About this site
Download the Cyclopedia
Q W E R T Y U I O P
A S D F G H J K L
Z X C V B N M
RURAL AND DOMESTIC ECONOMY
To make good Bread.
Place in a large pan twenty-eight pounds of flour; make a hole with the hand in the centre of it like a large basin, into which strain a. pint of brewers, yeast; this must be tested, and if too bitter a little flour sprinkled into it, and then strained directly, then pour in two quarts of water of the temperature of 100°, or blood heat, and stir the flour round from the bottom of the hole formed by the hand till that part of the flour is quite thick and well mixed, though all the rest must remain unwetted; then sprinkle a little flour over the moist part and cover it with a cloth; this is called sponge, and must be left to rise. Some leave it only half an hour, others all night.
When the sponge is light, however, add four quarts of water the same temperature as above, and well knead the whole mass into a smooth dough. This is hard work if done well. Then cover the dough and leave it for au hour. In cold weather both sponge and dough must be placed on the kitchen hearth, or in some room not too cold, or it will not rise well. Before the last water is put in two tablespoonful of salt must be sprinkled over the flour. Sometimes the flour will absorb another pint of water.
After the dough has risen it should be made quickly into loaves; if much handled then the bread will be heavy. It will require an hour and a half to bake, if made into fourpound loaves. The oven should be well heated before the dough is put into it. To try its heat, throw a little flour into it; if it brown directly, it will do.
To make Butter.
Let the cream be at the temperature of 55° to 60°, by a Fahrenheit thermometer; this is very important. If the weather be cold put boiling water into the churn for half an hour before you want to use it; when that is poured off strain in the cream through a butter cloth. When the butter is coming, which is easily ascertained by the sound, take off the lid, and with a small, flat board scrape down the sides of the churn, and do the same to the lid: this prevents waste. When the butter is come the butter-milk is to be poured off and spring water put into the churn, and turned for two or three minutes; this is to be then poured away and fresh added, and again the handle turned for a minute or two. Should there be the least milkiness when this is poured from the churn, more must be put in.
The butter is then to be placed on a board or marble slab and salted to taste; then with a cream cloth, wrung out in spring water, press all the moisture from it. When dry and firm make it up into rolls with flat boards. The whole process should be completed in three-quarters of an hour.
In hot weather pains must be taken to keep the cream from reaching too high a heat. If the dairy be not cool enough, keep the cream-pot in the coldest water you can get; make the butter early in the morning, and place cold water in the churn for a while before it is used.
The cows should be milked near the dairy; carrying the milk far prevents its rising well. In summer churn twice a week. Wash the churn well each time with soap or wood-ashes.
To cure Hams.
For each ham of twelve pounds weight: Two pounds of common salt; 2 ounces of saltpetre; 1/4 pound of bay salt; 1/4 pound of coarse sugar.
This should be reduced to the finest powder. Rub the hams well with it; female hands are not often heavy enough to do this thoroughly. Then place them in a deep pan, and add a wineglassful of good vinegar. Turn the hams every day; for the first three or four days rub them well with the brine; after that time it will suffice to ladle it over the meat with a wooden or iron spoon. They should remain three weeks in the pickle. When taken from it wipe them well, put them in bags of brown paper and then smoke them with wood smoke for three weeks.
TO MANAGE A DAIRY.
Directions to the Cow-Feeder.
Go to the cow-stall at six o'clock in the morning, winter and summer, give each cow half a bushel of the mangelwurtzel, carrots, turnips, or potatoes, cut; at seven o'clock, the hour the dairy-maid comes to milk them, give each some hay, and let them feed till they are all milked. If any cow refuses hay, give her something she will eat, such as grains, carrots, etc., during the time she is milking, as it is absolutely necessary the cow should feed whilst milking. As soon as the woman has finished milking in the morning, turn the cows into the airing ground, and let there be plenty of fresh water in the troughs; at nine o'clock give each cow three gallons of this mixture: to eight gallons of grain add four gallons of bran or pollard; when they have eaten that put some hay into the cribs; at twelve o'clock give each three gallons of the mixture as before; if any cow looks for more give her another gallon; on the contrary, if she will not eat what you gave her, take it out of the manger, for never at one time let a cow have more than she will eat up clean. Mind and keep the mangers clean, that they do not get sour. At two o'clock give each cow half a bushel of carrots, or turnips; look the turnips, etc., over well before giving them to the cows, as one rotten turnip will give a bad taste to the milk, and most likely spoil a whole dairy of butter. At four o'clock put the cows into the stall to be milked; feed them on hay as at milking-time in the morning, keeping in mind that the cow whilst milking must feed on something. At six o'clock give each cow three gallons of the mixture as before. Rack them up at eight o'clock. Twice in a week put into each cow's feed at noon a quart of malt-dust. Corn or mill-feed (offal from grinding flour from wheat) is still better. One-half peck of corn, or a little more, mill-feed twice a day, mixed with chopped straw or hay, wet and mashed.
Directions to the Dairy-Maid.
Go to the cow-stall at 7 o'clock; take with you cold water and a sponge, and wash each cow's udder clean before milking; dowse the udder well with cold water, winter and summer, as it braces and repels heats. Keep your bands and arms clean. Milk each cow as dry as you can, morning and evening, and when you milk each cow as you suppose dry, begin again with the cow you first milked and drip them each, for the principal reason of cows failing in their milk is from negligence in not milking the cow dry, particularly at the time the calf is taken from the cow. Suffer no one to milk the cow but yourself, and have no gossiping in the stall. Every Saturday night give in an exact account of the quantity each cow has given in the week.
To make Oats prove Doubly Nutritious to Horses. Instead of grinding the oats, break them in a mill, and the same quantity will prove doubly nutritious. Another method is to boil the corn and give the horses the liquor in which it has been boiled; the result will be, that instead of six bushels in a crude state, three bushels so prepared will be found to answer, and to keep the animals in superior vigor and condition.
Cheap method of Rearing Horned Cattle.
After having expressed the oil from the linseed, make up the remaining husks or dross into round balls of the size of a fist, and afterwards dry them; infuse and dissolve two or three of these balls in hot water, and add in the beginning a third or fourth part of fresh milk, but afterwards, when the calves are grown, mix only skim milk with the infusion.
To rear Calves.
The best method of rearing calves is to take them from the cows in three weeks or a month and to give them nothing but a little fine hay until they begin through necessity to pick a little; then cut some of the hay and mix it with bran or oats in a trough, and slice some turnips about the size of a dollar, which they will soon by licking learn to eat; after which give them turnips enough.
To rear Calves without Milk.
In two or three days after they are calved take the calves from the cows, put them in a house by themselves, then give them a kind of water gruel, composed of about one-third barley and two-thirds of oats ground together very fine, then sift the mixture through a very fine sieve, put it into the quantity of water below mentioned, and boil it half an hour, when take it off the fire, and let it remain till it is milkwarm; then give each calf about a quart in the morning, and the same quantity in the evening, and increase it as the calf grows older. It requires very little trouble to make them drink it, after the calves have had this diet about a week or ten days, tie up a little bundle of hay and put it in the middle of the house, which they will by degrees come to eat; also put a little of the meal above-mentioned in a small trough for them to eat occasionally; keep them in this manner until they are of proper age to turn out to grass, before which they must be at least two months old.
Make au infusion of malt, or fresh wort as a substitute for milk; in summer it may be given to the calves cold, but in winter it must have the same degree of warmth as the milk just coming from the cow; the quantity is the same as the milk commonly given at once to a calf, and to be increased in proportion as the calf grows.
To Fatten Poultry.
An experiment has been tried of feeding geese with turnips cut in small pieces like dice, but less in size, and put into a trough of water; with this food alone the effect was that six geese each when lean weighing only nine pounds, actually gained twenty pounds each in about three weeks' fattening.
Malt is an excellent food for geese and turkeys; grains are preferred for the sake of economy, unless for immediate and rapid fattening; the grains should be boiled afresh.
Other cheap articles for fattening are oatmeal and treacle;; barley-meal and milk; boiled oats and ground malt.
Corn before being given to fowls should always be crushed and soaked in water. the food will thus go further, and it will help digestion. Hens fed thus have been known to lay during the whole of the winter months.
Turkeys are very tender while young, afterwards quite hardy. Put them in large and open coops, they may be well raised with hens, and ramble less so. When hatched some put a grain of black pepper down their throats as a sort of cordial. the best food for ducks when hatched is bread and milk; in a few days barley-meal wetted into balls as big as peas.
To Choose a Milch Cow.
As to a choice of breeds for a private family, none (says Mr. Lawrence) probably combine so many advantages as the Suffolk dun cows. they excel both in quantity and quality of milk; they feed well after they become barren; they are small-sized, and polled or hornless; the last a great convenience. the horns of cows which butt and gore others, should be immediately broad tipped. There is a breed of polled Yorkshire or Holderness cows, some of them of middling size, great milkers, and well adapted to the use of families where a great quantity of milk is required, and where price is no object and food is plenty. If richer milk and a comparison of the two famous breeds be desired, one of each may be selected, namely the last mentioned and the other of the midland county, or long-horned species. Color is so far no object, that neither a good cow nor a good horse can either be of a bad colour; nevertheless, in an ornamental view, the sheeted and pied stock of the Yorkshire short-horns make a picturesque figure in the grounds.
