Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / The Wisconsin horticulturist
Vol. III, No. 9 (November 1898)
The power to observe essential to a farm education, pp. 15-17 PDF (746.7 KB)
16 THE WISCONSIN HORTICULTURIST. highest or most valuable, but first to be looked after. The power to observe well enables a farmer to comprehend the money values of his soil, and his crops, as no one else can. He is sure not to overlook the possibilities under his feet. I have seen a man beat out of his home on the ground that the soil was too poor to support his family; but his suc- cessor, a man of different make-up, found a marl bed and grew rich." "Trained to keen inquisitive mental action a man feels his power and dignity, and is less liable to waste himself in vicious habits. But, perhaps, best of all, the boy has by this sort of culture learned to love his home. Everything is intensely interesting on the farm. A bug is not a mere in- sect, and nothing more; but, more than any book ever opened, it is a volume to be studied. Every leaf becomes eloquent to him. The trees are companionable. He understands what he is surrounded by, and for that reason loves the land." "What then would you do about it? I would for the first seven years of a child's life consider it my sacred duty to open his eyes to Nature. It is a matter of no importance that he shall learn to read before eight. With his first ac- quisition of letters he should begin a more elaborate study of things on the land and about his home. He should have very little use for books that send his mind roaming over the world. I would begin with the study of soil, plants, bugs, animals-of the home sort. It is far more important that he shall understand the plum curculio than the African lion. But the bottom difficulty with our farmers is that they have never been taught to distinguish one bug from another. In a square fight the bugs beat and destroy our crops and trees. The anthracnose and black rot dealt deadly blows to our grapes and vines before it was possible for the observers to inform the vineyardists what to do. I cannot find one farmer in ten who can tell the codling moth from the tent caterpillar."
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