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EISTEDDFOD BETHLEHEM, TREFDRAETH,…

Y Geninen.

Y GWEITHIWR.

AGRICULTURE.

. RURAL LIFE.

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RURAL LIFE. BY A SON OF THE SOIL. HAnDY ANNUALS. The many beautiful varieties of hardy annuals available for the summer decoration of our gar- dens are worthy of a much more extensive growth, and a better cultural treatment than they usually receive. When well-grown, they will produce flowers of a size and brilliancy that will surprise many who see only the weedy, starved representatives of this fine class. Although hardy annuals will thrive fairly in at. most. any soil or situation, some little preparation of the ground before sowing is necessary to grow them to perfection; nd the first considera- tion is to reduce the surface to a fine and even tilth, carefully reproving all large stones and clods. and if the .'oil be poor, working in a liberal quantity of woll-decayed manure. For a general display, perhaps the best time for sowing is about the middle of March, and for a later succession, April; but we have seen annuals sown in May, and even the early part of June. that have bloomed splendidly in the Autumn months. After sowing, the cultivation of hardy annuals is extremely simple, early and vigorous thinning out of the clumps or patches I LAVATETU: A BEAUTIFUL HARDY ANNUAL. being nearly all that is necessary to ensure an abundance of fine plants, with a profusion of handsome flowers, Various methods arc adopted in sowing; but perhaps the simplest and best plan for garden decoration is to sow in shallow furrows, in circles of from 9in. to 12in. in dia- meter; or in rows or drills. their distance apart to be regulated according to the height of the plants when fully grown. When this is done in ,lt-v wcathor. an excellent pla.11 is to fill the furrows with water and allow it to settle before sowing, carefully covering the seeds with the soil removed in operation, and pressing down firmly with a trowel or flat piece of wood. Such large seeds as Nasturtiums. Lupins, and Sweet Peas may be covered to the depth of an inch; Convolvulus, major and minor, not quite so deep; smaller seeds, such as Mignonette, &c., require but a sfight covering. Hardy annuals may also be sown broadcast in mixture, in beds or patches, in waste places, shrubberries, &c., and have a very pleasing effect. For early spring decoration such fine varieties as Nemophila, in- signis and alba. Silcne. pendula. Limnanthes Douglasii, &c., may be sown in a sheltered posi- tion in August or early in September, and transferred as vacancies occur to where they are intended to bloom. Godetias also, in their many beautiful varieties, which are perfectly hardy, bloom much earlier and finer when sown in the autumn and transplanted early in spring. The Lavatera is a tall-vrowing, large, and effective- 1 rmkin" nlaut but used as a background to others cf shorter habit. TROTTING IN ENGLAND. As an admirer of horses and a. lover of the roads I am pleased to notice that the trotting boom which began in England some ten years ago is being vlilt maintained. It is also grati- fying to know that as a sport trotting is now in a more satisfactory condition than has been the A FINE TROTTER. case for many years. There are three really good tracks in the neighbourhood of London, and the season has already begun; while in different parts of the country the sport is also becoming more appreciated, especially in Scotland, where trotting races are being introduced into the pro- grammes of a number of agricultural societies. I have been behind very speedy cobs-in fact, only the other day I had a long drive behind one equal to his sixteen miles an hour; but the sen- sation of driving a trotter attached to an Ameri- can sulky, on the lines of the one which is illus- trated, mifjht. be delightful. Our roads are now so much used by motorist that trotting on them is almost impossible, but in different parts of tho South I am constantly dropping across men who, having become possessed of a. fast cob, use him for trade purposes as well as for pleasure, at- tachod to a sulky. The breeding of trottcrs is also on the increase. A NOTE ON PHEASANT REARING. Judged by the number of letters I receive in the course of the year on sporting dogs, a fair pro- portion of my readers are interested in shooting. Some of them are gamekeepers, I know, and the reply to the question which has been sent to mo a.bout the rearing of pheasants may, therefore, interest them. It is well known that pheasants will not incubate in confinement, and it is, there- fore, necessary to provide a number of common fowls to act the part of foster mothers. The custom is to put a number of sitting-liens in a small, ill-ventilated outhouse, where they are packed closely together, sometimes even ranged tier above tier -a. system which causes the hens so much discomfort that they cannot sit steadily. Ventilation being an absolute necessity for