Friday, January 9, 2009
I took this last Sunday from Gwynn's Island as the sun was rising. Because it was a Sunday morning, everything was dead quiet. Not a creature was stirring, not even a fiddler crab. Well, those sea gulls were stirring, but they were very quiet about it.
As I mentioned a while back, I found a 1962 USDA Soil Survey of Mathews County. (I erroneously said it was '67 because Numbers R Not Chesapeake Bay Woman's Friend. Are you still awake?) It is loaded with data and historical information on agriculture, topography, industries, climate, geology and cosmetology of Mathews County. (This is a test to see if you're actually awake and paying attention. The survey does not, in fact, talk about cosmetology, although we do have many cosmetologists in the county.)
Below is 1954 data related to the county's agriculture.
(WARNING: These government documents are *almost* as boring as your average Chesapeake Bay Woman post, although they are way more factual.)
"Both the acreage and the number of farms have been declining steadily since 1935. In 1954 there were 16,278 acres in farms in Mathews County. Of this, 7,606 acres consisted of cropland and 979 acres of pasture...."
"...In 1954 livestock and livestock products accounted for 55 percent of the cash receipts on farms, and poultry and poultry products, mostly eggs, accounted for 37 percent. The number of cattle and calves decreased from 1,049 in 1945 to 740 in 1954."
"...Horticultural specialties, mainly daffodils, accounted for 3.4 percent of the value of all farm products sold in 1944 and 8.1* percent in 1949. ..."
"...The acreage used for crops and livestock is declining in Mathews County, but the acreage in forest is increasing. Much can be done to improve the economy of the county by applying forest practices suggested by the Virginia Division of Forestry.
A favorable agricultural future in Mathews County depends on the intensive farming of small units. Apparently, the greatest possibilities are in the raising of poultry and, on well-drained soils, the growing of cut flowers (especially daffodils), nursery stock, vegetables, fruit trees (especially peach), pecans and possibly blueberries.
In addition to agricultural prospects in Mathews County, the extensive beach along the Chesapeake Bay affords the possibility of the development of commercial resorts for vacationists and sportsmen. Also, the seafood industry will likely continue to be of great economic importance. It might be said that the people of Mathews County have one foot in the water and the other on land.**"
Chesapeake Bay Woman's Two Cents
* That 8.1% figure for daffodils continued to rise in the 1960's and 1970's but sadly has tapered off. Although you can still find fields of daffodils growing each spring, very few are actually sold commercially.
**It might also be said that Chesapeake Bay Woman has one foot in dirty laundry, the other foot in stale Christmas decorations.