« ForrigeFortsæt »
ing grounds and the court-house happened to be in their way, a proxy was appointed to represent the accused insects, who debated the whole subject with the accuser, after which judgment was rendered, invariably against the accused insects in the form of an excommunication, which was carried into effect only when the insects disappeared at the time of pupation."
The suggestion which Washington is said to have made upon the constitution whilst that instrument was under discussion, is not inapplicable to the present subject. A clause having been proposed that the standing army should be limited to five thousand men, he suggested that another be inserted forbidding any foreign power to invade us with more than three thousand men!
It is probably advisable to provide for inspection of plants at ports of entry, but too much should not be expected of such examinations. The examination soon comes to be largely a perfunctory matter, and the most serious pests may easily slip through the hands of officers. It is probable that no law could be devised which could have kept the codlin-moth, Hessian-fly, gipsy-moth, and a score of other pests, out of the country, to say nothing of the fungous diseases, which are more difficult to detect. Then, again, one can never tell what insects are likely to become troublesome upon introduction into a new country. Many insects which are comparatively innocuous in their native country, and against which, therefore, no suspicion exists, may become scourges in an
Natural Spread of Insects.
other country. A comparatively harmless insect in France becomes the dreaded horn-fly in America. Again, the demand for legislation usually arises because of the incursion of some new intruder, but a pest is commonly worst. worst when newly introduced, for, like a prairie fire, it finds its course unimpeded. After a time it reaches an approximate limit to its furious spread, parasites overtake it, and other pests contest its feeding grounds. Nearly all insect pests lose much of their terrors after they have once run over the country. This is admirably illustrated in the potato-bug.* In other words, the first appearance of a pest in formidable numbers is apt to result in a scare, to which, it is to be hoped, the San José scale, which is now attracting so much attention in the east, is no exception. The fact is, that insect and fungous pests are inevitable, and the farmer can have no peace of mind until he accepts the fact, and then resolutely prepares to meet them, both by strategy and direct battle. Yet, if now and then a serious pest can be kept out of the country, even for a few years, by means of inspection upon the frontiers, the effort may be eminently worth the while.
*It may as well be said, once for all, that the writer uses the word bug for any hard-shelled insect. The entomologist uses it technically for a certain classificatory group of insects, and he generally insists that everyone else use it in the same way; but it should be remembered that the word was a common-language term long before the entomologist impressed it into special use. This common usage, therefore, has prior rights; and since it is impossible to make people use it in the entomological sense, it is plain that the entomologist must be prepared to accept any confusion which arises from his use of it. He can probably arrive at his purpose quicker and better by using purely technical terms.
THE COURSE OF EVOLUTION OF A FRUIT REGION.
Fruit-growing is usually a comparatively late development in any region. The epochs which precede the agricultural occupation of a country are commonly about as follows: Discovery, exploration, hunting, speculation, lumbering or mining. The real and permanent prosperity of a country begins when the agriculture has evolved so far as to be self-sustaining and to leave the soil in constantly better condition for the growing of plants. Lumbering and mining are simply means of utilizing a reserve which nature has laid by, and these industries are, therefore, self-limited, and are constantly moving on into unrobbed territory. Agriculture, when at its best, remains forever in the same place, and gains in riches with the years; but in this country it has so far been mostly a species of mining for plant-food, and then a rushing on for virgin lands.
The first effort in an agricultural region is generally the growing of the staple crops, like the grains or bread-stuffs. This is both because the capabilities of the country are all unknown, and because such regions are far removed from the markets, and must, therefore, grow such commodities as can be stored or shipped long distances; and it may be said, also, that the growing of these crops in a new country demands comparatively little special skill. The second development is very often a stock-raising or grazing industry. If the country possesses special adaptabilities for fruits, a man here and there will be found en
The Commercial Outlook.
larging his orchards or small-fruit plantations, and in time there is a wide-spread revolt from general farm practices to fruit-growing. The growing of specialties, or perishable products, or those which are essentially luxuries, demands the finer skill, the more enlightened ideals, and the less fluctuating employments of an old or at least of a well-settled country; and it is in such areas, too, that the best special markets are to be found. It has been the general experience that when any area has fully committed itself to the raising of any particular fruit, the business is soon carried too far, and after a time a revulsion and contraction have come. The lesson is that mixed industries are best for any community, and that it is practically impossible to reduce the agriculture of any large region to a dead level of uniformity.
THE OUTLOOK FOR FRUIT-GROWING.
Two sets of factors chiefly control or determine the outlook of the fruit-grower: the personality of the grower, and the prospective conditions of the market. Few people appreciate how personal a thing success is yet everyone knows that any two persons placed in the same physical and environmental conditions, and given an equal chance, will arrive at very various results in business. The real directive forces are matters of character and personality, of which the most important requisites seem to be love of the occupation, indomitable energy, cool judge
ment, and sterling honesty. The man should not set before himself the single standard of moneygetting, when entering upon a rural life. The end of life is happiness, and it may often be secured just as well on a moderate income as on a large one. It is pernicious to represent that the farmer can become rich, as that term is commonly employed. It is one of the blessings which agriculture bestows upon both the individual and the nation, that it makes its devotees happy and comfortable without making them wealthy. Of all the leading occupations in which men engage, perhaps there is less mere scramble for money in agriculture than anywhere else; and for this very reason the farmer must forever remain a stalwart and conservative element in our national structure. Farming upon a modest scale is capable of yielding a competent income; but the larger part of the wealth of the small farmer is of a wholly different kind from that of the tradesman or manufacturer.
It is indisputable that there is always a demand for the best. There is not enough of the best in any commodity. A man cannot make the best unless he has ability for it. It is more important, therefore, that the first tillage and fertilizing and pruning and spraying should be applied to the man and not to the land nor the crop; and whilst the man is acquiring discipline for the direct prosecution of his business, he is at the same time opening his mind to all the sweetest pleasures of living. On the other hand, there is always a surplus of the