Farm Life, by John Burroughs: 1887

This essay is from the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” of 1887 and is titled FARM LIFE. The byline of John Burroughs accompanies the entry.

Burroughs was born on a farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains. His Wikipedia link (provided above) made me want to know more about him. His observations about farm life, as opposed to city life, as expressed in the sentences that follow, resonate with me.

It is a common complaint that the farm and farm life are not appreciated by our people. We long for the more elegant pursuits or the ways and fashion of the town. But the farmer has the most sane and natural occupation, and ought to find life sweeter, if less highly seasoned, than any other. He alone, strictly speaking, has a home. How can a man take root and thrive without land? He writes his history upon his field. How many ties, how many resources, he has! His friendships with his cattle, his team, his dog, his trees; the satisfaction in his growing crops, in his improved fields; his intimacy with nature, with bird and beast, and with the quickening elemental forces; his cooperations with the cloud, the sun, the seasons, heat, wind, rain, frost. Nothing will take the various social distempers, which the city and artificial life breed, out of a man like farming, like direct and loving contact with the soil. It draws out the poison. It humbles him, teaches him patience and reverence, and restores the proper tone to the system.

Cling to the farm, make much of it, put yourself into it, bestow your heart and your brain upon it, so that it shall savor of you and radiate your virtue after your day’s work is done!

“Be thou diligent to know the state of they flocks, and look well to thy herds.
“For riches are not forever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
“The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
“The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of thy field.
“And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens.”