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THE FARMER.

THE COLLIE DOG. Amongst all dogs the collie is second to none. It is said by some writers that he is equal to the Newfoundland in intelli- | gence, but I consider him vastly superior; and he lets you see this in the sparkle of his oblique, crafty, intelligent eyes, which with his pointed nose and half-pricked ears, and general character of his head, • remind one strongly of his forty-second cousin, the fox. The true Scotch collie is generally admired by high and low, and all who know him can appreciate his kind-heartedness, tuxd consequently he has free admission to all parts of the house. Judging by his general appearance one would naturally come to the conclusion that he is closely - allied to the Australian dingo, but the collie’s ears are not so much pricked, and' the eye is softer; these, however, are modifications that would be brought about by civilisation, induced by dwelling with man. The same cause would account for the superior intelligence that is engrafted on lus original craftiness. Some Scotchmen affirm that the eolhe dog is a descendant of the fox ; this may or may not be the case, but we must recollect that the dingo and the fox are apparently first cousins, if we may judge by the likeness existing between them. The name “collie,” applied to these does, is said to be of Celtic origin, and referred, perhaps, to their being cattle or herd dogs. Bye-the-bye, it may be mentioned Imre that the word “ collie ” should not be pronounced with the o short, as is usually done out of Scotland, but with a long o as if the word only contained one 1. , . . . . , In giving the description or points of *V.« dog, I shall begin with that important part the head, and the chief part of as regards intelligence is the brain- ' case. In the collie the skull is not fiat, nor too much raised, nor is it as narrow aa it looks, but affords ample room for thinking material within. The muzzle is of a somewhat fox-like form, the nose tapering to a narrow, black, cold, wet point; month small, and the teeth of the two jaws quite level, or thoae of the upper jaw slightiy protruding over those of the under. The ere moderate site, bright and dark color, placed slightly oblique, which gives an appearance of sharpness or keenness to the expression. The ears rather small, aai should never hang downwards or forwards ; in fact it would be a prick ear when the animal is listening if it did not fall over a little at the top. , . . t The chin clean and nicely cut; lips t-lnn; no looseness of throat or dewlap, and the outline of the head, though not massive or powerful, is very elegant, and indicative of swiftness and sharpness. The neck is long and well arched, the shoulders slope well backwards, and have a plentiful provision of muscle. The chest, though not wide, .deep enough to give plenty of long room, thus supplying the necessary wind without the breadth interfering with locomotion. The fore-arm strong, and the elbow well let down ; pasterns hard and long, and tendonous, and the whole leg quite straight, flfi'flan should be moderately well bent; the hock low, and plenty of muscle on the thighs. Feet well padded soles, and k / not spread' but, but cat-like, except in rj- old age, when they spread somewhat. The ribs should be well rounded, and the back ones deep, otherwise Jhe animal ia defective. For speed and staying power the loins should be strong and muscular. In size the medium is to be preferred, having say a height of about 22 or 23 inches at the shoulder. Length of head, about inches; girth of the head below the ear, 14 inches ; and girth of the nose below the eyes, eight inches. The length of the head to be taken from the occiput or most backward part to the very tip of the nose. Coat short, soft, dose hair on the face, in fact it ia a smooth face, but the hair lengthens suddenly and considerably on the neck, throat, and shoulders. It is massed upon the neck and shoulders, where it is called by fanciers the mane ; it hangs in quite an apron over the chest, where it is known as the frill The rest of the body is covered with long abundant hair, which parts in the centre, and the tail is so plentifully supplied as to be bushy. Breech, well protected. Fore legs, covered with smooth hair in front, moderately feathered behind; feather on the hind legs and ends at the hock; all below that is smooth. Such a coat affords ample protection from the cold and wet, for if 'you separate the outer hair you find a warm, woolly undergrowth. The most favorite colors are the black and tans with little or no white, except perhaps a spot on the chest. Those with the white ring around the neck are much admired, and perhaps the prettier, though from the whims of fashion, they are not just now so greatly fancied in England. A well-bred collie carries his tail, in ordinary circumstances, hanging downwards and sweeping backwards gracefully, bnt when excited he will cany it high above the level of his back. St. John, in his admirable “ Sketches of. Highland Sports,” says :—“ Generally speaking these Highland sheep-dogs do not show much aptness in learning to do anything not connected in some way or other with sheep or cattle ;” but in this respect other persons quite as capable of forming a judgment, and with equal if not superior opportunities for observations whereon to base such a judgment, differ entirely from him in this estimate of the collie. In fact he himself produces evidence against his own view in the following anecdote which he relates: for he tells us a shepherd, to prove the quickness of his dog who was lying before the fire in the house, said, “I’m thinking the cow ia in the potatoes,” laying no stress on the words. “ The dog, which appeared to be asleep, immediately jumped up, and leaping through the open window, scrambled up the turf roof of the house, from which he could see the potato field ; he then, not seeing the cow, ran into the byre where she was, and finding that all was right, came back to the house. After » short time the shepherd repeated the . words, and the dog repeated his look-out; but on the false alarm being given the third time the dog got up, and, wagging his tail, looked his master in the face with so comical an expression of interrogation that be could not beta laughing aloud at him. on which, with a Might he hid hlwfolf down in hi* warm

