Farming for Boys
What They Have Done, and What Ohers May
Do, In the Cultivation of Farm and
Garden, —How to Begin, How
to Proceed, and What
to Aim At.
Among the multitude of recent publications designed – exclusively for boys there are very few which put before them the superior charm, as well as the general superior safety, of a farmer’s life.
The pervading tendency of modern publications for the youthful mind has been to fit them for trade or commerce in the great cities, as if those human hives were the only spots whereon men could be prosperous and happy.
Examples of friendless adventurers from the country to the city, who rose to fortune, have been largely set before the youthful mind, while no proper notice has been taken of the much more numerous classes of boys who, beginning as rakers in the hayfield, thence rose to the position of successful farmers, and subsequently to that of statesmen or public benefactors.
The charm of city life has been unduly magnified, while the greater one of country life has been overlooked. Our boys have thus too generally been taught to think the former preferable to the latter. Experience of the trials which belong to it in the end convinces them of the mistake they made in leaving the green fields of their childhood for the dust and turmoil of the city.
Many are annually repeating it, stimulated to do so by the tone of most of our publications, and by the advice of parents and friends to whom these have given a false coloring of the truth.
Many are thus regretting the day when they abandoned the wide harvest-field for the narrow counter of a city shop; and too many sighs in vain for the great fortune they were speedily to acquire, and for liberty to once more return and labor on the old homestead on which they were born.
If in early life insensible to its attractions, because no one taught them to understand and appreciate them, they feel and comprehend them now.
A Neglected Farm. — Tony King, the Orphan. — History of Uncle Benny. — Nothing like being handy with Tools…
All Farming is a Job. — Stopping a great Leak. — Giving Boys a Chance. —A Lecture in the Barn. — Working One’s Way up.
A Poor Dinner. — What Surface Drainage means. — The Value of Drainage. —A wet Barn-yard. —What constitutes Manure. —Help yourself. — The Young Pedler…
Idlers in the Barn. — Uncle Benny’s Notions. — How to make a Beginning. — Leaving the -Farm. — Boys and Girls. — Don’t quit the Farm….
Something to do. — The Value of Pigeons. — Buying Pigs and Pigeons. — The Old Battle-Ground at Trenton. — How to keep Pigeons…
Building a Pig-Pen. — How to keep Pigs. — A great Increase. — Two Acres of Corn. — Liquid Manure the Life of a Plant ….
Visit to a Model Farm. — The Story of Robert Allen. — How
to raise Horseradish. — No such Thing as Luck …
Never kill the Birds. — Pets of all Kinds. — What Undertraining means. — More Horseradish. — — Encouraging the Boys…
How to manage a Peach-Orchard. —A Boy’s Work-shop. — A Crowd of Poultry. —Making the Hens lay. — A Boys’ Library…
Having a Dozen Friends. — Killing a Snake. — Cruelty con- demned. —Lecture on a Worm-fence. —Value of Agricultural
Fairs. — A returned Adventurers…
Mismanaging a Horse. — Value of an Inch of Rain. — Planting a Tree. — Value of sharp Hoes. — A Tree-Pedler. — How Plants Grow…
A great Brier-Patch. — Putting it to good Use. — Amazing the Neighbors…
How the Pets succeeded. — Going to the Fair. — A Young Horse-race. —Trying for a Premium…
Harvesting Corn. — Taking Care of Blackberries. — Winter
Sports and Winter Evenings. — Planting Strawberries and
Raspberries. — Getting the best Tools…
The old Field again. —Poverty a good Thing. —Gathering the Crop. — A great Profit. — Stopping the Croakers. — The Se- cret of Success…
Play as well as Work. — Fishing and a Fish-Pond. — A bad
Accident. — Taming a Crow. — Don’t kill the Toads …
All Weather good. — A Disappointment. — Making Money. — City and Country Life. — Wealth and its Uses. — Contrast between old Times and the Present…
Changes on the Farm. — The Boys becoming Men. — Tony and his Prospects. — Going into the Army. —A great Discovery. — Uncle Benny’s Triumph. —Tony King made happy…
This little volume has been prepared to counteract, to some extent, this prevalent disposition for encouraging our youth to exchange the country for the city, —to convince those already living in the former that their future respectability and happiness will be best promoted by remaining where they are, as well as to impress on the minds of city parents that they will be doing for their sons an acceptable service by cultivating in them a love for country life in place of that for a city one.
I have set before them striking instances of the general superiority of agricultural employment, of their comparative freedom from temptation to vice, of the sure rewards they bring to intelligently directed industry and shown that it is a great mistake to suppose that all who exchange the farm for the city become either good, or great, or even rich.
The fact is made manifest, in the personal history of a multitude of distinguished men, that the farm, and not the city, has been the birthplace of the leading minds of all countries.
To stimulate the faculty or disposition for acquiring money, I have endeavored to show how the boy upon a farm may make a beginning. Heretofore, the children of too many farmers have been kept as mere drudges, now at school and now at work, with no pains taken to encourage their individual enterprise by showing them how to make something for themselves.
The hope of profit nerves the enterprise and sharpens the wit of men. Why should our boys be so wholly excluded from all shares in what, when grown to maturity, so generally becomes the great impulse to all future effort?
The mass of farmers’ boys understand that they must carve out their own fortunes. If their parents would afford them some little opportunity to begin early, —an equal one with the sharp newsboy of the city, —they too would become so shrewd, so self-reliant, so expert at acquisition, even on the farm, that, educated to moderation, they would be too well satisfied with small gains to be overcome by the seductions of city life.
If it were mere money which makes the latter attractive, the certainty of being able to acquire it at home would seem to be potent enough to surround with greater attractions the spot on which the farmer’s boy may have been born.
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