Prussic acid, a violent poison, is sometimes taken by children in eating the pits of stone fruits or bitter almonds which contain it. The antidote is to empty the stomach by an emetic, and give water of ammonia or chloric water. Affusions of cold water all over the body, followed by warm hand friction, is often a remedy alone, but the above should be added if at command. Antimony and its compounds demand drinks of oak bark, or gall nuts, or very strong green tea.
Arsenic demands oil or melted fat, with magnesia or lime water in large quantities, till vomiting occurs.
Corrosive Sublimate, (often used to kill vermin,) and any other form of mercury, requires milk or whites of eggs in large quantities. The whites of twelve eggs in two quarts of water, given in the largest possible draughts every three minutes till free vomiting occurs, is a good remedy. Flour and water will answer, though not so surely as the above. Warm water will help, if nothing else is in reach. The same remedy answers when any form of copper, or tin, or zinc poison is taken, and also for creosote.
Lead and its compounds require a dilution of Epsom or Glauber salts, or some strong, acid drink, as lemon or tomatoes.
Nitrate of Silver demands salt water drank till vomiting occurs.
Phosphorus (sometimes taken by children from matches) needs magnesia and copious drinks of gum Arabic, or gum water of any sort.
Alcohol, in dangerous quantities, demands vomiting with warm water.
When one is violently sick from excessive use of tobacco, vomiting is a relief, if it arise spontaneously. After that, or in case it does not occur, the juice of a lemon and perfect rest, in a horizontal position on the back, will relieve the nausea and faintness, generally soothing the foolish and over-wrought patient into a sleep.
Opium demands a quick emetic. The best is a heaping table-spoonful of powdered mustard, in a tumblerful of warm water; or powdered alum in half-ounce doses and strong coffee alternately in warm water. Give acid drinks after vomiting. If vomiting is not elicited thus, a stomach pump is demanded. Dash cold water on the head, apply friction, and use all means to keep the person awake and in motion.
Strychnia demands also quick emetics.
The stomach should be emptied always after taking any of these antidotes, by a warm water emetic.
In case of bleeding at the lungs, or stomach, or throat, give a tea-spoonful of dry salt, and repeat it often. For bleeding at the nose, put ice, or pour cold water on the back of the neck, keeping the head elevated.
If a person be struck with lightning, throw pailfuls of cold water on the head and body, and apply mustard poultices on the stomach, with friction of the whole body and inflation of the lungs, as in the case of drowning. The same mode is to be used when persons are stupefied by fumes of coal, or bad air.
In thunderstorms, shut the doors and windows. The safest part of a room is its centre; and where there is a feather-bed in the apartment, that will be found the most secure resting-place.
A lightning-rod if it be well pointed, and run deep into the earth, is a certain protection to a circle, around it, whose diameter equals the height of the rod above the highest chimney. But it protects no farther than this extent.
In case of fire, wrap about you a blanket, a shawl, a piece of carpet, or any other woolen cloth, to serve as protection. Never read in bed, lest you fall asleep, and the bed be set on fire. If your clothes get on fire, never run, but lie down, and roll about till you can reach a bed or carpet to wrap yourself in, and thus put out the fire. Keep young children in woolen dresses, to save them from the risk of fire.
SEWING, CUTTING, AND MENDING.
Every young girl should be taught to do the following kinds of stitch with propriety: Over-stitch, hemming, running, felling, stitching, back-stitch and run, buttonhole-stitch, chain-stitch, whipping, darning, gathering, and cross-stitch.
In doing over-stitch, the edges should always be first fitted, either with pins or basting, to prevent puckering. In turning wide hems, a paper measure should be used, to make them even. Tucks, also, should be regulated by a paper measure. A fell should be turned, before the edges are put together, and the seam should be over-sewed before felling. All biased or goring seams should be felled, for stitching, draw a thread, and take up two or three threads at a stitch.
In cutting buttonholes, it is best to have a pair of scissors, made for the purpose, which cut very neatly. For broadcloth, a chisel and board are better. The best stitch is made by putting in the needle, and then turning the thread round it near the eye. This is better than to draw the needle through, and then take up a loop. A stay thread should first be put across each side of the buttonhole, and also a bar at each end before working it. In working the buttonhole, keep the stay thread as far from the edge as possible. A small bar should be worked at each end.
Whipping is done better by sewing over, and not under. The roll should be as fine as possible, the stitches short, the thread strong, and in sewing, every gather should be taken up.
The rule for gathering in shirts is, to draw a thread, and then take up two threads and skip four. In darning, after the perpendicular threads are run, the crossing threads should interlace exactly, taking one thread and leaving one, like woven threads. It is better to run a fine thread around a hole and draw it together, and then darn across it.
The neatest sewers always fit and baste their work before sewing; and they say they always save time in the end by so doing, as they never have to pick out work on account of mistakes.
It is wise to sew closely and tightly all new garments which will never be altered in shape; but some are more nice than wise, in sewing frocks and old garments in the same style. However, this is the least common extreme. It is much more frequently the case that articles which ought to be strongly and neatly made are sewed so that a nice sewer would rather pick out the threads and sew over again than to be annoyed with the sight of grinning stitches, and vexed with constant rips.
If the thread kinks in sewing, break it off and begin at the other end. In using spool-cotton, thread the needle with the end which comes off first, and not the end where you break it off. This often prevents kinks.
Work-baskets.—It is very important to neatness, comfort, and success in sewing, that a lady's work-basket should be properly fitted up. The following articles are needful to the mistress of a family: a large basket to hold work; having in it fastened a smaller basket or box, containing a needle-book in which are needles of every size, both blunts and sharps, with a larger number of those sizes most used; also small and large darning-needles, for woolen, cotton, and silk; two tape needles, large and small; nice scissors for fine work, button-hole scissors; an emery bag; two balls of white and yellow wax; and two thimbles, in case one should be mislaid. When a person is troubled with damp fingers, a lump of soft chalk in a paper is useful to rub on the ends of the fingers.
Besides this box, keep in the basket common scissors; small shears; a bag containing tapes of all colors and sizes, done up in rolls; bags, one containing spools of white and another of colored cotton thread, and another for silks wound on spools or papers; a box or bag for nice buttons, and another for more common ones; a hag containing silk braid, welting cords, and galloon binding. Small rolls of pieces of white and brown linen and cotton are also often needed. A brick pin-cushion is a great convenience in sewing, and better than screw cushions. It is made by covering half a brick with cloth, putting a cushion on the top, and covering it tastefully. It is very useful to hold pins and needles while sewing, and to fasten long seams when basting and sewing.
To make a Frock.—The best way for a novice is to get a dress fitted (not sewed) at the best mantua-maker's. Then take out a sleeve, rip it to pieces, and cut out a paper pattern. Then take out half of the waist, (it must have a seam in front,) and cut out a pattern of the back and fore-body, both lining and outer part. In cutting the patterns, iron the pieces smooth, let the paper be stiff, and with a pin; prick holes in the paper, to show the gore in front and the depths of the seams. With a pen and ink, draw lines from each pin-hole to preserve this mark. Then baste the parts together again, in doing which the unbasted half will serve as a pattern. When this is done, a lady of common ingenuity can cut and fit a dress by these patterns. If the waist of a dress be too tight, the seam under the arm must be let out; and in cutting a dress an allowance should be made for letting it out if needful, at this seam.
The linings for the waists of dresses should be stiffened with cotton or linen. In cutting bias-pieces for trimming, they will not set well unless they are exact. In cutting them use a long rule, and a lead pencil or piece of chalk. Welting-cords should be covered with bias-pieces; and it saves time, in many cases, to baste on the welting-cord at the same time that you cover it. The best way, to put on hooks and eyes is to sew thorn on double broad tape, and sew this on the frock lining. They can be moved easily, and do not show where they are sewed on.
In putting on linings of skirts at the bottom, be careful to have it a very little fuller than the dress, or it will shrink and look badly. All thin silks look much better with lining, and last much longer, as do aprons also. In putting a lining to a dress, baste it on each separate breadth, and sew it at the seams, and it looks much better than to have it fastened only at the bottom. Hake notches in selvedge, to prevent it from drawing up the breadth. Dresses which are to be washed should not be lined.
Figured silks do not generally wear well if the figure be large and satin-like. Black and plain-colored silks can be tested by procuring samples, and making creases in them; fold the creases in a bunch, and rub them against a rough surface of moreen or carpeting. Those which are poor will soon wear off at the creases.
Plaids look becoming for tall women, as they shorten the appearance of the figure. Stripes look becoming on a large person, as they reduce the apparent size. Pale, persons should not wear blue or green, and brunettes should not wear light delicate colors, except shades of buff, fawn, or straw color. Pearl white is not good for any complexion. Dead white and black look becoming on almost all persons. It is best to try colors by candle-light for evening dresses, as some colors which look very handsome in the daylight are very homely when seen by candle-light. Never be in haste to be first in a fashion, and never go to the extremes.
