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E.P.Powell: Hedges, Windbreaks, Shelters and Live Fences

 
Posts: 398
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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The Internet Archive has this book (published in 1900) with its "home page" at:

https://archive.org/details/hedgeswindbreaks00powe

The Sloan Foundation paid to have this book scanned from a copy at the USA Library of Congress.  There are 168 pages in the scanning.  That particular file is labelled PDF.  It may be that the B/W PDF version is just a greyscale version of it, so not quite so memory intensive.

I started from the full text version, inserting LaTeX commands so that I can turn this into a digital (not analog) book with internal links and other fancy stuff available to modern PDF documents.  I am also fixing various kinds of OCR errors as I see them.  I am about 92% of the way through the book, should be finished before the night is out.

The LaTeX style I am using, is Tufte.  This allows for extensive margin notes, such as one might generate when proofreading something.

If people here would like to get a copy to proofread (you will need one of the scanned PDF versions for this, I would think), send me an email.  I don't think there is any other way to do this.  If you have nothing to do and are good at graphics, maybe you could cut out the images and clean them up to send to me?  I would imagine there are some generic tools for doing this to 100+ year old books.  Part of this is probably a colour shift (as the page yellows with age).

I had thought that the Library of Congress might like such a copy; but it seems I thought wrong.  So, what I will do is "wrap" an interpretation around the book.  I will index all the plants mentioned (common name and taxonomic name) and do other things.

If I reply, I will reply from a different email name.  But, if you are interested send email to powell@materialisations.com  When the project is done, I will destroy that email address.
 
Gordon Haverland
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The first pass was just inserting the minimal LaTeX commands and fixing things to the point where it would "compile".  It does compile.

The second pass is correcting more mistakes, and starting to add content and comments for the "Interpretation" I am wrapping the book with.  I am just approaching the end of Chapter IV Evergreens (which is approximately the half way point).

I have changed all occurrences of implied lists in the text with explicit lists (usually enumerate, one is descrption).  In one place, Powell used quotation marks to add emphasis to a word; I have changed that to a changed to a slanted typeface.
 
Gordon Haverland
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Someone liked my update?  Thanks.  

There are parts of this chapter on Evergreens, that had me looking at the scanned image pages a few times today.

Powell's book tends to use an italic typeface when presenting taxonomic names for species (genus, or whatever).  Which is a reason for why those kinds of data are more susceptible to OCR scanning errors.

TeX and LaTeX have long differentiated between italic and slanted typefaces.  I am not sure, but I think there are instances where a typeface could have both (and they are not the same).  I would imagine that they differ in how much they slant, but there could be differences in the serifs, if present.

I would imagine that most people on Permies, come from the WYSIWYG world of Microsoft Word/Office and whatever the name is for Apple software of a similar nature.  I don't.  I started with TEXTFORM (or on the IBM 3[67]0 type mainframe where I learned, it was *TEXTFORM*).  Off to my M.Eng. degree at Carnegie-Mellon, and I came across Scribe.

I also came to know UNIX (or UN*X).  I think the first one was runoff (to run off a text document).  That was too many letters to type, and so the next one was roff.  Someone improved roff, to make nroff (which is where I came in).  The GNU project produced a fork, for groff.  There was a typesetting version of nroff, called troff.  There was a device-independent version of troff called ditroff.  There was a quasi-commercial thing called eroff.  Maybe more.  Basically all of those just processed text.  These programs by default read the data on STDIN and wrote to STDOUT.  There were a bunch of "little languages" added to the roff family, for doing specialised tasks.  Eqn did equations.  Tbl did tables.  There were others.

I had some eroff/tbl/eqn stuff I used.  But mostly, I discovered TeX and I've since spent all my time there in terms of document preparation.  I once made a document (I think it was a resum\'e) that I had to edit with a binary editor to remove a couple of bytes because of a bug in the text formatter (probably some version of TeX).  If I go to make a document in LibreOffice, I am typically disappointed as I cannot make it as good as I can with LaTeX.  There are times where I want to get information out of or into a Word document; hence I've dabbled in Perl to try and deal with Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice documents.  


LaTeX has had the ability to hyper-reference information.  To set up a hyperlink between a table of contents entry and a chapter is an example.  And I believe many PDF display programs will do that.  LaTeX allows one to connect a "link" in a document to an Internet web page.  And as most PDF display programs don't do HTML, means they need to spawn a HTML browser to see the content at the end of the link.