corner with an offended air, as if not to be made a fool of again.” Dr. Gordon Stables in his splendid article on the collie, writes ; “I was much amused one day at the conduct of a eolhe dog who was left in temporary charge of about 50 sheep. The sheep were on a journey, and the shepherd had driven them into a field opposite a public house: ‘Just baud them there a few minutes, Collie,’ he remarked to his dog, a wall-eyed grey animal, ‘ until I whet my whistle.’ When half an hour elapsed, and no shepherd appeared, the dog got very impatient, changing the sheep from comer to comer of the field, and making no end of fuss over them. So an hour elapsed. ‘ Oh, bother ! ’ Collie must have thought; ‘he’s had time enough to wet twenty whistles, so here goes,’ and Collie drove the sheep out of the field and stationed them in a cluster in the middle of the road, right opposite the publichouse, looking all the while eager-eyed to the door. But even this hint was thrown away on the drouthy Scot, and even the dog’s pretending that the sheep were getting very wild indeed, and wanted any amount of tongue and labor to keep them in order, didn’t bring the shepherd out, so honest Collie started off home with the sheep. I watched him till he was quite out of sight, and thought there the matter ended, but fully an hour afterwards back came Collie with his fifty sheep, and this time the shepherd Ixaving ‘ wetted his whistle ’ till he couldn’t walk straight, condescended to leave the house and continue the journey. Query: In this case which was the noblest animal 1 ” Idstone, writing of the collie, relates a story about a dog “which, having his flock intercepted by the ‘toll-wife,’ jumped on her back, and crossed his forelegs over her arms, until his charge had all passed through.” This, however, is a rather tough morsel that requires to be taken with a grain of salt. Bust in Wheat. Upon the Bust in Wheat question, Mr. M'Elwin, near Adelaide, sends the following to Mr. Coates, secretary of the Boyal Agricultural Society for South Australia It must be evident to all who have attentively read the many very interesting practical letters which have appeared in the public journals during the past month, on the question of red rust in wheat, that a great deal of useful and valuable information has been elicited, and so much has been gathered, that in my opinion we are now upon the eve of a practical solution of the difficulty. It will be remembered that when the matter was first brought before the committee of the society, Mr. C. Sabine there stated that he had sown two patches of wheat: one he dressed with a strong salt brine and dried with hot lime, and the other had no dressing; and that at harvest the undressed portion was smothered with red rust, while the portion dressed was quite free from rust, and was a good crop. I herewith append a letter I received from that gentleman on the subject, which is interesting as showing his unshaken confidence in the above remedy. The letter by a “Constant Reader” also deserves special notice. It is quite true, as he says, that we had no red rust in the early days of the Colony for many years, and this may be owing to the almost universal use of salt brine as a steep for the seed. Would it not be wise to go back to the use of salt instead of bluestone? I ara surprised to see so many different opinions as to the nature of red rust. The late researches of Tulasne and De Barry set this matter attest. They have discovered that the genera Uredo (U. Fcetida), smut in wh.eat, and others, have no distinct existence, but are preparatory forms of Pucciuia (P. graminis), rust in wheat, and other genera. Placed under the microscope its structure can be readily detected as decidedly a fungus. The following is the letter Mr. Sabine referred to:—“The more letters and articles I read on the above subject (red rust), the more am I convinced after all that my remedy—old seed, salt-dressing, lime-drying—will be found eventually the cheap and safe specific, not absolutely everywhere and always, but as a rule.” Another South Australian contributor on the same subject (rust) says : —ln reading over the various suggestions relative to rust in wheat, from a covering of sea sand of 200 tons per acre to a dressing of lime or salt, I am prompted to give the result of a few trials made on the Lois-Weedon system. In order to carry out this I ploughed and harrowed the land. I then drew furrows with the plough three feet apart and sowed ,661bs (one bushel) seed per acre. When the crop was well up I ploughed the open spaces as near to the growing plants as possible. The straw grew strong and rank, as might have been expected ; the crop of wheat (clean wheat and no oats) was 33 bushels per acre. I have again tried the same plan with similar results. I tried it again, putting the rows 18 inches apart, but did not get more than 22 bushels per acre, as the rows were too near to put the plough between. But even with that drawback it afforded room for ventilation. But, sir, I don’t go in for attempting to grow wheat or rape without feeding the soil. I make use of guano and bonedust, and invariably find it pay. 1 now recommend as a means of preventing red ruse, to feed off the growing wheat and then follow with the scarifier, by taking off the shares and putting on small pointed shares, then follow with the roller. My rape sown with bonedust is looking well, and I have no doubt that the crop of grain next year will show the benefit. Ard lam sanguine enough to hope that by alternating grain and green crops I shall escape red rust.