Linen and Cotton.—In buying linen, seek for that which has a round close thread and is perfectly white; for if it be not white at first, it will never afterward become so. Much that is called linen at the shops is half cotton, and does not wear so well as cotton alone. Cheap linens are usually of this kind. It is difficult to discover which are all linen; but the best way is to find a lot presumed to be good, take a sample, wash it, and ravel it. If this be good, the rest of the same lot will probably be so. If you can not do this, draw a thread each way, and if both appear equally strong it is probably all linen. Linen and cotton must be put in clean water, and boiled, to get out the starch, and then ironed.
A "long piece" of linen, a yard wide, will, with care and calculation, make eight shirts. In cutting it, take a shirt of the right size as a guide in fitting and basting. Bosom-pieces and false collars must be cut and fitted by patterns which suit the person for whom, the articles are designed. Gentlemen's night-shirts are made like other shirts, except that they are longer, and do not have bosoms and cuffs for starching.
In cutting chemises, if the cotton or linen is a yard wide, cut off small half-gores at the top of the breadths and set them on the bottom. Use a long rule and a pencil in cutting gores. In cutting cotton winch is quite wide, a seam can be saved by cutting out two at once, in this manner: cut off three breadths, and with a long rule and a pencil, mark and cut off the gores; thus from one breadth cut off two gores the whole length, each gore one fourth of the breadth at the bottom, and tapering off to a point at the top. The other two breadths are to have a gore cut off from each, which is one fourth wide at the top and two fourths at bottom. Arrange these pieces right and they will make two chemises, one having four seams and the other three. This is a much easier way of cutting than sewing the three breadths together in bag fashion, as is often done. The biased or goring seams must always be felled. The sleeves and neck can be cut according to the taste of the wearer, by another, chemise for a pattern. There should be a lining around the armholes and stays at all corners. Six yards of yard width will make two chemises.
Long night-gowns are best cut a little goring. It requires five yards for a long night-gown, and two and a half for a short one. Linen night caps wear longer than cotton ones, and do not like them turn yellow. They should be ruffled with linen, as cotton borders will not last so long as the cap. A double-quilted wrapper is a great comfort, in case of sickness. It may be made of two old dresses. It should not be cut full, but rather like a gentleman's study-gown, having no gathers or plaits, but large enough to slip off and on with ease. A double-gown of calico is also very useful. Most articles of dress, for grown persons or children, require patterns.
Old silk dresses quilted for skirts are very serviceable, White flannel is soiled so easily and shrinks so much in washing that it is a good plan to color it. Cotton flannel is also good for common skirts. In making up flannel, back-stitch and run the seams and then cross-stitch them open. Nice flannel for infants can be ornamented with very little expense of time, by turning up the hem on the right side and making a little vine at the edge with saddler's silk The stitch of the vine is a modification of button-hole stitch.
Mending. Silk dresses will last much longer, by ripping out the sleeves when thin, and changing the arms and also the breadths of the skirt. Tumbled black silk, which is old and rusty, should be dipped in water, then be drained for a few minutes, without squeezing or pressing, and then ironed. Coffee or cold tea is better than water. Sheets when worn thin in the middle should be ripped, and the other edges sewed together. Window-curtains last much longer if lined, as the sun fades and rots them.
Broadcloth should be cut with reference to the way the nap runs. When pantaloons are thin, it is best to newly seat them, cutting the piece inserted in a curve, as corners are difficult to fit. Hose can be cut down when the feet are worn. Take an old stocking and cut it up for a pattern. Make the heel short. In sewing, turn each edge and run it down, and then sew over the edges. This is better than to stitch and then cross-stitch. "Run" thin places in stockings, and it will save darning a hole. If shoes are worn through on the sides, in the upper-leather, slip pieces of broadcloth under, and sew them around the holes.
Bedding. The best beds are thick hair mattresses, which for persons in health are good for winter as well as summer use. Mattresses may also be made of husks, dried and drawn into shreds; also of alternate layers of cotton and moss. The most profitable sheeting is the Russian, which will last three times as long as any other. It is never perfectly white. Unbleached cotton is good for winter. It is poor economy to make narrow and short sheets, as children and domestics will always slip them off, and soil the bed-tick and bolster. They should be three yards long, and two and a half wide, so that they can be tucked in all around. All bed- linen should be marked and numbered, so that a bed can always be made properly, and all missing articles be known.
FIRES AND LIGHTS.
A shallow fireplace saves wood and gives out more heat than a deeper one. A false back of brick may be put up in a deep fireplace. Hooks for holding up the shovel and tongs, a hearth-brush and bellows, and brass knobs to hang them on, should be furnished to every fireplace. An iron bar across the andirons aids in keeping the fire safe and in good order. Steel furniture is neater, handsomer, and more easily kept in order than that made of brass.
Use green wood for logs, and mix green and dry wood for the fire; and then the wood-pile will last much longer. Walnut, maple, hickory, and oak wood are best; chestnut or hemlock is bad, because it snaps. Do not buy a load in which there are many crooked sticks. Learn how to measure and calculate the solid contents of a load, so as not to be cheated. A cord of wood should be equivalent to a pile eight feet long, four feet wide and four feet high; that is, it contains (8 X 4 X 4 = 128) one hundred and twenty-eight cubic or solid feet. A city "load" is usually one third of a cord. Have all your wood split and piled under cover for winter. Have the green wood logs in one pile, dry wood in another, oven wood in another, kindlings and chips in another, and a supply of charcoal to use for broiling and ironing in another place. Have a brick bin for ashes, and never allow them to be put in wood. When quitting fires at night, never leave a burning stick across the andirons, nor on its end, without quenching it. See that no fire adheres to the broom or brush, remove all articles from the fire, and have two pails filled with water in the kitchen where they will not freeze.
STOVES AND GRATES.
Rooms heated by stoves should always have some opening for the admission of fresh air, or they will be injurious to health. The dryness of the air, which they occasion, should be remedied by placing a vessel filled with water on the stove, otherwise, the lungs or eyes will be injured. A large number of plants in a room prevents this dryness of the air. Where stove-pipes pass through fire-boards, the hole in the wood should be much larger than the pipe, so that there may be no danger of the wood taking fire. The unsightly opening thus occasioned should be covered with tin. When pipes are carried through floors or partitions, they should always pass either through earthen crocks, or what are known as tin stove-pipe thimbles, which may be found in any stove store or tinsmith's. Lengthening a pipe will increase its draught.
For those who use anthracite coal, that which is broken or screened is best for grates, and the nut-coal for small stoves. Three tons are sufficient in the Middle States, and four tons in the Northern, to keep one fire through the winter. That which is bright, hard, and clean is best; and that which is soft, porous, and covered with damp dust is poor. It will be well to provide two barrels of charcoal for kindling to every ton of anthracite coal. Grates for bituminous coal should have a flue nearly as deep as the grate; and the bars should be round and not close together. The better draught there is, the less coal-dust is made. Every grate should be furnished with a poker, shovel, tongs, blower, coal-scuttle, and holder for the blower. The latter may be made of woolen, covered with old silk; and hung near the fire.
Coal-stoves should be carefully put up, as cracks in the pipe, especially in sleeping rooms, are dangerous.
Professor Phin, of the Manufacturer and Builder, has kindly given us some late information on this important topic, which will be found valuable.
In choosing the source of our light, the great points to be considered are, first, the influence on the eyes, and secondly, economy. It is poor economy to use a bad light. Modern houses in cities, and even in large villages, are furnished with gas; where gas is not used, sperm-oil, kerosene or coal-oil, and candles are employed. Gas is the cheapest, (or ought to be;) and if properly used, is as good as any. Good sperm-oil burned in an Argand lamp—that is, a lamp with a circular wick, like the astral lamp and others—is perhaps the best; but it is expensive and attended with many inconveniences. Good kerosene oil gives a light which leaves little to be desired. Candles are used only on rare occasions, though many families prefer to manufacture into candles the waste grease that accumulates in the household. The economy of any source of light will depend so much upon local circumstances that no absolute directions can be given.
The effect produced by light on the eyes depends upon the following points: First, Steadiness. Nothing is more injurious to the eyes than a flickering, unsteady flame. Hence, all flames used for light-giving purposes ought to be surrounded with glass chimneys or small shades. No naked flame can ever be steady. Second, Color. This depends greatly upon the temperature of the flame. A hot flame gives a bright, white light; a flame which has not a high temperature gives a dull, yellow light, which is very injurious to the eyes. In the naked gas-jet a large portion of the flame burns at a low temperature, and the same is the case with the flame of the kerosene lamp when the height of the chimney is not properly proportioned to the amount of oil consumed; a high wick needs a high chimney. In the case of a well-trimmed Argand oil-lamp, or an Argand burner for gas, the flame is in general most intensely hot, and the light is of a clear white character.
The third point which demands attention is the amount of heat transmitted from the flame to the eyes. It often happens that people, in order to economize light, bring the lamp quite close to the face. This is a very bad habit. The heat is more injurious than the light. Better burn a larger flame, and keep it at a greater distance. It is also well that various sized lamps should be provided to serve the varying necessities of the household in regard to quantity of light. One of the very best forms of lamp is that known as the "student's reading-lamp," which is, in the burner, an Argand. Provide small lamps with handles for carrying about, and broad-bottomed lamps for the kitchen, as these are not easily upset. Hand and kitchen lamps are best made of metal, unless they are to be used by very careful persons.