In terms of being helpful to people, I am thinking that a person sets up links to wikipedia/EN.  I think PFAF (Plants for a Future) is also a good  place to go to, but they seem to be having funding problems for the last year or two.  There are lots of plants which have more than one common name.  So perhaps one uses the marginnote capability of the Tufte style to list all the known common names, so that a person can search the PDF for common names?

I am also thinking that it would be useful to point to more information about people mentioned in this document.  Just because I.M.Blowhard is mentioned in some text, doesn't mean anyone today is going to know about him/her.  Are there other things a person should add to an "Interpretation" wrapped around a classic source?

What else is useful in an interpretation of a 100 (or more) year old document?
 
Gordon Haverland
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Windbreaks chapter.

Powell is talking about a number of trees (Sassafras, weeping elm, wild apples, and Judas Tree).

The next paragraph, talks about some tree's tendency to split the trunk.  The last tree mentioned in the previous paragraph is the Judas Tree.  Which I believe is a Cercis (Redbud is another Cercis).  He talks about "massive"  as a description of the tree, and putting a hoop of iron around the tree to control the splitting as being things that fit in with the tree.

As near as I can tell, if this Judas Tree is a Cercis, one of the last words I would use to describe it is massive.  The word dainty comes to my mind before massive.

Is there some other plant which is called a Judas Tree (growing in the NE USA in 1900)?

Or, since the previous paragraph specifically mentions 3 trees and waves its hands at wild apples, that all 3 of the named trees can suffer from trunk splitting as they age?

 
Gordon Haverland
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Windbreaks chapter.

Windbreaks for bees.

Powell feels the best windbreak tree to help bees is the basswood (which might also be called linden).  I know of basswood because it is said to be one of the best woods for wood carving (I don't carve wood, I am supposed to have expertise on materials).

Like many useful trees I run across, suckering is apparently a problem for basswood.

Many trees that can be trees (what a wonderful concept, eh?) are prevented from being trees in the mind of Powell by cattle in the forest.  I think Powell may be assigning blame to the wrong animal, or perhaps the blame should be shared.  Deer (Bambi) is an animal that will keep trees that should be trees, from becoming trees.  Staying as some shrub their entire life.  I would hazard a guess that most of the damage that Powell is assigning to cattle, probably was done by deer.  Fences (barbed wire, or Osage-orange (and similar)) of the time were mostly trying to keep animals in.  I see little writing about deer and their effects on farms.  Maybe I am looking in the wrong places?

But Powell's writing on basswood is interesting.  You can prune it to stay as a shrub.  And you could make a hedge of this shrub.  And the hedge will sucker.  You could allow some suckers to develop into trees (at an appropriate distance and spacing).  And so you could have an upper row of trees on either side of a hedge, all of which have flowering basswood.  Probably a reasonable windbreak; but certainly a big spring feed for bees.

Not everyplace gets retrograde winds that are of damaging magnitude (I do).  But, if one sets up a reasonable windbreak to handle the normal winds, this idea of a triple basswood hedge/windbreak seems a useful thing to plant on the leeward side.

The biggest problem I see in this, is that basswood doesn't fix nitrogen.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Victoria BC
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That would be me; wish I had the time to help.

Seems a valuable thing to do, there are are so many old books with great information that are not easy to access, and this one sounds neat.

Perhaps others will be inspired, and one day we will have a library of such improved versions!
 
Gordon Haverland
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Thanks for the praise Dillon!

I think my ability to  grow the right hedge, or hedge row, is going to make or break this farm of mine.  And since it revolves around Osage orange and honey locust; this book  could be somethign I base my farm on.

Another chapter done on the second pass (Woman's World so to speak).  By pages, I am 2/3 done.  But much of the end of a book is calculated, and not edited.  I'm at 73% of the source document.

This section of Chapter V is not of a writing to the early 21'st century.  Men are the most important, women only do support work, children are considered male.  And the author is a reverend.  It's not my kettle of fish.  I've met a lesbian couple taking over a farm (which my Mom used to live on).  I am childless and unmarried.

I much like Powell's idea for an gazebo (he is calling it an arbor I think).  Plant a bunch of arbor-vatae with a diameter of 15-20 feet in a "circle".  Force the trees to grow into what I will vaguely describe as a teepee (I've seen it spelled tipi, and didn't recognize it).  And then some pruning and branch management.

 
Gordon Haverland
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Powell knows about monoculture.  And much of his writing leans towards polyculture, could even be permaculture.
 
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