Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week Six Update on 18th Century Farming

Weekly Objective: To determine George Washington’s experiments and innovations.

What I did: This week I began writing on my paper. As of this point, I have gotten to page five and will definitely have the first seven pages of the rough draft completed by Sunday, which is a couple of days after my original goal. However, as you know, I did have surgery that I did not anticipate, and it threw me completely off my game! That being said, and before this, I did find it difficult to actually begin writing. This shocked me! I thought that I was ready to go because I have been so “in” to this project. But, I just ended up sitting at my computer for hours not being able to start. I would write a beginning, then erase and begin again. This happened about seven times. I have never had such a hard time before. Hmmmm.

I have also been reading my text George Washington: Farmer by Paul Leland Haworth. This particular text was written in 1915. So, it is not a primary source, and is written in a “ancient” speak. In other words, Haworth can be difficult to understand because of his wording. Also, he is definitely a George Washington promoter. In Haworth’s eyes, Washington could not have done any wrong, at least that is my take. There are many discriminatory remarks about the black slaves, which was disconcerting! Then I realized that I was going to have to look past that to get to my information because that was a different time, and the Country was still very much polarized by our races. I haven’t really gotten past that, but I think that I have at least come to an easier stance.

House on River Farm - One farm on Washington's Plantation

Discussion on this week’s text: One of the things that I realized after beginning this week’s text, is that I need to add tobacco as a crop. Washington, as well as other Virginians grew tobacco. I knew this, but had forgotten. Washington received some great stock of mules that he received from the King of Spain that he bred with his horses to receive some of the best riding animals in his opinion.  And interestingly, Washington was really interested in farming as a whole. He set up at least one experimental patch in each one of his plantations where he would use different fertilizers to see which would produce the best grain. He would also test different grains, nuts and fruit. [1]

The most interesting point that I have come across so far in all of my reading is that George Washington, the father of our country spliced fruit trees for experimental purposes! My grandparents had a small orchard on their farm, and I remember my grandfather talking about getting spliced saplings, but he never actually did the splicing. So, this was really fantastic for me to read. Washington tried to make species hardier and tastier. He had nut trees brought in from the far west (Mississippi), the deep south (Florida), and other countries (Barbados and the Mediterranean).[2]

The un-cool thing that I found out was that Washington also bred humans. Now, there wasn’t too much information on this in this book about this. I am not sure why Haworth mentions it, then backs off. I do have two more chapters to read, and there may be information in that. If so, I will try to update. And, there were mentions of purchases of white men, women and children as indentures. Two, at least, ran away and Washington put out notifications of redemption.[3]

As a side note, the farm land had been extremely cheap (comparatively) in the colonies and many people, including Washington, that kept buying up more land for farming.



Lucerne (868) – Alfalfa

Spelt (875) – A species of wheat

Harrow (894) – “An implement consisting of a heavy frame set with teeth or tines that  is dragged over plowed land to break up clods, remove weeds and cover seeds.”

Scow (966) – “A wide beamed sailing dingy – flat bottomed boat with sloping ends used as a lighter and in dredging and other harbor services.”

Hippopotamus (966) – “A horse power dredge on the Delaware River.”
Barrel Plough or Drill Plough (1008) – George Washington’s invention of a barrel mounted on a wheeled plough where holes where cut so that seed could drop into tubes that ran to the ground that also had a drag that followed that covered the seed

Originally written for class at American Military University.

[1] Paul Leland Haworth, George Washington: Farmer. 1915. Kindle Edition.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

PBS' Manor House

I have been asked many times within the last month if I’d seen PBS’ Manor House. I answered in the affirmative every time, although it has been a few years. Because of so many people asking me, and because I was looking for a procrastination event, I thought that I would see if I could find it on  Netflix, my typical go-to place. I was looking for a source (really just somewhat because I was in the procrastination spirit, after all), and found to my astonishing delight that it was available on Youtube.
Now, here is where I found out that I have been lying to everyone! I had not “seen Manor House” as I thought that I had. I had apparently seen the first part of episode one, and the second halve of the last episode, which made me think that it was only one show. Since I needed some time to not work on my homework, I thought that I would watch the first episode. Then, I just clicked on Episode Two. Now, I did not watch them all continuously, because I really have had to work on my homework. So, I have watched two episodes for the last three days and have just finished it.  I must say… WOW! How, I love this show!


