AUGUST 1, 1945
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Every year as the purple loosestrife begins to bloom along our brook, I marvel at its beauty. In a mass as it grows here, it looks like a sea of purple; and when the sun is setting, the sunlight and the color from the flowers reflects itself in the water with a lovely effect. The flowers come gradually to their full bloom, but in the course of the next week or so we will be enjoying its full glory.
I have never known a rainier season. The farmers everywhere are looking sadly at their crops and bemoaning the number of times they have had to plant and replant things in their gardens. This, of course, has happened to us also; but nature always seems to compensate in some way, and her lavishness with water has certainly done marvels for the trees. Some of the little evergreens which had come all the way from the Pacific Coast were in rather sad condition when they were planted early in the spring, but the rain has brought them up wonderfully and they are now flourishing.
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The results of the years during which my husband bought woodland and planted trees are now beginning to show. While trees are never a spectacularly profitable crop, they certainly are an interesting one, and I think ours should begin now to produce some more adequate returns. During the last years of my mother-in-law's life, she never wanted my husband to interfere in any way with her running of the place and the farm: she wished to run it just as her husband had run it. It was to be a gentleman's country place, not a farm run for profit!
I frequently used to be reminded of a story I once heard, attributed to J.P. Morgan, who offered some friends of his a choice of champagne or milk to drink, saying: "They both cost me about the same." The story is probably apocryphal, but I am sure that many people who run farms without account books, as my mother-in-law did, could have said exactly the same thing. However, she finally agreed that my husband should take over the wooded parts of the place, and to these he gradually added a good many acres of woodland. Every year, out of his own small income left him by his father, he tried to improve these wooded areas.
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I have never felt in any way interested in a country place just as a country place. I feel that land should produce; and if you have a little extra money, so that you will not starve when experiments go wrong, you should try experiments in the hope of benefitting farming as a whole for your neighbors. The custom which existed for a time in this country, of having large places which cost a great deal of money and produced nothing beyond what one family used on their table, has always seemed to me a very wasteful tradition, and I am glad that it is rapidly disappearing.