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THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 61, 14 February 1880
AMONG THE FARMERS. (By Gun Rambling Reporter.) WaKANUI. CONTINUED. Before going into particulars about any body’s farm, I intend to say a few words about the slip shod way in which some of my farming acquaintances do their work, and prominently among their many failings is the manner in which they work, or rather murder, their machinery and implements. A reaper and binder means an expenditure of some L7O, and with duo care, a little knowledge of machinery, sufficient oil, and some common sense one of these machines ought to last, with some few extras, for at any rate four or five seasons. Like most Yankee notions they are gingerbread in construction, but capable of doing their work if the instructions sent with the machines are attended to. But when I find that they are worked as fast as the horses can travel, without the driver examining the wearing parts to oil them, or the manifold nuts to tighten them up occasionally, one cannot wonder at hearing complaints to the effect that the Osborne is a duffer, the Wood is no good, and the M'Corraack has always a trap in attendance to go to town for an extra. My bucolic friends, take my advice ! Drive slow, give your machines lots of oil, and recollect that it is better to lose five minutes occasionally in tightening up your nuts, than a day in going for some broken or worn out fitting, which with ordinary care would have stood you thi’oughout the season if you had not been in such a hurry. “ More haste, less speed,” is a proverb more applicable to American reapers and binders than to anything else I know of. I saw on one farm a couple of machines which had a number of bolts and nuts missing alto- , gether, and the horses travelling along, ( the driver being perfectly satisfied with his work so long as the grain was cut and j the sheaves tied. The good man did not count the cost of the damage ho was ( doing his machine. He will probably j have his grain down a day sooner, but . at the end of his harvest his M'Gormack j will be worth the price of old iron. ( Seafield this year shows a great improve- , ment upon its last year’s record, and f although two bad seasons wore the cause y of several good men having to go to the * wall their places have been filled, and r those wh -> were able to weather the storm £ will now reap the reward of their perser- t veranCe and pluck. j Prominent among the farms here is the land owned by Messrs. Hooper and Dod- p son, a Nelson firm, who purchased the J. land originally selected by Mr. Prouder- q gast, and some other holdings adjacent— • altogether some 900 acres—and under the ( able superintendence of Mr. James Bra tie, £ the farm is one of the most notable in the c district, the improvements being worthy r of imitation by the neighbors. An Alt- y house windmill rears its lofty proportions t near the stable, and the avenue, a chain y wide, with a healthy growth of gums on „ each side, promises to make an enticing “lovers’walk ” for whoever may become ‘ the fortunate residents in a few years ; hence. On this farm there were no idlers ( about on my visit. Reaping, stooking, f carting in, stacking, and thrashing were t all going on simultaneously, and ap- £ On this block there are T about 320 acres of wheat, and Messrs Hooper £ and Dodson will have to pay for carting J some 9000 bushels of grain off it when the p thrasher is done. 100 acres of oats will j give a yield of 35 bushels to the acre ; j and a small field of barley, which will j yield about 22 bushels, will bo at once despatched to the owners’ brewery in Nelson, to be converted into harvest ale, where that article is brewed to perfection. Adjoining, this farm Mr. E. A. Field’s holding is the next at which I made a call, and I was sorry to see that the rust had played havoc with the wheat ; and a j. paddock of 100 acres is actually not worth y the trouble of cutting. The balance is, £ however, a very fair oyop. Ho has p altogether 210 acres in wheat, ISO of oats, ‘ t a fair 20 bushel crop, and 170 in grass, j On the opposite side of the road 1 found a busy scone on the education reserve, of 1 which Messrs. Saunders Bros, arc the lesees, y Mr. H. Parsons being the directing genius j of the harvesting operations. Ho is the f machine doctor of the district, and when a M'Conmfck gets sick he is sent for as ’ being equal to any emergency in such j canes of illness. He has no sinecure, , as the bare bones and worn out look ‘ of one of the best horses I ever , knew will testify, but when a , farm steward lias the overlooking of so much as Mr. Parsons has it is to be ex- ( pected that horse flesh must suffer. Rust 1 has made au alteration in the crops here , too, and a paddock of 450 acres of wheat, ) which a week ago promised to yield 25 , bushels per acre, will now do well to j thresh out half that quantity. About 1 300 acres in another part ought to give 22 . bushels. Mr. Osborne, a sub-tenant on . this block bad a splendid crop of barley, . which was just about finished threshing ( when I passed and it has managed to give . something like 25 bushels. Besides, he ■ has a few acres of very good oats. Mr. Murdoch Bruce, who is looked upon as the “ oldest inhabitant,’ and is consequently the chairman of the School Committee, and. a good one at that, is also a “ cropper ” on the reserve, besides having a considerable block of freehold adjoining. He can’t complain this year —having 140 acres of wheat equal to 20 bushels ; 50 of oats, about 35 bushels ; a little barley ; and a hundred acres ready for next season. (to be continued ) IMPORTED PESTS. The sparrow is by no means ikely to have things his own way, or remain “ monarch of all he surveys” (says the “ Waipawa Mail ”). At present there is every appearance that the linnet is to dispute with him, and not unsuccessfully, the right to be regarded one of the first of acclimatised pests. Whether linnets are any use, as grub and insect destroyers or not we know not, certain it is they are very destructive to grain. We lately saw a small field of oats, and through the ravages of these birds it presented the appearance of having been threshed. The best grain bad been eaten out, and nothing but empty husks left, and at the time we saw it almost every stalk of grain had one or more birds perched upon it, and so tame had they become that they paid hardly any attention to our presence. It is only now that we shall reap the fruits of our folly in introducing such posts, and bet'.veen sparrows, linnets, rabbits, and rust, the future prospects of agriculturists are not over cheering. The first three arc the products of our own thoughtlessness ; such bcimr the case, acclimatisation societies woufd do well to see that all future introductions, if neither useful nor ornamental, at least possess the virtue of being harmless.
THE FARMER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 61, 14 February 1880
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