Sperm-oil, lard, tallow, etc., have been superseded to such an extent by kerosene that it is scarcely worth while to give any special directions in regard to them. In the choice of kerosene, attention should be paid to two points: its safety and its light-giving qualities. Kerosene is not a simple fluid, like water; but is a mixture of several liquids, all of which boil at different temperatures. Good kerosene oil should be purified from all that portion which boils or evaporates at a low temperature; for it is the production of this vapor, and its mixture with atmospheric air, that gives rise to those terrible explosions which sometimes occur when a light is brought near a can of poor oil. To test the oil in this respect, pour a little into an iron spoon, and heat it over a lamp until it is moderately warm to the touch. If the oil produces vapor which can be set on fire by means of a flame held a short distance above the surface of the liquid, it is bad. Good oil poured into a teacup or on the floor does not easily take fire when a light is brought in contact with it. Poor oil will instantly ignite under the same circumstances, and hence, the breaking of a lamp filled with poor oil is always attended by great peril of a conflagration. Not only the safety but also the light-giving qualities of kerosene are greatly enhanced by the removal of these volatile and dangerous oils. Hence, while good kerosene should be clear in color and free from all matters which can gum up the wick and thus interfere with free circulation and combustion, it should also be perfectly safe. It ought to be kept in a cool, dark place, and carefully excluded from the air.
The care of lamps requires so much attention and discretion, that many ladies choose to do this work themselves, rather than trust it with domestics. To do it properly, provide the following things: an old waiter to hold all the articles used; a lamp-filler, with a spout, small at the end, and turned up to prevent oil from dripping; proper wicks, and a basket or box to hold them; a lamp-trimmer made for the purpose, or a pair of sharp scissors; a small soap-cup and soap; some washing soda in a broad-mouthed bottle; and several soft cloths to wash the articles and towels to wipe them. If every thing, after being used, is cleansed from oil and then kept neatly, it will not be so unpleasant a task as it usually is, to take care of lamps.
The inside of lamps and oil-cans should be cleansed with soda dissolved in water. Be careful to drain them well, and not to let any gilding or bronze be injured by the soda coming in contact with it. Put one table-spoonful of soda to one quart of water. Take the lamp to pieces and clean it as often as necessary. Wipe the chimney at least once a day, and wash it whenever mere wiping fails to cleanse it. Some persons, owing to the dirty state of their chimneys, lose half the light which is produced. Keep dry fingers in trimming lamps. Renew the wicks before they get too short. They should never be allowed to burn shorter than an inch and a half.
In regard to shades, which are always well to use, on lamps or gas, those made of glass or porcelain are now so cheap that we can recommend them as the best without any reservation. Plain shades, making the light soft and even, do not injure the eyes. Lamps should be lighted with a strip of folded or rolled paper, of which a quantity should be kept on the mantelpiece. Weak eyes should always be especially shaded from the lights. Small screens, made for the purpose, should be kept at hand. A person with weak eyes can use them safely much longer when they are protected from the glare of the light. Fill the entry-lamp every day, and cleanse and fill night-lanterns twice a week, if used often. A good night-lamp is made with a small one-wicked lamp and a roll of tin to set over it. Have some holes made in the bottom of this cover, and it can then be used to heat articles. Very cheap floating tapers can he bought to burn in a teacup of oil through the night.
TO MAKE CANDLES.
The nicest candles are those run in moulds. For this purpose, melt together one quarter of a pound of white wax, one quarter of an ounce of camphor, two ounces of alum, and ten ounces of suet or mutton-tallow. Soak the wicks in lime-water and saltpetre, and when dry, fix them in the moulds and pour in the melted tallow. Let them remain one night to cool; then warm them a little to loosen them, draw them out, and when they are hard, put them in a box in a dry and cool place.
To make dipped candles, cut the wicks of the right length, double them over rods, and twist them. They should first be dipped in lime-water or vinegar, and dried. Melt the tallow in a large kettle, filling it to the top with hot water, when the tallow is melted. Put in wax and powdered alum, to harden them. Keep the tallow hot over a portable furnace, and fill the kettle with hot water as fast as the tallow is used up. Lay two long strips of narrow board on which to hang the rods; and set flat pans under, on the floor, to catch the grease. Take several rods at once, and wet the wicks in the tallow; straighten and smooth them when cool. Then dip them as fast as they cool, until they become of the proper size. Plunge them obliquely and not perpendicularly; and when the bottoms are too large, hold them in the hot grease till a part melts off. Let them remain one night to cool; then cut off the bottoms, and keep them in a dry, cool place. Cheap lights are made, by dipping rushes in tallow; the rushes being first stripped of nearly the whole of the hard outer covering and the pith alone being retained with just enough of the tough bark to keep it stiff.
THE CARE OF ROOMS.
It would be impossible in a work dealing, as this does, with general principles of house-keeping, to elaborate in full the multitudinous details which arise for attention and intelligent care. These will be more largely treated of in the book soon to be published for the present writer, (the senior authoress of this volume.) Yet, in the different departments of family labor, there are certain leading matters concerning which a few hints may be found useful in aiding the reader to carry into operation the instructions and ideas of the earlier chapters of this book, and in promoting the general comfort and convenience of families.
And first, asking the reader to bear in mind that these suggestions are chiefly applicable to country homes, not within easy reach of all the conveniences which go under the name of "modern improvements," we will say a few words on the care of Parlors.
In hanging pictures, put them so that the lower part shall be opposite the eye. Cleanse the glass of pictures with whiting, as water endangers the pictures. Gilt frames can be much better preserved by putting on a coat of copal varnish, which with proper brushes, can be bought of carriage or cabinet-makers. When dry, it can be washed with fair water. Wash the brush in spirits of turpentine.
Curtains, ottomans, and sofas covered with worsted, can be cleansed with wheat bran, rubbed on with flannel. Shades of linen or cotton, on rollers and pulleys, are always useful to shut out the sun from curtains and carpets. Paper curtains, pasted on old cotton, are good for chambers. Put them on rollers, having cords nailed to them, so that when the curtain falls, the cord will be wound up. Then, by pulling the cord, the curtain will be rolled up.
Varnished furniture should be rubbed only with silk, except occasionally, when a little sweet-oil should be rubbed over, and wiped off carefully. For unvarnished furniture, use bees-wax, a little softened with sweet-oil; rub it in with a hard brush, and polish with woolen and silk rags. Some persons rub in linseed-oil; others mix bees-wax with a little spirits of turpentine and rosin, making it so that it can be put on with a sponge, and wiped off with a soft rag. Others keep in a bottle the following mixture: two ounces of spirits of turpentine, four table-spoonfuls of sweet-oil, and one quart of milk. This is applied with a sponge, and wiped off with a linen rag.
Hearths and jambs, of brick, look best painted over with black lead, mixed with soft-soap. Wash the bricks which are nearest the fire with redding and milk, using a painter's brush. A sheet of zinc, covering the whole hearth, is cheap, saves work, and looks very well. A tinman can fit it properly.
Stone hearths should be rubbed with a paste of powdered stone, (to be procured of the stone-cutters,) and then brushed with a stiff brush. Kitchen hearths, of stone, are improved by rubbing in lamp-oil.
Stains can be removed from marble, by oxalic acid and water, or oil of vitriol and water, left on a few minutes, and then rubbed dry. Gray marble is improved by linseed-oil. Grease can be taken from marble, by ox-gall and potter's clay wet with soapsuds, (a gill of each.) It is better to add, also, a gill of spirits of turpentine. It improves the looks of marble, to cover it with this mixture, leaving it two days, and then rubbing it off.
Unless a parlor is in constant use, it is best to sweep it only once a week, and at other times use a whisk-broom and dust-pan. When a parlor with handsome furniture is to be swept, cover the sofas, centre table, piano, books, and mantelpiece with old cottons kept for the purpose. Remove the rugs and shake them, and clean the jambs, hearth, and fire-furniture. Then sweep the room, moving every article. Dust the furniture with a dust-brush and a piece of old silk. A painter's brush should be kept, to remove dust from ledges and crevices. The dust-cloths should be often shaken and washed, or else they will soil the walls and furniture when they are used. Dust ornaments and fine books with feather brushes, used for no other purpose.
Chambers and Bedrooms are of course a portion of the house to be sedulously and scrupulously attended to, if either health or comfort are aimed at in the family. And first, every mistress of a family should see, not only that all sleeping-rooms in her house can be well ventilated at night, but that they actually are so. Where there is no provision made for the introduction of pure air, in the construction of the house, and in the bedroom itself no open fire-place to allow the easy exit of foul air, a door should be left open into an entry or room where fresh air is admitted; or else a small opening should be made in a window, taking care not to allow a draught of air to cross the bed. The debility of childhood, the lassitude of domestics, and the ill-health of families, are often caused by neglecting to provide a supply of pure air.
It is not deemed necessary to add much to the earlier chapters treating of bedroom conveniences; but one subject is of marked importance, as being characteristic of good or poor housekeeping—that is, the making of beds.
