Helen Campbell.

The American girl's home book of work and play online

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the sunshine a day or two before sealing.

Other kinds of jelly are made by the same process. The
juice of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, is so thin that
a package of Cooper's gelatine, dissolved in a little cold juice,
and then added to three quarts of it, will be needed to give
consistency. Apples and quinces can be treated like other
fruit, often being cut up whole, so as to retain the jelly
of the cores, and flavor of the skins. And, in making jelly of
cherries or peaches, crack a few pits or kernels, and cook with
the fruit in order to intensify its flavor. Except for berries
which are very juicy, add a small teacup of water to a pound
of fruit when set to boil. A teacup having a handle will
be found convenient as a filler.

In all this process, a little experience will make our maiden
quick, but not hurried, watchful, careful, and orderly.

When the jelly is cool and firm, it is to be covered with
two thicknesses of tissue-paper the size of the top of the
jar, and over this spread a layer of pulverized sugar half an
inch thick. Then, by tying over all a paper saturated with


thin flour-paste, it will keep unless filched by mice or
greedy fingers.

In canning, the same utensils and arrangements are need-
ed. Pears, peaches, quinces, and apples are to be peeled,
cored or pitted, and halved. The sugar measured must be
one-third to one-half the weight of fruit, according to its
acidity. This is to be set aside, if the fruit is hard, till the
latter has been boiled, with a cup of water for every pound,
until it begins to soften. Then add the sugar ; let it come to
a boil, and take from the fire after having been gently stirred.
In small fruits, the sugar may be added at first ; but, where
fruit is already hard, that only serves to toughen it. In case
it does not need boiling, make a sirup for the fruit, allowing
a cup of water to each pound, with the sugar : when it comes
to a boil, add the pears or quinces, and cook only till they
are clear, or heated through. Currants, grapes cultivated and
wild, berries of all kinds, cherries, and huckleberries can be
treated in the same manner. Plums must be pricked, or the
skins will peel off, and, unless very sweet, will need half their
weight of sugar. By making a sirup first, fruit is less liable
to break in pieces : if this is not dreaded, it can be cooked in
layers of the measured sugar. Or heat fruit to boiling, and
then add sugar.

In canning, the object of having every thing at hand is to
allow no delay, as the air, which causes decay, is repelled by
the heat. When, therefore, the kettle is lifted to the table
beside the jars, which are in a pan or small tub of hot water,
the fruit must be carefully put in, packing large pieces nice]y,
with a silver spoon, and the sirup filled in till it runs over
the top. Holding the jar with the left hand by a cloth
wrapped around it, wipe, fit on the elastic, and screw on
the top tightly as possible. Proceed till all are filled. Wipe
the cans dry, and tighten the tops as they cool. Keep in the


dark. If every thing was thoroughly heated, and each jar
perfectly filled, there will be no danger of its working.

Fruit that is soft, or very ripe, makes excellent jam, thus :
boil half an hour, or until it is perfectly soft and well cooked,
mashing with a wooden spoon ; add three-fourths its original
weight of sugar, and boil a half-hour longer. If spiced cur-
rants are desired, take the jam when well done, and add a
pint of sharp cider-vinegar, a tablespoonful of cinnamon, a
teaspoonful of ginger, and half as much cayenne pepper, to
every seven pounds of the uncooked fruit.

Quinces are best relished in the form of marmalade. They
are rubbed, peeled, cored, and boiled soft. Into this mixture
is thrown the strained liquor in which seeds and cores have
been steeped soft, in little more water than covered them.
After rubbing them through a colander, they are returned
to the kettle, and cooked half an hour in three-quarters their
weight after peeling : if desired sweeter, use full weight.
Keep in bowls or large-mouthed jars.