 I feel immensely sad for the tutor. He was so sad and lonely, and no one saw it. He would call for service for the simple fact of having a human visitor. I really felt for him!


The chef did all of this amazing work, to be completely unappreciated by the family. To have had “Sir John” not even appreciate the special treatment that he received and to have been mad because he had a beautiful pig instead of modern food. What a silly man to have become so authoritarian in such a short time.

I wonder what became of them all! There are a few spin-offs it looks like, and I look forward to watching them all.
Here is more information Manor House. I highly recommend this show if you haven't seen it, or even if you have, watch it again!
All photographs are from PBS.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 5 Update on 18th Century Farming

Weekly Objective: To determine landscape changes caused by different farming techniques.
Fransesco de Goya

What I did: This was a holiday week, and I took Monday off. Well, I shouldn’t have because when I opened my book for the week, I noticed that the pages were double! I knew that I would have to do a lot of reading to get through the entire book… seven chapters. However, I did not realize that the pages were double that of other books, two columns and small print. So, that is all I did all week!

I also got a book in the mail. I don’t remember ordering it, but obviously I did. The Transformation of Rural England c. 1580-1800: A Study in Historical Geography, by R. A. Butlin. It is not a large book, more of a large booklet, having only 57 pages. Hopefully I’ll be able to read that this weekend either at work over a break, or in bed instead of a historical romance. This should be a nice rounding out of what I have read so far… hopefully!

Capability Brown's Deer Park

Discussion on this week’s text: The book for this week is The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape 1700-1870 by Tom Williamson. The information on the back of the book says that the author is a “Lecturer in Landscape History at the University of East Anglia.”[1] The university has BA in Landscape Archaeology, which I assume the class that he lectures for is aimed for.[2]  I was actually expecting quite a bit more information on the landscaping, but there was very little except in the exact formations that farming had in the field. In other words, I assumed that gardens would also have been included, but they were not. What I did find fascinating, although there was very little information on, was how hedgerows had been conducive to fox and grouse hunting, and how the owners of grand estates planted copses strictly for the benefit of raising pheasants to hunt.[3]
George Morland Rabbits

This book held a lot of the same information as the one that I read the previous two weeks, but with a different point of view. Williamson is supposedly a landscape historian; I’m not sure exactly what that means because I would have expected more of that, and not all of the profit information that he included. He does show how the landscape visually looked for different farming methods, which is fantastic! The Ridge and Furrow farming method is an ancient style that “cut a single furrow and the mould board turned the soil towards the right as the plough team moved down the strip… usually ploughed in a clockwise direction, starting in the middle and going round and round until the edge was reached. This served to move soil towards the center of the strip and over the years this led to the formation of a permanent ridge.”[4] The photograph shows deep ridges that look like modern day plows… but deeper. A theme that Williamson perpetuates throughout the text is that the open lands, and wastes had been enclosed, with not the initial purpose, but for the end purpose of raising and breeding animals such as goats, but more specifically, beef and dairy cattle.


One of the things that Williamson has pointed out, that last week’s authors did not was how the turnips had been used. I knew that they were fodder crop, animal feed. But, I had assumed that the animals were put out to pasture to eat this plant while it was still in the ground. However, this is not how it was used. Gangs of women and children would go into the field and pull the crop out and take it to the animals. They would, obviously, eat it in their winterized location – barns I would assume. Also, the corn straw would be put as bedding, as well as feed for the animals. The animals would do their business on it, and it would allow for composition. Then, this fully loaded manure would be taken and laid out over the fields. As a farmer’s daughter, I still did not quite understand that because… well, I only worked when I was made to work! So, Williamson points out again and again, that the turnips were grown for the animals, and so was most of the cereals. This contradicts my previous text, so I am not so sure that I entirely believe it.

The last things that I would like to point out from this text is that water mills had been extended on during my time period, especially for draining areas such as the moors.[5] They drained complete lakes, and rerouted rivers to be dead straight![6] I certainly did not know that before reading this book. Enclosure was used for political purposes, and claiming mineral rights.[7] Well, now that I think about it, this does make sense.