The Alderney cows yield rich milk upon less feed than larger stock, but are seldom large milkers, and are particularly scanty of produce in the winter season. They are, besides, worth little or nothing as barreners, not only on account of their small size, but their inaptitude to take on fat, and the ordinary quality of their beef.
To determine the Economy of a Cow.
The annual consumption of food per cow, if turned to grass, is from one acre to an acre and a half in summer, and from a ton to a ton and a half of hay in the winter. A cow may be allowed two pecks of carrots per day. The grass being cut and carried will economize it full one-third. The annual product of a good, fair dairy cow during several months after calving, and either in summer or winter, if duly fed and kept in the latter season, will be an average of seven pounds of butter per week, from five to three gallons of milk per day. afterwards a weekly average of three or four pounds of butter from barely half the quantity of milk. It depends on the constitution of the cow, how nearly she may be milked to the time of her calving, some giving good milk until within a week or two of that period, others requiring to be dried eight or nine weeks previously. I have heard (says Mr. Lawrence) of twenty pounds of butter, and even twenty-two pounds, made from the milk of one long-horned cow in seven days, but I have never been fortunate enough to obtain one that would produce more than twelve pounds per week, although I have had a Yorkshire cow which milked seven gallons per day, yet never made five pounds of butter in one week. On the average, three gallons of good milk will make one pound of butter.
To fatten Hogs.
The Shakers have proved that ground corn is one-third better than unground, and nineteen pounds of cooked meal are equal to fifty pounds raw. Boiled and slightly fermented vegetables are also very fattening to swine.
To breed Pheasants.
Eggs being provided, put them under a hen that has kept the nest three or four days, and if you set two or three hens on the same day you will have the advantage of shifting the good eggs. the hens having set their full time, such of the young pheasants as are already hatched put in a basket, with a piece of flannel, till the hen has done hatching. the brood now come put under a frame with a net over it and a place for the hen, that she cannot get to the young pheasants, but that they may go to her, and feed them with boiled egg cut small, boiled milk and bread, alum curd, a little of each sort and often. After two or three days they will be acquainted with the call of the hen that hatched them, may have their liberty to run on the grass-plat, or else, where observing to shift them with the sun and out of the cold winds; they need not have their liberty in the morning till the sun is up, and they must be shut up with the hen in good time in the evening. You must be very careful in order to guard against the distemper to which they are liable, in the choice of a situation for breeding the birds up, where no poultry, pheasants, or turkeys, etc., have ever been kept, such as the warm side of a field, orchard, or pleasure-ground, or garden, or even on a common, or a good green lane under circumstances of this kind, or by a wood side; but then it is proper for a man to keep with them under a temporary hovel, and to have two or three dogs chained at a proper distance, with a lamp or two at night.
The birds going on as before mentioned should so continue till September or (if very early bred) the middle of August. Before they begin to shift the long feathers in the tail, they are to be shut up in the basket with the hen regularly every night. For such young pheasants as are chosen for breeding stock at home, and likewise to turn out in the following spring, provide a new piece of ground, large and roomy for two pens, where no pheasants, etc., have been kept, and there put the young birds in as they begin to shift their tails. Such of them as are intended to be turned out at a future time, or in another place, put into one pen netted over, and leave their wings as they are, and those wanted for breeding put in the other pen, cutting one wing of each bird. the gold and silver pheasants pen earlier, or they will be off. Cut the wing often, and when first penned feed all the young birds with barley-meal, dough, corn, plenty of green turnips, and alum curd, to make which take new milk, as much as the young birds require, and boil it with a lump of alum, so as not to make the curd hard and tough, but custard-like.
A little of this curd twice a day, and ants' eggs after every time they have had a sufficient quantity of the other food. If they do not eat heartily, give them some ants' eggs to create an appetite, but by no means in such abundance as to be considered their food.
Not more than four hens should be allowed in the pens to one cock. Never put more eggs under a hen than she can well and closely cover, the eggs being fresh and carefully preserved. Short broods to be joined and shifted to one hen; common hen pheasants in close pens, and with plenty of cover, will sometimes make their nests and hatch their own eggs: but they seldom succeed in rearing their brood, being so naturally shy; whence should this method be desired, they must be left entirely to themselves, as they feel alarm even in being looked at. Eggs for setting are generally ready in April. Period of incubation the same in the pheasant as in the common hen. Pheasants, like the pea- fowl, will clear grounds of insects and reptiles, but will spoil all walltrees within their reach, by pecking off every bud and leaf.
Strict cleanliness to be observed, the meat not to be tainted with dung, and the water to be pure and often renewed. Food for grown pheasants, barley or wheat; generally the same as for other poultry. In a cold spring, hemp seed, or other warming seeds, are comfortable, and will forward the breeding stock.
To manage Young Chickens.
The chickens first hatched are to be taken from the hen, lest she be tempted to leave her task unfinished. They may be secured in a basket of wool or soft hay, and kept in a moderate heat; if the weather be cold, near the fire. They will require no food for twenty-four hours, should it be necessary to keep them so long from the hen. The whole brood being hatched, place the hen under a coop abroad, upon a dry spot, and, if possible, not within reach of another hen, since the chickens will mix, and the hens are apt to maim and destroy those which do not belong to them. Nor should they be placed near young fowls, which are likely to crush them, being always eager for their small meat.
The first food should be split grits, afterwards tall wheat; all watery food, soaked bread or potatoes, being improper; corn or mill-screenings (before the wheat is ground) will do. Eggs boiled hard, or curds chopped small, are very suitable as first food. Their water should be pure, and often renewed, and there are pans made in such forms, that the chickens may drink without getting into the water, which, by wetting their feet and feathers, daubs and injures them; a basin in the middle of a pan of water will answer the end; the water running around it. There is no necessity for cooping the brood beyond two or three days, but they may be confined as occasion requires, or suffered to range, as they are much benefited by the foraging of the hen. they should not be let out too early in the morning, whilst the dew lies upon the ground, nor be suffered to range over wet grass, which is a common and fatal cause of disease in fowls. Another caution requisite is to guard them against unfavorable changes of the weather, particularly if rainy. Nearly all the diseases of fowls arise from cold moisture.
For the period of the chickens' quitting the hen there is no general rule; when she begins to roost, if sufficiently forward, They will follow her, if otherwise, they should be secured in a proper place till the time arrives when they are to associate with the other young poultry, since the larger are sure to overrun and drive from their food the younger broods.
Access to a barn-yard for worms is good for them. A warm house for shelter in winter is very important for chickens.
To hatch Chickens in the Egyptian Mode.
The mamals or ovens of Egypt are scareely above nine feet in height, but they have an extent in length and breadth which renders them remarkable, and yet they are more so in their internal structure. The centre of the building is a very narrow gallery, usually about the width of three feet, extending from one end of the building to the other, the height of which is from eight to nine feet; the structure for the most part of brick. the entrance into the oven is through the gallery' which commands the whole extent of it, and facilitates the several operations that are necessary to keep the eggs to the proper degree of heat. the oven has a door, not very wide, and only as high as it is broad; this door, and many others in use in the mamals, are commonly no more than round holes.
The gallery is a corridor, with this difference from our common corridors, which have only one row of rooms, whereas that of the mamal has always two rows of them on both sides; namely, one on the ground floor, and another above. Every one upon the ground floor has one above, perfectly equal, both in length and breadth. The rooms of each row on the ground floor, are all equal, in length, breadth, and height. Reaumur observes, "We know of no other rooms in the world so low as these, being only three feet in height." Their breadth, which is in the same direction with the length of the gallery, is four or five feet; they are very narrow in proportion to their length, which is twelve or fifteen feet.
Every one of these rooms has its door or round aperture, about a foot and a half in diameter, opening into the gallery, the hole being wide enough for a man to creep through. All the eggs to be hatched are first ranged in these rooms. Four or five thousand eggs are put into each of them. These are the real ovens, so that the whole edifice, which is denominated a chicken oven, is an assemblage of many ovens set together, side by side, opposite and over each other, and in the course of the process a part of the eggs are warmed in the upper rooms, after having been previously in the lower.
Forty or fifty thousand eggs are hatched at once, or another account extends the number to eighty thousand. The eggs are spread on mats, flocks or flax, in each room upon the ground floor, where they contract their first and general warmth, during a certain number of days.
The heat of the air in the inferior rooms, and consequently that of the eggs, would rise to an excessive degree, were the fire in the gutter incessantly kept up. They keep it up only an hour in the morning, and an hour at night, and they style these heatings the dinner and supper of the chickens; they receive, however, two more meals, that is, luncheon and afternoon meal, the fire being lighted four times a day.
On the day on which they cease to light the fires, some of the eggs of each inferior room are always conveyed into the room above; the eggs had been too much heaped in the former, and it is now time to extend and give them more room.
The proper number of eggs from each inferior room having been removed into the room above, all the apertures of the rooms and of the gallery are closely and exactly stopped with bungs of tow, excepting perhaps, half the apertures in the arehes or ceilings of the upper rooms, which are left open in order to procure there a circulation of air. This precaution is sufficient to preserve in the ovens, for many days together, the temperature which has been obtained; which indeed would be the case with ovens upon so considerable a scale in any country, more especially one so hot as Egypt.
