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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The Fat of the Land.

I do not mean to convey the idea that forty years is the life of an orchard; hundreds of years would be more correct.  As trees die from accident or decrepitude, others should take their places.  Thus the lease of life becomes perpetual in hands that are willing to keep adding to the soil more than the trees and the fruit take from it.  Comparatively few owners of orchards do this, and those who belong to the majority will find fault with my figures; but the thinking few, who do not expect to enjoy the fat of the land without making a reasonable return, will say that I am too conservative,—­that a well-placed, well-cared-for, well-selected, and well-marketed orchard will do much better than my prophecy.  Nature is a good husbandman so far as she goes, but her scheme contemplates only the perpetuation of the tree, by seeds or by other means.  Nature’s plan is to give to each specimen a nutritive ration.  Anything beyond this is thrown away on the individual, and had better be used for the multiplying of specimens.  When man comes to ask something more than germinating seeds from a plant, he must remove it from the crowded clump, give it more light and air, and feed it for product.  In other words, he must give it more nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash than it can use for simple growth and maintenance, and thus make it burst forth into flower-or fruit-product.  Nature produces the apple tree, but man must cultivate it and feed it if he would be fed and comforted by it.  People who neglect their orchards can get neither pleasure nor profit from them, and such persons are not competent to sit in judgment upon the value of an apple tree.  Only those who love, nourish, and profit by their orchards may come into the apple court and speak with authority.

CHAPTER XL

THE TIMOTHY HARVEST

On Friday, the 25th, the children came home from their schools, and with them came Jim Jarvis to spend the summer holidays.  Our invitation to Jarvis had been unanimous when he bade us good-by in the winter.  Jack was his chum, Polly had adopted him, I took to him from the first, and Jane, in her shy way, admired him greatly.  The boys took to farm life like ducks to water.  They were hot for any kind of work, and hot, too, from all kinds.  I could not offer anything congenial until the timothy harvest in July.  When this was on, they were happy and useful at the same time,—­a rare combination for boys.

The timothy harvest is attractive to all, and it would be hard to find a form of labor which contributes more to the aesthetic sense than does the gathering of this fragrant grass.  At four o’clock on a fine morning, with the barometer “set fair,” Thompson started the mower, and kept it humming until 6.30, when Zeb, with a fresh team, relieved him.  Zeb tried to cut a little faster than his father, but he was allowed no more time.  Promptly at nine he was called in, and there was to be no more

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