

To give full and reliable crop, weather, and market reports.

To present the family with pure, choice, and interesting literature.

To amuse and instruct the young folks.

To gather and condense the general news of the day.

To be, in brief, an indispensable and unexceptionable farm and home companion for the people of the whole country.

The style and form of the paper are now exactly what they should be. The paper used is of superior quality. The type is bold and clear. The illustrations are superb. The departments are varied and carefully arranged. The editorial force is large and capable. The list of contributors is greatly increased, and embraces a stronger array of talent than is employed on any similar paper in this country. We challenge comparison with any agricultural journal in the land.

THE PRAIRIE FARMER is designed for all sections of the country. In entering upon the campaign of 1884, we urge all patrons and friends to continue their good works in extending the circulation of our paper. On our part we promise to leave nothing undone that it is possible for faithful, earnest work—aided by money and every needed mechanical facility—to do to make the paper in every respect still better than it has ever been before.

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To each Subscriber who will remit us $2.00 between now and February 1st, 1884, we will mail a copy of THE PRAIRIE FARMER FOR ONE YEAR, AND ONE OF OUR NEW STANDARD TIME COMMERCIAL MAPS OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA—showing all the Counties, Railroads, and Principal Towns up to date. This comprehensive map embraces all the country from the Pacific Coast to Eastern New Brunswick, and as far north as the parallel of 52 deg., crossing Hudson's Bay. British Columbia; Manitoba, with its many new settlements; and the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, completed and under construction, are accurately and distinctly delineated. It extends so far south as to Include Key West and more than half of the Republic of Mexico. It is eminently adapted for home, school, and office purposes. The retail price of the Map alone is $2.00. Size, 58 x 41 inches. Scale, about sixty miles to one inch.

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Every housekeeper ought to have this very useful scale. The weight of article bought or sold may readily be known. Required proportions in culinary operations are accurately ascertained. We have furnished hundreds of them to subscribers, and they give entire satisfaction. During January, 1884, to any person sending us THREE SUBSCRIBERS, at $2.00 each, we will give one of these scales, and to each of the three subscribers Ropp's Calculator, No. 1.

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Remember that every yearly subscriber, either new or renewing, sending us $2, receives a splendid new map of the United States and Canada—58 x 41 inches—FREE. Or, if preferred, one of the books offered in another column. It is not necessary to wait until a subscription expires before renewing.

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in every locality. We offer very liberal terms and good pay. Send for sample copies and terms to agents.

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Read about Patrick Barry, about the corn-root worm, about mistakes in drainage, about the change in prize rings at the Fat Stock Show, about improvement in horses, about the value of 1883 corn for pork making, about Fanny Field's Plymouth Rocks, about the way to make the best bee hive, about that eccentric old fellow Cavendish, about the every day life of the great Darwin, about making home ornaments and nice things for the little folks? Will you

Read the poems, the jokes, the news, the markets, the editorials, the answers to correspondents? In short, will you

Read the entire paper and then sit down and think it all over and see if you do not conclude that this single number is worth what the paper has cost you for the whole year? Then tell your neighbors about it, show it to them and ask them to subscribe for it. Tell them that they will also get for the $2 a copy of our superb map. By doing this you can double our subscription list in a single week.


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The Illinois State Board of Agriculture will hold a meeting at the Sherman House in Chicago, on the 4th of March next. The principal business of the meeting will be to complete arrangements for the next State Fair and the Fat Stock Show.

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The annual meeting of the Northern Illinois Horticultural Society will be held at Elgin Tuesday, January 22d and continuing three days. Kindred societies are invited to send delegates, and a large general attendance is solicited. Further particulars will be gladly received by S. M. Slade, President, Elgin, or D. Wilmot Scott, Secretary, Galena.

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The Brooklyn Board of Health petitions Congress to appropriate a sufficient amount of money to stamp out contagious pleuro-pneumonia and provide for the appointment of a number of veterinarians to inspect all herds in infected districts, to indemnify owners for cattle slaughtered by the Government, and to forbid the movement of all cattle out of any infected State which will not take measures to stamp out the disease.