Three hundred and eighty-six ovens are kept in Egypt annually, during four or six months, allowing more time than is necessary to hatch eight successive broods of chickens, ducks and turkeys, making on the whole yearly three thousand and eighty-eight broods. The number in different hatchings is not always the same, from the occasional difficulty of obtaining a sufficient number of eggs, which may be stated at a medium between the two extremes of forty and eighty thousand to each oven.
The overseer contracts to return, in a living brood, to his employer, two-thirds of the number of eggs set in the ovens - all above being his own perquisite, in addition to his salary for the season which is from eighty to forty crowns, exclusive of his board. According to report, the crop of poultry thus artificially raised in Egypt was seldom if ever, below that ratio, making the enormous annual amount of ninety-two million six hundred and forty thousand.
The chickens are not sold from the stove by tale, but by the bushel or basket full!
Excellent Substitutes for Candles.
Procure meadow-rusbes, such as they tie the hop shoots to the poles with. Cut them when they have attained their full substance, but are still green. The rush, at this age, consists of a body of pith with a green skin on it. Cut off both ends of the rush and leave the prime part, which, on an average, may be about a foot and a half long. Then take off all the green skin except for about a fifth part of the way round the pith. Thus it is a piece of pith all but a little strip of skin in one part all the way up, which is necessary to bold the pith together.
The rushes being thus prepared, the grease is melted, and put, in a melted state, into something that is as long as the rushes are. The rushes are put into the grease, soaked in it sufficiently then taken out and laid in a bit of bark taken from a young tree, so as not to be too large. This bark is fixed up against the wall by a couple of straps put round it, and there it hangs for the purpose of holding the rushes.
The rushes are carried about in the hand; but to sit by, to work by, or to go to bed by, they are fixed in stands made for the purpose, some of which are high to stand on the ground, and some low to stand on a table. These stands have an iron part something like a pair of pliers to hold the rush in, and the rush is shifted forward from time to time, as it burns down to the thing that holds it.
These rushes give a better light than a common small dip candle, and they cost next to nothing, though the laborer may with them have as much light as he pleases.
Petroleum or kerosene is now cheaper than candles, and gives a beautiful light.
To cultivate Mustard.
A yard square of ground, sown with common mustard, the crop of which may be ground for use in a little mustard-mill as wanted, will save some money. The mustard will look brown instead of yellow, but the former color is as good as the latter; and, as to the taste, the real mustard has certainly a much better taste than that of the drugs and flour which sometimes go under the name of mustard. Let any one try it, and he will never use the latter again. The drugs, if taken freely, leave a burning at the pit of the stomach, which the real mustard does not.
To cure Herrings, Pilchards, Mackerel, Sprats, etc.
Reservoirs of any size, vats or casks, perfectly water-tight, should be about half filled with brine made by dissolving about twenty-eight parts of solid salt in seventy-two of fresh water. The fish, as fresh as possible, gutted or not, must be plunged into this fully-saturated brine in such quantity as nearly to fill the reservoir; and after remaining quite immersed for five or six days, they will be fit to be packed as usual, with large-grained solid salt, and exported to the hottest climates. As brine is always weakest at the upper part, in order to keep it of a uniform saturation, a wooden lattice-work frame, of such size as to be easily let into the inside of the reservoir, is sunk an inch or two under the surface of the brine, for the purpose of suspending upon it lumps of one or two pounds, or larger, of solid salt, which effectually saturates whatever moisture may exude from the fish: and thus the brine will be continued of the utmost strength so long as any part of the salt remains undissolved. The solidity of the lumps admits of their being applied several times, or whenever the reservoirs are replenished with fish; and the brine, although repeatedly used, does not putrefy; nor do the fish, if kept under the surface, ever become rancid.
All provisions are best preserved by this method, especially bacon, which, when thus cured, is not so liable to become rusty as when done by the usual method of rubbing with salt.
Take an iron-bound butt or puncheon and knock out the head; then cut a very small hole in the bottom, about the size of a wine-cork. Place inside of it a wooden tub, shaped like a churn, resting it upon two pieces of wood, which are to raise it from touching the bottom. Fill the space round the inner tub with pounded charcoal, and fit to the tub a cover with a convenient handle, having inside one or two small hooks, on which the bottles are to be hung during the operation. Place on the lid a bag of pounded charcoal, about two feet square, and over all place another cover, which must cover the head of the outer cask.
When the Apparatus is thus prepared let it be placed in a cold cellar, and buried in the earth above four-fifths of its height, but though cold the cellar must be dry; wet ground will not answer, and a sandy soil is the best. Fill the inner tub, or nearly so, with pounded ice; or, if prepared in winter, with snow well pressed down, and the apparatus will be complete.
Whenever it is wished to make ices take off the upper cover, then the sack or bag of pounded charcoal, and suspend the vessel containing the liquid to be frozen to the hooks inside of the inner cover, then close up the whole as before for half an hour, when the operation will be complete, provided care be taken to exclude external air.
To produce Ice for Culinary Purposes.
Fill a gallon stone bottle with hot spring water, leaving about a pint vacant, and put in two ounces of refined nitre; the bottle must then be stopped very close and let down into a deep-well. After three or four hours it will be completely frozen, but the bottle must be broken to procure the ice. If the bottle is moved up and down so as to be sometimes in and sometimes out of the water, the consequent evaporation will hasten the process. The heating of the water assists the subsequent congelation; and experience has proved that hot water in winter will freeze more rapidly than cold water just drawn from a spring.
To make Ice.
The following is a simple and speedy method of congealing water:
Into a metal vase half filled with water pour very gently an equal quantity of ether, so that no mixture may take place of the two liquids. The vase is placed under the receiver of an air-pump, which is so fixed upon its support as to remain quite steady when the air is pumped out.
At the first strokes of the piston the ether becomes in a state of ebullition; it is evaporated totally in less than a minute, and the water remains converted into ice.
To procure Ice from a Powder.
This is made by pulverizing and drying the shivery fragments of porphyritic trap, which will absorb one-fifth of its own weight of water. Two quarts of it, spread in a large dish, will, in a few minutes, in an exhausted receiver, freeze half of three quarters of a pound of water, in a cup of porous earthenware. This is a cheap substitute fur the still more powerful freezing mixtures mentioned in chemical works.
To char Peats at the Moss.
The best method of charring peats where they are dug is, when the peats are properly dried, wheel to the outside of the moss a single horse-cart load of them. Level a spot of ground, about seven feet in diameter, near to a drain, and drive a stake of wood into the ground about five feet long; roll some dry heather or pol (the refuse of flax) round the stake, and lay some also upon the ground where the peats are to be placed, then set the peats upon and all round the stake, inclining to the centre, with a little dry heather or pol between each two floors of peat, until near the top or last course: then they are laid in a horizontal direction, and the stack, when finished, is in the form of a bee-hive. The next operation is to set the stack on fire, which is done at the bottom all round. The fire will soon run up the post in the centre, and, when the heather or pol is all consumed the space forms a chimney, and occasions the stack to burn regularly. If the windward side should burn too fast, apply some wet turf. When the peats are thought to be sufficiently burnt, which is easily known from the appearance of the smoke, apply wet turf and water from the adjoining drain as fast as possible until the whole is extinguished. The charcoal may be removed upon the following day.
To char Peats for Family Use.
When charcoal is required for cookery, or any other purpose in the family, take a dozen or fifteen peats and put them upon the top of the kitchen fire upon edge; they will soon draw up the coal fire, and become red in a short time. After being turned about once or twice, and done with smoking, they are oharred, and may be removed to the stoves. If more char is wanted, put on another supply of peats. By following this plan the kitchen fire is kept up, and thus, with very little trouble, a supply of the best charred peat is obtained, perfectly free from smoke, and the vapor by no means so noxious as charcoal made from wood. Peats charred in this way may be used in a chafer in any room, or even in a nursery, without any danger arising from the vapor. It would also be found very fit for the warming of beds, and much better than live goals, which are in general used full of sulphur, and smell all over the house.
Peats charred in a grate, and applied to the purpose of charcoal immediately, without being extinguished, make the purest and best char, and freest of smoke. When peats are charred in a large quantity, and extinguished, any part of the peat that is not thoroughly burnt in the heart will imbibe moisture, and when used will smoke and have a disagreeable smell, which would at once hinder charred peat from being used in a gentleman's family.
To make a Cheap Fuel.
Mix coal, charcoal, or sawdust, one part; sand, of any kind, two parts; marl or clay, one part; in quantity as thought proper. Make the mass up wet, into balls of a convenient size, and when the fire is sufficiently strong place these balls, according to its size, a little above the top bar, and they will produce a heat considerably more intense than common fuel, and insure a saving of one-half the the quantity of coals. A fire then made up will require no stirring, and will need no fresh food for ten hours.
To clean Water-Casks.
Scour the inside well out with water and sand, and afterwards apply a quantity of charcoal dust. Another and better method is to rinse them with a pretty strong solution of oil of vitriol and water, which will entirely deprive them of their foulness.
To preserve Eggs.
Apply with a brush a solution of gum arabic to the shells, or immerse the eggs therein; let them dry, and afterwards pack them in dry charcoal dust. This prevents their being affected by any alterations of temperature.
