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.