Friday, May 15, 2009

Factual Friday

Welcome to another recent sunrise over Queens Creek and another edition of Factual Friday, where I try to convey actual facts rather than opinions, hot air, vague statements, run-on sentences, rambling thoughts and ridiculous fluff.

The Mathews County Soil Survey of November 1962 (yeah, I know, go ahead and rest your head on the table, or beat it on the table, whichever one provides the quickest relief) was put out by the USDA in cooperation with the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. (Why does agricultural experimentation scare me? Please tell me they're not responsible for the mutant forms of insect life holding me hostage in my own house. I knew there was a conspiracy.)

Anyway, this document contains lots of good information about Mathews, such as this:

"....Some of the early land grants were Hesse, about 1643; Old Field Point, 1653; and Poplar Grove, about 1750. The tide mill at Poplar Grove was patterned after its forerunners used in London. It ground corn on both the incoming and outgoing tides. During the Revolutionary War, meal was furnished to Washington's troops at Yorktown from this mill, which ground about 32 bushels of meal on a tide. The mill was burned during the Civil War but was rebuilt and used until 1912. The building, much of the water wheel, and the mechanism are still in place.

In colonial days silk was produced by silkworms imported from Italy. The silkworms fed on mulberry trees.

John Clayton, a famous English botanist, lived at Windsor in the western part of Mathews County. Here he established a botanical garden.

Before 1700, tobacco fields began to wear out. These fields were then used to grow wheat and corn. Some old fields were fenced, and cattle grazed in them instead of in wooded pastures. More emphasis was given to the raising of sheep and hogs, and the acreage in corn was increased to provide additional feed.

The soil was fertilized by the Indians and the early settlers by placing fish in the hills of corn. Early in the 1800's, guano was imported from the West Indies for use as fertilizer. In 1832 a small amount of guano was brought from Peru, and it proved to be highly successful....."

And now, a brief bit of guano closing remark from Chesapeake Bay Woman:

So it appears that today's factual post will end on the topic of guano, which is no different than any other post you'll read here, factual or otherwise.


Grandma J said...

I was doing a pretty good job of following this post until I got to the part about importing guana from the West Indies and Peru. Are you saying there wasn't enough in Mathews? What about New Jersey? I mean, wouldn't it be easier to get some guana from withing the Continent?

Pueblo girl said...

Absolutely stunning photo - It's probably going to be my new screen. And LOVED Grandma J's comment! Made my breakfast time!

big hair envy said...

According to Wiki, guano was used for fertilizer AND as a gunpowder additive. Hmmm.....

Mental P Mama said...

Wait. Guano is imported?

Caution Flag said...

Here in Detroit, we import trash from Canada and then we cover it with dirt. Then we build neighborhoods on it. Is that about the same thing as Peruvian guano?

Daryl said...

I am astonished there isnt enough shit locally, they had to import it.. didnt they learn their lesson importint tea? Remember what a mess that caused? I am betting if you dig deeper into the historical fact books you'll find an insurrection fueled by farmers who cow/horse shit was cheaper and more organic and local.. see this is where global warming because .. importing guano!

Lynne M. said...

HEHE!!! It sure is getting deep round here!! I have to admit that until I read the other comments, I was a bit confused about whether guana was fish or poop... Glad ya'll got me straight. It's Friday, my brain has decided to take off early!

Lynne M. said...

OK - I just learned how to use these beautiful pictures as screensavers/background! I learned a lot today!!

mmm said...

Beautiful picture.

foolery said...

Okay, I now have a new desktop picture, thankyouverymuch CBW -- not that the last two haven't been OUTSTANDING, because they were, but I needed a change.

Guano is everywhere, but it must be in very concentrated and easily-accessible places in the West Indies, like at the bottom of a deep cave perhaps, or on the floor of the Senate.

Off to the fair and other wallet-sucking places -- happy weekend all y'all!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Hey! Once again it's great to come home to comments. Funny comments no less. It's fuel for my weary, bedraggled soul.

The past 48 hours have been nothing short of a mini-series/documdrama, emphasis on the drama, de-emphasis on the mini.

Thank you so much for making me laugh--hard--at the end of such a trying day. A trying two days.

The end of a trying week.

A trying year.

Thank you!

p.s. The first time I ever head the word guano was in Ace Ventura Pet Detective (the second one, which really couldn't hold a candle to the first one). Had I not seen that movie I would have been none the wiser about what guano is.

I must say, though, importing it from Peru sounds awfully expensive and more than a little exotic, to the extent that guano can be exotic.

Annie said...

Fantastic photo..well done!

And very interesting facts also, thanks. Having been closely related to agricultural scientists (married one, mother of another) and daughter of a farmer, daughter in law of is nice to hear of the history of the land in the area there. I have similar books lying around in my house... of soils in Queensland etc.

Australia imports its guano (superphosphate) from the island of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean. In case anyone needed to know.