Mix together in a tub or vessel one bushel of quicklime; thirty-two ounces of salt; eight ounces of cream of tartar, with as much water as will reduce the composition to a sufficient consistence to float an egg. Then put and keep the eggs therein, which will preserve them perfectly sound for two years at least.
A Substitute for Milk and Cream.
Beat up the whole of a fresh egg in a basin, and then pour boiling tea over it gradually, to prevent its curdling. It is difficult from the taste to distinguish the composition from rich cream.
To cure Butter.
Take two parts of the best common salt, one part of sugar, and one-half part of saltpetre; beat them up and blend the whole together. Take one ounce of this composition for every sixteen ounces of butter, work it well into the mass, and close it up for use.
Butter cured this way appears of a rich, marrowy consistence and fine color, and never acquires a brittle hardness, nor tastes salt. It will likewise keep good three years, only observing that it must stand three weeks or a month before it is used.
To remove the Turnip Flavor from Milk and Butter.
Dissolve a little nitre in spring-water, which keep in a bottle, and put a small teacupful into eight gallons of milk, when warm from the cow.
To make Butter, Dumbarton Method.
First scald the churn with boiling water to insure cleanliness; then, having put in the cream, work it till the butter is separated from the milk, and put the former into a clean vessel. Next draw a corn-sickle several times cross ways through it, for the purpose of extracting any hairs or superfluities which may adhere to it. Let the butter be put into spring-water during this operation, which will prevent its turning soft, and which will clear it likewise from any remnants of milk. Next mix with every stone of butter ten ounces of salt. Incorporate it well, otherwise the butter will not keep. In May and June each stone of butter will take one ounce more of salt, but after the middle of August one ounce less will suffice. When made put it into a wellseasoned kit, and shake a handful of salt on the top, which will preserve it from mouldiness. In this way continue to make and salt the butter, placing one cake upon the other until the kit is full. Observe that the kit does not leak, as the liquor oozing through would occasion the butter to spoil.
To make Cheshire Cheese.
It is necessary in making the best cheese to put in the new milk without skimming, and if any overnight's milk be mixed with it, it must be brought to the same natural warmth, into this put as much rennet as is just sufficient to come to the curd, and no more; for on this just proportion the mildness of the cheese is said to depend; a piece dried of the size of a worn dime, and put into a teacupful of water with a little salt, about twelve hours before it is wanted, is sufficient for eighteen gallons of milk. The curd is next broken down, and, when separated from the whey, is put into a cheese-vat, and pressed very dry; it is next broken very small by squeezing it with the hands. New curd is mixed with about half its quantity of yesterday's, and which has been kept for that purpose. When the curds have been thus mixed, well pressed and closed with the hands in a cheese-vat, till they become one solid lump, it is put into a press for four or five hours, then taken out of the cheese-vat and turned, by means of a cloth put into the same for this purpose, and again put into the press for the night. It is then taken out, well salted, and put into the press again till morning, when it is taken out and laid upon a flag or board till the salt is quite melted, then it is wiped, put into a dry room, and turned every day, till it becomes dry enough for the market.
To correct Damaged Grain.
Put the injured article into an oven. from which the bread has been just drawn. Spread it in a bed of from three to four inches in thickness, and stir it frequently with a shovel or rake to facilitate the disengagement of the vapor. In ten or fifteen minutes, according to its humidity, withdraw it; when perfectly cool and aired, it will be restored to its wholesome qualities.
Musty grain, totally unfit for use, and which can scareely be ground, may be rendered perfectly sweet and sound by simply immersing it in boiling water, and letting it remain till the water becomes cold. the quantity of water must be double that of the corn to be purified. The musty quality rarely penetrates through the husk of the wheat; and in the very worst cases, it does not extend through the amylaceous matter which lies immediately under the skin. In the hot water, all the decayed or rotten grains swim on the surface, so that the remaining wheat is effectually cleaned from all impurities, without any material loss. It is afterwards to be dried, stirring it occasionally on the kiln.
To improve New Seconds Flour of bad quality.
Mix common carbonate of magnesia well, in proportion of from twenty to forty grains to a pound of flour; calcined magnesia will improve the bread, but not nearly to the same extent as the carbonate. It will improve the color of bread made from new seconds flour, while it impairs the color of bread from fine old and new flour.
To preserve Flour.
Attach a number of lofts to every mill, so that the flour, in place of being thrust into sacks, the moment it escapes from the friction of the stones, may be taken up by the machinery, and spread cut to cool in the most careful manner. The violent friction of the stones necessarily creates a great heat and steam; and if flour is thrust into sacks in this state, a chemical action will make it moist, soft, and clammy.
To preserve Wheat.
Kiln dry it and put it in cubical cases of earthenware, glazed on the outside, and filled full as possible; cover them with a piece of the same ware made to fit close, and secured with a mixture of pitch, tar, and hemp cloth, till the whole be made air-tight. A case of this kind might be made which would hold four bushels or a quarter of wheat.
To correct Moist Flour.
In preparing the dough, let one-third of the flour be kept unmixed, till the dough begins to rise, then add a little of the flour, and when it rises again add a little more, and so on for four or five hours, till the whole of the flour is used. In this manner the mixture, which occasions a glistening appearance in the dough, will be taken up, and the bread, as is already mentioned, will be highly improved.
To remove Flies from Rooms.
Take half a teaspoonful of black pepper, in powder, one teaspoonful of brown sugar, and one tablespoonful of cream; mix them well together, and place them in the room, on a plate where the flies are troublesome, and they will soon disappear.
To make Excellent Bread.
Mix seven pounds of best flour with three pounds of pared boiled potatoes. Steam off the water, and leave them a few minutes on the fire, mash them fine, and mix them whilst quite warm in the flour, with a spoonful or more of salt. Put a quart of water, milk warm, with three large spoonsful of yeast, gradually to the potatoes and flour. Work it well into a smooth dough, and let it remain four hours before it is baked.
To make Bread with a very small quantity of Yeast.
Put one bushel of flour into the trough, mix threequarters of a pint of warm water, and one teaspoonful of thick yeast well together; pour a small quantity in a hole made in the centre of the flour large enough to contain two gallons of water; then stir with a stick, about two feet long, some of the flour, until it is as thick as pudding batter. Strew some of the dry flour over it, and let it rest for an hour, then pour about a quart more water and having stirred it as before, leave it for two hours, and then add a gallon more of warm water. Stir in the flour again, and in about four hours more, mix up the dough, and cover it warm; in about four hours more you may put it in the oven and as light bread will be obtained as though a pint of yeast had been used.
To prepare Bread in the Method of the London Bakers.
Sift a sack of flour into the kneading-trough, add six pounds of salt, dissolve them separately in a pailful of water (cooled to 90° Fahr.) with two quarts of yeast. Stir it well, and strain it through a cloth or sieve; afterwards mix it with the flour into a dough, next cover it up with cloths and shut down the trough-lid close to retain the heat. In two hours more mix in another pailful of warm water with the sponge, and again cover it up for two hours. After this knead it for more than an hour, with three pailsful of warm water. Return the dough to the trough, sprinkle it with dry flour, and in four hours' time knead it well for about half an hour, when it will be fit to mould into loaves.
To prepare Household Bread.
Mix four ounces of salt, three quarts of water a pint of yeast, and a peck of seconds flour, in a trough. When properly fermented, knead and divide it into loaves. Sometimes a portion of ryemeal, rice, flour, or boiled potatoes, are mixed with the flour previous to the kneading; the two former serve to bind the bread, the latter cause it to be open and spongy.
To produce one-third more Bread from a given Quantity of Wheat.
Boil a bushel of the coarsest bran in seven gallons of water for one hour; keep stirring it, that it may not stick to the bottom; then pour it off into a trough or tub full of holes, over which lay a coarse cloth or sieve. On the top of the whole put a wooden cover, with a weight sufficiently heavy to press out the liquor from the bran, which will sink to the bottom of the tub in a thick pulp. This liquor will contain the essential oil of the grain, and when kneaded in with a proper proportion of flour it will yield one-third more than the same quantity would made with water in the usual way.
To make French Bread.
Put a pint of milk into three quarts of water. In winter let it be scalding hot, but in summer little more than milk warm. Put in salt sufficient. Take a pint and a half of good ale yeast, free from bitterness, and lay it in a gallon of water the night before. Pour off the yeast into the milk and water, and then break in rather more than a quarter of' a pound of butter. Work it well till it is dissolved; then beat up two eggs in a basin, and stir them in. Mix about a peck and a half of flour with the liquor, and in winter make the dough pretty stiff, but more slack in! summer; mix it well, and the less it is worked the better. Stir the liquor into flour, as for pie-crust, and after the dough is made cover it with a cloth, and let it lie to rise while the oven is heating. When the loaves have lain in a quick oven about a quarter of an hour, turn them on the other side for about a quarter of an hour longer. Then take them out, and chip them with a knife, which will make them look spongy, and of a fine yellow. whereas rasping takes off this fine color, and renders their look less inviting.
To make wholesome Mixed Bread.
Take of rice 3 pounds, boil it in a sufficient quantity of water till reduced to a soft pulp, then rub it with 6 pounds of mealy potatoes, cooked by steam, and, when well blended, add 6 pounds of flour. Make the whole into a dough with water, and ferment with yeast. in the usual manner.
To make Bran Bread.
