Fondly, Pennsylvania

How I spent my summer vacation, by Francis Daniel Pastorius (age 50)

Thursday, 7/26/12

Alternately, how you should spend your summer vacation, according to Pastorius.


Two pages of Francis Daniel Pastorius' handwritten "Monthly Monitor," showing what to do in the month of May.

In May:

  • Rise early and walk in the fields and eat & drink betimes in the morning. 
  • Sage and sweet butter for breakfast.
  • Geld sheep and cattle.
  • Use green whey against choler.
  • About full moon sow lettuce.
  • Kill rattlesnakes. Keep their fat.

Two pages of Francis Daniel Pastorius' handwritten "Monthly Monitor," showing what to do in the month of June.

In June:

  • Wash sheep for to shear, they may now go bare.
  • Avoid two Ws: wine and women.
  • If meadows be grown, let meadows be mown.
  • Pull off the superfluous leaves from your hops.
  • Gather your flowers & herbs to last for the whole year.

Two pages of Francis Daniel Pastorius' handwritten "Monthly Monitor," showing what to do in the month of July.

In July:

  • This month and January of all twelve mostly vary.
  • Abstain from aspick [sic].
  • Beware the burning beams of the sun.
  • Dry flax get in for spinners to spin.
  • Drink sage beer.
  • Avoid too much care, sorrow, zeal, and study.

Two pages of Francis Daniel Pastorius' handwritten "Monthly Monitor," showing what to do in the month of August.

In August:

  • Avoid physick and blood-letting in the dog days.
  • Use moderate diet, and forbear to sleep in the afternoon.
  • Shun victuals too well spiced; much of melons, and after these sink a glass of wine.
  • Revive your fainting fruit trees by pouring blood or dunghill water about them.
  • Dig wells.

All of this advice is from Pastorius’s “A monthly monitor briefly showing when our works ought to be done in gardens, orchards, vineyards, fields, meadows, and woods,” written in 1701. This entire  collection, the Francis Daniel Pastorius papers, is currently being digitized as part Phase II of the Digital Center of Americana Project and all of it will be viewable online. The finding aid for the collection can be found here. Aside from these monthly checklists, this volume also includes a detailed log of sunrise and sunset times, weather prognostication, astronomy charts, a guide to fishing, and transcriptions from the works of authorities on farming, vineyards, beekeeping, and other agrarian subjects.

It's nearly the end of July. I sincerely hope no one has eaten any aspic or studied too much.

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