But our maiden may wish to dispose of old-fashioned pre-
serves to some of her matron friends, or to use them occa-
sionally in tarts herself. In that case she will prepare fruit
precisely as for canning, save that she uses sugar with it,
pound for pound. With every four pounds of sugar make a
sirup by adding a half-pint of water and the beaten white of
an egg. Boil and skim. Put in the fruit carefully, and boil
from ten minutes to half an hour, according to its size.
Strawberries and cherries may be strewn over night in an
earthen vessel, between layers of sugar. The drained juice
with its proportion of water serves for sirup. Large fruit
must be treated as directed for canning ; so, also, may melon
and citron rinds, cut into small squares or fancy shapes, and
cooked till translucent. Flavor with a sliced lemon and an
ounce of fresh ginger-root to each quart of preserve. Even


plum tomatoes are palatable by this means. If a change is
desired, we may convert any kind of fruit into sweet pickle.
This is done by taking two-thirds the weight in sugar, and
packing both, in alternate layers, in the kettle, adding to
every seven pounds of fruit a pint of sharp vinegar, a table-
spoonful of cinnamon, and a few cloves. Let all come to the
boiling-point, then seal in hot jars. If a thick sirup is
wished, skim the fruit into jars, and boil the liquid until it
is of the required consistency.

In calculating the profits of jelly-making, we see that much
depends upon the juiciness of the fruit and the closeness with
which the pulp is squeezed. One pint of fruit and one pound
of sugar will make about three-fourths of a quart of jelly, cost-
ing about thirty-seven cents, or at the rate of half dollar the
quart. To pay for time and labor, it should be sold for double
that sum, with cost of jar added. Nearly the same estimate
will apply to preserves, which are usually put up in cans.

In canning fruit, nearly seven quarts of uncooked fruit
will fill three jars when cooked and sweetened, costing and
selling for a little less. Here is an approximation toward

the profit.


To small fruits and sugar for preserves and jelly, per can . . $ .50

By price of same $1.00

Total profit per can $ .50

To small fruits and sugar for one quart can $ .35

Profit per can $ 45

To the cost and price of each must be added the cost of
the jar.




IT is often remarked, that a farmer's wife will be frequently
more successful in rearing an early lot of chickens than a
man who has expended a great deal of money on his yards,
and prides himself on his fancy breeds. The poultry jour-
nals, too, are filled with names of women who are successful
competitors for honors or for sales ; all showing that it comes
within a woman's province. There is a cause for this. It
interferes with no other home duty ; while it does require fre-
quent attention, and this, women and girls can give. There is
something very appealing, too, in those little downy balls of vi-
vaciousness, which makes the work they bring very attractive.

If our young amateur desires the trial, she will begin with
not more than half a dozen sitting hens, each with her
thirteen eggs, by the middle or last of March, if she has a
warm place for them. The nests for hatching are to be
boxes with ashes or dry earth at the bottom ; above, fill in
loosely some fine hay, and set in a dry, warm spot, with food
and water always near. This may be in the barn-cellar, or
in tight rooms, or even the house-cellar, wherever it cannot
freeze, where it is secluded and separate from other fowls.
If this cannot be, wait till warmer weather.

At the end of the twenty-first day, all that can hatch have
picked their shells. At the early season mentioned, three-
quarters of the eggs are all that can be expected to give
chicks : allowing for accidents, we may reasonably hope to


have fifty at the end of a month. But it will require a good
deal of watchfulness to carry them through the changes of
that first month. If we succeed even fairly, they will be
much more valuable than later comers.

The coops, of course, are ready for their occupants. They
are made quite tight, and so they can be shut by simply
putting a board in front. One can be improvised by turning
a barrel or a box on its side; or can be made with great
care and all the "modern improvements." Where an old
glazed sash is at hand, construct a little yard in front of the
coop, just as large as the sash, made of boards, with the sash
for roof. Underneath this skylight they will take their ex-
ercise, keep warm, and thrive famously. The coop must
always be placed where it is protected from the wind, with a
frontage south or east, and where it can have the direct rays
of the sun several hours daily. Yard and coop are both to
be floored, kept dry, and frequently cleansed. From the
neglect of this comes the greatest loss of chicks. And the
single rule by which they thrive is this : keep them warm,
dry, and well fed.

To return to the beginning : they need not be disturbed
for twenty-four hours after hatching. That wonderful nature
which developed the germ of life into a downy, animated ball,
stored within it enough food from the egg to last that length
of time. After that, give hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine, four
or five days, then cracked corn till they are nearly two months
old. They should have all they can eat, at first six times daily,
then decrease the amount as they grow older, and give plenty
of fresh water to drink. After that age they can digest
whole grain, but do not feed them with soft food. Skimmed
milk is always a dainty dish for these voracious youngsters.

