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瓦尔登湖:经济篇24

2006-07-28 23:31

  Before I finished my house, wishing to earn ten or twelve dollars by some honest and agreeable method, in order to meet my unusual expenses, I planted about two acres and a half of light and sandy soil near it chiefly with beans, but also a small part with potatoes, corn, peas, and turnips.  The whole lot contains eleven acres, mostly growing up to pines and hickories, and was sold the preceding season for eight dollars and eight cents an acre.  One farmer said that it was "good for nothing but to raise cheeping squirrels on."  I put no manure whatever on this land, not being the owner, but merely a squatter, and not expecting to cultivate so much again, and I did not quite hoe it all once.  I got out several cords of stumps in plowing, which supplied me with fuel for a long time,and left small circles of virgin mould, easily distinguishable through the summer by the greater luxuriance of the beans there. The dead and for the most part unmerchantable wood behind my house,and the driftwood from the pond, have supplied the remainder of my fuel.  I was obliged to hire a team and a man for the plowing,though I held the plow myself.  My farm outgoes for the first season were, for implements, seed, work, etc., $14.72+.  The seed corn was given me.  This never costs anything to speak of, unless you plant more than enough.  I got twelve bushels of beans, and eighteen bushels of potatoes, beside some peas and sweet corn.  The yellow corn and turnips were too late to come to anything.  My whole income from the farm was $ 23.44 Deducting the outgoes ……  14.72+

                                          -------

  There are left …… $  8.71+

  beside produce consumed and on hand at the time this estimate was made of the value of $4.50 —— the amount on hand much more than balancing a little grass which I did not raise.  All things considered, that is, considering the importance of a man's soul and of today, notwithstanding the short time occupied by my experiment,nay, partly even because of its transient character, I believe that that was doing better than any farmer in Concord did that year.

  The next year I did better still, for I spaded up all the land which I required, about a third of an acre, and I learned from the experience of both years, not being in the least awed by many celebrated works on husbandry, Arthur Young among the rest, that if one would live simply and eat only the crop which he raised, and raise no more than he ate, and not exchange it for an insufficient quantity of more luxurious and expensive things, he would need to cultivate only a few rods of ground, and that it would be cheaper to spade up that than to use oxen to plow it, and to select a fresh spot from time to time than to manure the old, and he could do all his necessary farm work as it were with his left hand at odd hours in the summer; and thus he would not be tied to an ox, or horse, or cow, or pig, as at present.  I desire to speak impartially on this point, and as one not interested in the success or failure of the present economical and social arrangements.  I was more independent than any farmer in Concord, for I was not anchored to a house or farm, but could follow the bent of my genius, which is a very crooked one, every moment.  Beside being better off than they already, if my house had been burned or my crops had failed, I should have been nearly as well off as before.

  在我的房屋建成之前,我就想用老实又愉快的方式来赚它十元十二元的,以偿付我的额外支出,我在两英亩半的屋边的沙地上种了点东西,主要是蚕豆,也种了一点土豆,玉米,豌豆和萝卜。我总共占了十一英亩地,大都长着松树和山核桃树,上一季的地价是八元零八分一英亩。有一个农夫说这地“毫无用处,只好养一些叽叽叫的松鼠”。我没有在这片地上施肥,我不是它的主人,不过是一个居住在无主之地上的人,我不希望种那么多的地,就没有一下于把全部的地都锄好。锄地时,我挖出了许多树根来,有几“考德”,供我燃烧了很久,这就留下了几小圈未耕作过的沃土,当蚕豆在夏天里长得异常茂盛的时候是很容易区别它们的。房屋后面那些枯死的卖不掉的树木和湖上漂浮而来的木头也供给了我其余的一部分燃料。我却不能不租一组犁地的马和雇一个短工,但掌犁的还是我自己。我的农场支出,第一季度在工具、种子和工资等方面,一总十四元七角两分五。玉米种子是人家送的。种子实在不值多少钱,除非你种得比需要量更多。

  我收获蚕豆十二蒲式耳,土豆十八蒲式耳,此外还有若干豌豆和王米。黄玉米和萝卜种晚了,没有收成。农场的收入全部是:二三。四四元减去支出一四。七二五元结余八。七一五元除了我消费掉的和手头还存着一些的产品之外,估计约值四元五角——手上的储存已超出了我自己不能生产的一点儿蔬菜的需要量。从全面考虑,这是说,我考虑到人的灵魂和时间的重要性,我虽然为了这个实验占去了我很短的一些时间,不,一部分也因为它的时间非常短暂,我就确信我今年的收成比康科德任第二年,我就干得更好了,因为我把总需要量的全部土地统统种上了,只不过一英亩的三分之一,从这两年的经验中,我发现了我没有给那些农业巨著吓倒,包括亚瑟。

  扬的著作在内。我发现一个人如果要简单地生活,只吃他自己收获的粮食,而且并不耕种得超过他的需要,也不无餍足地交换更奢侈、更昂贵的物品,那末他只要耕几平方杆的地就够了:用铲子比用牛耕又便宜得多;每次可更换一块新地,以免给旧地不断地施肥,而一切农场上的必要劳动,只要他夏天有空闲的时候略略做一做就够了;这样他就不会像日前的人们那样去和一头牛,或马,或母牛,或猪猡,捆绑在一起。在这一点上,我希望大公无私他说话,作为一个对目前社会经济措施的成败都不关心的人。我比康科德的任何一个农夫都更具独立性,因为我没有抛锚固定在一座房屋或一个农场上,我能随我自己的意向行事,那意向是每一刹那都变化多端的。况且我的光景已经比他们的好了许多,如果我的房子烧掉了,或者我歉收了,我还能跟以前一样地过得很好。

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