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.
Up to the period when this information was communicated, the gentleman informed me that his two pullets together had supplied him with over 140 eggs. One of the prime qualities of the Brahma is, that the pullets mature very early with proper care, and will generally commence to lay by the time they are six months old. Indeed, I heard of an instance this spring, of a pullet commencing to lay at 4½ months old, and before she was six months old she had brought out a brood of chicks. Pullets hatched in April or May will lay through the winter if properly fed and protected. But eggs in winter may be looked for in vain, from any variety of fowls, where they have to scratch for subsistence, and endure the bitter neglect and exposure to which they are too frequently subjected.
As birds for the table, the writer, who is now beyond the prime of his years, and who has had the pleasure of eating poultry in many lands, unhesitatingly declares that he is yet a stranger to that species of domestic fowl which is more savory or superior to a well-fatted and well-cooked Brahma. He is aware that there is a crude and ignorant sort of assumption on the part of some persons that all the larger varieties of fowls are coarser and tougher in their flesh than the smaller kinds. But this is a most egregious error. It is not so much the physical organization as the physical condition which gives flavor and tenderness to birds and animals alike.
It will hardly be controverted, that both animals and birds when in low condition are less savory and less nutritious than if the same were fat. And it is not unfre-quently the case that condemnation is pronounced against breeds, when a more dis criminating and intelligent judgment would fulminate it against the man who feeds, or rather who has neglected to properly feed the objects committed to his care. There is a so-called economy which is so exact and austere as to go a great way toward balking, if it does not entirely circumvent any well-intended efforts in the path of improvement. Not only seasonable but generous feeding is indispensable to the highest physical development of every species of animated nature; and if early care is withheld till the framework of the animal economy is stunted or dwarfed, no after-care can atone for the neglect or superinduce the fullest physical development.
That the Brahma is the most generally popular of all the domestic fowls in this country, has found verification at every fair or poultry show which the writer has attended for years past; for there have been not only more coops of them on exhibition than any other variety, but they have always attracted more attention, and called forth more favorable comment than any others. And that they stand high in England is evidenced by the prices which are paid there, as well as by a remark in the London Country Gentleman of June 25th, 1868, whose editor, speaking of the prizes to be awarded at their recurring exhibition, says: "The managers of shows may rest well assured of the simple fact, that no class are more popular than Brahmas." E. New York, July 15,1868.
Dear Sir: Can you inform me by what means florists insure the germination the first year of the seeds of the tree peonia ? One of our most distinguished originators of new fruits and flowers, whose tree peonias have received the admiration of the public, has always been compelled to work at disadvantage in this respect. He tells me that professional florists have not been found willing to impart to others their secrets. He has shared with me his seeds, and I take the liberty to make this inquiry. Truly yours, etc., Cyrus G. Pringle. Charlotte, Vermont, Nov. 3d, 1868.
[In the ordinary' process of nature, if the seed of the tree peonia is sown as soon as gathered, in sharp loamy sand, and in a cold frame, where it can have frost and moisture to dissolve and soften its outer rind, bark, or cuticles, without too much water to cause the seed germ to rot, nearly every seed will germinate the second spring after sowing. It is never safe to allow the seed to become fully dried. Occasionally, if the autumn after sowing prove warm and moist, a certain portion of the seeds become so softened in the outer rind as to push forth and grow the first season after sowing, but it is only occasionally, and can not be relied upon. If it is desired to hasten development the spring following growth of the seed, then place the seed as soon as gathered in sand, and keep it constantly subject to a gentle, but steady, moist bottom-heat, such as is obtained over the tank of a hot-water propagating bed. We have known some growers to scald lightly before sowing, but our own experience is against it, we having lost our seed always when we scalded.
It is possible we overdid the thing, as the process evidently must tend to assist in breaking loose the covering of the germ, and if at once placed in the soft, moist, bottom-heat of a propagating tank or bed, there is good reason to look for an advanced season of sprouting].
The Black Cap Raspberry seems to be somewhat mixed up in names. Not being a special lover of Black Cap Raspberries ourself, we have paid but little attention to them, other than to grow a few of the varieties, and examine fruit whenever it came before us. We have received a number of letters asking us to unravel the mystery, which we should be happy to do if we could. Some of our correspondents hint strongly that the Mammoth Cluster and Big Miami or McCormick are one and the same, which, judging from the accounts of history published in the Prairie Farmer may be possible. We by request copy these histories, and trust to grow and fruit plants under both names another season.
The following letter, from Mr. W. E. Mears, an old resident of Ohio and most reliable gentleman, gives facts regarding the Miami and McCormick varieties.
Milpord, Ohio, Sept. 23,1868.
About twenty-five years ago a cousin of mine named McCormick, living in Stone-lick township, of this (Clermont) county, Ohio, and on one of the streams that empty into the Little Miami, removed a small cluster of plants from the forest to his garden. In a few years he had so increased the supply of these, which he supposed the Common Black Cap, that he made his appearance in the market with the fruit always, somehow, a week or ten days later than ours on the Miami. We supposed for years that it was his cold oak soil that made the berries so much later.
After I engaged in the plant trade in 1850, I obtained McCormick's variety, and after growing them alongside of my own, was satisfied they were distinct; and Dr. Warder and myself called them the Miami, to distinguish them from the common American Black Cap in general cultivation. To Dr. Warder I gave a hundred plants, which he sent to some one East, - I do not recollect to whom.
The variety, I am pretty certain, was not much disseminated until McCormick sold out here, about ten years ago, and settled on the bluff east of St. Louis, in Illinois, near Collinsville. There he planted largely, and in two or three years sold out to his brother-in-law, Mr. Coombs, who is still there, and growing the "Miami McCormick" extensively for the St. Louis market. It has gone into other hands, and is at this time scattered broadcast - except in my old and the original raspberry community around Mt. Washington, as now called, where they have never cultivated the McCormick. Hence plants from that locality would turn out "Little Miami," and the true McCormick, when obtained, would prove the "Big Miami".
Last fall, at the Illinois State Horticultural Society meeting at Cobden, I proposed changing the name from Miami to McCormick, in order to avoid the confusion I foresaw coming in these Black Caps, so different, yet all from the Miami region of country. It is due McCormick that his name should attach to that variety, without doubt the largest, best, and most productive Black Cap ever grown. I append a description.
McCormick Raspberry, syn. "Miami," by which name mostly grown. Origin, Stone-lick Township, Clermont County, Ohio, on the farm of Geo. W. McCormick, and by him first cultivated about 1880 or '32. Growth, very strong and upright; canes, brown, covered with thick white bloom; leaves, darker than the common Black Cap ; fruit, of larger size than any other Black Cap, less seedy, and borne in large clus-ters, often as compact as a bunch of Diana grapes; fruit, grayish black, changing to purplish gray after being picked a few hours. It is rich and juicy, but carries well to market; very productive.
W. E. Mears.