As spring comes, on warm days let them run on the
ground, and you would hardly guess how many worms and


insects those little shining eyes discover. When it rains,
keep them shut in. If they draggle about in the wet, they
will die with roup or gapes. Continue this treatment till
the hens have left them to take care of themselves : after-
ward they will make but little trouble, and can soon be re-
moved to yards with roosts. This may be in open sheds,
if safe, so they may get fresh air : at any rate, they must
have access to the ground, and ventilation.

If the chicken mistress is able to control the refuse of the
kitchen, she will chop all the scraps for her charges ; and
excellent diet it is. For the rest, they need wheat, screen-
ings, buckwheat, oats or corn, frequently changing from one
to another.

When about six months old the pullets begin laying.
The whole neighborhood rings with the news, and chanti-
cleer trumpets forth the astonishing fact. Properly fed, and
not without, they will lay all winter. They like boxes in
dark, out-of-the-way places for nests, and are fond of hiding
them so securely, that they bring forth batches of chicks
before you know what they are about.

Their roosting-places must be both warm and well venti-
lated ; the first to be secured by having their sheds or houses
tight, and protected from winds ; the last, by having a square
box or air-shaft run a little way out of the top of the build-
ing to take off the foul air. The neglect of this will breed
cholera, or some other fatal disease. They are likewise de-
pendent on plenty of ground to scratch over, clean water,
and sunshine. In winter never have over forty in one yard.
Sheds and enclosures may be divided, if they are large, and
each lot have its open space for exercise. If too crowded,
or damp, their feathered inhabitants will certainly become
diseased, and liable to vermin. To prevent the last, every
bit of wood about their yards needs to be whitewashed two
or three times every year.


To have eggs all winter, give them a warm breakfast, as
often as possible, of boiled potatoes, or boiling-water mixed
with cracked wheat or middlings. Lime, too, must be always
at hand. Pounded or burnt oyster-shells is an especial dainty.
So are scraps of fresh meat in winter, chopped fine, and cab-
bages, or any kind of green food.

So many good varieties of fowl are now reared, that it is
hardly possible to go amiss in making a selection. Crosses
of two good strains make as good layers as pure breeds.

If you are very sure you can manage one, get an incubator,
and place in the cellar, and begin to set eggs in February :
this gives early chicks for broiling, which always bring high
prices. With each incubator is a set of directions.

The success of chicken-raising will depend on intelligent
care, and on cost of food, and price of chicks and eggs ; all of
which are variable. Let us strike an average, thus,

Price of chicks for broiling (until the 2oth of June), each . . $ .75
Food for same 25

Profit on each broiler $ .50

Roasting-fowls bring from sixteen to twenty-five cents per
pound, according to the season. They are fattened only by
giving them all they can eat, three times daily. By Christ-
mas they ought to weigh five pounds, which, at eighteen cents
per pound, would amount to ninety cents ; subtract thirty
cents' worth of food, and the gain on each is sixty cents.

It is agreed that the eggs of a hen are worth each year
twice as much as her food : near cities they average more.
The account of each fowl, then, for one year, is,

One bushel of grain $ .75

Ten dozen eggs, at twenty cents per dozen 2.00

Yearly profit ... $1.25




IT would be hard to find a girl who is not fond of these
charming pets, or who does not delight in caring for them.
Most of them are procured from bird-stores, where they have
been imported ; but there is nothing so very difficult in rear-
ing and taming them. They are so hardy, docile, intelligent,
and affectionate, and their capacity for imitation is so large,
that there is no reason why they should not be more com-
monly bred and trained. They are especially fitted for house-
pets, social, little winged joys, receiving and giving pleas-
ure, which they express in song.

Originally from the Canary Isles, they have won their way
to every land. We find them of many varieties, according
to color and size. But we will pay no attention to the names
Jonquil, Mealy, and Cinnamon, but simply look for healthy
birds and good singers. We will even look farther than this,
for the capacity of being tamed. To have a little bright
bit of bird-life nestling to sleep on one's shoulder, or feeding
from one's lips, is better than to have its song alone.

