So, it is not quite Fall, but it will be soon…so do not despair. I have been asked to describe New Hampshire humor, and comment whether it differs at all from the humor expressed by people living elsewhere.
It is my personal opinion that New Hampsha’ humor is unique to our area, (or at least the “old fashioned” type is). Wry and subtle are two descriptive words that come to mind.
In 1879 an Amherst New Hampshire newspaper decided to write a bit about autumn farming. Read on, and if you “don’t get it,” then perhaps you think too much like a city-slicker.
Headline: Fall Farm Notes. (A little fun, &c.).
Now is the time to pick leaves. If not gathered soon they are liable to fall to the ground and get bruised.
Be in no hurry to pluck your pears. The small boy will attend to that. Ditto as to apples. He will freeze to them before they will freeze to the trees.
Give your poultry double rations, in view of Thanksgiving. If intended for market keep them well supplied with gravel. It helps to digest their food. There is nothing that so liberally repays investment. Gravel can be got for the hauling, and brings a shilling a pound when sold as poultry. The farmer who sells a chicken with an empty gizzard has mistaken his calling.
Don’t forget your preserves. They will come in nicely next winter.
Apples make the best preserves. Mash them up and squeeze out the juice, which may be used at once if wanted. But put up in tight casks, it will last all winter. That is if you have enough of it.
Collect ferns. You will find the finest ones where the snakes are the most prevalent. This fact is useful in guiding to a discriminating choice.
Put your big squash on exhibition. If you have none supply yourself at once. They can be obtained at all respectable grocers. No farmer should be without a big squash.
Pickle your beets. Dry salt is all sufficient. Insert it hiperdermically [sic hypodermically] with a shot gun. This is a practice having ancient use to recommend it. The saying, “con grano salias,” is borrowed from an old receipt [sic recipe] for pickling beets.
Get your potato bugs under cover before the frost nips them. Now is the time to make sure of a good crop next Spring.
Don’t leave your plank walks out, they are liable to become Winter-killed.
Buck-wheat cakes should have a good mulching of syrup. Plant them deep.
Grapes may be dug now. Some farmers continue to do with with a hoe, but a horse raek will do five times the work, and do it better.
In gathering water-melons use a step-ladder. Never climb into the branches. You may rub off the bark, thus vitality injuring the tree. A still better way is to stand upon the ground and cut them off with an arvicular [can someone tell me what this is?]
Children should be bedded early. Cover them well.
Return the wheelbarrow you borrowed last spring. You will have no use for it during the Winter. Not only will it be in your way, but its owner should be given an opportunity to put it in good order against your wanting it next year.
Thermometer bulbs may be kept out a while longer. The longer they remain out this Fall the fuller they will become.
Cherry picking over the front gate should be attended to while the weather permits. A little coolness will interpose difficulties to its being successfully done.
A good time now to tell what you are going to do next year. If you have any of the last year’s resolves left over, they will probably do as well as any. Very few people can tell new from the old ones.
Cultivate the acquaintance of somebody who will trust you for an overcoat. Do it now before the suckers strike out.
Source: Farmer’s Cabinet, Amherst NH, dated 14 October 1879, Volume 78, Issue 15, page 1 .