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wood is apt to grow light, and as the Western soil is naturally in the same condition, that must be the cause.
The Chairman.-Unless the pear trees are very highly manured, the trees grow slowly and the wood is hard, not porous.
CHINESE AGRICULTURE. Dr. McGowan, who has been many years a resident of China, gave the Club many interesting items about that country, and about the advantages that might be derived from a more intimate knowledge of its interior, as well as other portions of India which are almost entirely unknown to the “outside barbarians," as all the rest of the world are called by the Chinese. Dr. McGowan thinks that there are many things cultivated in China that would be useful here, and as their soil and climate are so various, it would be easy to adapt things from there to some portion of our country, which is almost equally various. He does not think, however, that the culture of tea will ever be successful in this country, owing to the great amount of manual labor necessary. The bamboo, he thinks, might be grown here and made useful. In China it is almost a necessity of life. All the paper is made of bamboo; the rags are needed to make soles for the people's shoes. At the present time, if we had the same stock of paper materials that China has, we should hear nothing of high prices. Among other useful plants, there are some eighty varieties of rice, some one of which is adapted to each locality.
There are many plants grown for dyeing, some of which might be worthy of our attention. Some of the animals are also valuable, notwithstanding the disfavor that Chinese fowls and sheep have fallen into.
The cotton of India deserves more attention than it has yet received, because it is grown from lat. 30° up to as rigorous a climate as St. Petersburg. Some of those varieties certainly can be grown in our Northern States as well as Chinese sugar-cane. The celebrated rice-paper is made of the pith of a plant that would grow in this latitude. It is very light, and applicable to a great many useful purposes, one of which is artificial flowers. There is the paper mulberry tree of Japan—it could be grown here. What we want is some system about collecting and sending liome all the things most likely to become valuable to the agriculture and the arts of this country.
Prof. Mapes. It is a question whether we should derive much benefit from the methods of agriculture pursued by the Chinese, but there are many things in the arts known to that singular people which the rest of the world does not know. For instance, the knot that fastens the bamboo strips around the tea chests, simple as it appears, has long defied the skill of our expert sailors. No one that I have ever heard of has been able to produce an imitation of that knot, while the string is tight round the chest. The whole business of putting up tea is a mystery which no one here will attempt to imitate. Look at the soldering of the lead inside the chest; it is beyond the art of any tinsmith in this country; and the paper in which the tea is first placed; it is totally unlike ours, that it extracts no flavor from the finest tea; and the box, so light and yet so strong that it carries its contents safely to all parts of the world. The art of paper making in China, without the use of rags or cotton, would just now be valuable to us, The art of riveting glass,' so common in China, is unknown to all the rest of the world; and until very lately so was the art of mending cast iron by uniting new metal to the old. Look at the cast iron mirrors, made very cheaply, and apparently without any finishing, being cast upon some finished surface. Their work in metal is wonderful. How do they harden copper for hammers, and brass to make cold chisels that cut iron like steel? Simple as the Chinese blacksmith's bellows appear to us, it is the famous Watt & Bolton's double acting cylinder pump. The truss bridge, for which so many patents have been granted in this country, is an old affair in China; and so is the silk loom, which surpasses the wonderful invention of Jacquard. On a Mandarin's coat can be wove the whole history of his life. So common a thing as Indian ink, we have never been able to imitate. So with vermilion; no French or English chemist can make it equal to theirs; and Chinese telescope glasses are so superior in excellence and cheapness that we import them. But perhaps the most wonderful of all their mechanic arts is their varnish, which never cracks, and is so hard that papier mache is used for almost all domestic utensils, and for furniture. Who has been able to make a chair of wood that weighs but fourteen ounces, like the Chinese bamboo chairs, of equal strength? Nor has any part of the civilized world been able to imitate many of the arts practiced in that country.
“Beautifying our Country Homes" was made the subject for the next meeting. Adjourned.
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Secretary.
Mr. Adrian Bergen, of Long Island, in the chair.