Few servants will make a bed properly, without much attention from the mistress of the family; and every young woman who expects to have a household of her own to manage should be able to do it well herself, and to instruct others in doing it. The following directions should be given to those who do this work:
Open the windows, and lay off the bed-covering on two chairs, at the foot of the bed. If it be a feather-bed, after it is well aired, shake the feathers from each corner to the middle; then take up the middle, shake it well, and turn the bed over. Then push the feathers in place, making the head higher than the foot, and the sides even, and as high as the middle part. A mattress, whether used on top of a feather-bed or by itself, should in like manner be well aired and turned. Then put on the bolster and the under sheet, so that the wrong side of the sheet shall go next the bed, and the marking always come at the head, tucking in all around. Then put on the pillows, evenly, so that the open ends shall come to the sides of the bed, and spread on the upper sheet so that the wrong side shall be next the blankets, and the marked end always at the head. This arrangement of sheets is to prevent the part where the feet lie from being reversed, so as to come to the face; and also to prevent the parts soiled by the body from coming to the bedtick and blankets. Put on the other covering, except the outer one, tucking in all around, and then turn over the upper sheet at the head, so as to show a part of the pillows. When the pillow-cases are clean and smooth, they look best outside of the cover, but not otherwise. Then draw the hand along the side of the pillows, to make an even indentation, and then smooth and shape the whole outside. A nice housekeeper always notices the manner in which a bed is made; and in some parts of the country, it is rare to see this work properly performed.
The writer would here urge every mistress of a family, who keeps more than one domestic servant, to provide them with single beds, that they might not be obliged to sleep with all the changing domestics, who come and go so often. Where the room is too small for two beds, a narrow truckle-bed kept under another during the day will answer. Domestics should be furnished with washing conveniences in their chambers, and be encouraged to keep their persons and rooms neat and in order.
The care of the Kitchen, Cellar, and Store-room is necessarily the foundation of all proper housekeeping.
If parents wish their daughters to grow up with good domestic habits, they should have, as one means of securing this result, a neat and cheerful kitchen. A kitchen should always, if possible, be entirely above-ground, and well lighted. It should have a large sink, with a drain running under-ground, so that all the premises may be kept sweet and clean. If flowers and shrubs be cultivated around the doors and windows, and the yard near them be kept well turfed, it will add very much to their agreeable appearance. The walls should often be cleaned and white-washed, to promote a neat look and pure air. The floor of a kitchen should be painted, or, what is better, covered with an oilcloth. To procure a kitchen oilcloth as cheaply as possible, buy cheap tow cloth, and fit it to the size and shape of the kitchen. Then have it stretched, and nailed to the south side of the barn, and, with a brush, cover it with a coat of thin rye paste. When this is dry, put on a coat of yellow paint, and let it dry for a fortnight. It is safest to first try the paint, and see if it dries well, as some paint never will dry. Then put on a second coat, and at the end of another fortnight, a third coat. Then let it hang two months, and it will last, uninjured, for many years. The longer the paint is left to dry, the better. If varnished, it will last much longer.
A sink should be scalded out every day, and occasionally with hot lye. On nails, over the sink, should be hung three good dish-cloths, hemmed, and furnished with loops; one for dishes not greasy, one for greasy dishes, and one for washing greasy pots and kettles. These should be put in the wash every week. The lady who insists upon this will not be annoyed by having her dishes washed with dark, musty and greasy rags, as is too frequently the case.
Under the sink should be kept a slop-pail; and, on a shelf by it, a soap-dish and two water-pails. A large boiler of warm soft water should always be kept over the fire, well covered, and a hearth-broom and bellows be hung near the fire. A clock is a very important article in the kitchen, in order to secure regularity at meals.
No item of domestic labor is so frequently done in a negligent manner, by domestics, as this. A full supply of conveniences will do much toward the remedy of this evil. A swab, made of strips of linen tied to a stick, is useful to wash nice dishes, especially small, deep articles. Two or three towels, and three dish-cloths should be used. Two large tin tubs, painted on the outside, should be provided; one for washing, and one for rinsing; also, a large old waiter, on which to drain the dishes. A soap-dish, with hard soap, and a fork, with which to use it, a slop-pail, and two pails for water, should also be furnished. The following rules for washing dishes will aid in promoting the desired care and neatness:
1. Scrape the dishes, putting away any food which may remain on them, and which it may be proper to save for future use. Put grease into the grease-pot, and whatever else may be on the plates into the slop-pail. Save tea-leaves for sweeping. Set all the dishes, when scraped, in regular piles, the smallest at the top.
2. Put the nicest articles in the wash-dish, and wash them in hot suds with the swab or nicest dish-cloth. Wipe all metal articles as soon as they are washed. Put all the rest into the rinsing-dish, which should be filled with hot water. When they are taken out, lay them to drain on the waiter. Then rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up, wipe the articles washed, and put them in their places.
3. Pour in more hot water, wash the greasy dishes with the dish-cloth made for them, rinse them, and set them to drain. Wipe them, and set them away. Wash the knives and forks, being careful that the handles are never put in water; wipe them, and then lay them in a knife-dish, to be scoured.
4. Take a fresh supply of clean suds, in which wash the milk-pans, buckets, and tins. Then rinse and hang up this dish-cloth, and take the other, with which, wash the roaster, gridiron, pots, and kettles. Then wash and rinse the dish-cloth, and hang it up. Empty the slop-bucket, and scald it. Dry metal teapots and tins before the fire. Then put the fire-place in order, and sweep and dust the kitchen.
Some persons keep a deep and narrow vessel, in which to wash knives with a swab, so that a careless servant can not lay them in the water while washing them. This article can be carried into the eating-room, to receive the knives and forks when they are taken from the table.
Crockery.—Brown earthen pans are said to be best for milk and for cooking. Tin pans are lighter, and more convenient, but are too cold for many purposes. Tall earthen jars, with covers, are good to hold butter, salt, lard, etc. Acids should never be put into the red earthen ware, as there is a poisonous ingredient in the glazing which the acid takes off. Stone ware is better and stronger, and safer every way than any other kind.
Iron Ware.—Many kitchens are very imperfectly supplied with the requisite conveniences for cooking. When a person has sufficient means, the following articles are all desirable: A nest of iron pots, of different sizes, (they should be slowly heated when new,) a long iron fork, to take out articles from boiling water; an iron hook, with a handle, to lift pots from the crane; a large and small gridiron, with grooved bars, and a trench to catch the grease; a Dutch oven, called also a bake-pan; two skillets, of different sizes, and a spider, or flat skillet, for frying; a griddle, a waffle-iron, tin and iron bake and bread pans; two ladles, of different sizes; a skimmer; iron skewers; a toasting-iron; two teakettles, one small and one large one; two brass kettles, of different sizes, for soap-boiling, etc. Iron kettles, lined with porcelain, are better for preserves. The German are the best. Too hot a fire will crack them, but with care in this respect, they will last for many years.
Portable charcoal furnaces, of iron or clay, are very useful in summer, in washing, ironing, and stewing, or making preserves. If used in the house, a strong draught must be made, to prevent the deleterious effects of the charcoal. A box and mill, for spice, pepper, and coffee, are needful to those who use these articles. Strong knives and forks, a sharp carving-knife, an iron cleaver and board, a fine saw, steelyards, chopping-tray and knife, an apple-parer, steel for sharpening knives, sugar-nippers, a dozen iron spoons, also a large iron one with a long handle, six or eight flat-irons, one of them very small, two iron-stands, a ruffle-iron, a crimping-iron, are also desirable.
Tin Ware.—Bread-pans; large and small patty-pans; cake-pans, with a centre tube to insure their baking well; pie-dishes, (of block-tin;) a covered butter-kettle; covered kettles to hold berries; two sauce-pans; a large oil-can; (with a cock;) a lamp-filler; a lantern; broad bottomed candlesticks for the kitchen; a candle-box; a funnel; a reflector for baking warm cakes; an oven or tin-kitchen; an apple-corer; an apple-roaster; an egg-boiler; two sugar-scoops, and flour and meal-scoop; a set of mugs; three dippers; a pint, quart, and gallon measure; a set of scales and weights; three or four pails, painted on the outside; a slop-bucket with a tight cover, painted on the outside; a milk-strainer; a gravy-strainer; a colander; a dredging-box; a pepper-box; a large and small grater; a cheese-box; also a large box for cake, and a still larger one for bread, with tight covers. Bread, cake, and cheese, shut up in this way, will not grow dry as in the open air.
Wooden Ware.—A nest of tubs; a set of pails and bowls; a large and small sieve; a beetle for mashing potatoes; a spade or stick for stirring butter and sugar; a bread-board, for moulding bread and making pie-crust; a coffee-stick; a clothes-stick; a mush-stick; a meat-beetle, to pound tough meat; an egg-beater; a ladle, for working butter; a bread-trough, (for a large family;) flour-buckets, with lids, to hold sifted flour and Indian meal; salt-boxes; sugar-boxes; starch and indigo-boxes; spice-boxes; a bosom-board; a skirt-board; a large ironing-board; two or three clothes-frames; and six dozen clothes-pins.
Basket Ware.—Baskets of all sizes, for eggs, fruit, marketing, clothes, etc.; also chip-baskets. When often used, they should be washed in hot suds.