Coverts (46) – “Small areas of gorse and other scrub, often with a few trees for ornamental purposes – where the fox could breed in safety and where the huntsmen could be sure of ending their quarry.”

Marling (67) – “digging pits through the acidic topsoil to reach a more alkaline subsoil beneath.”

Warren (79) – A place where rabbits live and breed, either in a hill or a building.

Poaching (120) – “Rushes, reeds and other rank vegetations – growth of unpalatable plants.”

Soughs (120) - Underdrains

Originally written for class at American Military University.

[1] Tom Williamson. The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape 1700-1870. (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002.) Back cover.
[2]BA History with Landscape Archaeology.” University of East Anglia. (2012). (accessed September 7, 2012).
[3] Williamson, 45, 135.
[4] Ibid, 31.
[5] Ibid, 134.
[6] Ibid, 104.
[7] Ibid, 134.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 4 Update on 18th Century Farming

Week Objective: To determine why grains and animals had gains and/or losses within designated time.

What I did: This week I read the remaining chapters of The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape, 1700-1870. I received the books that I had ordered from the inter-library loan. So, I had to go and pick them up. These are Images of the Past, Farming Industry by Jon and Diane Sutherland and Sheep Farming in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Lincolnshire by J.A. Perkins.

 As a side note, I have to go into a certain area and pick up inter-library loans from a human being, as apposed to just getting them off the shelves if they are sent from within the library system. And, the lady thought that I had more than these two because there had been four farming books, three of which were on sheep farming. I live in a major suburb of Chicago, so there are no farms anywhere nearby! This was pretty interesting to me. Two had been for me, while two other sheep farming books for someone else. Weird!

Also, I have been making notes on British 18th century farming within my France in the Age of Enlightenment’s text, and also within an 18th century history book that I read for fun. I did notice links for additional sources, but I have not had time to actually read them yet. I hope to do so next week.

Discussion on this week’s text: I have noticed that the authors of this text were looking at output as the indicator of change, and not literal changes in farming techniques. So, I have had to really do a lot of reading between their lines. Again, as mentioned last week, I believe this to have been written to create a point-an argument, as in other history papers, and not just for general research/documentation purposes. Their argument seems to have been that the Farming Revolution occurred between the years 1800 to 1850.(1.) Although, again they had contradictions throughout their text, and they used the eighteenth and the entire nineteenth centuries within their studies. I am not disputing whether there had been more of a revolution at this time, however, my time period of interest had the beginnings of this revolution from which they indicate also. I believe that the many changes that occurred influenced their thesis time and also the industrial revolution had been in full blossom for their thesis time which also helped the Farming Revolution to evolve quicker.

These authors even indicate the fact that farming declined during the times of the French Revolution, and that output slowed. However, they indicate, but do not wish to acknowledge, that farming practices had slimmed time and input ratios. This occurred because of new forms of seeding practices, the seed drill had started to be used which allowed for better placement of seeds, and also for straight rows of crops that allowed for better cultivation.(2.) Also, grains had started to be thought of as feeding stock, not just for feeding people, and vice versa. In other words, barley had been used primarily for beer, and had then started to have been used as a soup additive. Oats had been grown for animal fodder, and then later for food. (3.) The corn (maize) stalks (called straw) had been used for animal food after they had matured, and then had started to be grown and cut before maturation to keep nutrients within the straw for better nutrition to the livestock.(4.)

Animals began to be bred for a specific purpose. Before the middle of the eighteenth century sheep had been kept primarily for manure. However, with the growth of the woolen industry, more sheep had been bred for wool. Also, the population began to increase dramatically, So, sheep had also begun to be bred for food.(5.) Obviously the breeding industry began with horses, for racing etc. However, the next, and first food animal to have been bred was the pig. Pigs were a great food source for the average person. Also, and the main point of this I believe, is that they are easy to breed and have a short gestational period, and they also have large litters.(6.) So, taking this into effect, this would certainly have been ideal for the person that wanted to experiment in breeding animals.