To four pounds of best household flour put two tablespoonsful of small beer yeast and a half pint of warm water. Let it stand two hours in a warm place. Add half a pound of bran and a teaspoonful of salt, make the dough with skim-milk or warm water; cover it up and let it stand an hour. Put the loaves into warm dishes, and let them stand twenty minutes before they go into the oven.
Mix with half a peck of flour, containing the whole of the bran, a quarter of a pint of small beer yeast, and a quart of lukewarm water, stir it well with a wooden spoon until it becomes a thick batter, then put a napkin over the dough and set it about three feet from the fire until it rises well. Add, if requisite, a little more warm water, strew over it a tablespoonful of salt, and make the whole into a stiff paste. Put it to the fire, and when it rises again kneed it into the dough. If baked in tins the loaves will be improved.
To make Leaven Bread.
Take about two pounds of dough of the last making, which has been raised by barm; keep it in a wooden vessel covered well with flour. This will become leaven when sufficiently sour. Work this quantity into a peck of flour with warm water. Cover the dough close with a cloth or flannel, and keep it in a warm place; further mix it next morning with two or three bushels of flour, mixed up with warm water and a little salt. When the dough is thoroughly made cover it as before. As soon as it rises knead it well into loaves. Observe in this process, that the more leaven is put to the flour the lighter the bread will be, and the fresher the leaven the less sour it will taste.
To make Four Quartern Loaves for Family Use.
Procure a peck of flour, with which mix a handful of salt to three quarts of water, and add half a pint of good fresh yeast. Work the whole well together, and set it to rise at a moderate distance from the fire from two to three hours. Then divide it into four equal parts, put it into tins, and send it to the baker's.
To detect Adulteration in Bread.
Run into the crumb of a loaf one day old the blade of a knife considerably heated, and if adulterated with alum it will show its unwholesome adherences on the surface, and it may further be detected by the smell. Bone-dust or plaster of Paris may be discovered by slicing the soft part of a loaf thin and soaking it in a large quantity of water in an earthen vessel placed over a slow fire three or four hours. Then having poured off the water and pap, the obnoxious matter will be found at the bottom.
To preserve Houses from Vermin.
Bugs, in particular, may readily be destroyed by dissolving half a drachm of corrosive sublimate in a quarter of an ounce of spirit of salts, mixing it with one quart of spirit of turpentine. Shake these well together, dip a brush in it, and wash those places where hugs are supposed to resort, and this will remove them with greater certainty than any other mode now practiced.
BEES AND THEIR MANAGEMENT
Who should keep Bees.
Bee-keeping is now admitted, both in this country and in Europe. to be one of the most profitable rural pursuits. Perhaps in no other branch can so large and sure profit be secured in proportion to the capital and labor necessary to be invested. One hundred to five hundred per cent, has often been realized in a single season, where intelligent care has been given these little insects; and there are instances recorded of even greater returns from them in unusually good seasons. This business is made by many intelligent persons a specialty, but it is not necessary that This should be the case, indeed until the honey resources of the United States are better developed, it is important that all classes should be made acquainted with the facts. the farmer may, by devoting a little spare time to a few colonies of bees, secure an abundance of a choice luxury for his table, or for sale. The merchant and professional man, who has but little time and little land, may secure a pleasant relaxation from his cares, by tending a few hives, while the laboring man, or the mechanic, may keep a few colonies in his yard or garden, and be repaid a hundred-fold for the care be gives them. Nor is the occupation suitable for men alone, since women can give bees all the care they need, and many who have tried bee-keeping as a channel for their industry are reaping rich rewards. Neither is it necessary that bees should be kept in the country to thrive, for in all our large towns and cities a few colonies are found to do well, since the bees are not confined to the brick walls, within which their hives stand, but seek the suburbs and gather sweets which abound there. In nearly every part of the United States, bees will thrive where man can live. It has been proved that in all localities where there is arable land, or woods, or wild prairie bees gather their own stores and a surplus for their owner, and that no part of our land is likely to be overstocked, but, on the contrary, bees may in most localities be increased tenfold, and the many gather as much honey to each hive as the few now do.
Therefore we would be glad to see men and women, in all situations in life, in town, city, and country, giving to bees intelligent care.
Brief Natural History of bees.
Every one keeping bees should be well informed regarding their natural history, as their successful management must be based on their instincts and habits. Works on the subject abound, and it does not come within the limits of this article to do more than glance at the internal economy of the hive.
Its inmates are of three kinds. One Queen, who is the only perfect female who deposits all the eggs from which the other bees are produced. These eggs are of two kinds: the one develops into the drones, who are the male bees, and the other, under ordinary treatment, produces the worker bees, who are imperfectly developed females; but the same eggs will, under different treatment and care produce perfect females or queens. As but one queen is allowed in any hive at one time, these young queens are only reared when a colony is deprived of a queen, or when swarming season makes it necessary to provide queens for other colonies. In from three to five days after birth, the queen leaves the hive for fertilization by the drone or male bee. Before this impregnation she is capable of laying the eggs which produce drones, but no others; after that she can produce either kind. Except for this purpose, she never leaves the hive, unless when she goes with a swarm, and one impregnation is operative for life. She lives on an average about three years. The workers have but a brief existance, not three months long on an average; and the drones are reared only in spring when swarming season approaches, -and after serving their brief purpose dissapear. The worker bees are the laborers: they cleanse the hive, feed the young bees, provide for the queen, defend their home from all invaders, and gather all the stores; the drones being consumers only.
They gather honey, which is a secretion in many flowers, pollen, the farina of various plants, and which is largely used in forming bee-bread, and also propolis or bee glue, a resinous substance which is used in fastening the combs to the sides of hives, and to fill cracks or open places.
Wax is not gathered, as many suppose, but is an animal secretion as truly as lard or tallow. The bees fill themselves with honey and hang quietly in clusters until scales of the wax appear upon their abdomens, which scales are dislodged and formed into the cells. These cells have been one of the wonders of nature, and a theme for the poet in all ages - since nothing can exceed their beauty and mathematical accuracy.
It is estimated, and proved by careful expert meets, that from 20 to 30 lbs. of honey are consumed by the bees in the secretion of one lb. of wax; hence it is very important that all good pieces of comb should be saved and given again to the bees.
An egg is deposited by the queen in a cell prepared by the workers; in three days it hatches into a small worm, is fed and cherished until about the eighth day the larvae becomes a nymph and is sealed up in its cell to emerge, a perfect bee. The drones mature in 24, the workers in 21, and the queen in from 14 to 17 days from the egg.
A great revolution has been effected in bee culture since it has been found possible so to construct hives that every comb will be built and secured by the bees to a movable frame, so that each one or all can be taken out and examined when occasion requires, without danger of stings to the owner or detriment to the bees. These frames have laid open all the internal economy of the bee-hive, and an intelligent use of them can hardly fail to secure success. They make certain, what was before guess-work. With them in use, the bee-keeper may know at all times the exact state of his bees and the amount of their stores; if they are weak, he can strengthen them by a comb of brood or honey from some other hive; if they are queenless, he can supply a new queen, and in the fall he can unite any two poor ones and make of then a good stock colony. A colony of bees in a movable comb-hive need never grow old, it is a "perpetual institution."
Though these frames have long been used in Europe, to Rev. L. L. Langstroth belongs the honor of introducing them first in a simple practical form into the United States, and since then they have been made and used in many different shapes. Some of these hives, with the valuable principle really belonging to Mr. Langstroth, combine many features not only useless but absolutely injurious to the bees; and others are a decided improvement on the form and arrangement of the original patent. Among them, the American improved movable comb hive is found to be most simple and easy of construction and the safest of all forms for a winter hive. The time is gone by when a bee-keeper can succeed in making his stock profitable in hollow logs, boxes, or even straw hives, as they afford too many hiding-places for the moth and its progeny of worms. As well might a farmer hope for success if he used old-fashioned ploughs, sickles and other farming implements. A good plain, well-painted hive will last a lifetime, and such the bees require. Any extra ornament or expense may be added at pleasure, but they will gratify the tastes of the owner rather than aid the bees. Ample room should be given on all hives for boxes to contain surplus honey. They naturally store their choice honey as near the top as possible; and when boxes are on there, in the season of honey gathering, pure honey, unmixed with bee-bread, will be put in them. Boxes for this purpose are made of various forms and sizes: when their contents are intended for market, they should be made to bold about six pounds, and have one glass side, as in that form honey is most salable. For family use, boxes containing from 12 to 20 pounds are better.
These surplus boxes, as they are called, should not be put on the hives until fruit-blossoms abound. Early in the spring they would not be used by the bees, who are then rearing brood as fast as possible, and as they would allow the heat of the hive to escape, they would prove injurious. After the bees begin to store in them, they should be closely watched, and, when full, changed at once for empty ones, - as bees are often idle unwillingly, because they have not room.
