Thursday, April 17, 2008


When the seasons change, I often re-read parts of an Elizabethan Agrarian Poem by Thomas Tusser- 100 Points of Husbandry. You can find the whole poem on several websites, but the Book Lost Country Life by Dorothy Hartley includes many amplifications for the modern reader. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how our European ancestors maintained their household economies. Here is some Tusser:

A hundreth good pointes, of good husbandry,
maintaineth good household, with huswifry.
Housekeeping and husbandry, if it be good:
must love one another, as cousins in blood.
The wife too, must husband as well as the man:
or farewell thy husbandry, doe what thou can.

Each month is a chapter on the farming year. This is from March

In Marche and in Aprill, from morning to night:
in sowing and setting, good huswiues delight.
To hoe in their garden or some other plot:
to trim up their house, and to furnish their pot

Right now my good huswife is still away, so I am preparing for the sowing and setting. This time of year a 24 hour workday would be a good start From "morning to night" does not seem like enough. There are fences to fix, gardens to till, sheep to shear, manure to haul, and a small patch of corn ground to plow up. There is still time for pleasure though, and seeing the heifers on grass is a real pleasure to me. My wife always delight in the flowers. I am not much for flowers, but I like daffodils, due to their association with Celtic Saint David. I built the stone wall about ten years ago. It is 35 feet of wall and needed a tremendous amount of stone. I enjoyed it, but don't know if I have another wall in me or not.


Annette in Mississippi said...

Your wall is a thing of great interest and beauty. Thanks for sharing it.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Thank you for the kind words! Oddly, most older people walk right by it, and younger people tend to notice it.