The long and short birds paired produce the best young.
But we wish first to have our birds for some time, and be-
come familiar with their ways. The ordinary wire cage is
too common an article to need description. It should be
kept scrupulously clean by frequent scaldings, and the brown
paper and gravel at the bottom be changed daily. Or you
may buy gravelled paper at bird-stores. See that the bird


has fresh water every morning (in summer twice a day is
best), also that its seed-cup is always filled, and water-bath
at hand. If this is done as soon as breakfast is over, the
songster will come to look for attendance regularly. The
daily food should be two-thirds canary-seed with a third of
rape-seed, a little sugar occasionally as a reward while you
are taming it, a piece of stale bread twice a week, and once
in a while a bit of sweet apple, a salad-leaf, chickweed, or
celery-top. To give it rich cake or cooked food is to insure
an early death. A piece of a hard-boiled egg, or a baked
potato, is relished as a tidbit, and can do no harm. But the
plainer they live the better. They digest quickly, and so eat
often. See that mice cannot get to the seed : a glass jar
with cover is its safest receptacle.

They may be paired early in March, but first hang the
birds near each other, in separate cages. It is best to have
both of good strong strains, not related, and not of the same
color. The breeding-cage ought to be larger than their usual
homes, if possible with a sliding-board over the bottom.
After the whole is thoroughly scalded, to keep out vermin,
this may be thickly spread with gravel, and the birds intro-
duced to their future domicile, which is to be securely placed
in some quiet room where the sun shines, and out of strong
currents of air. An even but not very warm temperature
is desirable.

Having done all this, your couple may continue to insist
upon quarrelling: if so, you have only to "try, try again,"
each with another mate. When they do settle down to
housekeeping, you will observe their mutual affectionate
attentions, and domestic chatterings.

Then you must introduce the nest (of woven wire, from
the bird-stores), which ought to be securely fastened in one
corner, and shaded by a cloth or paper, after having been lined


with cotton-flannel. If successful, in a few days you will
find a tiny egg, sea-green in color, at the bottom, and then
another, till five or six have been laid. The male is usually
very attentive to his wife, and their domestic life is often
lovely to behold. As she broods the eggs, he feeds her,
meanwhile chirping low and sweet. All this time they need
a little hemp-seed, and crushed boiled egg, in addition to
their usual food.

On the fourteenth day the young pick their shells, and the
anxiety of their parents is very manifest. A saucer of stale
grated bread, mixed with crushed rape-seed and the yolk of
hard-boiled egg, moistened with water, and always fresh, is
now to be kept where the little ones can be continually fed.
The male does his duty like a man, and is eager to give his
wife and little ones all they can swallow. These grow as
fast as they eat ; and, when a month old, the parents will rear
another brood, if their young are removed to a smaller cage ;
and still another, after the second brood.

These little ones have been taught to eat, drink, wash, and
sing ; and now we can begin to tame them. We will com-
mence by extreme gentleness and slowness in all our move-
ments about their cage, by talking to them, and accustoming
them to our presence. After they once get the taste of
sugar, hold a lump in your fingers between the wires, gently
talking to them meanwhile. If you have the hard heart to
do so, starve them an hour at a time, and then hold out seed
and sugar. There must be no quick, jerky movements, and
no attempt to catch the nervous little creature, or it will lose
confidence in you, and become wilder than before. With
perseverance, and a quiet watchfulness of the temper and
spirit of the bird, you can establish in a short time a genu-
ine comradeship ; so that it will know your voice, chirp a low,
loving welcome when you come, and even fly to meet you at


the door. It will plume its feathers, and go to sleep upon
your shoulder, drink from your spoon, and be in all ways the
clearest of pets, even learning to perform any number of tricks
which your ingenuity can invent, or its quick wit devise.

If a bird of mature growth comes into your hands, a longer
course of similar treatment will eventually win its confi-
dence. The starving system may be necessary, or even a
small drop of oil of anise applied to the nostril, which stu-
pefies the canary, and softens its wildness, without harm.
When tame, they may be allowed the freedom of the house,
excepting during the pairing-season.

