Page images

wide at four years old. If the lateral shoots are trimmed as frequently, and with as much thoroughness as the upright shoots, they will soon lose their vigor and strength, as the natural tendency of the growth is upward-hence the necessity of skill and judgment to properly form the hedge. Great care should be taken to secure a close, strong, and firm base, since a large portion of the hedges that have been set have failed, for want of the use of a proper method in forming the base. The trimming of the third year can be done in the same manner as that of the second year. The fourth year's trimming will have to be done mostly with the knife, at all times keeping the hedge in the shape of the one above represented.

Concerning the amount of time and labor expended in planting and cultivating this plant for hedge purposes, another practical farmer assures us, that it takes four or five years to make a fence, costing one day's work for forty rods in planting, as much for cultivating and hoeing as it would cost to hoe a row of corn, and no more; say half a day for cutting and hoeing forty rods yearly, which for five years would be


two and a half days for forty rods; in all, at $1 per day, the cost would be $350. He speaks of companies who set out thousands of rods of Osage hedge yearly; they charge sixty cents a rod, but get but little pay down; they guarantee a good fence, and wait for most of the pay until the fence is perfected. It is true, says our farmer, that the ground should be well prepared, and all the work well done, and in season, to make a good hedge row; so it must be to make a good row of corn, and there is no more difficulty, and but little more labor in cultivating the Osage Orange row, than the row of corn.

Such are the merits and excellencies of this plant, that in the opin. ion of the most experienced hedge-growers, the Osage Orange will rapidly take the place of all other fences on the prairies, inasmuch as it is more protective, easier to be kept in repair, and the cost is but trifling

The preceding cut represents a full grown and completed hedge fence : nothing would add more to the beauty and protection of a farm, than being surrounded and divided by well trimmed and thrifty hedges.


The preparation of maple sugar is considered one of the most agreeable of their occupations, by farmers residing in districts where many sugar maple trees grow wild. A great part of the forests of Northern Illinois consists of these valuable trees. Towards the latter part of March, when the buds begin to swell, and the nocturnal frosts are followed by warm days, these trees are tapped with augers, about two feet above the earth, and hollow elder tubes being inserted in the bores, the sap is made to trickle through them into troughs placed below. Every morning the contents of the troughs are emptied into kettles, and the sap, at first but slightly sweet, is boiled the whole day until it assumes the thickness of syrup; from the moment it commences to thicken, it is continually stirred. This maple syrup has a very agreeable and aromatic taste, as if it had been mixed with vadilla, or the extract of orange blossoms, and hardens within a few hours after being poured out of the kettle into flat vessels. If it is previously clarified with milk, or the white of eggs, the sugar receives a light brown color; without such previous purification, however, it has a dark brown appearance, having, nevertheless, a sweet and pleasant taste. From one bore of a tree a gallon of sap runs out, within about twenty-four hours, three or four gallons yielding a pound of sugar. At spring time, a family can prepare from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds of sugar within eight days. Tapping the trees does not damage them, if, after the sap has ceased to flow, the holes are stopped with clay.

In districts where no sugar maples grow wild, every farmer should plant a half or a quarter of an acre with these trees, which may be easily raised from the seed. In the short space of eight or ten years, he might raise a sufficient supply for himself, and in a longer period, even much for sale. Whilst the trunks are still young, the land may be turned to account as a meadow; and lastly, the wood itself is far more valuable than common timber, being admirably suited for purposes of joinery and turning, and therefore commands a higher price than any other species of American wood.


This State is well adapted for the raising of stock, of almost every variety, on account of the rich grass-land, and the prairies, which yield an abundance of excellent fodder.

The value of cattle consists chiefly in the quantity and quality of milk and beef they will produce at maturity.

She Durham breed seems to thrive very well in Illinois; they are the kind called also short horns. A few of the most prominent and never failing characteristics, are: color, which is always red or white, or a mixture of the two—no other colors are ever found upon themand a bright, full eye, encircled with a skin of rich cream color; the nose also of the same color. Any variations from these—any black in the skin of the nose, is an indication of an impure breed. The horns are small and tapering, generally bent, and of a yellow or light waxy color; small, but lengthy, tapering head; fine, tapering tail; rather short legs; fine, and bony body.

James N. Brown, the first President of the State Agricultural Society, is one of the best stock farmers of the State—his herd of “short horns" standing almost unrivalled, and his other stock being the best of their kind. If any one desires to see a fine sample of a Central Illinois stock-farm, and some of the best Durhams in the State, he need only go to Mr. Brown's farm, at Island Grove, Sanga mon County, Illinois.

Another gentleman, B. F. Harris, Esq., residing in the edge of the Sangamon timber, ten miles west of Urbana, is also a very successful and enterprising stock-farmer. A herd of one hundred cattle, averaging 1965 pounds, fed by him, took the premium at the World's Fair, in New York. For stock-raising, Central and Southern Illinois offer great advan31 *


« PreviousContinue »