Other Articles.—Every kitchen needs a box containing balls of brown thread and twine, a large and small darning needle, rolls of waste paper and old linen and cotton, and a supply of common holders. There should also be another box, containing a hammer, carpet-tacks, and nails of all sizes, a carpet-claw, screws and a screw-driver, pincers, gimlets of several sizes, a bed-screw, a small saw, two chisels, (one to use for button-holes in broadcloth,) two awls and two files.
In a drawer or cupboard should be placed cotton table-cloths for kitchen use; nice crash towels for tumblers, marked T T; coarser towels for dishes marked T; six large roller-towels; a dozen hand-towels, marked H T; and a dozen hemmed dish-cloths with loops. Also two thick linen pudding or dumpling-cloths, a jelly-bag made of white flannel, to strain jelly, a starch-strainer, and a bag for boiling clothes.
In a closet should be kept, arranged in order, the following articles: the dust-pan, dust-brush, and dusting-cloths, old flannel and cotton for scouring and rubbing, large sponges for washing windows and looking-glasses, a long brush for cobwebs, and another for washing the outside of windows, whisk-brooms, common brooms, a coat-broom or brush, a whitewash-brush, a stove-brush, shoe-brushes and blacking, articles for cleaning tin and silver, leather for cleaning metals, bottles containing stain-mixtures and other articles used in cleansing.
CARE OF THE CELLAR.
A cellar should often be whitewashed, to keep it sweet. It should have a drain to keep it perfectly dry, as standing water in a cellar is a sure cause of disease in a family. It is very dangerous to leave decayed vegetables in a cellar. Many a fever has been caused by the poisonous miasm thus generated. The following articles are desirable in a cellar: a safe, or movable closet, with sides of wire or perforated tin, in which cold meats, cream, and other articles should be kept; (if ants be troublesome, set the legs in tin cups of water;) a refrigerator, or a large wooden-box, on feet, with a lining of tin or zinc, and a space between the tin and wood filled with powdered charcoal, having at the bottom a place for ice, a drain to carry off the water, and also movable shelves and partitions. In this, articles are kept cool. It should be cleaned once a week. Filtering jars to purify water should also be kept in the cellar. Fish and cabbages in a cellar are apt to scent a house, and give a bad taste to other articles.
Every house needs a storeroom, in which to keep tea, coffee, sugar, rice, candles, etc. It should be furnished with jars, having labels, a large spoon, a fork, sugar and flour-scoops, a towel, and a dish-cloth.
MODES OF DESTROYING INSECTS AND VERMIN.
Bed-bugs should be kept away, by filling every chink in the bedstead with putty, and if it be old, painting it over. Of all the mixtures for killing them, corrosive sublimate and alcohol is the surest. This is a strong poison.
Cockroaches may be destroyed by pouring boiling water into their haunts, or setting a mixture of arsenic mixed with Indian meal and molasses where they are found. Chloride of lime and sweetened water will also poison them.
Fleas.—If a dog be infected with these insects, put him in a tub of warm soapsuds, and they will rise to the surface. Take them off, and burn them. Strong perfumes about the person diminish their attacks. When caught between the fingers, plunge them in water, or they will escape.
Crickets.—Scalding, and sprinkling Scotch snuff about the haunts of these insects, are remedies for the annoyance caused by them.
Flies can be killed in great quantities, by placing about the house vessels filled with sweetened water and cobalt. Six cents' worth of cobalt is enough for a pint of water. It is very poisonous.
Mosquitoes.—Close nets around a bed are the only sure protection at night against these insects. Spirits of hartshorn is the best antidote for their bite. Salt and water is good.
Red or Black Ants may be driven away by scalding their haunts, and putting Scotch snuff wherever they go for food. Set the legs of closets and safes in pans of water, and they can not get at them.
Moths.—Airing clothes does not destroy moths, but laying them in a hot sun does. If articles be tightly sewed up in linen when laid away, and fine tobacco put about them, it is a sure protection. This should be done in April.
Rats and Mice.—A good cat is the best remedy for these annoyances. Equal quantities of hemlock (or cicuta) and old cheese will poison them; but this renders the house liable to the inconvenience of a bad smell. This evil, however, may be lessened, by placing a dish containing oil of vitriol poured on saltpetre where the smell is most annoying. Chloride of lime and water is also good.
In using any of the above-mentioned poisons, great care should be taken to guard against their getting into any article of food or any utensil or vessel used for cooking or keeping food, or where children can get at them.
THE CARE OF YARDS AND GARDENS.
First, let us say a few words on the Preparation of Soil. If the garden soil be clayey and adhesive, put on a covering of sand, three inches thick, and the same depth of well-rotted manure. Spade it in as deep as possible, and mix it well. If the soil be sandy and loose, spade in clay and ashes. Ashes are good for all kinds of soil, as they loosen those which are close, hold moisture in those which are sandy, and destroy insects. The best kind of soil is that which will hold water the longest without becoming hard when dry.
To prepare Soil for Pot-plants, take one fourth part of common soil, one fourth part of well-decayed manure, and one half of vegetable mould, from the woods or from a chip-yard. Break up the manure fine, and sift it through a lime-screen, (or coarse wire sieve.) These materials must be thoroughly mixed. When the common soil which is used is adhesive, and indeed in most other cases, it is necessary to add sand, the proportion of which must depend on the nature of the soil.
To Prepare a Hot-Bed, dig a pit six feet long, five feet wide, and thirty inches deep. Make a frame of the same size, with the back two feet high, the front fifteen inches, and the sides sloped from the back to the front. Make two sashes, each three feet by five, with the panes of glass lapping like shingles instead of having cross-bars. Set the frame over the pit, which should then be filled with fresh horse-dung, which has not lain long nor been sodden by water. Tread it down hard; then put into the frame light and very rich soil, six or eight inches deep, and cover it with the sashes for two or three days. Then stir the soil, and sow the seeds in shallow drills, placing sticks by them, to mark the different kinds. Keep the frame covered with the glass whenever it is cold enough to chill the plants; but at all other times admit fresh air, which is indispensable to their health. When the sun is quite warm, raise the glasses enough to admit air, and cover them with matting or blankets, or else the sun may kill the young plants. Water the bed at evening with water which has stood all day, or, if it be fresh drawn, add a little warm water. If there be too much heat in the bed, so as to scorch or wither the plants, lift the sashes, water freely, shade by day; make deep holes with stakes, and fill them up when the heat is reduced. In very cold nights, cover the sashes and frame with straw-mats.
For Planting Flower Seeds.—Break up the soil, till it is very soft, and free from lumps. Rub that nearest the surface between the hands, to make it fine. Make a circular drill a foot in diameter. Seeds are to be planted either deeper or nearer the surface, according to their size. For seeds as large as sweet peas, the drill should be half an inch deep. The smallest seeds must be planted very near the surface, and a very little fine earth be sifted over them. After covering them with soil, beat them down with a trowel, so as to make the earth as compact as it is after a heavy shower. Set up a stick in the middle of the circle, with the name of the plant heavily written upon it with a dark lead pencil. This remains more permanent if white-lead be first rubbed over the surface. Never plant when the soil is very wet. In very dry times, water the seeds at night. Never use very cold water. When the seeds are small, many should be planted together, that they may assist each other in breaking the soil. When the plants are an inch high, thin them out, leaving only one or two, if the plant be a large one, like the balsam; five or six, when it is of a medium size; and eighteen or twenty of the smaller size. Transplanting, unless the plant be lifted with a ball of earth, retards the growth about a fortnight. It is best to plant at two different times, lest the first planting should fail, owing to wet or cold weather.
To plant Garden-Seeds, make the beds from one to three yards wide; lay across them a board a foot wide, and with a stick, make a furrow on each side of it, one inch deep. Scatter the seeds in this furrow, and cover them. Then lay the board over them, and step on it, to press down the earth. When the plants are an inch high, thin them out, leaving spaces proportioned to their sizes. Seeds of similar species, such as melons and squashes, should not be planted very near to each other, as this causes them to degenerate. The same kinds of vegetables should not be planted in the same place for two years in succession. The longer the rows are, the easier is the after culture.
Transplanting should be done at evening, or which is better, just before a shower. Take a round stick sharpened at the point, and make openings to receive the plants. Set them a very little deeper than they were before, and press the soil firmly round them. Then water them, and cover them for three or four days, taking care that sufficient air be admitted. If the plant can be removed without disturbing the soil around the root, it will not be at all retarded by transplanting. Never remove leaves and branches, unless a part of the roots be lost.
_To Re-pot House-Plants, renew the soil every year, soon after the time of blossoming. Prepare soil as previously directed. Loosen the earth from the pot by passing a knife around the skies. Turn the plant upside down, and remove the pot. Then remove all the matted fibres at the bottom, and all the earth, except that which adheres to the roots. From woody plants, like roses, shake off all the earth. Take the new pot, and put a piece of broken earthen-ware over the hole at the bottom, and then, holding the plant in the proper position, shake in the earth around it. Then pour in water to settle the earth, and heap on fresh soil, till the pot is even full. Small pots are considered better than large ones, as the roots are not so likely to rot, from excess of moisture.