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Secretary L. A. Goodman, of the Missouri State Horticultural Society writes THE PRAIRIE FARMER that on the 5th of January the mercury at Westport, Wis., indicated 26 degrees below zero, the lowest point ever recorded there. He adds: "The peaches are killed, as are the blackberries. Cherries are injured very much and the raspberries also. The dry September checked the growth of the berries and sun-burned them some, and now the cold hurts them badly. Apples are all right yet and prospects for good crop are excellent."

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It may be of interest to many readers to know that the I. & St. L. R. R. will sell tickets from Indianapolis and intermediate points to St. Louis, to persons attending the meeting of the Mississippi Valley Horticultural Society, at one and one-third rates. Mr. Ragan informs us that this is the only railroad line from central Indiana that offers a reduction of fare. The Missouri Pacific system of roads, including the Wabash, and embracing about ten thousand miles of road, extending as far north and east as Chicago, Detroit and Toledo, and as far south and west as New Orleans, Galveston and El Paso, will return members in attendance, who have paid full fare over these lines, at one cent a mile, upon the certificate of the Secretary of the Society. The Chicago & Alton, C., B. & Q., Keokuk, St. L. & N. W., Chicago, B. & K. C., Illinois Central, Cairo Short Line, and Hannibal & St. Joe roads will return members on the same terms. The Ohio & Mississippi will sell tickets to St. Louis and return at one and one-third fare, to members indorsed by the Secretary. The Louisville and Nashville will give reduced rates to members applying to its General Passenger Agent, C. P. Atmore, of Louisville, Ky.


The Census Bureau and Bradstreet's agency have made from the most accurate examination possible an estimate of the wealth and business of the nation: Aggregate wealth of the United States in 1880 was $43,642,000,000 (forty thousand and a half billions); the total amount of capital invested in business was $8,177,000,000 (over eight billions); and the number of persons engaged in commercial business was 703,828. Twenty-two per cent of all the business capital of the country is credited to the State of New York. Massachusetts ranks second, Pennsylvania third, Ohio fourth, Illinois fifth, and Michigan sixth. The aggregate business capital of these six States was $5,113,087,000, leaving to all the other States $3,063,923,000. The total recorded number of traders in the United States in June, 1880—those having distinctive position in the commercial or industrial community—was 703,328; a trifle over 40 per cent were in the Western States. For the United States as a whole the average amount of capital employed to each venture—as indicated by the aggregate of capital in the country invested in trade (as explained in the table compiled from the forthcoming census work) and the total number of individuals, firms, and corporations engaged in business—is, in round numbers, $11,600.

The wealth of the country is, or was June 1, 1880, distributed as follows:

Millions. Farms $10,197 Residence and business real estate, capital employed in business, including water-power 9,881 Railroads and equipment 5,536 Telegraphs, shipping, and canals 410 Live stock, whether on or off farms, farming tools and machinery 2,406 Household furniture, paintings, books, clothing, jewelry, household supplies of food, fuel, etc. 5,000 Mines (including petroleum wells) and quarries, together with one-half of the annual product reckoned as the average supply on hand 780 Three-quarters of the annual product of agriculture and manufactures, and of the annual importation of foreign goods, assumed to be the average supply on hand 6,160 Churches, schools, asylums, public buildings of all kinds, and other real estate exempt from taxation 2,000 Specie 612 Miscellaneous items, including tools of mechanics 650 ———- Total $43,642

It will thus be seen that the farms of the United States comprise nearly one-fourth of its entire wealth. They are worth nearly double the combined capital and equipments of all the railroads, telegraphs, shipping, and canals; more than double all the household furniture, paintings, books, clothing, jewelry, and supplies of food, fuel, etc. The live stock is more valuable than all the church property, school houses, asylums, and public buildings of all kinds; more than all the mines, telegraph companies, shipping, and canals combined. It would take more than three times as much "hard" money as the nation possesses to purchase all these domestic animals. The farms and live stock together exceed the value of any two other interests in the country.


