When Lincoln signed the bill, he was bombarded with advice about who should be the first Commissioner of Agriculture.
Perhaps he should choose the editor of a Farm magazine?
Perhaps a scientist would be best?
Maybe a simple pragmatist?
A man named Isaac Newton - a direct descendant of Sir Isaac Newton - got the job.
Newton was born in Burlington County, New Jersey on March 31, 1800. He had set up an impeccable farm in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
Newton's farm was a model for others; efficient, orderly; and productive.
After advocating for farmers for over two decades, Newton was picked to be the chief of the agricultural section of the Patent Office.
A master relationship builder; every week Newton sent butter from his dairy farm to the White House. It wasn't long before Newton, and his entire family became friends with the Lincolns.
That's why when it came time for Lincoln to make the appointment for commissioner of the USDA, Newton had a firm lock on the job in Lincoln's mind.
When he was appointed, Isaac Newton, quoted Jonathan Swift saying,
"It should be the aim of every young farmer to do not only as well as his father, but to do his best: to make two blades of grass grow where but only one grew before."
Newton brought the same high standards and efficiency he had cultivated for his farm to the USDA.
Three years after his appointment, on the evening of April 15, 1865, around 10:30 PM, it was Isaac Newton who had rushed over to the White House, and informed the doorkeeper, Thomas Pendall, that President Lincoln had been shot.
In his account of the incident, the doorkeeper said Newton was a bosom friend the president.
Sadly, Newton experienced a severe case of sunstroke while surveying the experimental farm in Washington, D.C.
The incident debilitated him for a year before he passed a way. He died in office at the age of 67 in 1867 after serving for four years.
#OTD On this day, Governor David B. Hill signed a law creating the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve; ensuring the land "be forever kept as wild forest lands."
#OTD An article called “The Prettiest Wild Flowers.” by Ettie C. Alexander was featured in the San Francisco Call, May 15, 1898.
"Nine years ago, cream cups grew in great profusion all around San Francisco. The most beautiful ones that I have ever seen were near Holy Cross Cemetery. I have picked dozens of them in former years as large as a dollar. But now you can scarcely find a plant, and the blossoms are small and of an inferior quality. A great many other varieties of flowers that once were plentiful have disappeared entirely."
The new expansion includes an installation of 26 new pieces of art, 65 new trees, 475 shrubs, 1.7 acres of groundcovers, 1.13 acres of open lawn, and 9.35 acres of aquatic planting; as well as the creation of an indoor sculpture pavilion and an outdoor amphitheater with beautiful, grass-stepped seating. Sounds amazing!
Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower?
But I could never sell.
If you would like to borrow
Until the daffodil
Unties her yellow bonnet
Beneath the village door,
Until the bees, from clover rows
Their hock and sherry draw,
Why, I will lend until just then,
But not an hour more!
"All [Lavinia’s] flowers did as they liked: tyrannized over her, hopped out of their own beds and into each other’s beds, were never reproved or removed as long as they bloomed; for a live flower to Aunt Lavinia was more than any dead horticultural principle."
I discovered Ina Coolbrith when I was researching Ettie Alexander.
Ettie's book on wildflowers included some poems by Coolbrith.
Coolbrith was the niece of THE Joseph Smith of the Mormon Church.
She became California's poet laureate. In post-Gold Rush San Francisco, she was known as the pearl of her tribe, a tribe that included Bret Harte, Mark Twain, and John Muir. Jack London and Isadora Duncan considered her their literary godmother, and John Greenleaf Whittier knew more of her poems by heart than she did his.
Today's Garden Chore : Top-dress your raised beds with a couple inches of organic compost.
After a season of rest, I start planting season off by adding nutrients back into my beds where I grow my edibles.
When I harvest my spring crops, I'll add even more compost to keep the soil nutrient rich throughout the summer.
Reviving the little botanic spark in your heart
"Eve tasted the apple in the Garden of Eden in order to slake that intense thirst for knowledge that the simple pleasure of picking flowers and talking to Adam could not satisfy."
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