Saturday, July 17 1756

In the morning after breakfast went down to Mr French’s to get him to bring me from Lewes ½ oz cauliflower seed, and when I came there, I found Mr French, his servants and Thomas Fuller a-catching of rats; so I stayed and assisted them about 3 hours, and we caught nearly 20. The method of catching them was by pouring of water into their burrows, which occasioned them immediately to come out, when either the dogs took them or we killed them with our sticks. Just as we had done, Mr John Vine came in. We stayed about ½ an hour and came all away together, Mr Vine and T. Fuller coming, round by our house and only for the sake of a dram.

What a surprising thing it is that a man of Mr Vine’s sense and capacity should so much give way to the unruly dictates of a sensual appetite! Mr Vine, as we came along from Mr French’s, was making several observations with regard to good economy in husbandry. We said that man who went the road a-timber-carrying etc. never hurt his horses if he did not overload them, and he very plainly demonstrated that going with a light load turned out most to the master’s advantage in time; therefore he must of consequence get more money by light loading than heavy. He also observed that the only way to eradicate the weed vulgarly called “kilk” out of the ground was by pulling it up, for was it once permitted to stand to seed, it would be difficult to get it out of the ground because every time it was plowed, and the seed turned up to the surface of the ground, it would then grow. He said he had been credibly informed by gardeners that the seed would lie in the ground 50 years, which he in some respect confirmed by the following instance of his own observation: he sowed a border in one part of his garden with lettuce, some of which he let stand and seed. But he never tilled the border nor did anything to it for 3 years, nor all the time had he any appearance of any young lettuces, as might justly have been expected to spring from the seed that must consequently have shed itself. But at the expiration of 3 years, when they came to till the border again, they had as fine a crop of lettuces as if the border had that year been sown with new seed. He also observed that ground designed to sow wheat on, if it be laid up fallow and exposed to the summer sun and well stirred, it will mend more than a coat of lime and the beat method that can be taken to destroy weeds…

After dinner I went down to Messrs Merrick’s and Rothfield’s for some scythes which were brought from Lewes and left there for me.

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