By Wayne Franklin
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Extra resources for A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township
The total of 7 milch cows he had milked that year had produced 900 pounds of butter (twice the amount of 1869-1870) and from the 2 swine slaughtered then he had made 500 pounds of pork. In addition, he owned $5 worth of poultry and had sold $10 worth of eggs (this, again, is probably evidence of Mary's activity). His gross sales from the farm in 1874 totaled $400, well above the total value of everything he had raised (both for the market and for home use) in 1869-1870 and equivalent to perhaps thirty weeks of carpenter's wages.
In 1875, Holmes reported in June, he had planted 1 acre of corn, 1 acre of potatoes, and 10 acres of oats. His hay, of course, had not been mown yet but probably would have been about as productive as the Page 17 year before. Earlier in the year, he had made 400 pounds of sugar and 15 gallons of maple molasses from his sugar maple trees. He now was milking 6 cows, had 4 bulls, 1 new heifer calf, 2 new pigs, and 2 horses that were older than two years. 3 Comparing James Holmes's agricultural activities with those of his father, Calvin, in 1855, when Calvin was still quite active and was depending on farming as his sole support, suggests that in 1874 and 1875 James in fact was a serious farmer by local standards.
Few scholars dig very hard into written material to learn much about an anonymous house. Instead they prefer the precise techniques Page x of artifact analysis, the measuring of rooms and bays, the scraping of old paint layers, the sketching of fenestration, all revealing much about the structure to be sure, but rarely illuminating the shadowy artisans who built it. A Rural Carpenter's World passes into another realm of research, one vastly richer albeit one far more complex. From a carpenter's diary, the rough-and-ready accounts-and-memoranda book kept by a rural New York craftsman in 1869, Professor Franklin probes the structure of a microcosm, the small world of a farmer-carpenter.
A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township by Wayne Franklin