COLUMBIA VIRGALIEU PEAR. Mr. Booth presented some beautiful specimens of this pear, grown upon the Fox farm, near Morrisania. They were tested by the members, and unanimously commended for quality. The size was very large, perfectly grown and ripened.
Mr. W. S. Carpenter.— The great objection to this pear is the tendency to fall from the tree. In some instances those who grow them tie them on, or hold them up by net bags, and it is stated that Mr. Booth fastened sheets to catch the pears that fell, to prevent injury by their great weight in dropping to the ground; but for this objection these pears would be preferable to the Vicar of Winkfield. This pear originated in Westchester county.
Rev. Mr. Weaver.- I grow this pear, and find it very liable to drop from the tree.
Prof. Mapes.—The winter Nelis I consider about the best of our winter pears. The principal objection to it is its tough skin.
GREENWICH APPLE. Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter presented specimens of this apple. Its color red, similar in appearance to the Baldwin. Its flavor is good, and keeps well. It is only known in the vicinity of Greenwich, Connecticut, where it is highly esteemed
How To PACK FRUIT TO KEEP. Mr. John G. Bergen.- I think this would be an excellent subject for discussion. How to pack fruit at home or for market, including all the forms of preservation of all kinds of fruit, and I hope it may be kept before the Club until something valuable is elicited from those present or from correspondents.
Mr. Carpenter.—I have tried oats with the chaff, just as they are threshed. Fruit packed in this material keeps in perfect order.
Rev. Mr. Weaver.-I use bran, and I find that it is an excellent article to pack fruit in.
Prof. Mapes.—I tried an experiment with grapes this season. I used the wooden boxes such as we send strawberries to market in. The boxes are made very open. In these I put a bunch of grapes each, and put them into the case, so that each bunch occupies a box; the air circulates around and between the boxes, and I find Isabellas, Catawbas and other varieties of grapes have kept well.
The Secretary read an extract of a letter from Mr. John Bruce, Mariposa, California, as follows:
“Our wild mountain flowers, although very beautiful while they last, yet are extremely short lived, and I fear would not thrive by cultivation, as by June they are burned up by the heat of the sun, and do not appear again until next season, except those that grow in gulches and ravines where the moisture lasts longer.
“I look for a great crop of fruit next season from the trees I planted this spring. I had some fruit this season as an earnest of what is to come. Peaches and grapes far exceed in sweetness and flavor the same kinds at home.
“The peculiarity that still attracts my attention in the growth of fruit of all kinds here is, that although they are all imported trees, they seem to completely change their nature, the fruit growing all in clusters like grapes, and in such immense quantities that every limb has to be propped up to sustain the weight of fruit, and this is invariably the case at all gardens I have seen."
Prof. Mapes. It is undoubtedly more owing to the character of the soil than to the climate. I have some trees that have been planted in very carefully prepared soil, and properly fertilized, which I have been told very much resemble California trees.
Mr. Wm. S. Carpenter.— I don't believe that it is all in the soil; because, prepare it as you will, the trees will not produce as they do in California. They set full of blossoms here as they do there, but do not produce such wonderful crops of fruit. There must be something in the Pacific climate to induce this fruitfulness.
THE BAROMETER FOR FARMERS. Mr. Solon Robinson.—I hold in my hand one of the most interesting, instructive letters about the use of the barometer, that I have ever met with. I will read it directly; but first I wish to present to the Club this very handsome aneroid barometer, made by Edwin Kendall of Lebanon Springs, N. Y., who gives the following rules, which I will read, because the whole subject of the use of barometers among farmers is just now very interesting. Mr. Kendall says:
• There is no point at which the barometer must stand to indicate rain or wind.
“The judgment must be governed by the rising or falling of the barometer.
The falling of the barometer indicates the approach of a storm, the extent of which will be proportionate to the amount and rapidity of the fall.
“Showers. The barometer falls previously from four to twelve hundredths of an inch, varying in time from one to three hours. The greater and more rapid the fall, the more violent will be the shower, accompanied more or less with wind.
