Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Three Pieces of Advice if You Want to Become A Farmer

   City life is a social machine; or, rather, it is a congeries of machines. A few men are managers and engineers, but the ninety and nine are cogs and pins and links. Most men desire to be cogs, or at least they are willing to be. The daily life is a routine which is made and prepared. Having reached a position that insures a comfortable financial return, the struggle for existence is reduced to its lowest terms, and the person is content. Now and then a person longs for a broader view, more dependence on personal initiative, a more perfect individualism. Perhaps such a person may not go on a farm, but he may consider it.
     This, then, is the first advice that I can give you, if you think of leaving the city to become a farmer, — do not consider the proposition for a moment unless your ideal is individualistic. You are to depend on yourself. You are to make your own way. You are to live your own life. You must be resourceful.
Of course you are to work in cooperation with your fellow farmers, and cooperation will be more necessary every year; but you are to be your own manager.
    My second advice is this, — be sure that you love the country and everything there is in it. Be sure that you do not go with the feeling that you are giving up the pleasures of life. Be sure that a dandelion is worth as much as a theater. You are to be company for yourself. The birds will sing as no opera singer ever sang. The flowers will bloom in the meadows. The brooks will laugh on the pebbles and sleep under the banks. The clouds will float above you. Be sure that your heart is ripe before you move to the country.
    My third advice is that you learn farming. A farmer could not expect to succeed in a city business until he had learned it; and perhaps his type of mind would be such that he could never learn it. Neither can a city man expect to succeed in a farming occupation until he has learned the facts and the business of farming. Books and periodicals and bulletins will help, but they are only helps; the business must be learned by actually working in it, as any other business must be learned. The city man can not expect to revolutionize farming. If any revolution comes, it is to be worked out by farmers, whether they are city bred or country bred.
    You must not be afraid to work with your hands. At times the work will be hard, and the days will be cold or hot. This you are to accept as part of the business; but if your mind is right, labor will be its own reward.
    My city friend must remember that farming is a family business. A single man can hardly expect to be a thoroughly successful and satisfied farmer. So I hope that you have a wife. If she thinks as you do about the country, the problem is half solved. If her heart is wedded to the city, stay where you are. I hope you have children, — and what healthy, natural child under twelve years of age would not love the country?- L.H. Bailey, Farm and Forest, 1911

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Demand for Cheap Food is Fallacious

The demand for cheap food is fallacious. Pressing down the cost of food has one or all of three results on the producers of it (and its effect on the producers is a vital concern with us as citizens of a State): We reduce the standards of living of the producers in our own country; we exploit the cheap labor and cheap lands of new and remote countries; or we live on the products of peasantry in other countries. These three are the same, considered in the human result. If we are glad to meet the problem of maintaining the standard of living for workingmen, we must be equally glad to maintain it for farmers. There are reasons why we should not attempt the same program for farmers as for workingmen: our problem is to be willing to pay as much for food and other farm products as is necessary for the maintenance of the standard of living on the farms. -L.H. Bailey, What is Democracy? 1918

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Liberty Hyde Bailey

"we have another son a full Blooded Yankee boy... Mother said to Sarah if she ever had another one she wanted to name it... we sent to her for a name... we think it will be L.H. Jun... the boy smart and bright as a dollar...born the 15 of March and weighed 7 1/2 lbs." Letter from Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr. to his parents, March 22, 1858.

It is a marvelous planet on which we ride. It is a great privilege to live thereon, to partake in the journey, and to experience its goodness. We may co-operate rather than rebel. We should try to find the meanings rather than to be satisfied only with the spectacles. My life has been a continuous fulfillment of dreams.-L. H. Bailey. “Words Said About A Birthday”, 1948, Printed on the occasion of Liberty Hyde Bailey's ninetieth birthday celebration

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Put Walks Where They Are Needed

    Put walks where they are needed-this is the universal rule; but be sure they are needed. In the beginning you will think you need more than you actually do need. How to get the proper curve? Perhaps you do not need a curve. There are two fixed points in every walk-the beginning and the ending. Some walks lack either one or the other of these points, and I have seen some that seemed to lack both. Go from one point to the other in the easiest and simplest way possible. If you can throw in a gentle curve, you may enhance the charm of it; and you may not. Directness and convenience should never be sacrificed for mere looks- for "looks" has no reason for being unless it is related to something.
    For main walks that are much used, cement and stone flagging are good materials, because they are durable and they keep down the weeds. There is no trouble in making a durable cement or artificial stone walk in the northern climates if the underdrainage is good and the cement is "rich." For informal walks, the natural loam may be good; or sharp gravel that will pack; or cinders; or tan-bark. For very narrow walks or trails in the back yard I like to sink a ten-inch-wide plank to the level of the sod. It marks the direction, allows you dry passage, the lawn-mower passes over it, and it will last for several years with no care whatever. In flower gardens, a strip of sod may be left as a walk; but the disadvantage of it is that it retains dews and the water of rainfall too long. Some of the most delightful periods for viewing the garden are the early morning and the "clearing spell" after a shower.  L.H. Bailey, The Spirit of the Home Garden, How to make a flower garden: a manual of practical information and suggestions, 1903

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Spirit of the Home Garden

    There are as many forms and kinds of gardens as there are persons who have gardens; and this is one reason why the garden appeals to every one, and why it may become the expression of personality. You need follow no man's plan. The simplest garden is likely to be the best, merely because it is the expression of a simple and teachable life.
Grow the plants that you want, but do not want too many. Most persons when they make a garden order a quantity of labels. Fatal mistake! Labels are for collections of plants- -collections so big that you cannot remember, and when you cannot remember you lose the intimacy, and when you lose the intimacy you lose the essence of the garden. -L.H., Bailey, The Spirit of the Home Garden in, How to make a flower garden: a manual of practical information and suggestions, 1903