Hot. Blackberries not ripe yet. Have lifted the remained of the early potatoes, which are very poor, only about 5 potatoes to a root.

8 eggs.


Curing a Goat Skin. – The skin should be as free from fat as possible, any adhering pieces being scraped off with a blunt knife, Mrs A. W. (Warwick). Place the skin fur down on three or four folds of newspaper. Mix, in equal proportions by measure, salt, saltpetre and powdered alum. A tablespoonful of each will be ample for a small skin. Rub the mixture well into the skin with the three middle fingers, going carefully round the edges. The salt must not get into the fur or this will sweat. Having been all over the skin, place three or four folds of newspaper at the top and roll up tightly, tie a piece of string round the middle and put away for 10 days to a fortnight. Afterwards, with a blunt knife, peel off the inside skin. This should come away quite easily and leave a chamois skin, soft and pliable.[1]


OUT-OF-THE-WAY parts of apple and pear trees can be easily covered by the fruit picker who makes a tool similar to the one shown in the accompanying sketch.

Get a large fruit can and instead of cutting the top in the usual way remove only about two-thirds, trimming the remaining third in a straight line. In this part cut a nick, on the lines indicated.

Now get a very rounded pole, a broomstick being very suitable for this purpose. One end of this is cut off squarely and a long screw is then drive through a hole in the tin into the top of the pole. See that the join between the can and the pole is very secure.

In use the fruit is allowed to come into the can and this is then worked so that the “nick” in the top comes against the stalk.

A slight downward pull frees the fruit, which drops into the can. When the pole is not long enough another may be tied to it by way of an extension.

[1] Orwell may have had particular interest in this subject, as shown by his account of Flory’s disastrous attempt to have a leopard skin cured for Elizabeth in Burmese Days; see CW, II, 226-7. He was later to cure skins on Jura. Peter Davison

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5 Responses to 8.9.39

  1. Stephen says:

    Good old George, he never ever ceases to amaze.

  2. Thrymyr says:

    I’d love to see the accompanying fruit picker sketch.

  3. Dominic says:

    Gathering berries as war clouds gather… wake up, George.

  4. Jim says:

    Me thinks Eric was a proto-hippy of a sort.
    Of this blog I especially enjoy the insights into the farming practices of old. These combined with the course of events swirling around his life, makes it feel like I am actually spending time with the man. Thanks so much for this.

  5. John says:

    Curing a skin for a chamois, I would never think of that, just go buy one at the nearest store. I am amazed at how things have changed, and a tad saddened by it.

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