"Northeasterly storms. The barometer falls previously from four to eight-tenths of an inch, varying in time from one to four hours, and continues falling until the storm arrives at its crisis, when the barometer begins to rise, and continues rising until that part of the storm which comes from the N. W.
Southerly storms. The barometer falls previously from one to fourtenths of an inch, varying in time from six to twelve hours. These storms generally precede unsettled weather; at such times the barometer continues low, and very slight additional depressions are followed by rain.
“A southerly storm is perhaps the most difficult to judge of by appearances, as appearances change so frequently without any real change in the atmosphere. During this class of storms, the utmost confidence should be placed in the barometer. After the first indication as above, and the barometer does not rise, but remains stationary, it is strong indication that the storm has not all passed.”
These are the rules of one who has devoted much attention to the manufacture of the instruments, and, as you see by this, he makes very good
Now I will read the letter of a farmer, and you may judge how far barometers may be useful to farmers, from his experience. It comes from D. Petit, of Salem, N. J., and is dated "11 mo. 25th, 1862.” He says: “ To the American Farmers' Club, New York :
“While reading the proceedings of your last meeting, that part relating to barometers forcibly arrested my attention on account of the views advanced.
“The question is asked, "Can we recommend these instruments to farmers as valuable weather indicators ?' and the answer is given by one of your body, ‘According to my experience I should say no; that to any but well educated men, who have leisure to study and compare, a barometer is of no practical advantage.'
“I am a farmer, and who has more opportunity and need of a barometer to study and compare than a farmer as a weather indicator? It is now over twenty-six years since I began to use ove, and I have watched the changes of the weather following the changes of the barometer as carefully as the well educated men, and, with all due deference to their opinions, some of which you have had before you, and including Comstock in his rules in his Natural Philosophy for the use of Schools, I must say my experience in regard to the changes of the barometer as an indicator of the weather runs counter to the rules of all of them. And yet, I do believe that barometers, with correct general rules-rules founded on correct principles—may be and are of great use to farmers. "Comstock, in his rules for schools, says:
“Rule 1. In calm weather, when the wind, clouds or suu indicates approaching rain, the barometer is low.'
' Reply. The average height of the barometer is about 30 inches. Two years ago, the fore part of this month, the barometer stood at 30.30 inches for several days, with a gentle wind from the southeast, air warm and very humid, with light showers. The wind shifted early on seventh day morning to the northeast, the barometer began and continued to fall through the day, and we had, from nine o'clock until night, one of the greatest rain storms ever known here. I have known snow storms, barometer 30.50, and it was quite rainy 17th inst., barometer 30.72 inches.
"Rule 4. During the coldest, clear days, when a gentle wind from the north or west prevails, the mercury stands the highest.'
Reply. On the 16th inst., the barometer rose the highest it has been for more than eight years-wind northeast, and not freezing cold. It clouded over and threatened rain while the barometer was reaching that height.
“Rule 5. After great storms, when the mercury has been lowest, it rises most rapidly.
“Reply. I have known it to stand at 29.50 for a whole day after a storm, wind hard from northwest.
“Rule 8. When it rains, with the mercury high, we may be sure it will soon be fair.'
“Reply. My reply to the first rule will apply with equal force to this, and beside that, it clouded over and threatened rain: 16th inst., barometer 30.82, rain; 17th, 30.72, rainy; 18th, 30.30, rainy; 19th, 29.75, rainy; 20th, barometer 29.75--making five rainy days after a very high state of the barometer, and four after it began to rain. I have observed many times that the fall of the barometer alone does not indicate rain; neither does a rise always denote fair weather-but often exactly the reverse.
“The laws which govern the changes in the weight of the atmosphere are similar in some respects to those which govern the tides. Much is caused by reaction. When we see a low tide we know to a reasonable certainty that the tide must rise to fill the apparent vacuum between that and a medium tide. So with the barometer: when it falls low, or very low, we know to a reasonable certainty that a northwest wind must follow soon, because the rise in the barometer is generally caused by a northwest wind. The velocity of the wind, after the change, is generally in proportion to the lowness of the barometer and its time of duration from that quarter is