Attraction and Repulsion
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A fortnight had passed over and winter was advancing with rapid strides. In bleak northern farmsteads there was much to be done before November weather should make the roads too heavy for half-fed horses to pull carts through. There was the turf, pared up on the distant moors, and left out to dry, to be carried home and stacked; the brown fern was to be stored up for winter bedding a for the cattle; for straw was scarce and dear in those parts; even for thatching, heather (or rather ling) was used. Then there was meat to salt while it could be had; for, in default of turnips and mangold-wurzel, there was a great slaughtering of barren cows as soon as the summer herbage failed; and good housewives stored up their Christmas piece of beef in pickle before Martinmas was over. Corn was to be ground while yet it could be carried to the distant mill; the great racks for oat-cake, that swung b at the top of the kitchen, had to be filled. And last of all came the pig-killing, when the second frost set in. For up in the north there is an idea that the ice stored in the first frost will melt, and the meat cured then taint; the first frost is good for nothing but to be thrown away, as they express it.