BUTTERCUPS AND DAISY by Elizabeth Cragoe


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Don't be fooled by the title--this is no lazy-meadow lyric to friendly farm creatures we have known, though Elizabeth Cragoe does offer delightful portraits of some hell-for-leather poultry. She's dead serious about farming, however, and if you allow for differences between Penllwynplan, the Cragoes' ""58.9 acres of deep, loamy land"" in (where but) Wales, and its American equivalents, you'll pick up firm pointers from this suburban family's first twelve years of farm labor. One chapter is devoted to haymaking alone--the timing and techniques of tedding (spreading hay out to dry), windrowing, baling, etc. ""Cows for Beginners"" takes up such matters as breed choice, costing, milking, and shedding, along with the ills that heifers are heir to. (The Cragoes later switched to beef cattle.) Much space is devoted to eggs and chickens, mainstay of the enterprise, and alas for the animal-loving wing of the Herriot flock! the Cragoe chickens are battery hens (caged and confined). Mrs. C. defends her Big House handily, but her conscience is still troubled--not least by the example of her own rogue birds allowed free to dive-bomb and brood. (When finances allow, ""we shall either get out of poultry altogether, or turn to some [other] system."") There are pleasant tales, too, about cats and pigeons, and affectionate tributes to Wales and the Welsh. The fruits of experience, in sum, attractively and crisply delivered.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's