Congress seems bound to act at once upon the question of protection to domestic animals from contagious diseases. The pressure brought to bear upon members is enormous, and cannot be ignored. The action of European States on swine importation from America, the restrictions on the landing of American cattle in England, and the strong effort being made there to prohibit their introduction altogether, the known existence of pleuro-pneumonia in several of the Atlantic States, the unceasing clamor of our shippers and growers of live stock, all conspire to open the eyes of the average Congressman to the fact that something must be done. Mr. Singleton, of Illinois, must be something above or below the average Congressman, if the report is correct that he does not believe pleuro-pneumonia exists anywhere within the borders of the United States, and that he is willing to back his non-belief by a thousand dollars forfeit, if an animal suffering from the disease can be shown him. The former owner of Silver Heels, and breeder of fine horses and cattle at his Quincy farm, must have his eyes shaded and his ears obstructed by that broad brimmed hat, that has so long covered his silvered head and marble brow. "The world do move," nevertheless, and pleuro-pneumonia does prevail in this country to such an extent as to furnish a reasonable excuse for unfriendly legislation abroad, and we gain nothing by denying the fact, the Allerton and Singleton assertions to the contrary, notwithstanding.


At the late meeting of the Iowa State Agricultural Society, President Smith strongly advocated the permanent location of the State Fair. He thought it had been hawked about long enough for the purpose of giving different cities a chance to skin the people. The Legislature should aid the society in purchasing grounds. Ample ground should be purchased, as the fair is growing, and they should not be governed solely by our present demands. Secretary Shaffer touched briefly on the weather of last summer, the acreage and yield of crops, the demonstration of the futility of trying to acclimatize Southern seed-corn in the North, and the appointment of a State entomologist. He thought the State should assist the society in distributing its publications. The improvement of the Mississippi river was briefly handled. The state of the corn during the past year, the seeding, the yield, etc., were summarized by months. The corn crop was a failure. The sorghum industry in its various bearings was discussed. Iowa will yet, he said, produce its own sugar. The question was raised whether the State should not encourage the growth of Northern cane. The sheep industry and its peril from worthless dogs was duly treated. This society was the first to insist on the necessity of Legislation on this subject looking to the extermination of worthless dogs. The society proceeded to locate the fair for the next year. Des Moines offered the present grounds for 10 per cent of the gate money. Dubuque offered free grounds and $2,500 in money. The first ballot resulted in seventy-one votes for Des Moines and twenty-three for Dubuque. Officers were elected as follows: President, William L. Smith, of Oskalossa; Vice-President, H. C. Wheeler, of Sac; Secretary, John Shaffer, of Fairfield; Treasurer, George H. Marsh, of Des Moines.


At the meeting of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture last week, it was decided to hold a Fat Stock Show at Indianapolis some time in December of the present year. Liberal premiums will be offered. The matter elicited a discussion of considerable length, and it was generally believed that the show, if properly managed, could be made a success. Even if it failed to realize expenses the first year, the exhibition would be incalculably beneficial to the State. The election of new members to the Board resulted as follows: First district, Robert Mitchell, of Gibson county; Second, Samuel Hargrave, of Pike; Third, J. Q. A. Seig, of Harrison; Fourth, W. B. Seward, of Monroe; Eighth, W. S. Dungan, of Johnson; Fourteenth, L. B. Custer, of Cass; Fifteenth, W. A. Banks, of La Porte; Sixteenth, R. M. Lockhart, of DeKalb.

Three Fat Stock Shows in the West! True, the success of the Chicago exhibit is having a wide influence. The live stock interests of the country are fully awakened to the important results from these shows. They are, indeed, educators of the highest character, and they stimulate to excellence unthought of by most farmers, ten years ago. Chicago, Kansas City, Toronto, and now Indianapolis! Is there not room for a similar exhibition in the great stock State of Iowa? Why do we not hear from West Liberty or Cedar Rapids?


F. J. ST. CLAIR, URSA, ILL.—Who was the first President to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation?

ANSWER.—Washington, in 1798, on the adoption by the States of the Constitution of the United States.

SUBSCRIBER, PEOTONE, ILL.—How many kinds of soils are there, and what crops are best suited to bottom and what to upland soils?

