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As flowers now decay, and the bees cannot procure any farther support, this is the season for taking the honey. To obtain this precious article, the industrious collectors are destroyed with the fumes of burning brimstone. Various methods have been proposed to save the lives of the bees; but they are found so materially to reduce the profits of the owners, that it will be long before they are generally adopted'.
ELEGY to the BEE.
Sweet Labourer! 'midst the Summer's golden hour,
Yet what to thee is Summer's golden smile?
And what to thee the flow'r-enamelled plain?
No, no, thou workest for reward in vain!
The taking of wild-fowl commences, by Act of Parliament, on the 1st of October, and the decoybusiness is at the greatest height about the end of the month. Great numbers of wild ducks and other waterfowl are annually caught in the extensive marsh lands of Lincolnshire in this way.-See T. T. for 1814, p. 275.
The weather in October is peculiarly favourable to
Its beauties charm the gods above;
See, however, Mr. Huish's description of his newly-invented
hive, by which he is enabled to deprive the bees of their honey without losing a single bee.-Treatise on Bees, p. 98, et seq.
the sports of the field; and hunting is now at its height, as little damage is committed on the farmer's grounds after the gathering of the harvest.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
The principal harvest of apples is about the beginning of this month; and the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Somersetshire, and Devonshire, are busily employed in the making of cider and perry. Herefordshire is particularly famous as a cider country. The apple and pear trees, which form the orchards of Herefordshire, are composed of a variety of the pyrus malus, or crab; and the pyrus communis, or common wild pear. The native wild crab is subject to considerable diversity in the appearance of its leaves, and in the colour, shape, and flavour of its fruit: by selecting and cultivating the best of these, all our valuable varieties have been produced. Several of these artificial varieties have been brought from Normandy, and other parts of the continent.
In the management of the fruit, and subsequent manufacture of cider, considerable variations occur, according as the makers are more or less skilful. Independently of the qualities of the apple, the superior flavour and richness of the liquor greatly depend on the judicious nature of the operations. The juice of the pulp alone is inadequate to make a good and generous cider; the qualities of the kernel are wanting to add flavour, and those of the rind to give colour; and hence it is necessary that the juices of both these should be perfectly expressed. The apples should also be properly separated when gathered.
Pressed from th' exub'rant orchard's fruitful bound,
Ciders manufactured from good fruit will retain a considerable proportion of their sweetness at the end of three or four years; but it is then gradually dissipated. The best time for bottling cider is, when it is from eighteen months to two years old; or, more properly, when it has acquired its highest brightness and flavour in the cask. When bottled in this state, it may be kept to almost any age, if the bottle be perfectly air-tight. The best time for bottling is in cool weather, as it is then less likely again to ferment. In making cider for the common drink of the farmhouse, the flavour is but little attended to, the great object being to obtain a large quantity at a small ex
The manufacture of the delicious perry differs little from that of cider; and it is made in great quantities in all the cider countries. The squash pear, so called from the tenderness of its pulp, has probably furnished England with more Champaigne than was ever imported into it. Cider, perry, and very excellent gooseberry wine, resemble somewhat in flavour the sparkling beverage of our continental neighbours'. Though the luscious grape' be denied to our variable climate, yet, besides the apple and the pear,
Some ciders have by art or age unlearned
On our account has GOD,
But if thou'rt indefatigably bent
The principal markets for the fruit liquors of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, are London and Bristol, from which ports great quantities are sent to the East and West Indies, and to other foreign markets, in bottles. The principal part of the liquors is brought immediately from the press by the country dealers who live within the district, and, in general, prefer to have it in that state, that the fermentation and subsequent management may take place under their own inspection. The price of the common cider is generally fixed by a meeting of the dealers at Hereford Fair, on the 20th of October annually, and, on the average of years, varies from. 11. 58. to 21. 2s. per hogshead. The stire cider is seldom sold from the press; the dealers either buy the fruit, or the growers work their own liquor: its
value, even at the press, is from 51. to 15l. per hogshead.
Stirom, firmest fruit,
Embottled long as Priameian Troy
Withstood the Greeks, endures ere justly mild :
The annual produce of the fruit greatly varies; in a plentiful year it is almost beyond conception, as the trees are then loaded even to excess, and frequently break under the weight of the apples: at these times, indeed, the branches are generally obliged to be supported on props, or forked poles. This kind of excessive fruitage, however, seldom occurs more than once in four years; and at this time, twenty hogsheads of cider have been made from the produce of a single acre of orchard ground.
October is also the great month for brewing beer,whence the name applied to very strong beer, of OLD OCTOBer.
Laughing ale brewed in planetary hour,
In this month is the great potato harvest, a root introduced into this country in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and for many years known only as a luxury at the tables of the rich; but now grown in vast quantities as the food of both man and beast: and the most generally favourite aliment, perhaps, next to wheat. Such is the fluctuation of price in an article,
■ See further in the Beauties of England and Wales,' vol. vi, p. 410-425; Marshall's Rural Economy of Gloucestershire, vol. ii; and Philips's admirable Poem of ' Cider?