An Old Horse. A carter will tell you that a draught horse attains its full size at three years old, and lives ten to fifteen years. The life period of a horse, however, and that of any animal, manifestly depends much upon the treatment it receives. Your well-fed carriage or riding horse, with plenty of good fodder, and only enough work to prevent its joints growing stiff, may live twenty-five to thirty years. Captain Brown gives the case of a horse reaching forty-two years. This “ Old Parr ” among horses was a very docile animal, and a performer at Astley’s Circus. At a public exhibition in the amphitheatre, he would ungirth his own saddle, wash his feet in a pail of water, fetch and carpy a complete tea equipage, take a kettle of boiling water from off a fire, and do other equally astounding

tricks. When from ago the animal had lost all its teeth, and was unable to masticate its com, the manager had him fed on bread. At last he died, full of years and honors, having by his docility and intelligence won the respect of all around him.

Spades versus Forks. Farmers do most of their soil-lifting with the plough ; but those who have to garden have to use the spade considerably. The knowledge that the spade has been in a great measure superseded by the fork has not travelled near so much as it ought to have done. We see many a one “ digging garden,” spade in hand, utterly unconscious that with a- modern digging fork a man can do as much in a day, and with far less fatigue, as with an oldfashioned spade it would take him two days to do. In the use of a fork there ia do digging to do. The tines run into the earth by the downward descent of the fork in the operator’s hands alone : and in throwing over and levelling, a single blow of the tines is enough to pulverize and make a level surface.

Some say their land is too light; that the earth passes through, and they cannot take up a forkful ; but in this case work it when it is a little wet. Even sandy ground can be dug with a fork, if the proper time is chosen for it. Of course the spade can never be abandoned. There will always be some ground that ia very weedy, or full of roots, which a sharp edge like that of a spade will be necessary to sever ; and in digging up trees and garden vegetables, nothing can replace the spade in handiness ; but there are a number of instances in garden work where a digging fork can come into very great labor-saving.

