1873? Chapman's Settler's Hand-book to the Farm and Garden - [Front matter]

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  1873? Chapman's Settler's Hand-book to the Farm and Garden - [Front matter]
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Published by G. T. CHAPMAN, Bookseller & Stationer,

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The second edition of this work on the Management of the Farm and Garden in New Zealand, has been some time out of print.

During that period we have published other works of a kindred character, such as May's "Guide to Farming in New Zealand," May's "Hints to New Zealand Sheep Farmers," Hay's "Annual Garden Book," Hay's "Handbook to the Kitchen Garden," Hay's "Pine Tree in New Zealand," McEwin's "How to save Seeds and lay out Grass Lands," and the "Handy-book to the Farm and Garden;" yet the present work, since it was sold out, has been continually enquired for by old settlers, not only for themselves, but to recommend to newly-arrived friends for their guidance in beginning Colonial life.

The very high character which the last edition of this book received from the reviewers, and from those who made use of it--for its useful and seasonable advice, has encouraged the publisher to have the work carefully revised and corrected, and also enlarged by the addition of several new improvements and discoveries in Farming and Gardening.

As we said in the Preface to the last edition, the several calendars might be more useful by being incorporated in one, but we are still of the opinion that the information will be more valuable by the several gentle-

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men being allowed to speak in their own persons; thus, Mr. May's experience has been chiefly confined to volcanic or scoria land; Mr. Hay's Garden and Nursery in St. George's Bay on a reclaimed sea beach, or alluvial flat; Mr. Hawkins having turned some of the poorest clay soil into the most prolific, and the enormous crops of his prize fruit, which invariably obtains the highest price, adds very much to the value of instruction given by him; Mr. McEwin, a brother of, and trained under the oldest and the best nurseryman and gardener in South Australia, his New Zealand experience being gained in the fine district of Matakana.

With Mr. Hawkins' portion of the manual, we received a note containing some very practical and important hints for those who wish to depend upon written instructions. "In the enclosed arrangement I have named what I consider the best time for the various gardening operations, but do not wish it to be understood that it is the only time such operations can be performed, as not only the difference of aspect, but a difference of soil, must be taken into consideration at the time of sowing or planting. Where the soil is light and dry, and the situation warm, these operations can be performed much earlier, than where both soil and situation are of an opposite character. But it is not only such extremes that regulate the operations of the cultivator, as many situations are favorable for early planting when the soil is of a cold damp character. In gardening, these things must be attended to, and although much information may be obtained by reading works on Horticulture, it is only when reading is accompanied by observation that proficiency in gardening can be obtained."

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We cannot improve upon the remarks written for the "New Zealand Magazine" by a gentleman who learned his experience in the bush. He says:-- We landed in Auckland on Christmas eve. Perhaps this particular season tended much to the depression of our spirits, bringing vividly to our minds the dear friends from whom we had parted, most likely, never to meet again in this world. So dull and cheerless a Christmas we had never before experienced. The sense of loneliness in a strange land completely overpowered us. Not a friendly welcome--not a cheering smile, not a face we had ever seen, not a hearty grasp of the hand to greet us on our landing! We gave Christmas-day to such gloomy feelings, making no attempt to resist their influence. The next day brought the necessity for exertion, and with the exertion the depression passed away.

The appearance of the Town of Auckland, on our approach from the sea, impressed us favourably--surpassing our expectations. The bright sunshine, clear atmosphere, and glorious summer weather, enhanced the beauty of both town and country, forming a most striking contrast to the heaving ocean we had so long looked upon. The town had more of the home look than we had hoped for; the dress and manner of the people did not appear strange; the tone of voice and the faces might almost be thought familiar; and the dear loved accents of our native land were racy in our ears. The few Maoris to be seen did not exceed the number of coloured people to be met in many English seaports. There was much resemblance to an English town, called suddenly into importance by a new railway, whose requirements were so urgent and pressing that all the expedients at command could not for the moment meet them; or, looking towards the beautiful harbour, you

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might fancy you were in some watering-place that had, most unexpectedly, become famous and fashionable, with a sudden influx of visitors exceeding all the means for their accommodation. The streets, the shops, the wooden houses, the irregularity and the unfinished state of everything, conveyed the impression of a rapidly increasing place.

The growth from a village to a town seems to have taken the authorities and the inhabitants by surprise; and that they had only discovered that Auckland was a rising and important city requiring their most strenuous exertions to provide for the public convenience and the public health.

Of the district in which Mr. Kidd settled he says:-- Two and a half years ago this district was in a state of nature. Except for the surveyor's marks, and a Maori foot-path here and there, it might have been untrodden by man. That there is progressive improvement, bush and fern giving place to grass, crops, and orchards, is a palpable proof. As yet the progress is slow; but rapid improvement is not to be expected where every kind of labour must be done by a settler and his family. Once progress becomes visible, it is a certain proof that much labour has been expended. We know how many weary weeks of toil passed before we could see any result; how cheerless it was to work from Monday morning till Saturday night, late and early, yet, on each succeeding Sunday, to have no perceptible progress on which the eye could rest. How slowly and gradually the fruits of our labour became visible! But once visible, how marked the progress! We know now that our labour has not been in vain. We know the delight of consuming our own produce, the certainty of increasing supplies of necessaries, and the hope, ere long, of being abundantly supplied even with luxuries.