Canaries are liable to few diseases : if attacked, but little
can be done, save to keep them warm, and feed simply. The
moulting-season is their most dangerous period. Give a
variety of food. Put a bit of saffron, or a piece of rusty
iron, in the drin king-cup. After the young bird has passed
its first moulting-season, begin to train it gradually. There
is no end to the number of things it may be taught. It
will swing on your finger or a fork, clasping the tines with
its claws ; will ride " up - stairs, down stairs, and in my
lady's chamber," perched on your finger or shoulder; and,
in fact, will itself undertake new tricks of its own. They
make the most satisfactory addition you can desire to a win-
dow filled with plants in winter, singing their happiness at the
noble forests in which they are free to wander. Once in the
possession of such an exhaustless source of delight, you
will never again consent to keep a wild bird. If you can
then bring yourself to part with your winsome, coquettish
birdlings, they will command from five to ten dollars each
from private buyers in any city.




No avocation for girls requires so much skill and coolness,
excites so much enthusiasm, or produces such admirable re-
sults, as the charge of honey-bees. It demands a clear head,
courage, steadiness, and forethought during a small portion
of the year. Yet young women have, within a few years,
been very successful in this industry.

If our maiden decides to attempt this pursuit, she must
first study thoroughly the habits of this remarkable insect,
and as early as March procure, say, two hives as a beginning
of the pattern called the " Simplicity hive." This is a simple
box, having movable frames within. On peeping under the
cover, we see bees clustered in a bunch on the comb in
the centre, quiet, and almost torpid. There they spend the
cold months, keeping warm by their bodily heat, and doubt-
less dreaming of their beloved sunshine and flowers.

The close observations of bee-lovers have found, that in
every colony there is one reigning queen, mother of all the
race of bees, so numerous and so short-lived. There are
in a hive from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand at least,
and their little lives never extend over seven months ; dur-
ing working-season, not over thirty or fifty days. The hive
contains but one queen. She is a long, handsome insect,
never leaving the hive but once, and that just before she
begins laying, when about five days old. From that time
till her death, she industriously lays her little eggs, not


much larger than the point of a pin, each in the centre of
the prepared brood-cell. Some of these cells are larger than
others. Those are called drone-cells ; and the bees from them
are drones, which have not tongues long enough to gather
honey, but are simply gentlemen of leisure. They are larger
than the workers, and look like a large fly. In the fall they
are always killed off by the working-bees : so there are none
till the queen has laid in the spring. It is an object of the
bee-keeper not to have too many of them : so he only lets a
little drone-comb stay in the hive. The smaller worker-cells
are much more numerous.

The eggs hatch in three days after they are laid, giving
very small white worms, which are fed by the young bees,
and grow very rapidly ; so that in seven days they nearly fill
their cells. Then they are sealed over with wax to undergo
a wonderful change. At the end of eleven days the young
worker-bee gnaws open his prison-lid, and for a few days
spends his time in eating, and feeding the younger brood
of larvae, as these worms are named. The drones remain
sealed three days longer.

The process of queen-rearing is very curious. The larvae
for intended sovereigns are fed with a substance especially
prepared, called "royal jelly." Its cell is enlarged to the
size of a peanut, which it closely resembles. It is sealed in
the manner described, but hatches in six days. A queen-cell,
however, is never started, unless the hive is so full that the
bees desire to send out a new colony, or the queen shows
signs of failing vigor, or is accidentally destroyed. In that
case, if the little fellows have eggs on hand, they are all right.
They make several queen-cells at once, so as to be sure to have
one, at least, feed the larvae on royal jelly, and are rewarded
by one or more young sovereigns, the eldest of whom tries to
destroy the others. If they are not needed, she succeeds.


Meanwhile the working-bees do all the work. They build
comb (dozens of them working on one cell at a time), collect
pollen and honey, keep the hive clean, take care of the
cells, and protect the queen. Every bit of refuse and all

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Online LibraryHelen CampbellThe American girl's home book of work and play → online text (page 24 of 28)