Hints to Poultry KeepersDid you ever try to “ break up ” a sitting hen 1 If so, you probably realise by this time that it is a well nigh hopeless task —that is if you tried the old-fashioned methods. After enduring torture enough to kill an average article of martyr, the old hen will return to her nest, and with calm dignity settle down to business again, as if she meant to set during the remainder of her natural life. Mentally wishing for a street Arab to swear sufficiently to do the subject justice, you put the old hen through another course of martyrdom ; but in nine cases out of ten she sets at last.

When I find a hen whose views on the subject of a family do not coincide with mine, I remove her from the nest and shut her up in a coop with a cock for a few days, and at the end of a week she is usually ready to commence laying again. Don’t try any patent incubaters—they area “delusion and a snare." I know whereof I speak, for I tried one once, and if ever I get my hands on the gentlemanly wretch who beguiled me into buying the the thing, I wuli “incubate” him in his own machine.

Out of forty eggs I coaxed five live chickens, but once out of the shell no amount of coaxing could induce them to proceed further on the road to mature chickenhood. They were such a forlorn, miserable looking lot that, out of pity, I apologised for bringing them into the world, and helped them out of it. A hen is the best incubator ever invented. Don’t waste food if you wish to make chickens pay. See that your fowls have enough and no more. Fat hens are but indifferent layers—quite frequently they cease to lay at all. Don’t feed them on the ground where it will become mixed with dirt and drippings, but feed from boxes or troughs of some kind. "When your fowls are confined to close quarters in winter, give them something to do. A handful of grain thrown among some hay or straw will keep them scratching for hours, and that is one reason why I like my straw-covered floor so well —it amuses the hens. I like to see fowls busy ; an old hen standing on one foot all day doing nothing, is one of the most melancholy and discontented looking objects in creation. —“Poultry Journal.”

Unregistered Dogs. —A correspondent desires to know how he should proceed in the matter of a stranger dog that has taken the liberty to reside on his premises. No amount of threatening nor make-believe stoning has any effect upon the animal, which is unregistered, and the writer does not like to be cruel. He does not wish to become the owner of the dog, nor the responsible party in any way for its registration fee ; neither does ho care to render himself liable to the real owner, if the dog should have any, for damages for “appropriating the collie.” We may state for the information of our correspondent and any others who may be similarly situated that the occupier of the premises upon which an unregistered dog is found taking up his quarters is liable for the registration fee, unless he can prove that the dog is owned and maintained by some one else. The law does not make any provision for kindheartedness, and if an unregistered animal comes hanging about a man’s place the proper course to follow is to destroy it, otherwise Sergeant Pratt or any officer may find that the dog has established a “ residential qualification” that means a fine and costs over and above the fee. In the last raid made by the police upon the owners of unregistered c’ogs, his Worship laid down the above course in one of the caßes —destroy the dog at once, or become liable to fine, costs, and fee for maintaining a nuisance under the Dog Nuisance Act.

Taxation of Kawau. —Amidst much laughter, Mr. George McLean gave notice, in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon, that on the next sitting day he would move that on account of the hardening effect which the exemption from all taxation produces upon the human mind, the Island of Kawau should be included within the boundaries of the county of Rodney. A Lengthy Petition. Among the petitions presented to the House of Representatives was one by Mr. Seddon, signed by 3000 people, praying for the construction of a railway between Hokitika and Greymouth. The petition was so long that, when unrolled, it stretched from the Speaker’s chair to the door at the other end of the Chamber, and as it was formed partly of blue and partly of white paper it may be inferred that the supply ot the latter material was exhausted in the district whence the signatures were obtained.

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Bibliographic details

THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 8, 14 October 1879

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3,438

THE FARMER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 8, 14 October 1879

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