This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The matter settled, I began to prepare myself for my new occupation, by purchasing such books and papers as would be likely to render assistance. I soon added to my library Downing's Landscape Gardening, and other works by the same author; Barry's Fruit Garden, the Horticulturist, and other books and journals, and commenced their study in good earnest, supposing that I could fit myself in "a few short, easy lessons," to accomplish wonders in the country.
It may be as well for me to remark at once that I knew nothing of farming. After leaving school I had taken a clerkship in the village store, and after learning all the arts and mysteries of country " store" keeping, I removed to the city from which I had now resolved to take my exodus. My wife was much better fitted for our new vocation, as she was one of our customers at the old country store - a daughter of a farmer in the neighborhood; and although I can not say as much for others, we certainly had one customer who made some very desirable bargains - as I had good reason to know, and my employer didn't.
The announcement of my determination caused no small joy in my family, as I had every reason to believe it would. The children began to anticipate a feast of good things. Pure milk and bread, and new butter; fresh Strawberries and cream - real cream; and honey gathered "from every opening flower," was to be free as water.
"Our farm, like the promised land, was to "flow with milk and honey." Little baskets that had laid for years among neglected toys, again saw the light. These were to be filled with Strawberries and Blackberries, The boys were making whips; the horses and cow were named, and the ownership satisfactorily divided among the young and zealous members of the family.
My first business, of course, was to select and purchase a "place," and I carefully examined the advertisements in the daily papers, particularly the columns headed "For Sale," and made several journeys to examine some " Bare Chances" and a number of "The most desirable bargains in Real Estate ever offered" At last, after becoming somewhat wearied in the search, I found a small farm, the owner of which was anxious to go West to buy a larger one, and made a purchase.
The extent of the domain was about thirty acres. The land was said by the neighbors whom I consulted, to be " pretty good, but rather hard run" At this time I bad but little idea of the meaning of these simple words, " rather hard run." The land I purchased had formerly been part of a large farm, owned by a person in a distant city, and had been "rented out" as long as "the oldest inhabitant" could remember. A few years since, the thirty acres constituting my purchase was sold to my predecessor. The land was beautifully level, and almost entirely free from trees and stumps. On one part of the farm was a little uneven land - a pretty ravine - and here a few trees had been allowed to remain. This spot had been selected by the former occupant as the site for his house, more, I imagine, for the convenience of procuring logs for its erection, than from any appreciation of the natural beauty of the place. He exhibited but little love of the beautiful in destroying so many fine trees to make so poor a house.