THE STRATHLEYEN SHIPMENT.
('From the Nezo Zealand Loan and Me7-cantih
Agency Co.’s Circular, of 26th Feb., iSSo.,)
The Strathleven, s., from Sydney and Melbourne, arrived in London on the 31st January. In addition to her ordinary cargo, she brought a quantity, say about 35 tons, of mutton and beef in carcase and in joints, frozen in a specially constructed chamber in the vessel, refrigerated by the process known as the “ 13ell-Coleman.” By this process it is understood that the natural air is withdrawn from the chamber, washed, dried and cooled, and returned at low temperature, wherein the meat freezes without the aid of chemicals of any kind. On inspection of the meat while the vessel lay in dock, and while still subject to the action of intense cold, it was found to be in a perfectly sound state, frozen quite hard, and covered with an artificial rime. The beef, in quarters, was less attractive than the mutton, some of the former having been handled roughly at the time of shipment, and presenting in consequence an unsightly appearance. The latter consisted principally of whole sheep, and looked much better.
So far as the initial experiment of safely transporting meat from Australia by this method is concerned, it must be said to have succeeded. It is proved beyond doubt that meat can be brought to this country in a sound and sweet condition, and it remains to be seen whether, being landed here, it can be put on the markets and sold satisfactorily. In the first instance it is probable, judging from what has been observed of the present shipment, that in the interval which necessarily elapses between the time of arrival and consumption the increased temperature to which the meat becomes exposed may have a prejudicial effect upon it, rendering it soft and flabby, and liable to early decomposition. Such of the joints as we have seen since their sale at Smithfield gave strong indications of these defects, and had lost, in a great degree, the fresh, healthy [appearance exhibited while in the freezing room. It was assumed that after being cooked both beef and mutton might be wanting in flavor, and the longer they remained out of the freezing room the more the more apparent this defect would become. That assumption, however, has not been up to the present justified by actual teats, and, whatever may be the case in warmer weather, such portions of the meat as we have seen cooked during the present week have been found neither lacking in flavor nor quality. The joints certainly require careful and slow cooking, but with that attention given they come to the table in good order. It is suggested that the extreme degree of cold to which the meat is exposed may have a tendency to injure or partially destroy its natural juices, and that this effect will become the more pronounced after a longer continuance of the process. There are, doubtless, grounds for this apprehension, which is based on the well-known practice of butchers in this country preserving their meats from frost whenever practicable ; but in practice it may prove to be exaggerated. In the meantime, also, it may be found that the successful application of the ‘ 1 BellColeman” process is not incompatible with the existence of a somewhat higher temperature than that on board the “ Btrathleven.” If it should bo so there may be less danger of injury to meat and less likelihood of its turning bad before it reaches the consumer. Part of the unsightliness of the beef above alluded to was the result, we believe, of its having been carelessly thrown down on the ship’s deck when brought on board. This should be guarded against, and the quarters or joints protected by wrappers of calico or similar material. CHURNING. Trouble in churning is frequently complained of in winter. Much of the trouble is due to a neglect of the temperature, which cannot be told with any approach to accuracy except by using a thermometer. If the cream is brought into a warm room until the thermometer shows it to stand at 60°, we rarely find any difficulty. In old times the cream was thought to bo bewitched, and as the power of a horseshoe to keep witches away is well known, it was used to drive witches from the churn. The horse-shoe was heated red hot and dropped into the cream in the churn. It drove the witches away when it brought the cream to the right temperature. MIXED FARMING. Until our country is settled up, and the virgin fertility of the new soil is beginning to be exhausted, we cannot hope for that safe and solid foundation for our agriculture which comes from mixed farming. When every farmer comes to that point when he knows that his land is the medium through which crude fertilising elements pass in becoming food —vegetables, fruits, grain, flesh—he will feel the importance of a variety of products—a rotation of crops—and the value of animals in the economy of the farm. As our country grows older from necessity, if for no other reason, farmers will be more thorough students of their profession. SOME CORN IN ILLINOIS. The corn crop of the single State of Illinois for the year 1879 is reported to be 305,813,377 bushels, and estimated to be worth 07,483,052, or about 31 £ cents, per bushel. It is difficult for the mind to take in the full magnitude of these figures. Here are some calculations that will help the conception ; Load this corn upon wagons, 40 bushels to the load, and start them off on the road so near together that there shall be 100 teams in every mile. The line of wagons carrying this one crop of Illinois corn would stretch away 7-6,453 miles, or more than three times around the world ! —Again : Load this crop upon railway freight cars, 2851? bushels or about 8 tons to the car, and make up these cars into a continuous freight train, allowing 30 feet of ti’ack to each car. The train would extend 6,080 miles, or nearly twice across the continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans ! —Again : Suppose we put this corn crop into a square bin 20 feet deep. Let the arithmetical young readers of the “American Agriculturist’ reckon how large this bin would bo each way. Also, liow many acres it would cover.—Also, how many pounds of pork it would make if given to pigs weighing 10a lbs. each when they begin feeding upon the corn, and 250 lbs. wlxen killed for pork. MILK—WHAT IS IT. The natural food for the young of all mammals is milk—a rather complex fluid, the phjrsical properties of which it is not necessary to describe. The principal constituents are water, sugar, caseine, albumin, fat, and several salts. The sugar, when separated, looks much like the ordinary kind from the cane, but is much less sweet, Caseine is one of the leading constituents, and is the part which, when removed from the milk, becomes the cheese. The caseine exists in sxxxall particles in the milk, and is contracted or gathered into large masses by the action of acids or rennet. The albumin remains in solution after the caseine is removed, and separated by boiling, when it appears as white curds, somewhat resembling the white of eggs in appearance, a? it does also ixx composition. The fat is not dissolved in tlio milk, but suspended as little globules with thin coverings. In the process of churning, these globules are broken, and the fat collects in lumps of
various sizes. The fat, when worked, etc., is the butter of the market and table. The ash is but a small part of the milk, and consists of a numler of substances, which are loft behind when the milk is dried down and burned. There are many things to influence the percentage of these various ingredients of milk. It is far from the same in different species, and among cows, the breed, feed, general treatment, age of animals, etc., all have a modifying influence.
“ There is no Pear of a Suiiplus.” —Such is the heading of a paragraph in an American farmers’ paper, and what 'follows shows how shrewdly the Yankees can look at things as they are : —“ The world’s markets are at our feet. The fear that we can produce more than can be disposed of is a bug-bear and a phantom. It has been conclusively shown that at a certain price we can control all the European markets, and that this price, while it pays us fairly, is too small for a profit to the European farmers, who have to pay large rents, heavy taxes, employ expensive labor, and use costly fertilisers. Think for a moment ! There are seven millions of soldiers in Europe, who are non-pro-ducers, and expensive consumers ; two or three millions of army horses, all eating, and not working; emperors, kings, princes, and titled persons of all kinds, who are supported in the greatest luxury out of the ,public revenues ; and “ the farmer pays for all. ” We need not fear to compete with farmers so burdened ; our prosperity consists in lessening the cost of our produce, and selling it to those nations who thus hamper themselves with burdens too grievous to be borne ; becoming, in fact, the food producers for a large portion of the population of the world, nearly one-half living without labor. ”
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