The stings of bees were given them for the protection of their stores. They are not disposed to sting when not in danger, and every bee who does sting dies. Away from their own hive they rarely make an attack. The natural dread of stings deter many from keeping bees, who would be glad to do so. In the use of modern hives, the danger of being stung is much lessened, as they give you facilities for subduing them. A bee with its honey sac full never stings. When you alarm a colony of bees, they all instinctively at once fill their sacs with honey, and after time has been allowed them to do this, their hive can be opened and examined with no danger from their anger. When any operation is to be performed, a little smoke from decayed wood, or a bundle of burning rags, should be blown in among them, when they at once proceed to fill themselves with honey, and in a few moments they will all be peaceably inclined. Another way is to open the hive at the top and shower the bees with sweetened water. They immediately fill their sacs with it, and are so subdued that no angry note will be heard from them. Many beekeepers now go among their bees, every hour of the day, for a whole season, without receiving a sting. A fearless manner no doubt has something to do with this; and in order to secure it, all beginners until they lose their fear are advised to wear a tree-dress. This may be cheaply made of a piece of wire cloth, large enough to cover the head and face, with leather sewed into the top for a crown, and a muslin curtain, half a yard deep, all around the bottom. The hands may be effectually protected by india rubber gloves with gauntlets, or a pair of woollen mittens, knit with one finger as for soldiers. These dipped into cold water before using, answers good purpose. This dress is only needed until you have learned how to manage your bees: after that, one no more fears their sting than he does the kick of a favorite horse or cow. If one is stung, a little common soda or saleratus, which is always at hand, moistened and applied to the part, will neutralize the poison injected by the sting and at once relieve the pain.
Enemies of Bees.
Before the new light which in the past few years has been shed upon the subject, bee-keeping had become a very precarious pursuit. Bees were supposed to have many enemies. The moth or miller, with its progeny of worms, had become very numerous and destructive, and did much mischief. In all parts of the country many bees were lost in wintering, so that the annual increase by swarming did not make up for the number lost in various ways. In some regions the product of wax and honey was yearly decreasing. It is now well known that, under a right system of management, a colony of bees has no enemies that it cannot overcome, and can be made every year, whatever the season, to give a good return in honey or swarms to its owner, and in most seasons will give both. The secret of all successful management is to keep your colonies always strong, and they will protect themselves; and the use of hives giving you the control of every comb, enables you always to secure this end. When he possesses this power, the moth has no terrors for the intelligent bee-keeper since a strong stock is never injured by it; and severe winters are of no consequence, for bees can be properly protected to withstand them. In some seasons much greater profit may be realized than in others, but some may be expected in all.
The Italian Bee,
Which has been for years well known in Europe, has been successfully introduced into many parts of Europe, and is rapidly taking the place of the old species or black bee. At first it was regarded with suspicion, but its good qualities are now conceded by all who have tried both varieties under the same circumstances. It is similar in form and size to the black bee, but distinct in color, being of a golden hue, and also has three distinct golden rings below the wings about the abdomen.
It is found to be more active than the other bee, making three flights where it makes two; it also is more hardy, working earlier and later, and in cooler weather. Its bill is longer, so that it gathers honey from plants which are not frequented by the common bees. Its queens are more prolific, so that they may be increased much faster with safety. Careful experiments have decided that one colony of Italians will store more honey then two colonies of native bees, and at the same time give more swarms; while some years, when the native bees do nothing, Italians gather large supplies.
The general introduction of this bee into every part of our country is greatly to be desired.
How to change Colonies of Black Bees to Italians.
Since the queen is the mother of all the bees in the hive, and deposits all the eggs, it follows that they will all be like her. If then the queen be taken from a colony of common bees, and an Italian queen be put there in her stead, all the eggs thenceforth laid will produce Italian bees, and as the life of the worker bee is short, in from two to three months the old bees will all have died out and be replaced in greater numbers by the beautiful Italians. These Italian queens are now reared for sale by scientific apiarians, and sent to any part of the world with perfect safety. If a pure queen purely impregnated is purchased and introduced to any colony of black bees, an Italian stock is secured in the best and least expensive way. Italian queens impregnated by common drones will produce what is called "hybrid" stock, and though this is a great improvement on the black bees, it is very desirable to secure a queen to commence with that is warranted pure by some reliable person.
Many bee-keepers have, by the purchase of one queen, succeeded in Italianizing all their stocks to their great profit and pleasure.
How to introduce an Italian Queen to a Native Colony in the Safest Way.
A colony have a great attachment for their queen being, it would seem, conscious that on her presence their whole existence depends. When she is taken from them, some precautions are necessary, lest they destroy a strange queen presented to them. There are various ways of doing this, but the following will be found safe and easy. Take away the queen of the colony to which the Italian is to be given. To find her most easily, open the stand in the middle of a fine day, when many bees are absent from the hive. Disturb the bees as little as possible, and have an assistant to look on one side of the frame, while you examine the other. Look first on the combs near where the bees cluster, as the queen is apt to be there. As soon as you have found and killed her, put the Italian queen, with three or more of the bees that come with her, into a wire cage which always accompanies her when sent, and lay this over the frames near the cluster, or, if the weather be cool, the cage may be laid between two frames. Leave her there forty eight hours, and then, without disturbing the bees withdraw the stopper and allow the queen to go into the hive at her pleasure.
Open the box in which the queen is sent in a light room, that, if the queen fly, she may be caught on the window. Never handle a queen by the abdomen, as a pressure there may be fatal; take her by the upper part of the body or wings.
Move the hive to which you wish to introduce the queen to a new position some distance away. Then take from it two or three frames of comb containing brood and honey, shake all the bees from them, put them in an empty hive, and place this hive where the other stood; close all the entrances except one hole in the top, and through this gently put the new queen on to the frames and shut her in, then open entrance for one bee at a time in front, and allow the bees that are out in the fields to come in. Being full of honey, and disturbed also at the new appearance of their home, they will not harm the stranger queen.
If it is the right season of the year for making new colonies, you may, towards night, add a frame or two more of brood from some other colony, and as a majority of the worker trees from the removed colony will return to their new location, you will have a good, new, properous colony. The one you have moved will also do well and soon be as strong as ever, for it retains the fertile queen. If you do not care thus to divide, look over the removed hive at once and kill its queen. Leave it an hour or two, and then take all the remaining frames, shake the bees from them and place them in the hive where your Italian queen is, and just at dusk put all the remaining bees in the old hive, in front of the new, which they will gladly enter. In this way you remove by degrees all parts of a colony to a new hive, except its queen, which you replace by the Italian. This is my favorite way of exchanging queens.
Bees increase the number of their colonies by swarming. In early spring, if all be right with then, numbers of young bees are reared until the hive becomes crowded. Then drones are reared, and queen cells are built, in which eggs, from which workers are usually reared, are deposited, and by different feeding and care, are transformed into young queens. When these queen cells are capped over, some fine day, the old queen and a part of the bees leave the hive to seek a new habitation. The hive, however, is left full of brood which is hourly hatching, and soon becomes as populous as ever. A young queen hatches in about eight days after the old one leaves, and, if she is permitted, will destroy all the other embryo queens. If the bees, will to swarm again, they prevent her from doing this, and then second, third, and often more swarms come out, led by these young queens. One of the evils attending natural swarming was the uncertainty attending it. In some years, bees did not swarm at all, and no increase was secured; in others they swarmed so frequently that all were small, and poor, and the parent hive was left so weak as to be worthless. Many of these swarms too left their owner for the woods, in spite of watching and care to prevent it.
It is now found that bees can be controlled perfectly in this matter, divided as much as the owner finds desirable, or swarming prevented entirely if he so desires. This plan of artificial swarming very much simplifies bee-keeping, as it saves long tedious watching, and also enables one to choose his own time and divide his colonies at his leisure. It is best every year to secure a moderate increase; this may be done and still quite as much honey obtained as if no swarms were taken. But if many swarms are allowed to come or are taken, but little if any surplus honey will he obtained: Young bees are nourished and fed with honey, and much is consumed for their use, and it would be as reasonable to expect hens to afford eggs and chickens at the same time, as to look for surplus honey, when all the force of the colony is engaged in rearing bees for new swarms.
Time and Manner of Making Artificial Swarms.
When drones appear, any strong colony may be divided with safety. It is necessary, however, to choose a time when honey is abundant in the fields - and also when the nights are warm. After one has a few colonies in movable comb hives, dividing them is a very simple matter. Have a hive at hand of the same size and pattern as your others. Then from four hives take each two frames and place them in the new hive, supplying their place in the old with empty frames. Then move a hive which you have not disturbed, a rod or more away to a new place, and place the new hive where that one stood. This should be done in the middle of a fine day, when many bees are absent in the fields. These will come in loaded to their old place, and find it strange;; and as it contains stores and young bees hatching, and eggs from which to rear another queen, they will at once proceed to rear one and remain and work as contented as ever. This process may be repeated every two weeks until you have secured sufficient increase. The hives from which you take the combs, and the ones which you move to a new place, will lose so many bees that they will not think of swarming, but will energetically make up their loss and be better than if nothing had been taken from them. This is the safest of all ways to divide bees, and can be safely practiced by beginners.
As they acquire practice and confidence, other ways will suggest themselves. The trouble generally is, that the novice, finding he can multiply his stocks so easily, does it to excess, and by so doing cripples the strength of all. However many eggs a queen may be able to deposit, her laying is always found to be in proportion to the strength of her colony, and thus the number of bees may be increasing faster from one queen in a good strong colony than from two or three in those that are weak in stores. A bee-keeper is rich, not in proportion to the number but the strength of his hives.
How to change Bees without Loss from Common to Movable Frame Hives.
