Sunday, April 12, 2009
Over the weekend, after 3 grueling weeks of working on our fund's and my personal tax duties, I rewarded myself and read what I firmly believe to be one of the more important books of American vintage.
No, not some New York Times spine tingling lecture on politically correct whatever, nor who-done-it... but an instructional narrative titled:
"Handy Farm Devices - and How to Make Them", first published in 1909, now published by Lyons Press.
Got that? The book is a collection of illustrated ideas for DIY (where there any other kind?) American farmers at a time when less than 1% of American's agricultural output came from gasoline or diesel power. A time when people lived by their wits, credentials were few, and the income tax had not been enacted. A time when 1/3 of the American work force was employed in Agriculture (today it is less than 3%), when wood was the primary source of heat "energy", and a time before antibiotics, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers even existed. A time when every food market was "organic".
While reading it one can just imagine the "aha" moment, and the challenges each thinker faced.
It also was laced with a series of memorable quotes that would appeal to the late 19th/early 20th century independent, self-sufficient, frugal, anti-government, hard working, family oriented, down-on-the-farm hard ass that the book was targeted to and written for.
"The first years of Man must make provisions for the last." Samuel Johnson
"Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much. Wisdom is humble he knows no more."
"Taste the joy that springs from labor." Longfellow
"Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest." Douglas Jerrold
"You must cut your coat according to your cloth." Unknown
"Kindle not the fire you cannot extinguish." Unknown
"Keep your shop, and your shop will keep you." Unknown
"Love thy neighbor, yet pull not down thy hedge." Unknown
and my personal favorite...
"They must hunger in frost that will not work in heat."
A stunningly real look at life and times with limited Oil and Natural Gas resources.
Posted by The Short Story Man at 7:13 PM