ANSWER.—There are really but two soils, agriculturally considered, fertile soils and barren soils. Generally speaking, fertile soils are the result of the disintegration of mechanical forces and chemical agencies of limestone rocks; and barren soils—sandy soils—are produced by similar means, from rocks largely or wholly composed of silex or quartz. The mixture of these two give rise to soils of an infinite variety, almost, having many differing degrees of fertility, down to barrenness. But you have practically but one soil to deal with, a true limestone soil of high fertility, which has received considerable accessions from silicious rocks. Your bottom lands do not differ materially from the upland, except that the former have received considerable vegetable matter, which the latter have lost. For the lowlands, corn, grass, and potatoes are the best crops; for the highlands, the small grains, sorghum, beans, etc. But provide as much vegetable matter for the highlands as your lowlands possess, and make the sum of mixture in both alike, and your highlands will grow corn, grass, and potatoes as well as the low.

CHARLES VAN METER, SPRINGFIELD, MO.—What is the best work on Grape Culture? My means are small, and I can not, of course, buy a work costing ten or twelve dollars, however good it may be. Recommend, for this latitude, something good and cheap.

ANSWER.—For your needs you will find nothing better than Hussman's Grapes and Wine, a single volume, which will be sent you from THE PRAIRIE FARMER office, on remittance of $1.50. But there is something cheaper still, and very good, indeed, but covering different grounds from Hussman. The Grape Catalogue of Bush & Son & Meissner. You may obtain it by sending twenty-five cents to Bush & Son & Meissner, Bushberg, Missouri.

CONSTANT READER, CHICAGO, ILL.—I am thinking of going down, one of these days, to Florida, with a view to go into oranges and make more money than I have, or lose it all. I have read a good deal about the seductive business, in Florida, though but little of the details of cultivation in other countries. Tell me where I can find something about how they manage in Spain and the south of Europe.

ANSWER.—Most of the really valuable works on this subject are in foreign languages—French, Spanish, or Italian. However, for a wonder, a late publication of the Department of State, at Washington—Reports from the consuls of the United States, No. 33—contains a valuable and lengthy paper on Orange Growing at Valencia, Spain, contributed by the consul there, which you may perhaps obtain through your member of Congress.

J. D. SLADE, COLUMBUS, GA.—I am interested in a large plantation near this city with a friend who is a practical farmer. We have decided to abandon the planting of cotton to a great extent and adopt some other crops. Having concluded to try the castor bean, I wish to ask some information. 1. Will you give me the names of parties engaged in the cultivation of the crop in Illinois and Wisconsin? 2. Where can I get the beans for planting? 3. Describe the soil, mode of preparation, planting, and cultivation, and give me such other information as we may need.

ANSWER.—1. Winter wheat and corn have, to a very large extent, taken the place of castor beans and tobacco in the agriculture of Southern Illinois. As for Wisconsin, we question whether a bushel of castor beans was grown there last year. The two sections where they are now mostly cultivated are in Southwestern Missouri, by the old settlers, and in Middle and Southern Kansas, by the first comers. For information on the whole subject, write the Secretary of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture for the quarterly report issued two or three years ago, which was mostly devoted to castor-bean culture. The Secretary's address is Topeka, Kansas. 2. Of the Plant Seed Company, St. Louis, and also valuable information—that city being the chief market for the castor beans. 3. The soil best suited to the crop is a light, rich, sandy loam, though any dry and fertile soil will yield good crops. For some reason not clearly understood, the castor bean has been found a powerful and energetic agent in improving some, if not all soils, the experience in Kansas being, that land which previously refused to yield good crops of wheat or corn either, after being cultivated two or three years in castor beans has borne great crops. This has been attributed to the completeness and the long time the crop shades the ground, and also to the long tap root of the plant, which makes it a crop of all others, suited to dry soils, and hot climate. After preparing the land as for corn, it should be laid off so the plants will stand, for your latitude, five feet each way. Three or four seeds are usually planted, but when the beans are five to six inches high, and out of the way of cut-worms, they are thinned to one. The cultivation is after the manner of Indian corn, and the planting should be at the same time. The beans for your latitude will begin to ripen late in July, and continue to the end of the season, when the plants are killed by severe frosts, light frosts doing scarcely any damage. In harvesting, a spot of hard ground is prepared and the pods as gathered are thrown on the ground and dried out in the sun. And here is where the trouble with making a successful and profitable crop comes in. The beans must be kept in the dry from the time of gathering the pods—one soaking rain always seriously damaging, and frequently destroying the merchantable value of so much of the harvest as happens to be on the ground. As in the case of broom corn, the hot, dry, and protracted late summer and fall months of that State, afford the Kansas farmer something like a monopoly of the castor bean crop. It is nevertheless giving place to corn and wheat.