both hens and egps, strong, well-made, and thoroughly weather-proof sitting-boxes should he provided, and these placed in the open air. The best are those named after Major Morant, and of which I give an illustration. The dimensions of each IIATCHIXG BOXES. nest are 15in. by ISiii. by loin. hi<rh. and the runs 2ft. long by 18in. high. The bottoms should be wired to prevent the injrress of ver- min. a heap of ashes placed in each run for a dust bath, a'.id a nest made in the boxes of turf sods beaten into a. saucer-shape to keep the eggs together and covered with chopped 'straw. CLOVER HAY FOR FOWLS. < Experience has often demonstrated the value of clover for egg-producing. Clover has just the material in it to form egg-shell, hence it be- comes an essential part of every ration given to the fowls. It may not be generally understood that there are nearly 301b. of lime contained in each 1,0001b. of f lover. The hens and pullets fed daily with clover will consequently prove better evrp:-layers than those denied it. The clover hay should be given to fowls in winter in quantities sufficient to satisfy them. and to make them eat more it is desirable sometimes to prepare it in various ways. Cook and chop it. and mix it with meal or other stuff. Thfs will sometimes induce the hens to consume a grent amount of clover every day. Cut into short lengths and mixed with warm mas^, and then given only as fn-st as tho fowls will clean it up every day. is probably tho mo.-t economicil way to supply the clover. Some people cut the second crop of (lover and place it in the potiHry-vard for the birds to eat and scratch over at pleasure. This of itself is all right, but it is rather wasteful. More than half the clover will be lost. and the fowls do not actually eat much more than tho leaves. The stalks < 'ltain njost of the lime, and these should be prepared so that the birds will consume them. Of all the foods that can be raised on a farm for poultry, clover is not only tho best, but pro- bably the cheapest. and a field of it is as essen- tial to success as a pasture field is to the success of dairying. Clover liav should be placed in a vessel at Iliht. and covered with boiling water. Cover the vessel tightl so as to retain as much steam and moisture as possible. Let it stand until the morning, and use both the clover and the liquid wbom preparing the otftsb. MitKTNO PROPERTIES or HEREFORDS. ccording to a note which Mr. E. G. Preeoe has tent to the Press, an Irish breeder of Here- fords has brought a serious indictment against the milking qualities of the white-face breed. Two years ago Mr. Preeco procured for his Irish friend a score of puro-bred Hereford heifers for the purpose of breeding storo cattle for the Eng- lish market; but. according to the testimony of the purchaser, hr had to got rid of them on the grcund that they did not cive sufficient milk to keep their calves alive, for tho latter would have literally died from starvation if they had depended upon the milk from their dams, which would then be three years old." The truth of the statement is not to be questioned as applied to this individual case, yet we agree with tho infer- ence to be drawn from Mr. Preeee's comments that the case is very exceptional, and calls for searching investigation. The West Midland treed is admittedly not famous for its milking prca-er- ties. although here and there a herd is to be found which can shew a highly creditable record; but we cannot for a moment regard the expvi- eneefl of this Irish breeder as fairly reprece*'t'r!.f the dairying qualities of the Hereford. It is lie prevailing practice with breeders of Fler-iiocis f,) run the calves with the cows during the summer, and, as a rule, the appearance of the offspnnr far from indicating semi starvation, usually proves in a pleasing fashion that they are libe- rally nurtured. It is a well-rccognised fact that most breeds of stock have very distinct prefer- ences in respect to soil and climate, and it may be that the change from their native pastures to the particular part of Ireland in question preven- ted the animals from achieving the results of which under more congenial eircumstancels would have been well within their powers. The Here- ford occupies a fairly 6trong position in Ireland M can be proved by the meritorious et,itritrf-r of the classes usually stalled at the Dublin Sprin4 Show. Yet it has been a somewhat notable pecu- liarity of the Dublin exhibition that the honour? are chiefly shared by a w oxhibitors, and it may possibly be the ease that only in very excep- tional instances is the breed capable of doing it- met! justice on the other side of the St .George's Channel. As pointing to the same conclus on, it may be remarked that several attmpb have been made to introduce the Hereford breed int) counties in England and Scotland remote from its native district, but that the results have set- Jan jmtificJ thg —~7^-

--DREADED EACH DAY.

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