Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) was an English poet and farmer. He wrote a long piece of work comprising simple rhyming couplets entitled Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie). Last December I read stanzas (42-45) of Christmas, enjoyed them, and knew the year-round agricultural manners in his community in the 16th century from his work. In a part of January, there's a preparation for spring. I recall verses on farming such as a poem ‘After Apple-Picking' by Robert Frost, a sequence of haikus ‘The Organic Farming Calendar’ by Hilary Menos, and Kenji Miyazawa (宮沢 賢治).
¶ January. by Thomas Tusser
(from Project Gutenberg)
46. When Christmas is done, kepe not Christmas time still:
be mindefull of rering, and loth for to kill.
For then, what thou rerist thou nede not to dout:
will double thy gaine, ere the yere come about.
47. Be gredy to spende all, and careles to saue:
and shortly be nedy, and redy to craue.
be wilfull to kill, and vnskilfull to store:
and sone giue vp houskeping, longe any more.
48. Thy calues then, that come betwene new yere and lent:
saue gladly for store, lest thou after repent.
For all thing at that time, that colde feleth some:
shall better beare colde, when the next winter come.
49. Weane no time thy calfe, vnder xl daies olde:
and lay for to saue it, as thou sauest golde.
yet calues that doe fal, betwene change and the prime:
pas seldome to rere them, but kill them in time.
50. For stores of thy swine, be thou carefull betwix:
of one sow at one time, rere seldome past six.
The fewe that she kepe, much the better shal bee:
of all thing, one good is worth steruelinges three.
51. Geld vnder the dame, within fornight at least:
and saue both thy money, and life of the beast.
But gelde with the gelder, as many one doe:
and of halfe a dosen, go geld away two.
52. Thy coltes for the sadle, geld yong to be light:
for cart doe not so, if thou iudgest a right.
Nor geld not, but when they be lusty and fat:
for there is a point, to be learned in that.
53. Geld marefoles, but titts ere and nine dayes of age:
they die els of gelding, some gelders wil gage.
But marefoles, both likely of bulke and of bone:
kepe such to bring coltes, let their gelding alone.
54. For gaining a trifle, sell neuer thy store:
for chaunsing on worse, then thine owne were before.
More larger of body, the better for brede:
more forward of growing, the better they spede.
55. Thy sowes, great with fare, that come best for to rere:
loke dayly thou seest them, and count them full dere.
For that time, the losse of one fare of thy sowe:
is greater, then losse of two calues of thy kowe.
56. A kow good of milk, big of bulke, hayle and sounde,
is yerely for profet, as good as a pounde.
And yet, by the yere haue I proued ere now:
as good to the purse, is a sow as a kow.
57. Kepe one and kepe both, so thou maist if thou wilt:
then all shall be saued, and nothing be spilt.
Kepe two bease, and one sow, and liue at thine ease:
and no time for nede, bye thy meate but thou please.
58. Who both by his calues, and his lambes will be knowne:
may well kill a neate, and a shepe of his owne.
And he, that will rere vp a pig in his house:
shall eate sweter bakon, and cheaper fed sowse.
59. But eate vp thy veale, pig and lambe being froth:
and twise in a weeke, go to bed without broth.
As that man that pas not, but sell away sell:
shall neuer kepe good house, where euer he dwell.
60. Spende none but thyne owne, howsoeuer thou spende:
nor haft not to god ward, for that he doth sende.
Tythe truly for al thing, let pas of the rest:
the iust man, his dealinges god prospereth best.
61. In January, husbandes that powcheth the grotes:
will breake vp their lay, or be sowing of otes.
Sow Jauiuer Otes, and lay them by thy wheate;
in May, bye thy hay for thy cattel to eate.