The snow continues to accumulate, the last having fallen before midnight the 11th. There were only about two inches, but it is drifting this morning, for all it is worth, before a gale from the West. The first and second snows stay where they were put at first, but the subsequent ones are in drifts or scattered all abroad, in the many snows and the excellence of the sleighing, this winter resembles '78-'79, but there is more snow and the temperature is very much more severe. I suppose there is well-nigh eighteen inches now on the ground, something quite unusual in this latitude. Let us hope it will stay sometime longer yet, and save the fall wheat.

The intensely cold weather of last week was rough on stock of all kinds and in all conditions, and particularly hard on that portion having short rations. But I have seen many worse storms and much harder weather for stock; none however in which the fruits, small or large, suffered worse. At least that is the general judgment at the present. Peach buds are killed of course, and it will be lucky if the trees have escaped. All blackberries, but the Snyder, are dead down to the snow line—and some think the Snyder has not escaped, for reasons given further on. Examinations made of the buds of Bartlett, Duchess, Howell, Tyson, Bigarreau, Seckel, Buffum, Easter Buerre, and others yesterday, showed them all to be about equally frosted and blackened, and probably destroyed. Last year our pears suffered a good deal from the sleet of the second of February, which clung to the trees ten days, and the crop was a light one. This year, if appearances can be trusted, there will be less. In the many intense freezes of the last twenty-five years, I have never known pear buds to be seriously injured; last year being a marked exception and this still more so. Hardy grapes have probably suffered as much, and the tender varieties are completely done for. How well the May cherry has resisted the low temperature remains to be seen. As for the sweet cherries, it is probably the end of them.

There were buds set for an unusually abundant crop of apples in 1884—the Presidential year. The hardy varieties have escaped material damage, no doubt, but some of the tender Eastern varieties, like the Baldwin, Roxbury Russet, in all reasonable probability, have not only lost their buds but their lives also.

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The disasters following the very low temperature of last week have no doubt been increased by the immaturity of the wood, due to the cool, moist summer. If summers like those of 1882-83 are not warm enough to ripen the corn crop, buds and wood of fruit trees will not acquire a maturity that resists intense cold as we see by our experience with pears, grapes, and peaches in the fruit season of 1883, and which is almost sure to be repeated with aggravations in 1884. Possibly the ground being but lightly frozen and protected by a good coat of snow, may save the apple trees and others from great disaster following thirty to thirty-five degrees below zero, when falling on half ripened wood, but the reasonable fear is that orchards on high land in Northern and Central Illinois, have been damaged more than last year. If so perhaps it were better after all, since it will open the eyes of a great many to the mistakes in location heretofore made, and lead them to put out future orchards where they ought to be.

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If my word of warning could reach those engaged in taking measures at Washington to prevent the spread of epidemic and infectious diseases in our stock, it would be "go slow." If the wishes of a few veterinarians are met and the demands of a raft of pauper lawyers and politicians are complied with, it will result in the creation of a half dozen commissions. Each one of them, as previous ones have done, will find sufficient reason for their continuance and reports will be made that half the live stock in the country, South and West, is either in danger from or suffering under some of the many forms of epidemic or infectious diseases—and by the way, what justice is there in putting Detmers out of the way, and clinging to Salmon and Laws, both of whom indorsed nearly every thing the former did? Beware of commissions, and above all of putting men upon them whose bread and butter is of more consequence to them than the stock interest, vast as it is.

