Johnson started the one-and-one-half-acre vegetable and fruit garden in April, and devoted much of his time to it. His primitive hotbeds gradually emptied themselves into the garden, and we now began to taste the fruit of our own soil, much to the pleasure of the whole colony. It is surprising what a real gardener can do with a garden of this size. By feeding soil and plants liberally, he is able to keep the ground producing successive crops of vegetables, from the day the frost leaves it in the spring until it again takes possession in the fall, without doing any wrong to the land. Indeed, our garden grows better and more prolific each year in spite of the immense crops that are taken from it. This can be done only by a person who knows his business, and Johnson is such a person. He gave much of his time to this practical patch, but he also worked with Polly among the shrubs on the lawn, and in her sunken flower garden, which is the pride of her life. We shall hear more about this flower garden later on.
The accounts for the second quarter of the year show these items on the income side:—
Twenty-five calves 275.00
THE YOUNG ORCHARD
One of the most enjoyable occupations of a farmer’s life is the care of young trees. Until your experience in this work is of a personal and proprietary nature, you will not realize the pleasure it can afford. The intimate study of plant life, especially if that plant life is yours, is a never failing source of pleasurable speculation, and a thing upon which to hang dreams. You grow to know each tree, not only by its shape and its habit of growth, but also by peculiarities that belong to it as an individual. The erect, sturdy bearing of one bespeaks a frank, bold nature, which makes it willing to accept its surroundings and make the most of them; while the crooked, dwarfish nature of another requires the utmost care of the husbandman to keep it within the bounds of good behavior. And yet we often find that the slow-growing, ill-conditioned young tree, if properly cared for, will bring forth the finest fruit at maturity.
To study the character and to watch the development of young trees is a pleasing and useful occupation for the man who thinks of them as living things with an inheritance that cannot be ignored. That seeds in all appearance exactly alike should send forth shoots so unlike, is a wonder of Nature; and that young shoots in the same soil and with the same care should show such dissimilarity in development, is a riddle whose answer is to be found only in the binding laws of heredity. That a tiny bud inserted under the bark of a well-grown tree can change a sour root to a sweet bough, ought to make one careful of the buds which one grafts on the living trunk of one’s tree of life. The young orchard can teach many lessons to him who is willing to be taught; in the hands of him who is not, the schoolmaster has a very sorry time of it, no matter how he sets his lessons.