Cattle had also been begun to be bred. These animals were separated for milk and meet for breeding stock during this century. This is interesting because as a farmer’s daughter, I didn’t realize that this wasn’t always the case. Unfortunately, most farmers did not keep records of their breeding habits (at least per our authors), and kept the records of death weight upon sale. This, our authors used as a determining factor as to growth of the animal industry. However, they even mention that this was the time where the animals began to more of a meat product, as apposed to just an animal that is eaten.(7.) In other words, the meat and fat content of each animal increased, while the thickness of the hide and bones decreased.(8) This is significant for animal farmers, but is just glossed over in this text. This may be because our authors may not be farmers, or related to the farming industry. I do not know.

As a side note in reading this text, I noticed the eating habits of the Georgians. They really subsisted mostly on wheat, and VERY fat animals. Lean meat had been for poor people. I thought that this was interesting.




Tartar (Tartarian) – (location 1799) influenced by tartars of the central Asian peoples, a type of straw derived from corn crops, principally from oats.

Wethers (2067) – A castrated ram.

Downland Farming (1662) – farming gently rolling hill country, especially in southern England.


1. M.E. Turner, J.V. Beckett and B. Afton. The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape, 1700-1870. (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.), Location 2577,  Kindle Edition.

2. Ibid, 2306.

3. Ibid, 1710

4. Ibid, 1804

5. Ibid, 2037, 2152.

6. Ibid, 2237.

7. Ibid,1966, 2167.

8. Ibid, 2181.

Originally written for class at American Military University.

From Of the Use of Riches

So, I wanted to share this poem with you all. I will be using a snippet in my Farming paper, but the entire poem is beautiful, and definitely appropriate for this particular blog. Enjoy!


From Of the Use of Riches

Alexander Pope
      At Timon's villa let us pass a day,
Where all cry out, 'What sums are thrown away!'
So proud, so grand, of that stupendous air,
Soft and agreeable come never there.
Greatness, with Timon, dwells in such a draught
As brings all Brobdingnag, before your thought,
To compass this, his building is a town,
His pond an ocean, his parterre a down:
Who but must laugh, the master when he sees?
A puny insect, shivering at a breeze.
Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around!
The whole, a laboured quarry above ground.
Two cupids squirt before: a lake behind
Improves the keenness of the northern wind.
His gardens next your admiration call,
On every side you look, behold the wall!
No pleasing intricacies intervene,
No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other.
The grounds at The Royal Pavilion
The suffering eye inverted Nature sees,
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees,
With here a fountain, never to be played,
And there a summer-house, that knows no shade.
Here Amphitrite sails through myrtle bowers;
There gladiators fight, or die, in flowers;
Unwanted see the drooping sea-horse mourn,
And swallows roost in Nilus' dusty urn.
 Joseph Bose
     My Lord advances with majestic mien,
Smit with the mighty pleasure, to be seen:
But soft - by regular approach - not yet -
First through the length of yon hot terrace sweat,
And when up ten steep slopes you've dragged your thighs,
Just at his study-door he'll bless your eyes.
      His study! with what authors is it stored?
In books, not authors, curious is my Lord;
To all their dated backs he turns you round:
Sir Walter Scott's library
These Aldus printed, those Du Sueil has bound.
Lo some are vellum, and the rest as good
For all his Lordship knows, but they are wood.
For Locke or Milton 'til in vain to look,
These shelves admit not any modern book.
      And now the chapel's silver bell you hear,
That summons you to all the pride of prayer:
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heaven.
On painted ceilings you devoutly stare,
Where sprawl the saints of Verrio or Laguerre,
Or gilded clouds in fair expansion lie,
And bring all Paradise before your eye.
To rest, the cushion and soft Dean invite,
Who never mentions Hell to ears polite.
A room by John Adam


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Week Three Update on 18th Century Farming

Week Objective:

To determine the Agricultural Revolution, number of farms on a grand estate, rotation systems.