The best time to do this is about the season of swarming, which season varies with the latitude and climate. In the Northern States, June is the month of swarms, in the Middle and Southern States they come with early and abundant bloom.
About the time when swarms are expected naturally, take the hive which you wish to transfer, and blowing a little smoke into the entrance, remove it a rod or more from its stand, leaving an empty box or hive in its place, into which the bees that are out in the fields may gather. Invert the hive which you have moved, and put over it an empty box or hive, as near the same size and shape as possible, and stop all holes or cracks between the two with grass or weeds that may be at hand, leaving no hole large enough for a bee to escape. Then with sticks keep up a sharp drumming on the bottom hive, at which the bees, alarmed, will fill their sacs with honey and mount into the upper hive. In from twenty to thirty minutes most of the bees with their queen will be in the empty box on top. The beginner need not fear driving too many; let all go that will. Then carefully set the box containing the bees in a shady place, and take the old hive back to the place where it stood. While you have been driving, many bees will have come back to their home, and finding it gone, will be roaming in and out of the empty hive in distress. These will at once rush into the old hive when it returns, and gladly adhere to it. Then remove it to a location some yards off, when, as it contains many hatching bees and eggs, the bees will at once rear a new queen to replace the one just driven out, and in a short time be as prosperous as ever. Now place your new movable comb-hive, with its entrances all open, on the old stand, and spread a sheet before it, on this sheet empty the bees you have driven into the box, and they will at once take up a line of march for the entrance of the new hive; if they gather there, brush a few in with a wing or twig, and they will call the others, who enter in a body and accept the new hive as their home.
You have now a nice swarm in your new hive, which will work as well as any natural swarm and quickly stock their hive. You have besides your old hive, in which the bees are rapidly hatching and in three weeks they will have a young queen and a goodly number of bees, but no brood in the combs. Therefore in three weeks repeat the process of driving out the bees, and after this is done split open the old hive, or carefully take off the side, and fasten all straight nice pieces of the comb into the frames of a movable comb-hive; a little melted rosin will help hold them in place. Comb need not be rejected because it is old or black, as, if it is straight and free from mould, it is quite as good to rear bees in or store honey for their use; indeed, it is proved that old comb is better than new for these purposes. No dronecomb should be put in the frames. This may be known by the larger size of its cells.
Arrange the frames containing comb in the hive, set it in its place, and empty the bees on a sheet in front, as before described. They will soon securely fasten the combs, and work on all the better for this necessary disturbance. To the novice it may seem incredible that bees should be thus driven from hive to hive and directed as you please, but it is done now every day through the summer, by hundreds of beekeepers who find not only that it may be done without loss but to great profit. After bees are once in movable comb hives, little change need be made when all is well with them; their great advantage consists in the power they give their owner to discover when any thing is wrong, and apply the remedy, - as also the facility they afford for taking surplus honey from the bees in nice shape without trouble.
Storing Honey in Boxes.
In spring and early summer, however much honey bees may gather, they do not store it for future use; seeming instinctively to know that supplies will then come from day to day. At this season most of the stores that they gather are consumed in the rearing of brood. After swarming time they gradually decrease the brood-rearing, and then their instincts prompt them to gather industriously supplies for winter. If advantage be taken of this instinct by their owners in all ordinary seasons, a surplus of choice honey may be obtained. It is not uncommon for experienced bee-keepers to secure an average of 100 lbs. from a number of colonies, - and yields of 160 lbs., and sometimes more, have been taken from single ones. This is independent of the necessary honey which must be left with the bees for winter, and it is not taken in the old barbarous way, by killing the busy workers. Hives are so arranged that as the bees choose to store their purest honey near the top of the hives, here the boxes are put in which it is desired to have them store it. Nothing is gained by putting on these "supers," as they are called, too early. In cool spring weather they are injurious, for they allow the heat to escape from the main chamber, which at that season is necessary to develop the brood. They may be placed on usually about the time that fruit-trees blossom. Hives should be so arranged that, when one set of boxes is partially filled, they may be raised up and another placed below them, and then the bees extend their combs into these new ones, and work in both at once. They are often known, in the height of the gathering season, to be storing in 16 boxes at once, each box containing, when full,, 6 lbs. As one of these boxes is filled, it is removed quietly and an empty one slipped into its place. If the full one is carried away from the hive, or into a dark cellar and left for a time bottom upwards, the bees will all leave it and return to the hive, and a piece of cloth or paper can be pasted over the entrance to the box, when it may be kept any length of time. A box is more easily examined when one side at least is made of glass; the honey also looks nicer when offered for sale. It is thought less honey is stored in them, if partly of glass, than when made wholly of wood, and also that bees work more readily in boxes made large, so that one shall take the place of four on a hive. For market, however, the small glass boxes are always best. If small pieces of honey-comb, clean and fresh, are fattened in the boxes with a little melted wax and rosin, the bees commence more readily in them, - they seem to like a "start in life." Boxes that are only partially filled, when frost puts an end to the gathering season, should be taken off and carefully preserved for another year, when the bees will complete them.
Value of Comb.
In old-fashioned bee-keeping, when bees were killed by the fumes of sulphur, that their stores might be appropriated, wax was regarded as of little value. It was not supposed that bees would use it again, and the idea that old comb would be given to new colonies was never suggested.
Now since it is known that every pound of wax is worth to the bees at least twenty pounds of honey, because so much must be consumed in its production it is evident that economy would prompt that every pound should be made available. By the use of movable comb-frames every piece can be fastened in and given to the bees, who gladly receive it. When a bee keeper has a quantity of comb made in frames, he can make them of great value to him. Such combs should be carefully preserved, if there is a surplus of them, from year to year. Comb never seems too old for the bees to use: instances are frequent where bees have been kept 12 and 15 years in hives stocked with comb which has never been removed. Even boxhives from which the trees have died, may be kept with care, and a swarm put into them the next year. I once had two swarms of bees come off the same day, one of which was put into a hive stocked with comb, and the other into an empty one. Both swarms seemed of the same size. The one put into the hive with combs gave me that year forty-seven lbs. of honey in boxes, while the one in the empty hive barely filled up for winter. Many facts of the kind might be given to prove that it never pays to melt good worker-comb at ordinary prices of wax and honey.
A machine is about being introduced into this country by which the combs can be emptied of their honey, and then returned to the bees to be refilled, which will enable them to gather more when honey is abundant.
Bee Palaces, or Non-Swarming Hives.
Attempts have been made at various times to keep bees in small closets in chambers of a house and in a palace or large hive built for the purpose with a view to obtaining large yields of honey from them and allowing no increase. All such rooms are constructed upon wrong ideas of the habits and wants of the bee. Experiments without number show that 2200 square inches is ample room for any queen; giving her space to deposit all the eggs she will, and room enough to contain necessary stores for the colony, and that beyond that, the room for honey should be in a separate apartment, where it will be free from bee bread and impurity. A queen will deposit no more eggs in a room six feet square and eight high (as they are often made) than she would in an ordinary hive. If a number of swarms are put in to stock it, as is the custom, only one queen will be retained, and though a large amount of honey may be stored at first while these bees live, in one season they will all be gone, only to be replaced by the progeny of one mother like smaller hives. It is difficult also to determine, in such rooms, how much honey must be left for the bees; and in such palaces they do not winter well. They do not often swarm when thus kept, and this is the great objection to the plan. By swarming, the queens are exchanged for younger ones, and thus the colony is kept vigorous. Swarming seems to be "nature's way" of providing for the increase of bees and the renewal of queens, and in nothing can we go counter to the instinct of any creature without loss.
This is also a very expensive e way of obtaining honey, as figures will show. Suppose a man to obtain from his bee palace an average of one hundred pounds a year for ten years, which would be doing better than they were ever known to do in such a situation, this would be worth at a fair average price for honey, 20 cts. per lb., or $200.00.
Suppose the same swarm put into a good hive and allowed to swarm every year, which bees may safely do, the increase in ten years would make his number five hundred and twelve colonies, which at $5.00, an average price for bees in this country, would be worth $2560.00. In this calculation no allowance is made for the honey which would be taken in the meantime from all these bees.
The principal sources from which bees obtain honey, are the blossoms of fruit-trees, and small fruits, white clover, linden or bass wood, and buckwheat. Where all these abound, bees will thrive in great numbers, and where any two of them are abundant, many will prosper. Besides these, many minor sources are found, from the time the willows and elms blossom in the spring, until frost kills all bloom in the autumn. There are few parts of the United States where it is necessary to raise crops specially for their honey-producing qualities, though crops which produce honey, such us clover and buckwheat, are more valuable on that amount. A new species of clover, the Alsike or Swedish white clover, is being introduced into many parts of the country, and is found highly valuable both as a forage and honey crop. It is hardly possible to overstock a section of country with bees. It is not the same with their supplies as with pasturage for cattle and sheep, which when eaten off requires time for a new growth. The nectaries of honey producing plants, when filled with honey, are emptied by the bee, and while it goes with its load to the hive, the secretion goes on anew, and by the time the bee returns, the tiny cup is full again. The whole art of bee-keeping consists in so managing colonies that all may be strong in numbers when honey is abundant - for a hundred large strong hives will rapidly fill up in the same time and place where a weak one will barely live. Every bee-keeper should understand the resources of the section of country where be lives and if he does may aid his bees by sowing buckwheat that will bloom at a time when other pasturage for them is scanty. Borage is highly esteemed as a honey crop, and it is undoubtedly more valuable than weeds which produce no honey, - and that I consider faint praise.
