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AGRICULTURE (continued).


AGRICULTURE (continued). This was the best time, in the opinion of our ancestors, to sow oats. At the expiration of the five days, they expected the rawness of the weather to be at an end. Their antic- pations were at times not realized, and in such cases the following adage would perhaps better suit the complexion of the weather Haf tan galan, A gaua' liyd,wyl Jeuan." (Summer till the calands of January, And Winter till June). Ebrill (April) is a term that conveys to a Welsh ear an idea of reviving pleasant and temperate weather, therefore the old people will not have their favourite month to com- mence its genial sunshine and showers according to the Gregorian style, which they considered as a stretch* of power, and rash presumption, endeavouring to control the seasons. Hence their great veneration for old Christmas Day and their expectation of old March (the tempestuous) to be ushered in with the tury of a lion," and to go out, to make place for their revered Ebrill, with the gentleness of a lamb." SOIL. — Our district has long been noted for the fertility of its soil, the meaning of the word Meliden (Gallt-mel-yd) signifies abundance and quality of the crops grown. The chief substances of the hilis surrounding the Vale of Clwyd are :— argiilacious shale, sandstone, limestone, and decomposed lime- stone or marl—all excellent components of fertile soil; hence the washings into the soil below the hills provides that which in turn gives the abundance of crops so noted in this district Should the price of foreign eorn again rise to such a standard as to enable home supplies to enter into competition, our district will undoubtedly be well to the fore in supplying the demand. Land in Gwaenys gor which had been attended to in 19U5 produced some excellent crops, whereas the lands below the hills which received little or no attention produced a fair result. The maritime coast from Prestatyn to Abergele possesses a strong loam, excellently adapted for the culture of wheat, beans, cabbages, etc., or for permanent pasture. Interspersed among or adjoining the stiff loams just specified is a free loam adaptable for general purposes of tillage, which does P, not appear to any groat extent until the pasture above Ruthin is reached. p On the sides of the hills the ferny soil or hazel mould products fern, broom, and the larger ulex or gorse. There is an old saying which refers to the dwarf ulex or lesser kind of gorse "Under a broom-stalk, silver and gold, Under a gorse-stalk, hunger and cold" A third kind of gorse called by Welsh people, eithin y gath (cat gorse) or, as called by others hen-gorse, is an infallible sign of a cold hungry clay. The larger ulex flourished upon sound and deep hazel mould, as, also underwood, especially the hazel and hawthorn of which we see so much in Bishop's Wood (Coed yr Esgob). Lime produces greater effect upon this kind of soil than any other owing to the great quantity it contains of vegetable matter, roots, etc, for the lime to act upon. It is of various colours, according to the portion of carbon it has obtained by the dissolution of decayed vegetable and other matter. I On sheep-walks, where overgrown heath has smothered every other species of herbage, the shepherds in some places, in dry summers, taking advantage of the course of the wind, set fire to the standing heath, and reduced large tracts of land to ashes. This conflag- 0 ration is called by the Welsh people llosyi poethwal. The tender shoots of the new heath, permitting a few natural grasses to spring up with them, are better replenished by the hardv stock which depasture these alpine tracts. But the improvement can be but of short duration heath, recovering its wonted vigour, soon ejects every vegetable intruder from this its native soil. Heathy sheep-walks may be brought to produce nat- ural trefoils in good abundance by a plentiful top-dressing of lime, and in our plentifully supplied tracts of limestone the improvement would be carried out economically, especially as we are also contiguous to coalfields, and therefore aupplied with the means for burning the lime. Parts of the Vale of Clwyd have their soil tinged by a substratum of a reddish, loose- textured sandstone from which probably the borough towns of Ruthin and Rhuddlan derive their names. Nature seems only to have brought toge- ther the materials in detached masses, and left to the skill and industry of man to mix and form them into fertile soil. There can hardly be a peasant who does not know that clay gives adhesion to sand and gravel; and, on the contrary, that the latter diminish the superabundance of that quality in the former. Why then not reduce the knowledge to practice, since the separate ingredients of fertile soil are frequently laid by Nature so conveniently to their hands ? (To be continued),



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