We learn from our experience of New Zealand soil, that bush land will give a more certain earlier return than fern land. We are also of opinion that bush land is the more profitable for first clearance. We had a dread of commencing to fall bush, anticipating much difficulty. In our first attempt we only cut down the larger trees, which we expected would, at the end of the

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summer burn off, leaving the land pretty clear. We found our mistake; the fire would not run; the ground was left covered by a half-charred, tangled mass of underwood, branches, and trunks. We were very careful afterwards to clear off all the undergrowth first, then the scrubby bush, then smaller trees, falling the large ones last; also carefully lopping branches and trunks, leaving the whole as level as possible. In due time we fired it, and had the satisfaction of having a clean burn off. This land is now covered with beautiful grass and clover, and will give abundant food for working cattle. Had we been fortunate enough to have cut down bush in a proper manner when we first came to the land, we would now have been much more forward with labour; and would have had the means of ploughing up fern land last summer. We hope to have the plough going merrily this summer, and to have the cattle in good working order, feeding on the grass now springing luxuriantly on the burnt bush land.

The pioneers have had to encounter all the difficulties, and bear the cost of first transit over an open country. Wagon tracks are easily followed, especially after creeks are bridged and hills cut down. A settler coming here now can land on the beach, at the termination of the road, load his wagon, and reach his land in four hours. How different to sleeping out for three nights and cutting a passage for the first wagon, as we had to do!

The difficulties to be encountered by new settlers are very numerous and very varied. All things appear to come strange, and to present themselves in the most awkward manner. A man is so left to his own resources, so bereft of kindly sympathy and assistance, that what might otherwise be trifling annoyances, become important embarrassments. Coming from an old country, where, from the division of labour, one is almost ministered to by unseen hands, into a new country, where he must rely on himself for everything, is a hard lesson to learn; and New Zealand seems a harsh school in which to learn it. As the task must be mastered some day, perhaps it is as well that it should be at the outset. A little kindliness, costing nothing, might render the task more easy. Let us hope that those who have experienced the total

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neglect, want of sympathy, advice, and help on their first essay in bush life, will be careful and active in giving a helping hand and cheerful welcome to all after comers.

Our experience strongly contradicts the answer given by Mr. Hursthouse to the question, What difficulties must be encountered by a new settler in New Zealand? -- "God bless you! my dear sir, you are talking of fifty years ago; there are no difficulties whatever in New Zealand now!" We wish we could say this answer even approached the true state of the case. The difficulties are many, and require a spirit of endurance and perseverance to encounter them at almost every step. There is nothing for it but to "put a stout heart to a stey brae" and meet them. They are not insurmountable. Industry, steadiness, perseverance, and patience will conquer all.

A man accustomed to daily labour might not feel many of the difficulties; but to one who led a sedentary life, and was unaccustomed to manual labour, New Zealand life comes hard. Happy for him if he can adapt himself to the new circumstances without repining. By degrees difficulties are overcome, and the new life becomes pleasant; strength increases; and all things are enjoyed with a zest hitherto unknown.

New Zealand holds out great inducements to the labouring man. The high rate of wages is in his favour, if he thinks right to labour for others; but should he labour for himself he will be amply repaid. This is the very country for the hard working man, with a large family, who finds it so difficult to live at home. If his means are unequal to settling at once with his whole family on his land, his children can find employment at such high wages that they will be able to assist him during the first years of heaviest outlay and least production. Young women and girls can obtain £25 or £30 a year in domestic service; lumps of boys and young men can earn 12s. or 15s. per week, and be found in everything except clothes. The father and mother, in the meantime working on the land, would soon make a home, where all the family would be re-united, and, by their joint labour, make it a valuable property.

Much money may be spent to little purpose on land; but it is very different with a man's own labour expended

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upon his own land. High rents are paid to be allowed to labour on the landlord's land at home, earning a bare subsistence; but here that labour is expended on his own land, the fruits of the earth come freely, and would produce all that he would require for his support, whilst the labour would enchance the value of the land--this land being his own--a freehold for ever.

This is the great advantage, and one that will, some day, draw an active, industrious population to this country. There is a prospect of independence, not so distant but a man may reap the benefit himself; at all events, his children will realise it, and he can have the comfort of knowing that his family will be more independent, and better provided for than he could have dreamt of at home.

The climate in the Province of Auckland is as much superior to the south of England as that of the south of England is to the north of Scotland. The forest is evergreen; no frost to interfere with vegetation; in winter, perhaps, more "refreshingly green" than in summer. The heat in summer is never so great as to make outdoor work disagreeable. Sufficient rain falls to insure a vigorous growth. All this country requires is population.

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