NOVEMBER, which is one of the least interesting months to those who come into the country to admire the freshness of spring or the fulness of summer and early autumn, is one of the most interesting to those who live in the country or who have country places which they wish to improve.
When the leaves have all dropped from the trees, when the enchantment and illusion of summer are over, and "the fall" (our expressive American word for autumn) has stripped the glory from the sylvan landscape, then the rural improver puts on his spectacles, and looks at his demesne with practical and philosophical eyes. Taking things at their worst, as they appear now, he sets about finding out what improvements can be made and how the surroundings which make his home can be so arranged as to offer a fairer picture to the eye or a larger share of enjoyments and benefits to the family in the year that is to come.
The end of autumn is the best month to buy a country place, and the best to improve one. You see it then in the barest skeleton expression of ugliness or beauty, with all opportunity to learn its defects, all its weak points visible, all its possible capacities and suggestions for improvement laid bare to you. If it satisfy you now, either in its present aspect or in what promise you see in it of order and beauty after your moderate plans are carried out, you may buy it with the full assurance that you will not have cause to repent when you learn to like it better as seen in the fresher and fairer aspect of its summer loveliness.
As a season for rural improvements the fall is preferable to the spring, partly because the earth is dryer and more easily moved and worked, and partly because there is more time to do well what we undertake. In the middle slates fine autumnal weather is often continued till the middle of December, and as long as the ground is open and mellow the planting of hardy trees may be done with the best chances of success. The surface may be smoothed, drains made, walks and roads laid out, and all the heavier operations on the surface of the earth - so requisite as a groundwork for lawns and pleasure grounds, kitchen or flower-gardens - may be carried on more cheaply and efficiently than amid the bustle and hurry of spring. And when sharp frosty nights fairly set in, then is the time to commence the grander operations of transplanting. Then is the time for moving large trees, elms, maples, etc., a few of which will give more effect to a new and bare site than thousands of the young things which are the despair of all improvers of little faith and ardent imaginations.
With two or three "hands," a pair of horses or oxen, a "stone boat," or low sled, and some ropes or "tackle," the removal of trees twenty-five feet high, and six or eight inches in the diameter of the stem is a very simple and easy process. A little practice will enable a couple of men to do it most perfectly and efficiently; and if only free-growing trees, like elms, maples, lindens, or horse-chestnuts, are chosen, there is no more doubt of success than in planting a currant bush. Two or three points we may, however, repeat, for the benefit of the novice, viz., to prepare the soil thoroughly by digging a large hole, trenching it two-and-a-half feet deep, and filling it with rich soil; to take up the tree with a good mass of roots inclosed in a ball of frozen earth; * and to reduce the ends of the limbs, evenly all over the top, in order to lessen the demand for sustenance, made on the roots the first summer after removal.
* Original date of December, 1850.
* This is cattily done by digging a trench all round, leaving a ball about four or five feet in diameter, undermining it well, and leaving it to freeze for one or two nights. Then turn the tree down, place the uplifted side of the bull upon the "stone boat;" right the trunk, and get the whole bull firmly upon the sled, and then the horses will drag it easily to its new position. - A. J. D.