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any single thing which can be enumerated

Benefits Derived from “Puttering.”

Messrs. Editors —
I here send you a few practical hints to unpractical farmers. Don’t be afraid to spend a few leisure moments in making things look comfortable and neat about the farm. Slipshod or slovenly management makes the boys hate farming and everything connected with it. I can assure you it will pay to make the premises look as attractive as your time and means will permit. You will enjoy it far more yourself if it is well stocked with well selected and thrifty fruit trees. Strive to have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. I know some farmers may call it puttering work; yes, I should think it was, but it is paying work too. You hate to putter, but you like ease and comfort as well as any one. Puttering is nothing else than taking care of the small items which go to make up the big whole. Puttering, why, sir, it is the very thing that has done more to enrich the farmer, than any single thing which can be enumerated. But, says the thrifty farmer, I don’t putter all the time, you must remember. Sometimes there are leisure hours and wet days, when a man can do nothing else. At this time of the year I make hooks, catches or wooden buttons, for barn or stable doors; put or repair hinges on my stable windows; batten the sides of my out buildings; put knobs on the cow’s horns to prevent them from hurting the young stock; turn over manure; gather the guano from the chicken-house, put it in barrels to keep until spring; when mixed with other ingredients it forms an excellent manure for the garden — pick over and repack the apples in the cellar — saw and pile up wood enough to last until next puttering day comes—clean out the pigpens and put in fresh straw — look over and sort the lumber pile in the store-room, so as to know just where to find what I may want in an emergency, and if the women want anything done about the house I cheerfully do it, and do not call it lost time nor grumble because it is puttering work, either.
      Come, look here, Mr. Anti-putterer, you told me last year the bugs had destroyed your vines, and you did not see how I saved mine so nicely. You remember I showed you the boxes with panes of glass in them, that I protected mine with, and you said you had no time for such work. Just come here and see the dozen I made the other day; it was done one of those puttering days. I can grow vines enough under them to supply all our wants. If you hire a carpenter he would charge you a shilling a piece for them. Well, I did the work on them in half a day. What is that, says neighbor Never-try? Why, sir, that is a wagon-jack I made myself. I use it when I want to take off the wheel to grease it; see, it saves hard lifting; they can be purchased at the hard-ware stores, but then they cost money. I had the materials, the time and the will to make one, and it is as good as any of their iron concerns.
N. J. C.

— “Benefits Derived from ‘Puttering,’”, in The Country Gentleman 23:6 (Albany, N.Y., February 11, 1864) : 91

The Country Gentleman. “A Journal for the farm, the garden and the fireside, devoted to the practice and science of agriculture and horticulture at large, and to all the various departments of rural and domestic economy.”
published by Luther Tucker & Son.
Luther Tucker & Son and J. J. Thomas, Editors.

Luther Tucker (1802-73), wikipedia

“Puttering is nothing else than taking care of the small items which go to make up the big whole.” — akin to individual strokes of the brush in painting, marks in drawing, getting the metrics and music right in a poem.

2 April 2022