There are few times when it will be found profitable to feed bees, - the right way is to keep them so strong that they never will need feeding. As it is hardly possible for a beginner to do this always at first, it may be well to know that the best substitute for honey in feeding bees is plain sugar candy. A few pounds of it, thrust down between the combs in the spring, will often save a colony from starvation. If honey is fed to them, it is apt to attract robbers from other hives.
Where movable comb-frames are used, a comb of stores may be taken from a strong colony that can spare it, and given to a destitute one, and that be saved while the other is not injured.
In the spring, rye meal may be fed to all bees with great advantage. It supplies the place of the farina of flowers, and is eagerly gathered by them. It may be placed in shallow pans or troughs, near the bees, and they will gather about it in great numbers. Large apiaries have often consumed a hundred pounds of this meal in a single day. Wheat meal is taken by them, but rye is preferred. When the earliest blossoms appear, and they can gather pollen from natural sources, they take the meal no longer. Bees use much water, and an apiary should be, if possible, located near some small running brook or stream. It is said, bees in the woods are never found many yards distant from running water. If they are not so situated, water should be set for their use in shallow vessels, with shavings, or leaves, or moss, for floats.
Because many bees die every winter, it has been thought that keeping them was a precarious business. It has been said that bees being natives of warm climates, could not withstand cold. To winter bees successfully, has therefore been deemed a difficult matter, but the only trouble is that the laws which governed them were not understood. A solitary bee is easily chilled by even moderate gold, but by clustering in large numbers together their animal heat is maintained. When winter comes, they cluster compactly together, and remain until warmer weather in a semi-torpid state. If in the coldest day in winter a thermometer be thrust into this cluster, the mercury will rise to summer heat. To winter bees successfully in the coldest winters, only three things are necessary: ventilation in the right place, plenty of food where they can reach it, and sufficient bees in number to maintain the requisite animal heat. In hives where these conditions are secured to them, they winter in perfect safety in any climate, in the North even better than the South, because when warm days tempt them out, many are lost, while, if the weather be settled cold, they are semi-torpid, and consume little, while none are lost by untimely flights.
In the shallow form of hive, bees cannot cluster in such a shape that their stores will be above them, and where they can be kept warm by the heat ascending from the cluster. Such hives should always be kept in a cellar, and abundant upward ventilation given them there. It pays to winter bees in any kind of hive in a cellar, for experiments have proved that they consume much less honey when so wintered. A hive weighing 60 lbs. in the fall of 1863, wintered out of doors, weighed only 15 lbs. the 1st of April; while 20 kept in the cellar the same three months, lost on an average only five lbs. each. Again, six hives wintered out of doors lost an average of 29 1/2 lbs. in weight, each in three months, while twenty in the cellar, the same length of time, lost an average of only 5 3/4 lbs. Experiments like these show clearly that it is best to keep bees warm in winter. If, however, it is not possible to put bees in a cellar, the hive should be of the upright form, of which the American is the best. At least 30 lbs. of honey must be allowed to the bees; and then, if the honey boxes under the cap are removed so that they will have upward ventilation, and the entrances in front are closed securely against mice, they may be safely left upon their summer stands. Hives so left are better to face towards the North, for the sun does not then shine directly on the entrance, tempting them out in weather too cold for them to fly safely.
When bees are wintered in a cellar, they should not be put there until cold weather comes in earnest. That time is usually about the last of November in the Northern States; in the Middle and Southern States, if bees are housed at all, it should be from the time bloom ceases until it comes again. Bees in the North are kept in cellars from three to five months. A warm pleasant day should be chosen to put them out again, for they will be attracted by the light and fly out, when, if it be chilly some will perish. Hives should be heavy when set out in the spring. The time of year when bees consume the largest amount of stores, is during the spring months while raising brood fast. The more honey they have on hand in March and April, the faster they will rear young bees, and the more workers will be ready to gather the harvest from fruit blossoms.
To do a season's work in good shape, a hive should have left at least enough honey to last them until swarming time, when they will repay the generosity with compound interest.
Uniting two or more Colonies of Bees.
When the utmost care is taken, in every apiary some hives will be found to have too little honey, and others perhaps, though with honey enough, have two few bees for safety. It is wholly unnecessary to kill these bees, as was formerly thought. Two colonies of bees can be united at any time without loss, and to unite one that has too little honey, with one that has less bees in proportion, will save both and make one good stock colony. It is found that a colony very strong in bees does not consume any more honey than a weaker one. As soon as frost cuts short the season of honey, all hives should be examined, as with movable combs can easily be done, and their exact state determined. To unite two safely, it is only necessary to blow smoke among both so as to alarm them, and induce them to fill their sacs with honey, or to the same end they may both be well sprinkled with sugar and water. In a few moments the combs may be taken from both hives, and the full ones arranged in order in one of them, while those that are empty are reserved for future use. Then the bees from both colonies are brushed together at the entrance, and go in peaceably. One queen will be destroyed, so that if you have any choice between the two, you can find and kill the other. United in this way, all bees may be saved and valuable colonies formed.
Prevention of Drone Rearing.
One great advantage of movable frames in hives is the ease with which drone rearing is prevented. One who has not examined the matter would be slow to believe how much honey is consumed in rearing those useless inmates. Here bee instinct falls short, and our judgment must be used. When bees live wild, the rearing of drones conduces to the safety of the young queens. Late in the season, if honey is abundant, and little brood being reared, colonies construct drone comb to enable them to store faster than they can do in worker combs; the next spring they do not of course tear it down and build others, and it being at hand, the queen deposits eggs in it, and drones are reared. Colonies also, while queenless from any cause, invariably build drone comb, if any. Though it is not best to have any hive entirely free from the large comb in which drones are reared, a few inches square of it is sufficient, and if in an apiary of a hundred hives a few are hatched in each one, it is sufficient. Much honey is consumed in rearing drones, they contribute nothing to the stores, and it is easy to see the economy of a hive in which drone raising can be prevented. Much time has been wasted on the construction of traps, which should catch these supernumerary drones and keep them out of the hive, but it is better to prevent their existence. With movable combs, all large comb can be removed from the main hive and fastened in surplus honey-boxes, where it will be used for storing. One fact should always be borne in mind, viz., that colonies with fertile queens do not incline to build any but worker comb; hence these colonies may most safely be placed in empty hives, and the good comb already built be given to swarms containing young queens.
Age of Queens.
The prosperity of a colony depends much on the age of the queen it contains. After the second summer, the laying of the queen decreases, and though she may live two seasons more, it is better to replace her with a young one. With these frames this can easily be done.
Best Way to rear Italian Queens.
If you wish to rear queens on an extensive scale it is best to have one or more small hives to do it in, as it saves the time of a full colony. A pint, or less, of bees will rear as many and as perfect queens as a large swarm. To induce bees to rear queens, it is necessary to have them queenless, and supplied with the means of raising another.
Some use small boxes, such as those in which queens are transported, to rear queens in, but I prefer small hives, - just large enough to contain two frames, of the same size as I use in my large hives.
When wishing to rear queens, take a frame from the hive which contains your pure Italian queen, and be sure that the comb has in it eggs, young larvae, and hatching bees. Put this into a small hive, and with it another frame filled with comb and a supply of honey and bee-bread. Then move some strong hive, which can spare a few bees, a yard away from its stand, and put your small one then in its place. This should be done at a time when young bees are flying freely, as they are about noon of any bright warm day. many of these young bees will enter the new hive, and finding it supplied with honey and brood, enough will remain and start queen cells. If it is dry weather, a wet sponge should be placed at the entrance, which is all the care they will need for eight or ten days.
About that time it will be necessary to open the hive, and cut out all the cells but one, for when the first queen hatches, the others will surely be destroyed. These surplus cells should be cut out carefully, and may be made useful by inserting them in the brood combs of hives from which the black queens have been taken. They will hatch there as well.
As in swarming, so in rearing queens, certain principles must be borne in mind in order to succeed, but when these are well understood, thoughtful persons can vary the operations as they please, if they do not go contrary to these principles.
1st. The queen rearing or nucleus hive must always be well stocked with young bees, since these are the ones that build cells or work wax in any way.
2d. As these young bees do not at first gather honey or bring water, the little hive should be supplied with these necessaries.
3d. No eggs from any queen but a pure one should be allowed in the small hive, for bees can move eggs from one coil to another.
4th. When you leave a young queen in these small hives until she commences to lay, you should about the time she hatches, give that hive a comb with a little brood in it. Unless this precaution is taken, the whole of the bees may leave the hive with the queen, when she goes out to meet the drones, and so all be lost; but if brood be given them, they will remain in the hive; bees never desert young brood.
If these directions are followed, it will be found very easy and simple to rear queens for any number of colonies.
If these young queens are impregnated by black drones, they will produce only what is called "hybrid" progeny. This, for purposes of honey storing, is equally good with the pure Italian stock, but it soon degenerates. To secure pure stock, queens should be reared in early spring, for then Italian drones appear several weeks before black ones are reared, and the young queens are sure to be impregnated by them.
Q W E R T Y U I O P
A S D F G H J K L
Z X C V B N M