Tag Archives: Cato

Cato’s PASTURE & lIVESTOCK

Pastures:

Manure the pasture in early spring in the dark of the moon, when the west wind begins to blow. When you close your pastures (to the stock) clean them and root out all the weeds.

(this is what i’m doing with my total grazing scheme – it is very much easier to snip out those little tree sprouts once the grass around them is fully grazed down. Treat the stump with a bit of Tordon RTU and slowly one can regain clean and productive grass pastures.)

Feeding Livestock:

  1. as long as available, feed green leaves of elm, poplar, oak, and fig to cattle and sheep
  2. Store leaves (before withered) to feed sheep (maybe ensilage?)
  3. Store up dry fodder for winter
  4. Build feed racks in such manner to avoid wastage
  5. Feed a measure of soaked grains or grape husks (preserved in jars) each night along with 25 lbs of hay. Offer higher quality and quantity to those steers which are being prepared to work fields.
  6. Nothing is more profitable than to take good care of your cattle.
  7. Keep flocks and herds well supplied with litter to keep their feet clean. Watch for scab which comes from hunger and exposure to rain.
  8. Anoint oxen feed with liquid pepper before driving them on high road
  9. Health stock depend on sweet and fresh water in the summer
  10. Prevent scab in sheep with an equal measure of well strained amurca (dregs of olive oil), water steeped in lupine, and lees (leftover yeast) of good wine. After shearing, anoint the flock with the mixture and allow them to sweat profusely 2-3 days, then dip them in the sea (or a mixture of salt water). Doing this they will suffer no scab. (this amurca, lupine water, and wine was also recommended as a moth proofing, relish for cattle, fertilizer, and for use as weevil kill on the threshing floor)
  11. Ox being sick – give him 1 raw egg and make him swallow. Next day make him drink from a wooden bowl a measure of wine in which has been scraped the head of an onion. Bothe ox and his attendant should do these things fasting and standing upright.
  12. There are additional crazy cures for dislocated bones, serpent bites, and such that i’ll just skip.

The END!

Check out the little book and a myriad of other Forgotten Books.

Cato’s Land and Soil Management

More on Cato’s Farm Management from Forgotten Books. Remember, these are thoughts and teachings from the Cato the Elder circa 160 bc. He was not a good or kind person and purportedly treated his wife as poorly and with little difference than his slaves.

Later on, better management skills were implemented which can alleviate or even eliminate that eventual souring of the land. Sadly, those skills have been left in the dustbin of history and we now ‘farm the govt’ regardless that it is poor practice for leaving the land in good shape for subsequent generations. Very sad, but here we are.

Of Draining (the land)

Drain wet land with trough shaped ditches dug three feet wide at the surface and one foot at the bottom and four feet deep. Blind these ditches with rock. If you have no rock then fill them with green willow poles braced crosswise. If you have no poles, fill then with faggots. Then dig lateral trenches three feet deep and four feet wide in such way that the water will flow from the trenches into the ditches.

In winter surface water should be drained off the fields. Keep hillsides clear so water will run off and during rainy season, have the hands with picks and shovels, clear out the drains so water will flow off the land and into roads so crops are protected.

Of Preparing the Seed Bed

What is the first principle of good agriculture? To plow well. What is the second? To plow again; and the third is to manure. When you plow corn land, plow well and in good weather, let you turn a cloddy furrow. The other things of good agriculture are to sow good seed plentifully, to thin the young sprouts, and to hill up the roots with earth.

  1. Never plow rotten land nor drive flocks or carts across it. If care is not taken about this, the land so abused will be barren for three years.

Of Manure:

Plan to have a big compost heap and take the best of care of the manure. When it is hauled out see that is well rotted and spread. Autumn is the time to do this.

Fold your sheep on the land which you are about to seed and there feed them leaves.

Of Soil Improvement:

The things which are harmful to corn land are to plow the ground when it is rotten and to plant chick peas which are harvested with the straw and are salt. Barley, fenugreek, and pulse all exhaust corn land, as well as all other things which are harvested with the straw. Do not plant nut trees in the corn land. On the other hand, lupines, field beans, and vetch manure corn land.

Cato – Duties of the Hands

Customary Allowances for food

For the hands, four pecks of meal for winter, four and one-half pecks for summer

For the overseer, housekeeper, wagoner, shepherd – three pecks each

For the slaves, four pounds of bread for winter, but when vine cultivating begins, increase to five pounds until figs are ripe, the return to four pounds.

Wine allowances:

Each hand receives a yearly supply of eight quadrantals (or Amphora), but add in the proportion of work they do. Ten quadrantals is not too much

Olives and salt allowances:

Save the wind fall olives as much as possible for relishes for the hands. When olives are all eaten, give them fish pickles and vinegar. One peck of salt per year is enough for each hand.

Clothing allowances:

Allow each hand a smock and a cloak every other year. As often as you give out a smock or cloak to any one take up the old one, so that caps can be made out of it. A pair of heavy wooden shoes should be allowed every other year.

As per Cato’s Farm Management book published by Forgotten Books.

Duties Of The Housekeeper – Cato

Part 4 of my sharing a summation of thoughts and ideas of managing a profitable farm by Marcius Cato and published by Forgotten Books.

The overseer should be responsible for the duties of the house keeper. If the master has given her to you for a wife, you should be satisfied with her, and she should respect you.

She should:

  1. not be given to wasteful habits
  2. no gossiping
  3. don’t receive visitors in the kitchen or her quarters
  4. don’t attend parties
  5. no gadding about
  6. practice religion with the permission of the master or mistress
  7. be neat in appearance
  8. keep the house ‘swept and garnished’
  9. every night the hearth is swept and clean
  10. prepare food for overseer and hands
  11. have plenty of chickens and an abundance of eggs
  12. diligently put up all kinds of preserves every year

CATO – Duties of the Overseer

My part 3 of Marcus Porcius Cato, who died 149 BC and had great thoughts on establishing and running a successful farm or ranch as recorded in Forgotten Books.

Duties of Overseer:

  1. maintain discipline
  2. observe feast days
  3. respect the rights of others and uphold his own
  4. settle all quarrels/administer punishment
  5. make sure no one is in want to easily prevent picking and stealing

The overseer should not permit wrong-doing by others and show appreciation for courtesy. He should not be given to conviviality, but should always be sober. He should keep his hands busy and see that the master’s bidding is done and not think he knows more than the master. The master’s friends should be his friends and give heed to those whom the master has recommended. He should confine his religious practices to Sunday or to his own house.

Lend money to no man unbidden by the master, but what the master has lent he should collect. Never lend any seed reserved for sowing, feed, corn, wine, or oil, but should have relations with other farms to make exchanges in emergencies. His accounts should be discussed frequently with his master.

He should not keep any hired men or day hands longer than is necessary. He should not sell anything without the knowledge of the master nor conceal anything from the master.

He should have no hangers-on, nor consult any soothsayer, fortune teller, necromancer, or astrologer. He should not spare seed in sowing for that is bad economy. He should strive to be expert in all kinds of farm work, and, without exhausting himself, often lend a hand. He will better understand the work and sleep more refreshingly.

First up in the morning, he should be the last to go to bed at ngiths; and before he does, he should see that the farm gates are closed, and the each of the hands is in his own bed, that the stock have been fed. He should pay the highest compliments to the teamsters who keep their oxen in best condition. Make certain that plows and plow shares are kept in good repair, planning ample time for for farm work so nothing is done late.

During rainy times, find something to do rather than remain idle. Clean up.

“Remember that while work may stop, expenses still go on.”