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Writing and plowing

ethro Tull (1624-1754) invented the first seed drill in the early 1700s. He had observed that “a thin sowing produced the thickest crop,” and the expense of enough seed to broadcast was high. Jethro was the Jim Halford (and Beaujot brothers and Bourgault and Morris) of his time.

Here is a quotation attributed to Tull. “Writing and ploughing are two different talents: and he who writes well must have spent in his study that time which is necessary to be spent in the fields by him who will be master of the art of cultivating them”.

Writing in those days was flowery and verbose. I would put what he said this way. “Anyone who writes about farming should have some dirt under her/his fingernails.”

Tull also said: “He who by the plough would thrive, must either hold (the plough) himself or drive (the horses).” Transltation: If you are to make your living from the land you must spend time on it. Corporate farms run from a high office in Toronto will not make it.

These quotations come from Rowland E. Prothera’s English Farming Past and Present, published by Longmans Green & Co., London, in 1917. †

About the author


Les Henry

J.L.(Les) Henry is a former professor and extension specialist at the University of Saskatchewan. He farms at Dundurn, Sask. He recently finished a second printing of “Henry’s Handbook of Soil and Water,” a book that mixes the basics and practical aspects of soil, fertilizer and farming. Les will cover the shipping and GST for “Grainews” readers. Simply send a cheque for $50 to Henry Perspectives, 143 Tucker Cres., Saskatoon, Sask., S7H 3H7, and he will dispatch a signed book.



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