A Farmer's Year: Being his Commonplace Book for 1898 by H. Rider Haggard
H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) is best known as the successful writer of adventure stories with exotic backgrounds such as King Solomon's Mines and She. However, he also served on a number of royal commissions, and in managing his wife's Norfolk estate became a recognised expert on agricultural matters. A Farmer's Year is his diary for 1898, recounting the work of the farm, month by month, together with observations on rural life and the state of agriculture in general, which was suffering due to the population drift to the towns and competition from cheaper imported food. His descriptions of country life are beautifully written, with many illustrations: he clearly loves the land and is concerned for its future, but does not ignore the hardship faced by many farmers and their workers. The book is a fascinating mixture of anecdote and natural history, as well as depicting late Victorian agricultural methods.