This poem about crop rotation will make the benefits easy to remember

Alfalfa farming in America
Alfalfa farming in America

The Rotation of Crops

By Sereno Edwards Todd
From The New York Tribune

The rotation system, which good tillers fix,
Embraces five seasons, and sometimes full six.
When one crop succeedeth through many long years,
Each harvest decreaseth, and dwarfeth the ears.

If herds of neat cattle or sheep be thy care,
Then grass in rotation must form a good share.
When corn, barley, clover, and turnips, and wheat,
Comprise the rotation, field peas will be meet.

Ere ploughing and sowing, the tiller should know
What crops the ground liketh the better to grow.
First, break up thy grass land and plant it with corn;
The field, the next season, let barley adorn.

Succeeding the barley, sow buckwheat or oats;
Then harvest a pea crop to nourish your shotes.
Oft ploughing and teasing and weeding the ground,
With liberal compost scattered around.

And sprinkled with ashes to make the land sweet,
With lime and some bone-dust to fatten the wheat.
The next, in rotation, a crop of red clover:
When blossoms are fragrant, then let the plough cover.

A six-years’ rotation now beareth the sway,
And showeth the tiller a progressive way;
A six years’ rotation will cattle increase;
Will multiply bushels and debtors release.

A six years’ rotation, when fairly begun,
Will harvest two bushels where now groweth one.
A six-years’ rotation, as all will agree,
Two years’ yield of clover is better than three.

When poor soil needs succor, to keep the land clean,
Grow clover and sowed corn to turn under green;
But where fertile muck and light soils abound,
Arrange the rotation as suiteth the ground.

How to make an ice house

The ice trade
Originally published in Gleason’s Drawing Room Companion, 1852, US; reproduced in Cummings “the Ice Trade”, California, 1949

With the temperature expected to reach 94 degrees today in Cleveland, Ohio, this introduction of how to make an ice house seems timely and comes courtesy of “The New England Farmer; A Monthly Journal devoted to Agriculture, Horticulture and their Kindred Arts & Sciences, Volume VII.”

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Home Remedies for Sleeplessness

Snow White
Courtesy of from a 1913 version of Snow White.

Sleeplessness seems to be a reality in our modern culture. Everyone has their own sleep patterns and what is normal for one person is not normal for another. One of the more modern culprits for lack of sleep is probably our smart phones. I find myself being guilty of checking facebook before I go to bed and I have to make a conscious effort to set the alarm and set the phone down. Having said that, it’s ironic that one of the best ways I’ve found to help break from the day’s issues and worries is using a breathing app on my phone. There are several out there but the one that I’ve had luck with is Universal Breathing – Pranayama, by Saagara. The version I downloaded was several years ago and free at the time. The new app (which looks similar but that I haven’t tried) is $4.99. What was once old is new again. Just remember this when you get to number 7 on the list below.

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Vintage Mint Julep recipes for your Kentucky Derby party!

mint julep
An illustration of a Mint Julep from “How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” 1862

In preparation for the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, May 6th, I found these mint julep recipes in the book “How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, Containing clear and reliable directions for mixing all the beverages used in the United States, together with the most popular British, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish recipes, embracing punches, juleps, cobblers, etc., etc., etc., in endless variety,” by Jerry Thomas – formerly principal bar-tender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and the Planter’s House, St. Louis. 1862.

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Old-fashioned Molasses Candy

Candy Pulling
The Candy-Maker: A Practical Guide to the Manufacture of the Various Kinds of Plain and Fancy Candy. 1878

I found these recipes for Molasses candy in “The Candy-Maker: A Practical Guide to the Manufacture of the Various Kinds of Plain and Fancy Candy.” 1878. Please reply in the comments section if you try any of these and which you like best. Also, if you have any memories that involve molasses candy I’d love to hear them. At the end of the story, it is saying to “boil to the ball.” I did some research and this seems to mean that when you drop the molasses into cold water to cool it down it will form a soft ball.

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Overview of Vintage Candy Making Techniques

Candy Making
From one of my favorite vintage image sources,

This entry is the first in a series about candy making. With summer and salt water taffy season around the corner I thought this would be a useful starting point to find out the vintage way of making some favorite candies. I found this overview in “Scammer’s Universal Treasure-House of Useful Knowledge. An Encyclopedia of Valuable Receipts in the Principal Arts of Life,” compiled and edited by Henry B. Scammell. Assisted by Experts in Every Department. 1889. Keep in mind that when referring to “bladders” I found that this means small air bubbles. I also tried in vain to find a definition of what “flirt” means in terms of cooking. If anyone knows what this was referencing, please comment in the section below the story.

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Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
‘Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Come on boys, let’s go find her,
Come on boys, let’s go find her,
Come on boys, let’s go find her,
‘Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Picking up paw-paw, puttin’ ‘em in your pocket,
Picking up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in your pocket,
Picking up paw-paws, puttin’ ‘em in your pocket,
‘Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

Way Down Yonder in the Pawpaw Patch. Lyrics. © The Library of Congress. Music Division.

Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

Nine large ripe tomatoes, 1 onion chopped fine, 4 hot peppers, 2 cups vinegar, 1 table-spoon salt, 1 table-spoon sugar, 1 tea-spoon ginger, 1 tea-spoon cloves, 1 tea-spoon allspice, 1 tea-spoon cinnamon, 1 tea-spoon nutmeg. Boil one hour.

Mary R. Kinder, Milford, Delaware

Chili Sauce (alternative recipe)

Boil 1/2 bushel tomatoes till soft, with 3 or 4 red peppers. Press all through a sieve, add 1 pt. cider vinegar, 1/2 pt. salt, 1 oz. whole cloves, 2 ozs. whole allspice, 1 dessert spoon ground black pepper, 1 cup sugar. Boil all together 3 hours. If ground spices are preferred they may be used.

Mary E. Bussell – Newark, New Jersey

From “The Home Queen Cook Book” 1893