B. F. J.



Of the 2,500,000 packages of seeds distributed by the United States Agricultural Department during last year more than 2,000,000 packages were furnished to Congressmen, and I notice that some of the papers are making unfavorable comments on the fact. Now I do not discover anything that seems to me radically wrong in this practice of the Department of Agriculture, or rather in the instructions under which the practice prevails. There are some men, mostly seedsmen, and some publishers, mostly those interested in securing patronage through seed premiums, or which are run in the interest of seed dealers, who grumble a great deal about this matter, and who sneer at the department and derisively call it the "Government seed store." But I imagine if the public was thoroughly informed of the good the department has done by its seed distributions, it would have a great deal better opinion of this branch than it now has, and I wish Mr. Dodge, or some other efficient man, who knows all about it from the beginning would give to the country a complete history of what has been done in the way of introducing and disseminating new seeds, plants, and cuttings. I believe if the whole truth were told it would put an end to ridicule and denunciation. I am aware that there have been some things connected with this work that were not exactly correct. There may have been some helping of friends in the purchase of seeds; there may have been some noxious weed seeds sent out to the detriment of the country; Congressmen may have used their quota of seeds for the purpose of keeping themselves solid with their constituents. But, after all, it is my candid opinion the seed distributing branch of the department has been an untold blessing to the farmers of this country. As to this matter of giving a large proportion of the seeds to Congressmen, I have not much fault to find about that either, though perhaps a better system of distribution might be devised. I have yet to learn that an application to a Congressman for seed has been disregarded, if the seeds were to be had, whether that application came from a political friend or a political foe. And I do wish that farmers generally would make more frequent application to the members from their respective districts than they do. It will be money in their pockets if they will keep posted in what the department has to distribute which is valuable, or new and promising, and solicit samples either from Congressmen or direct from the Commissioner of Agriculture.

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"Put your thumb down there," said an experienced orchardist to me the other day. We were talking about the recently started theory that the best bearing orchards are to be found on the low lands of the prairies. "You just wait and see if these brag orchards ever bear another crop! It will be as it was after the severe winter of 1874 and '75, when the following autumn many of our orchards bore so profusely. The succeeding year the majority of the trees were as dead as smelts, and the balance never had vigor enough afterward to produce a decent crop. Once before," said he, "we had a similar experience in Illinois. Put your thumb down at this place and watch for results. Do not say anything about this in your Wayside Blusterings, at least as coming from me," and of course I don't. But I wanted the readers of THE PRAIRIE FARMER to help me watch with fear and trembling for the fulfillment of this horticultural prophesy, so I straightway make a note of it and ask you all to "put your thumbs down here" and wait. My friend's theory is that the severe cold of last winter destroyed a large portion of the roots of these trees; that the root pruning caused the extra fruitfulness, but proved too severe for the vitality of the trees to withstand, and that next year the bulk of the trees will not leaf out at all; and further that the old theory as taught by Kennecott, Whitney, Edwards, and the rest of the "fathers," that apple trees cannot thrive with wet feet, was the correct theory then and is the correct theory now. He would still plant on high, well drained land.

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My neighbor up at the "Corners" has a large flock of grade Cotswold sheep—Cotswolds crossed on large native Merinos. He keeps them to produce early lambs for the Chicago market. For the last three or four years he has received, on an average, four dollars per head for his lambs, taken at his farm. It is a profitable and pleasant sort of farming. Some day I may tell how he manages, in detail.

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REMEMBER that $2.00 pays for THE PRAIRIE FARMER one year, and the subscriber gets a copy of THE PRAIRIE FARMER COUNTY MAP OF THE UNITED STATES, FREE! This is the most liberal offer ever made by any first-class weekly agricultural paper in this country.


Poultry-Raisers. Write for Your Paper.


Let me see—it was sometime during the month of December that the "Man of the Prairie" went wandering all over the village, and even scoured the country round about the village in search of an extra dozen eggs, and went home mad, and, man fashion, threatened to kill off every hen on the place if they didn't proceed to do their duty like hens and fellow citizens. It was also during that same December that the fifty Plymouth Rock hens that we are wintering in the barn cellar, laid, regardless of the weather, 736 eggs—an average of nearly fifteen eggs apiece.

"Is it a fact that the corn is too poor for manufacture into eggs?"

