IV. FARM BUILDINGS
General Requisites. Plans.
In pursuance of the plan already indicated, let us now refer for a little to Farm-Buildings. We have spoken of the soil as the raw material upon which the farmer operates: his homestead may, in like manner, be regarded as his manufactory. That it may serve this purpose in may good measure, it is indispensable that the accommodation afforded by it be adequate to the extent of the farm, and adapted to the kind of husbandry pursued upon it. It should be placed upon a dry, sunny, sheltered site, have a good supply of water, and be near as possible to the centre of the farm. The building should be so arranged as to economize labour to the utmost. It should be constructed of substantial materials, so as to be easily kept in repair, and to diminish, to the utmost, risk from fire.
The most cursory examination of existing homesteads will suffice to show that in their construction these obvious conditions have been sadly neglected. For one farm really well equipped in this respect, hundreds are to be met with in all parts of the kingdom, and more especially in England, most wretchedly deficient. Whenever this is the case, it is impossible that the farmer, however skillful or industrious, can make the most of his materials, or complete on equal terms with his better furnished neighbors. As the agriculture community becomes more generally alive to the importance of economizing labour by a judicious arrangement of buildings, and of reducing the cost of the production of beef (and adding to the amount and fertilizing power of the home-made manure), we may hope that improvement in this department will make rapid progress. Tenants will refuse to embark their capital, and waste their skill and labour, on farms unprovided with suitable apparatus for cultivating them to the best advantage. Landlords and their agents will by-and-by find that until this is done, they must put up with an inferior tenantry, as antiquated husbandry, and with lower and worse-paid rents.
In erecting new homesteads, or in making considerable additions to or alternations upon existing ones, it is of much importance to call in the aid of an architect of ascertained experience in this department of his art, and then to have the work performed by contracts founded upon the plans and specifications which he has furnished. A reasonable sum thus expended will be amply returned in the cost, trouble, and disappointment, which it usually saves to both landlord and tenant. It is to be hoped that in future a greater number of thoroughly qualified architects will devote themselves to this department of their profession, and that they will meet with adequate encouragement. It is not, therefore, with the view of superseding their services but simply to illustrate our references to existing practices, that we subjoin a plan of farm-buildings.
While protesting against the utter rudeness and inadequacy of the great majority of homestead, we must also deprecate the hurtful expenditure sometimes lavished in erecting buildings of an extent and style altogether disproportionate to the size of the farm, and out of keeping with its homely purposes. When royalty of nobility, with equal benefit to themselves and their country, make agriculture their recreation, it is altogether befitting that in such cases the farm-yard should be of such a style as to adorn the park in which it is situated. And even those intended for plain everyday farming need not be unsightly; for ugliness is sometimes more costly than elegance. Let utility, economy, and comfort first be secured, and, along with these, as much as possible of that pleasing effect which arises, from just proportions, harmonious arrangement, and manifest adaptation to the use the buildings are designed for.
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