Texas Almanac, 1859 Page: 85
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HINTS TO THE FARMERS. 85
evaporate if not heaped in a dry situation. We should be glad to have public at
tention fully awakened to the true value of the cotton-seed, and we hope in another
number to give a more lengthened essay upon this, soon to become valuable ar-
ticle of commerce, now generally thrown away.
At early dawn (the frosty nights now opening the cotton-bolls with great rapid-
ity) the clear-sounding horn calls to work the dusky gang, to contest the prize of
victory, " image of war, without its guilt." The season now approaches, when the
various rewards for skill and diligence are to be distributed among the negroes.
To gaze for one moment upon the happy faces of those in the front ranks, ready to
pluck the gaudiest premiums, evincing a genuine national taste, would well repay
the mistaken zealot in the cause of abolition for the many anxious hours he has
spent for the sufferings of the negro, and would stay the torrent of his unholy cru-
sade against the South.
As the season draws to a close, the sphere of the planter's duties is less varied,
but becomes more concentrated. The weaker and smaller gang, towards the end
of this month, are left to manage the field operations, while the sturdy arm of vigor-
ous age takes charge of the gin and press, and the teamsters, in merry gangs, start
upon the road to carry off the crop to market, and bring back the winter's store for
the house and cabins, and the modest but comfortable garments for the season.
The last seeding of turnips may now be made, the corn, gathered before the
weevil become too numerous, and securely packed in darkened cribs to check their
propagation, and the pumpkins secured, so useful for the cows, and so palatable for
By the opening of this month, if the weather be dry, the vines may be cut from
the sweet potato with great advantage to the root, and will make a hay quite
equal to the pea-vine. They are easily cured, and are full of saccharine matter and
starch. With us they grow most luxuriantly, and there is no forage in the hay-
line to be excelled by well-cured sweet potato-vines. If not saved for hay, they
afford a most excellent manure for thin or stiff soils. We regret to see so little at-
tention paid to the saving of hay and provender for stock in the winter. The qua-
lities of our cows, as milkers, would be materially enhanced by winter-feeding.
"See, Winter comes, to rule the varied year,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train,
Vapors, and clouds, and storms."
With the end of the last month and the entering upon this, the planter should
carefully review all the work of the year, and note well the errors, if any, of his
management, and resolve that with the beginning of the next year, as our mothers
have often told us, a new leaf should be turned over.
It is now time for the planter to ride or walk over his place, examine every
locality with a critical eye, particularly the houses for wintering his stock. He
should see that every thing is put in complete order, that the stalls and mangers
are all kept clean, that his negro-houses are made close and comfortable, and if
possible, an improved system of plantation economy adopted for the coming year.
He should carefully examine his potato-heaps, and know that every thing has been
done to secure this crop from decay. If he has hogs, he should provide dry pens
for them, and see that they are amply fed, for when the cold season comes, he
should be ready to kill his pork and make it into bacon. These, and numerous
other duties which our limits will not allow us even to advert to, will keep the
owner of the plantation diligently employed till the season for another crop has
We would gladly have enlarged upon the duties of the planter, but space is not
allowed us. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our planters!
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Texas Almanac, 1859, book, 1859~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123765/m1/86/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.