This immense collection of water was called Lake Moeris, and was considered one of the wonders of the world. Thanks to it a desert valley was changed into the fertile land of Piom, where about two hundred thousand people lived in comfort. In this province, besides palms and wheat, were produced the most beautiful roses; oil made from these went to all Egypt, and beyond its boundaries.
Another important matter which claimed the farmer's attention at this time was the preparation of his summer-fallow for fall wheat. The ground was first broken up after the spring sowing was over, and about hay time the second ploughing had to be done, to destroy weeds, and get the land in proper order. In August the last ploughing came, and about the first of September the wheat was sown.
He never stopped running until he was half-way home. And then he climbed a tree and sat down to lick himself clean again. To his astonishment, he found that the white powder that covered him tasted very good. It reminded him of wheat.
Thus, a Chaucer, which may now be bought for a few shillings, then cost more than a hundred pounds; and we read of two hundred sheep and ten quarters of wheat being given for a volume of homilies.
It is said that a settler, whose house stood on an eminence at a beautiful bend of the Hawkesbury, saw no less than thirty stacks of wheat at one time floating down the stream during a flood, some of them being covered with pigs and poultry, who had thus vainly sought safety from the rising of the waters.
"There's half-a-dozen more of them outside," he said. "Do you buy or sell?" Winston laughed. "I want to know which a wise man would do." "Well," said Graham, "I can't tell you. The bulls rushed wheat up as I wired you, but the other folks got their claws in and worried it down again. Wheat's anywhere and nowhere all the time, and I'm advising nobody just now.
"Then while he was a little bit of a fellow, climbing and prowling around a grain elevator beside the canal, he fell into the wheat bin and was nearly smothered to death. "Once he held a skate strap for another boy to cut off with a big ax and the lad sliced off the end of the fingers holding it!
What a privilege for a city to possess a seaport at three leagues distance, and to be situated among mountains, on a table-land, which would produce wheat, if the cultivation of the coffee-tree were not preferred! The road from La Guayra to the valley of Caracas is infinitely finer than the road from Honda to Santa Fe, or that from Guayaquil to Quito.
There is no gleaning; and what with the bad and careless threshing and the ill-thatched and worse-built stacks, which admit the rain, whereby thousands of bushels of wheat are destroyed, the waste is beyond any one's conception who has not actually witnessed it. In the second place, there is not nearly so much wheat grown in Australia as there might and ought to be.
The first court sat at Harrodsburg, but as there was no building where it could properly be held, it adjourned to the Dutch Reformed Meeting-house six miles off. Large grist-mills were erected at some of the stations; wheat crops were raised; and small distilleries were built.