In the Laying out of Yards and Gardens, there is room for much judgment and taste. In planting trees in a yard, they should be arranged in groups, and never planted in straight lines, nor sprinkled about as solitary trees. The object of this arrangement is to imitate Nature, and secure some spots of dense shade and some of clear turf. In yards which are covered with turf, beds can be cut out of it, and raised for flowers. A trench should be made around, to prevent the grass from running on them. These beds can be made in the shape of crescents, ovals, or other fanciful forms.
In laying out beds in gardens and yards, a very pretty bordering can be made, by planting them with common flax-seed, in a line about three inches from the edge. This can be trimmed with shears, when it grows too high.
For Transplanting Trees, the autumn is the best time. Take as much of the root as possible, especially the little fibres, which should never become dry. If kept long before they are set out, put wet moss around them and water them. Dig holes larger than the extent of the roots; let one person hold the tree in its former position, and another place the roots carefully as they were before, cutting off any broken or wounded root. Be careful not to let the tree be more than an inch deeper them it was before. Let the soil be soft and well manured; shake the tree as the soil is shaken in, that it may mix well among the small fibres. Do not tread the earth down, while filling the hole; but, when it is full, raise a slight mound of say four inches deep around the stem to hold water, and fill it. Never cut off leaves nor branches, unless some of the roots are lost. Tie the trees to a stake, and they will be more likely to live. Water them often.
The Care of House-Plants is a matter of daily attention, and well repays all labor expended upon it. The soil of house-plants should be renewed every year as previously directed. In winter, they should be kept as dry as they can be without wilting. Many house-plants are injured by giving them too much water, when they have little light and fresh air. This makes them grow spindling. The more fresh air, warmth and light they have, the more water is needed. They ought not to be kept very warm in winter, nor exposed to great changes of atmosphere. Forty degrees is a proper temperature for plants in winter, when they have little sun and air. When plants have become spindling, cut off their heads entirely, and cover the pot in the earth, where it has the morning sun only. A new and flourishing head will spring out. Few houseplants can bear the sun at noon. When insects infest plants, set them in a closet or under a barrel, and burn tobacco under them. The smoke kills any insect enveloped in it. When plants are frozen, cold water and a gradual restoration of warmth are the best remedies. Never use very cold water for plants at any season.
THE PROPAGATION OF PLANTS.
This is an occupation requiring much attention and constant care. Bulbous roots are propagated by offsets; some growing on the top, others around the sides. Many plants are propagated by cutting off twigs, and setting them in earth, so that two or three eyes are covered. To do this, select a side shoot, ten inches long, two inches of it being of the preceding year's growth, and the rest the growth of the season when it is set. Do this when the sap is running, and put a piece of crockery at the bottom of the shoot, when it is buried. One eye, at least, must be under the soil. Water it and shade it in hot weather.
Plants are also propagated by layers. To do this, take a shoot which comes up near the root, bend it down so as to bring several eyes under the soil, leaving the top above-ground. If the shoot be cut half through, in a slanting direction, at one of these eyes, before burying it, the result is more certain. Roses, honeysuckles, and many other shrubs are readily propagated thus. They will generally take root by being simply buried; but cutting them as here directed is the best method. Layers are more certain than cuttings.
Budding and Grafting, for all woody plants, are favorite methods of propagation. In all such plants, there is an outer and inner bark, the latter containing the sap vessels, in which the nourishment of the tree ascends. The success of grafting or inoculating consists in so placing the bud or graft that the sap vessels of the inner bark shall exactly join those of the plant into which they are grafted; so that the sap may pass from one into the other.
The following are directions for budding, which may be performed at any time from July to September:
Select a smooth place on the stock into which you are to insert the bud. Make a horizontal cut across the rind through to the firm wood; and from the middle of this, make a slit downward perpendicularly, an inch or more long, through to the wood. Raise the bark of the stock on each side of the perpendicular cut, for the admission of the bud, as is shown in the annexed engraving, (Fig. 64.) Then take a shoot of this year's growth, and slice from it a bud, taking an inch below and an inch above it, and some portion of the wood under it. Then, carefully slip off the woody part under the bud. Examine whether the eye or germ of the bud be perfect. If a little hole appear in that part, the bud has lost its root, and another must be selected. Insert the bud, so that a, of the bud, shall pass to a, of the stock; then b, of the bud, must be cut off, to match the cut b, in the stock, and fitted exactly to it, as it is this alone which insures success. Bind the parts with fresh bass or woolen yarn, beginning a little below the bottom, of the perpendicular slit, and winding it closely around every part, except just over the eye of the bud, until you arrive above the horizontal cut. Do not bind it too tightly, but just sufficient to exclude air, sun, and wet. This is to be removed after the bud is firmly fixed, and begins to grow.
Seed-fruit can be budded into any other seed-fruit, and stone-fruit into any other stone-fruit; but stone and seed-fruits can not be thus mingled.
Rose-bushes can have a variety of kinds budded into the same stock. Hardy roots are the best stocks. The branch above the bud must be cut off the next March or April after the bud is put in. Apples and pears are more easily propagated by ingrafting than by budding.
Ingrafting is a similar process to budding, with this advantage, that it can be performed on large trees, whereas budding can be applied only on small ones. The two common kinds of ingrafting are whip-grafting and split-grafting. The first kind is for young trees, and the other for large ones.
The time for ingrafting is from May to October. The cuttings must be taken from horizontal shoots, between Christmas and March, and kept in a damp cellar. In performing the operation, cut off in a sloping direction (as seen in Fig. 65) the tree or limb to be grafted. Then cut off in a corresponding slant the slip to be grafted on. Then put them together, so that the inner bark of each shall match exactly on one side, and tie them firmly together with yellow yarn. It is not essential that both be of equal size; if the bark of each meet together exactly on one side, it answers the purpose. But the two must not differ much in size. The slope should be an inch and a half, or more, in length. After they are tied together, the place should be covered with a salve or composition of bees-wax and rosin. A mixture of clay and cow-dung will answer the same purpose. This last must be tied on with a cloth. Grafting is more convenient than budding, as grafts can be sent from a great distance; whereas buds must be taken, in July or August, from a shoot of the present year's growth, and can not be sent to any great distance.
This engraving (Fig. 66) exhibits the mode called stock-grafting; a being the limb of a large tree, which is sawed off and split, and is to be held open by a small wedge till the grafts are put in. A graft inserted in the limb is shown at b, and at c is one not inserted, but designed to be put in at d, as two grafts can be put into a large stock. In inserting the graft, be careful to make the edge of the inner bark of the graft meet exactly the edge of the inner bark of the stock; for on this success depends. After the grafts are put in, the wedge must be withdrawn, and the whole of the stock be covered with the thick salve or composition before mentioned, reaching from where the grafts are inserted to the bottom of the slit. Be careful not to knock or move the grafts after they are put in.
Pruning is an operation of constant exercise, for keeping plants and trees in good condition. The following rules are from a distinguished horticulturist: Prune off all dead wood, and all the little twigs on the main limbs. Retrench branches, so as to give light and ventilation to the interior of the tree. Cut out the straight and perpendicular shoots, which give little or no fruit; while those which are most nearly horizontal, and somewhat curving, give fruit abundantly and of good quality, and should be sustained. Superfluous and ill-placed buds may be rubbed off at any time; and no buds pushing out after midsummer should be spared. In choosing between shoots to be retained, preserve the lowest placed, and on lateral shoots, those which are nearest the origin. When branches cross each other so as to rub, remove one or the other. Remove all suckers from the roots of trees or shrubs. Prune after the sap is in full circulation, (except in the case of grapes,) as the wounds then heal best. Some think it best to prune before the sap begins to run. Pruning-shears, and a pruning-pole, with a chisel at the end, can be procured of those who deal in agricultural utensils.
Thinning is also an important but very delicate operation. As it is the office of the leaves to absorb nourishment from the atmosphere, they should never be removed, except to mature the wood or fruit. In doing this, remove such leaves as shade the fruit, as soon as it is ready to ripen. To do it earlier impairs the growth. Do it gradually at two different times. Thinning the fruit is important, as tending to increase its size and flavor, and also to promote the longevity of the tree. If the fruit be thickly set, take off one half at the time of setting. Revise in June, and then in July, taking off all that may be spared. One very large apple to every square foot is a rule that may be a sort of guide in other cases. According to this, two hundred large apples would be allowed to a tree whose extent is fifteen feet by twelve. If any person think this thinning excessive, let him try two similar trees, and thin one as directed and leave the other unthinned. It will be found that the thinned tree will produce an equal weight, and fruit of much finer flavor.
THE CULTIVATION OF FRUIT.
By a little attention to this matter, a lady with the help of her children can obtain a rich abundance of all kinds of fruit. The writer has resided in families where little boys of eight, ten, and twelve years old amused themselves, under the direction of their mother, in planting walnuts, chestnuts, and hazelnuts, for future time; as well as in planting and inoculating young fruit-trees of all descriptions. A mother who will take pains to inspire a love for such pursuits in her children, and who will aid and superintend them, will save them from many temptations, and at a trifling expense secure to them and herself a rich reward in the choicest fruits. The information given in this work on this subject may be relied on as sanctioned by the most experienced nursery-men.