I don't know anything about the corn in your locality, but I do know that our Plymouth Rocks had whole corn for supper exactly thirty-one nights during the month of December—not Western corn, but sound, well-ripened, Northern corn, that sells in our market for twenty cents more per bushel than Western corn. I also know that hens fed through the winter on corn alone will not lay enough to pay for the corn, but in our climate the poultry-raiser may feed corn profitably fully one-half the time. When the morning feed consists of cooked vegetable and bran or shorts, and the noon meal of oats or buckwheat, the supper may be of corn. I believe the analytical fellows tell us that corn won't make eggs, and I am sure I don't know whether it will or not, and I don't much care; but I know that hens will eat corn, when they can get it, in preference to any other grain, and I know that it "stands by" better than anything else, and that it is a heat-producing grain, and consequently just the thing to feed when the days are short and the nights long, and the mercury fooling around 30 degrees below zero. Hens need something besides egg material; they must have food to keep up the body heat, and the poultry-raiser who feeds no corn in winter blunders just as badly as the one who feeds all corn.

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Talking about corn for fowls reminds me that the agricultural papers are full of wails from farmers who were taken in last season on seed corn. If they had followed the plan of an old farmer of my acquaintance they would not now be obliged to mourn a corn crop cut off by frost. When this old chap went to farming forty years ago he bought a peck of seed corn of the Northern yellow flint variety, and as he "don't believe in running after all the new seeds that are advertised in the papers," he is still raising the same variety—only it ripens some three weeks earlier than it did then. Every fall he does through his field and selects his seed corn from the best of the earliest ripened ears; when these ears are husked one or two husks are left on each ear, and then the husks, with the ears attached, are braided together until there are fifteen or twenty ears in a string. These strings of seed corn are hung up in the sun for a fortnight or so, and then hung from the rafters in a cool, dry loft over the wood-shed; there it remains till seed time comes again, and it never fails to grow.



"My own hens closed out business six weeks ago," not long since said "Man of the Prairie." He mentioned also, that he had not much faith in pure bred poultry. Now he severely complains that no eggs can be found among the farmers nor in village stores. I will not say that pure strains of poultry are better layers than common, but, when one pays a good price for poultry, it is an incentive to provide good shelter and bestow upon them some manifestations of interest which would not be done with the common fowls. Herein may lay in part the secret of better returns from pure strains.

Years ago our chickens 'closed out business' for several months. Of late this procedure is unknown. We crossed our best common hens with Plymouth Rock stock, paying a good price. We furnished comfortable quarters, gave variety of feed, and at present writing the lady-like biddies furnish enough eggs for our own use and some to sell to stores and neighbors.

We still have a few common hens (not caring to have all pure) yet we find that with same care and attention, the purer strains give best returns.

Skeptical, like a good many others, we were loth to experiment. Thanks to Fanny Field for her wise and instructive poultry writings. In a recent number she seemed to be in doubt whether her writings were heeded or doing any one good. Let me say in behalf of myself and a few others, that a few married ladies now have pin money by following her instructions, who, before, had to go to their lords (husbands) when they wanted a little money, which was sometimes begrudgingly given, and often times not at all.




In answer to many inquiries as to the best hive, we will here state that is a mere matter of choice. Many good movable frame hives are now in use, free from patents, and while we prefer the Langstroth, there may be others just as good.

Apiarists differ as to what constitutes the best hive. Novices in bee culture generally think that they can invent a better hive than any in use, but after trying their invention for awhile, conclude that they are not as wise as they thought they were. Many hives are patented yearly by persons ignorant of the nature of the honey-bee, and few, if any, are received with favor by intelligent apiarists.

The requisites for a good hive are durability, simplicity, ease of construction and of working, and pleasing to the eye. We think the Langstroth embodies these. It was invented by the father of modern bee-culture. He gave to the world the movable frame; without its use, we might as well keep our bees in hollow logs, as our fathers did. Different sizes of movable frames are now in use, but two-thirds of the apiarists prefer the Langstroth.

Upon many farms, bees may be found in salt barrels, nail-kegs, etc., doing little good for their owner, while if they were put into hives, where the surplus could be obtained in good shape, they would become a source of income. Specialists either manufacture their own hives, or buy them in the flat, in the lumber region. As the farmer may need but a few hives, he may find leisure in winter to make them.

