Feed and Pasture Notes

About the Feed and Pasture Notes project

In a time without the internet, farmers could not simply google best farming practices, neither could they access new experiments and research that helped improve productivity and manage livestock. Farmers often relied on advice from other farmers in the community as well as experimentation by trial and error. Still, agricultural advice literature and other published guides flourished in the nineteenth century, particularly in newspapers, pamphlets, and other published sources of information.

A painting by George Heriot of Greenwich Park, PEI c1795
George Heriot, Greenwich Park, PEI c1795

Agricultural advice was naturally very specific to each region’s environmental and market conditions. We needed to know how early farmers in Atlantic Canada were feeding their livestock, including the historical role of pasture, hay, and marsh grasses in addition to roots and grains. The region has abundant marshlands, but also very harsh winters. How did farmers use their local environment to keep livestock fed and sheltered, and how did those practices change with changing land use and the rising demand from urban markets? To answer these questions, we created the feed and pasture project to collect historical publications that were either produced by or available to Atlantic Canadian farmers on subject of livestock husbandry and feeding.

Often they were recommendations for farmers, but sometimes they were also notices of pasture competitions/prizes, or articles about a new development such as a new community pasture opening, a new feed mill, etc. The project documents a variety of sources that shed light on the changing developments and efficiencies in the region’s livestock farm systems.

Link to all Feed and Pasture Notes

Music of The Stream Is A Soothing Melody

“The moon and starlight, how I enjoy them!” one spending a holiday on the Island offered this evening. “Island folks remark about this. But” she explained, “when one lives in a city like ours, she is inclined to forget there is a sky above the lights! Now, here in the country… well” she smiled “this is among the memories I shall take home with me: a memory of its beautiful nights.”

Gently still the moonlight falls along the fields, on the dew where the animals keep: the cow-kind resting in a dark pattern on their pasture, the ewes and lambs in the paddock, the mare and filly, just beyond. Only the wildings rove,  we fancy, a startled rabbit perhaps, and the foxes, and owls from regions of woodlands up the valley…

When with us sleep is somewhat elusive, we sometimes hear a fox bark, the sound sharp though lonely as it falls in the stillness, or an owl a-hunting, its voice across the quiet a little eerie  to hear. But there comes too, up from the broken dam by the mill below, the summer music of the stream as it drops from the nearer spillway. It is a soothing melody, a lullaby, which sooner or later bears the one on her pillow away into that strange Land of Dreams.

   – Ellen’s dairy, August 24th, 1964.

Source: Islandnewspaper.ca