The soil for a nursery should be rich, well dug, dressed with well-decayed manure, free from weeds, and protected from cold winds. Fruit-seeds should be planted in the autumn, an inch and a half or two inches deep, in ridges four or five feet apart, pressing the earth firmly over the seeds. While growing, they should be thinned out, leaving the best ones a foot and a half apart. The soil should be kept loose, soft, and free from weeds. They should be inoculated or ingrafted when of the size of a pipe stem; and in a year after this may be transplanted to their permanent stand. Peach-trees sometimes bear in two years from budding, and in four years from planting if well kept.
In a year after transplanting, take pains to train the head aright. Straight upright branches produce gourmands, or twigs bearing only leaves. The side branches which are angular or curved yield the most fruit. For this reason, the limbs should be trained in curves, and perpendicular twigs should be cut off if there be need of pruning. The last of June is the time for this. Grass should never be allowed to grow within four feet of a large tree, and the soil should be kept loose to admit air to the roots. Trees in orchards should be twenty-five feet apart. The soil under the top soil has much to do with the health of the trees. If it be what is called hard-pan, the trees will deteriorate. Trees need to be manured and to have the soil kept open and free from weeds.
Filberts can be raised in any part of this country.
Figs can be raised in the Middle, Western, and Southern States. For this purpose, in the autumn loosen the roots on one side, and bend the tree down to the earth on the other; then cover it with a mound of straw, earth, and boards, and early in the spring raise it up and cover the roots.
Currants grow well in any but a wet soil. They are propagated by cuttings. The old wood should be thinned in the fall and manure be put on. They can be trained into small trees.
Gooseberries are propagated by layers and cuttings. They are best when kept from suckers and trained like trees. One third of the old wood should be removed every autumn.
Raspberries do best when shaded during a part of the day. They are propagated by layers, slips, and suckers. There is one kind which bears monthly; but the varieties of this and all other fruits are now so numerous that we can easily find those which are adapted to the special circumstances of the case.
Strawberries require a light soil and vegetable manure. They should be transplanted in April or September, and be set eight inches apart, in rows nine inches asunder, and in beds which are two feet wide, with narrow alleys between them. A part of these plants are non-bearers. These have large flowers with showy stamens and high black anthers. The bearers have short stamens, a great number of pistils, and the flowers are every way less showy. In blossom-time, pull out all the non-bearers. Some think it best to leave one non-bearer to every twelve bearers, and others pull them all out. Many beds never produce any fruit, because all the plants in them are non-bearers. Weeds should be kept from the vines. When the vines are matted with young plants, the best way is to dig over the beds in cross lines, so as to leave some of the plants standing in little squares, while the rest are turned under the soil. This should be done over a second time in the same year.
To Raise Grapes, manure the soil, and keep it soft and free from weeds. A gravelly or sandy soil, and a south exposure are best. Transplant the vines in the early spring, or better in the fall. Prune them the first year so as to have only two main branches, taking off all other shoots as fast as they come. In November, cut off all of these two branches except four eyes. The second year, in the spring, loosen the earth around the roots, and allow only two branches to grow, and every month take off all side shoots. When they are very strong, preserve only a part, and cut off the rest in the fall. In November, cut off all the two main stems except eight eyes. After the second year, no more pruning is needed, except to reduce the side shoots, for the purpose of increasing the fruit. All the pruning of grapes (except nipping side shoots) must be done when the sap is not running, or they will bleed to death. Train, them on poles, or lattices, to expose them to the air and sun. Cover tender vines in the autumn. Grapes are propagated by cuttings, layers, and seeds. For cuttings, select in the autumn well-ripened wood of the former year, and take fire joints for each. Bury them till April; then soak them for some hours, and set them out aslant, so that all the eyes but one shall be covered.
Apples, grapes, and such like fruit can be preserved in their natural state by packing them when dry and solid in dry sand or saw-dust, putting alternate layers of fruit and cotton, saw-dust or sand. Some saw-dust gives a bad flavor to the fruit.
Modes of Preserving Fruit-Trees.—Heaps of ashes or tanner's bark around peach-trees prevent the attack of the worm. The yellows is a disease of peach-trees, which is spread by the pollen of the blossom. When a tree begins to turn yellow, take it away with all its roots, before it blossoms again, or it will infect other trees. Planting tansy around the roots of fruit-trees is a sure protection against worms, as it prevents the moth from depositing her egg. Equal quantities of salt and saltpetre, put around the trunk of a peach-tree, half a pound to a tree, improve the size and flavor of the fruit. Apply this about the first of April; and if any trees have worms already in them, put on half the quantity in addition in June. To young trees just set out, apply one ounce in April, and another in June, close to the stem. Sandy soil is best for peaches.
Apple-trees are preserved from insects by a wash of strong lye to the body and limbs, which, if old, should be first scraped. Caterpillars should be removed by cutting down their nests in a damp day. Boring a hole in a tree infested with worms, and filling it with sulphur, will often drive them off immediately.
The fire-blight, or brulure in pear-trees can be stopped by cutting off all the blighted branches. It is supposed by some to be owing to an excess of sap, which is remedied by diminishing the roots.
The curculio, which destroys plums and other stone-fruit, can be checked only by gathering up all the fruit that falls, (which contains their eggs,) and destroying it. The canker-worm can be checked by applying a bandage around the body of the tree, and every evening smearing it with fresh tar.
THE CARE OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS.
One of the most interesting illustrations of the design of our benevolent Creator in establishing the family state is the nature of the domestic animals connected with it. At the very dawn of life, the infant watches with delight the graceful gambols of the kitten, and soon makes it a playmate. Meantime, its out-cries when hurt appeal to kindly sympathy, and its sharp claws to fear; while the child's mother has a constant opportunity to inculcate kindness and care for weak and ignorant creatures. Then the dog becomes the out-door playmate and guardian of early childhood, and he also guards himself by cries of pain, and protects himself by his teeth. At the same time, his faithful loving nature and caresses awaken corresponding tenderness and care; while the parent again has a daily opportunity to inculcate these virtues toward the helpless and dependent. As the child increases in knowledge and reason, the horse, cows, poultry, and other domestic animals come under his notice. These do not ordinarily express their hunger or other sufferings by cries of distress, but depend more on the developed reason and humanity of man. And here the parent is called upon to instruct a child in the nature and wants of each, that he may intelligently provide for their sustenance and for their protection from injury and disease.
To assist in this important duty of home life, which so often falls to the supervision of woman, the following information is prepared through the kindness of one of the editors of a prominent, widely known, agricultural paper.
Domestic animals are very apt to catch the spirit and temper of their masters. A surly man will be very likely to have a cross dog and a biting horse. A passionate man will keep all his animals in moral fear of him, making them, snappish, and liable to hurt those of whom they are not afraid.
It is, therefore, most important that all animals should be treated uniformly with kindness. They are all capable of returning affection, and will show it very pleasantly if we manifest affection for them. They also have intuitive perceptions of our emotions which we can not conceal. A sharp, ugly dog will rarely bite a person who has no fear of him. A horse knows the moment a man mounts or takes the reins whether he is afraid or not; and so it is with other animals.
If live stock can not be well fed, they ought not to be kept. One well wintered horse is worth as much, as two that drag through on straw, and by browsing the hedgerows. The same is true of oxen, and emphatically so of cows. The owner of a half-starved dog loses the use of him almost altogether; for, at the very time—the night—when lie is most needed as a guard, he must be off scouring the country for food.
Shelter in winter is most important for cows. They should have good tight stables or byres, well ventilated, and so warm that water in a pail will only freeze a little on the top the severest nights. Oxen should have the same stabling, though they bear cold better. Horses in stables will bear almost any degree of cold, if they have all they can eat. Sheep, except young lambs, are well enough sheltered in dry sheds, with one end open. Cattle, sheep, and dogs do not sweat as horses do, they "loll;" that is, water or slobber runs from their tongues; hence, they are not liable to take cold as the horse is. Hogs bear cold pretty well; but they eat enough to convince any one that true economy lies in giving them warm sties in winter, for the colder they are the more they eat. Fowls will not lay in cold weather unless they have light and warm quarters.
Cleanliness is indispensable, if one would keep his animals healthy. In their wild state all our domestic animals are very clean, and, at the same time, very healthy. The hog is not naturally a dirty animal, but quite the reverse. He enjoys currying as much as a horse or a cow, and would be as careful of his litter as a cat if he had a fair chance. Horses ought to be groomed daily; cows and oxen as often as twice a week; dogs should be washed with soapsuds frequently. Stables should be cleaned out daily. Absorbents of liquid in stables should be removed as often as they become wet. Dry earth is one of the best absorbents, and is especially useful in the fowl-house. Hogs in pens should have straw for their rests or lairs, and it should be often renewed.
Parasitic Vermin.—These are lice, fleas, ticks, the scale insects, and other pests which afflict our live stock. There are many ways of destroying them; the best and safest is a free use of carbolic acid soap. The larger animals, as well as hogs, dogs, and sheep may be washed in strong suds of this soap, without fear, and the application repeated after a week. This generally destroys both the creatures and their eggs. Hen lice are best destroyed by greasing the fowls, and dusting them with flowers of sulphur. Sitting hens must never be greased, but the sulphur may be dusted freely in their nests, and it is well to put it in all hens' nests.