Every farmer needs a workshop, and if he has none, should provide himself with one. It need not be large, and can be made quite inexpensively. In his barn, if it is large, partition off a room for a workshop 12 x 14 feet, and if he not be blessed with a good large barn, why a thousand feet of common boards, and a load of good stout saplings, with a little mechanical skill and some muscle, will provide a very good farm workshop.

Get a few tools, such as a saw, square, plane, hatchet, a brace, and a few bits, and before twelve months pass away you will wonder how you ever managed to do without one before; many a singletree or doubletree can be made, or broken implements repaired during leisure, or the rainy days of late winter or spring, and the boys will go there to try their hands, and develop their mechanical skill; exercising both brain and muscle. Remember that the school of industry is second to no university in the land.

Now for the hives; in the first place you need a pattern. Purchase of some dealer or manufacturer of apiarian supplies, a good Langstroth hive complete with section boxes. Then get a couple of hundred feet (more or less) of ten inch stock boards, mill dressed on both sides, then with your pattern hive, workshop, and tools, you are master of the situation. After your hives are made, don't forget to paint them; it is economy to paint hives as well as dwelling houses.


For the benefit of those who may not be able to obtain a pattern hive, or frame, we will give the dimensions. The sides of the Langstroth hive are 10 inches wide, by 23 inches long, the ends are 12 inches long, the back end the same width as the sides; front end, 3/8 inches narrower, and recesses or sets back 3-3/8 inches from portico, all 7/8 inches thick. The Langstroth frame is 17-1/4 x 9-1/4 inches outside measure. The length of top bar of frame is 19-1/4 inches, the frame stuff is all 7/8 wide, the top bar is 5/8 x 7/8, and is V shaped on the under side for a comb guide—the upright pieces 1/2 x 7/8, the bottom pieces 1/4 x 7/8.

The above are the dimensions of an eight frame hive. Strips 1/4 x 7/8 inches are nailed on the outside of the hive 1/4 inch from the upper edge, and the cap or upper hive rests upon them. We make the cap 22-1/8 inches long by 13-7/8 inches wide in the clear, and ten inches high.

Some apiarists omit the porticos, but we like them, and the bees appear to enjoy them. Right angled triangle blocks, made right and left, are used to regulate the entrance. By changing the position of these blocks on the alighting board the size of the entrance may be varied, and the bees always directed to it by the shape of the block, without any loss of time in searching for it—in case of robbing the hive, the hive can be entirely closed with them. A board was formerly used to cover the frames, but is now generally abandoned, apiarists preferring duck, enameled cloth, or heavy muslin.


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NO SAFER REMEDY can be had for Coughs and Colds, or any trouble of the Throat, than "Brown's Bronchial Troches." Price 25 cents. Sold only in boxes.

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TO FARMERS.—It is important that the SODA OR SALERATUS they use should be white and pure, in common with all similar substances used for food.

In making bread with yeast, it is well to use about half a teaspoonful of the "ARM AND HAMMER" BRAND SODA or SALERATUS at the same time, and thus make the bread rise better and prevent it becoming sour by correcting the natural acidity of the yeast.




should use only the "ARM AND HAMMER" brand for cleaning and keeping milk-pans sweet and clean.

To insure obtaining only the "ARM AND HAMMER" brand Soda or Saleratus, buy it in "POUND or HALF-POUND PACKAGES," which bear our name and trade-mark, as inferior goods are sometimes substituted for the "ARM AND HAMMER" brand when bought in bulk.

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(For all sections and purposes.) Write for FREE Pamphlet and Prices to The Aultman & Taylor Co., Mansfield, Ohio.

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Monarch Lightning Sawing Machine



The boy in the picture on the left is sawing up logs into 20-inch lengths, to be split into stovewood for family use. This is much the BEST and CHEAPEST way to get out your firewood, because the 20-inch blocks are VERY EASILY split up, a good deal easier and quicker than the old-fashioned way of cutting the logs into 4-feet lengths, splitting it into cordwood, and from that sawing it up with a buck saw into stovewood. We sell a large number of machines to farmers and others for just this purpose. A great many persons who had formerly burned coal have stopped that useless expense since getting our Machine. Most families have one or two boys, 16 years of age and up, who can employ their spare time in sawing up wood just as well as not. The

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