What I did:

 This week I read the four chapters in my Kindle book. This book, to me, reads like a Ph.D. dissertation that I read for a previous class. So, I’m wondering if this is one too. It was super expensive, so the price may be to try to make up for the authors’ research. I don’t know this for a fact, but just speculating because of how it reads. What I can say is that it seems to be quite thorough, if boring. The authors do not differentiate, at times, from what time period they are referring to. So, I have to go back and forth to make sure that I am getting the correct information for the time period from which I want to focus. What I mean to say is that every chapter is written from 18th to late 19th century, and in some cases includes 17th and/or 20th century information. He wrote it well, but because I am looking at 18th and early 19th centuries, I want to make sure that I am getting the proper time periods here.

Other things that I did this week include, besides ordering and receiving this book, ordering and receiving the other books that we spoke about. The Kindle books are easily received because, well, they download within a minute. However, the “real” book, The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape 1700-1870, was also ordered. I ordered it from Amazon Prime, and it took three days to receive. It is absolutely beautiful! It actually looks like it is supposed to be a textbook, and is maybe used for this for farming students. I know that Tennessee State University has a farming school because there is a campus just outside the town in Tennessee where I am from. Perhaps they have a class that would use this. Or, another type of school similar to TSU, etc. may use it. There are a lot of figures and photographs that I hope to be able to utilize. I have not looked inside the other Kindle books, so I am not sure how they appear!

Discussion on this week’s text:

As per the week number two’s book; there is some reference to payment of farm workers in grain. Of course, this is a secondary source, while the first is primary, so there was some difference as to how it was presented. Interestingly, these authors point out that the agricultural revolution was from 1560 to 1767, and did not occur in just one century. This does make perfect sense.[1] However, I believed it have been from the late 1600’s through the Victorian period. I may even argue our authors to my beliefs. He does go on to say that there was a second agricultural revolution, which began after the Napoleonic Wars.[2] I think that there certainly were some changes that occurred in the Renaissance, but this does not mean that this is when the full blown out revolution took place. From all of my texts in my European and American history classes, there is very little indication that this actually happened before the late 17th century. And, many of the KEY elements occurred during the Georgian periods, which is why I decided that this was an important factor. He does go on to say that many of the elements that shows us the agricultural revolution occurred before the third quarter of the eighteenth century.[3] This was based upon output, and not design. So, perhaps he was not looking at the REASONS behind the change, and only looking at the AMOUNT of grain output. However, this does not necessarily mean that the revolution was over, but that it could have been in a hiatus due to the diversification of methods. I will look into that idea.

A contradictory notion is introduced on 229. Here the authors state that there were two agricultural revolutions, the yeoman’s in the 17th and the landlord’s in the 18th.[4] This does make more sense to me. The poorer people were looking to create innovative ways to produce more food for themselves, and to sell off. Then, the landlords were looking (well, weren’t they always?) to innovate more ways for them to make more money, without having to share it with the poor.

Another point that is made is that there had been a dearth during the Napoleonic Wars.[5] I do not find this ironic because the men were off fighting. So, of course there were less people that had been available to work the fields. Then, output was no longer keeping up with demand.[6] Again, the men were away! Prices rose, again this was a way of the world because there had been less grain and more need – to feed families and the soldiers that were away.

A key point for me was that I did not know that there had been MANY small farms on the grand estates. For some reason, I thought that there may have been one or three. However, there had been generally around eleven great farms per estate with 500 to 1,000 acres per farm. This is absolutely important for me in my studies! Another super idea is that this book shows the rotations that went from the plant –fallow to the Norfolk style that was the four-field system. It cut down on the main crop (usually wheat), and held one of the fields – wheat, beans (usually barley), grass and turnips. This was different from the three-field system that did not include the turnips. The turnips are a plant that adds nitrogen to the field, and they are used to feed animals. So, the animals were put into the turnip field and produced fertilizer too, thus making the field more beneficial than just allowing it to be fallow for a year or two.[7]


 Agrarian (225) – Relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of land. Relating to landed property.

 Fallow (885) – Land that is plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated; inactive.

Originally written for class at American Military University.

[1] M.E. Turner, J.V. Beckett and B. Afton. The Transformation of Rural England: Farming
and the Landscape, 1700-1870. (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.), 183,  Kindle Edition.
[2] Ibid, 184.
[3] Ibid, 224.
[4] Ibid, 229.
[5] Ibid, 246.
[6] Ibid, 249.
[7] Ibid, 887.

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