Salt and Water.—All animals except poultry require salt, and all, free supplies of fresh water.
Light.—Stables, or places where any kind of animals are confined, should have plenty of light. Windows are not more important in a house than in a barn. The sun should come in freely; and if it shines directly upon the stock, all the better. When beeves and sheep are fattening very rapidly, the exclusion of the light makes them more quiet, and fatten faster; but their state is an unnatural and hardly a healthy one.
Exercise in the open air is important for breeding animals. It is especially necessary for horses of all kinds. Cows need very little and swine none, unless kept for breeding.
Breeding,—Always use thorough-bred males, and improvement is certain.
Horses.—The care which horses require varies with the circumstances in which the owner is placed, and the uses to which they are put. In general, if kept stabled, they should be fed with good upland hay, almost as much as they will eat; and if absent from the stable, and at work most of the day, they should have all they will eat of hay, together with four to eight quarts of oats or an equal weight of other grain or meal. Barley is good for horses, and so is dry corn. Corn-meal put upon cut hay, wet and well-mixed, is good, steady feed, if not in too large quantities. Four quarts a day may be fed unmixed with other grain; but if the horse be hard worked and needs more, mix the meal with wheat bran, or linseed oil-cake meal, or use corn and oats ground together; carrots are especially wholesome. A quart of linseed oil-cake meal, daily, is an excellent occasional addition to a horse's food, when carrots can not be had. It gives a lustre to his coat, and brings the new coat of hair out in the spring. A stabled horse needs daily exercise, as much as to trot three miles. Where a horse is traveling, it is well to give him six quarts of oats in the morning, four at noon, and six at night.
Thorough grooming is indispensable to the health of horses. Especial care should be taken of the legs and fetlocks, that no dirt remain to cause that distressing disease, grease or scratches, which results from filthy fetlocks and standing in dirty stables. When a horse comes in from work on muddy roads with dirty legs, they should be immediately cleaned, the dirt brushed off, then rubbed with straw; then, if very dirty, washed clean and rubbed dry with a piece of sacking. A horse should never stand in a draught of cold air, if he can not turn and put his back to it. If sweaty or warm from work, he should be blanketed, if he is to stand a minute in the winter air. If put at once into the stable, he should be stripped and rubbed down with straw actively for five minutes or more, and then blanketed. The blanket must be removed in an hour, and the horse given water and feed, if it is the usual time. It will not hurt him to eat hay when hot, unless he be thoroughly exhausted, when all food should be withheld for a while.
It is very comforting to a tired horse, when he is too hot to drink, to sponge out his mouth with cool water. A horse should never drink when very hot, nor be turned into a yard to "cool off," even in summer, neither should he be turned out to pasture before he is quite cool.
Cows.—Gentle but firm treatment will make a cow easy to milk and to handle in every way. If stabled or yarded, cows should have access to water at all times, or have it frequently offered to them. Clover hay is probably the best steady food for milk cows. Cornstalks cut up, thoroughly soaked with water for half a day, and then sprinkled with corn or oil-cake meal is perhaps unsurpassed as good winter food for milk cows. The amount of meal may vary. With plenty of oil-meal, there is little danger of feeding too much, as that is loosening to the bowels and a safe nutritious article. Corn-meal alone, in large quantities, is too heating. Roots should, if possible, form part of the diet of a milch cow, especially before and soon after calving; feed well before this period, yet not to make the cow very fat; but it is better to err in that way than to have her "come in" thin. Take the calf away from the mother as soon as it stands tip, and the separation will worry neither dam nor young. This is always best, unless the calf is to be kept with the cow. The calf will soon learn to drink its food, if two fingers be held in its mouth. Let it have all the first drawn milk for three days as soon as milked; after this, skimmed milk warmed to blood heat. Soon a little fine scalded meal may be mixed with the milk; and it will, at three to five weeks old, nibble hay and grass. It is well also to keep a box containing some dry wheat-bran and fine corn-meal mixed in the calf-pen, so that calves may take as much as they like.
In milking, put the fingers around the teat close to the bag; then firmly close the forefingers of each hand alternately, immediately squeezing with the other fingers. The forefingers prevent the milk flowing back into the bag, while the others press it out. Sit with the left knee close to the right hind leg of the cow, the head pressed against her flank, the left hand always ready to ward off a blow from her feet, which the gentlest cow may give almost without knowing it, if her tender teats be cut by long nails, or if a wart be hurt, or her bag be tender. She must be stripped dry every time she is milked, or she will dry up; and if she gives much milk, it pays to milk three times a day, as nearly eight hours apart as possible. Never stop while milking till done, as this will cause the cow to stop giving milk.
To tether a cow, tie her by one hind leg, making the rope fast above the fetlock joint, and protecting the limb with a piece of an old bootleg or similar thing. The knot must be one that will not slip; regular fetters of iron bound with leather are much better.
A cow should go unmilked two months before calving, and her milk should not be used by the family till four days after that time.
Swine.—The filthy state of hog-pens is allowed on account of the amount of manure they will make by working over all sorts of vegetable matter, spoiled hay, weeds, etc., etc. This is unhealthy for the family near and also for the animal. The hog is, naturally, a cleanly animal, and if given a chance he will keep himself very neat and clean. Breeding sows should have the range of a small pasture, and be regularly fed. They need fresh water constantly, and often suffer for lack of it when they have liquid swill, which they do not like to drink. All hogs should have a warm, dry, well-littered pen to lie in, away from flies and disturbance of any kind. They are fond of charcoal, and it is worth while frequently to throw a few handfuls where they can get at it. It has a very beneficial effect on the appetite, regulates the tone of the stomach and digestive organs, and can not do any harm. Pigs ought always to be well fed and kept growing fast; and when being fattened, they should be penned always, the herd being sorted so that all may have an equal chance. It is well to feed soft corn in the ear; but hard corn should always be ground and cooked for pigs.
Sheep.—In the winter, sheep need deep, well-littered, dry sheds, dry yards, and hay, wheat, or oat straw, as much as they will eat. They should be kept gaining by grain regularly fed to them, and so distributed that each gets its share. Corn, either whole or ground, or oil-cake meal, or both, are used for fattening sheep. They will easily surfeit themselves on any grain except oil-meal, which is very safe feed for them, and usually economical. Strong sheep will often drive the weaker ones away, and so get more than their share of food and make themselves sick. This must be guarded against, and the flock sorted, keeping the weaker and stronger apart.
Sheep are very useful in clearing land of brush and certain weeds, which they gnaw down, and kill. To accomplish this, the land must be overstocked, and it is best not to keep sheep on short pasturage more than a few weeks at a time; but if they are returned after a few days, it will serve as good a purpose as if they were to be kept on all the time. Sheep at pasture must be restrained by good fences, or they will be a great nuisance. Dog-proof hedge fences of Osage orange are to be highly recommended, wherever this plant will grow. Mutton sheep will generally pay better to raise than merinos, but they need more care.
Poultry.—Few objects of labor are more remunerative than poultry, raised on a moderate scale. Turkeys, when young, need great care; some animal food, dry, warm quarters, and must be kept out of the wet grass, and kept in when it rains. As soon as fledged, they become very hardy, and, with free range, will almost take care of themselves. Geese need water and good grass pasture. Ducks do very well without water to swim in, if they have all they need to drink. They will lay a great many eggs if kept shut in a pen until say eight o'clock in the morning. If let out earlier, they wander away, and will hide their nests, and lay only about as many eggs as they can cover. It is best to set duck's eggs under hens, and to keep young ducks shut up in a dry roomy pen for four weeks, at least. Fowls need light, warm, dry quarters in winter, plenty of feed, but not too much. They relish animal food, and ought to have some frequently to make them lay. Pork or beef scrap-cake can be bought for two to three cents a pound, and is very good for them. Any kind of grain is good for poultry. Nothing is better than wheat screenings. Early hatched chickens must be kept in a warm, dry, sunny room, with plenty of gravel, and the hen should have no more than eight or nine chickens to brood; though in summer, one hen will take good care of fifteen. Little, chickens, turkeys, and ducks need frequent feeding, and must have their water changed often. It is well to grease the body of the hen and the heads of the chicks with lard, in order to prevent their becoming lousy.
Hens set about twenty days, and should be well fed and watered. Cold or damp weather is bad for young fowls, and when they have been chilled, pepper-corns are a good remedy, in addition to the warmth of an inclosed dry place.
The most absorbing part of the "Woman's question" of the present time is the remedy for the varied sufferings of women who are widows or unmarried, and without means of support. As yet, few are aware how many sources of lucrative enterprise and industry lie open to woman in the employments directly connected with the family state. A woman can invest capital in the dairy and qualify herself to superintend a dairy farm as well as a man. And if she has no capital of her own, if well trained for this business, she can find those who have capital ready to furnish—an investment that well managed will become profitable. And, too, the raising of poultry, of dogs, and of sheep are all within the reach of a woman with proper abilities and training for this business. So that if a woman chooses, she can find employment both interesting and profitable in studying the care of domestic animals.