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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Trigg Does Central Point

When national farm columnist Frank Trigg moved from Iowa to a farm near Central Point at the crest of the Orchard Boom in 1910, his newspaper submissions began to reflect not only his experiences with Rogue Valley agriculture and its shyster promoters, but his neighbors as well.


    Not all western fruit ranchmen are wise, as one we came across the other day neglected a thirty-acre ranch which would have increased in value at the rate of $150 per acre during the year to handle an automobile agency through which he got a $200 commission on a $1,500 machine. He lost just about $4,300 by the deal.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, February 9, 1910, page 6


    We saw a team of $400 horses the other day which had been driven to town all a-sweat and were allowed to stand without blanketing. The man who is compelled to buy such a team will concede that this kind of treatment is likely to prove a bit expensive.
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    The check habit is a mighty good habit to get into not only because it means that a fellow who uses a checkbook has money in the bank, but also that when a bill has been paid by check not only the stub, but the canceled check, serve as conclusive evidence that the account for which it was drawn has been paid. More men ought to have money in the bank, and more ought to use checkbooks.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, February 16, 1910, page 6


    A recourse at hand for those who occupy positions which they feel are economically oppressive as well as of uncertain tenure is the taking of the steps necessary to secure a small tract of fertile land. This cannot be done in a moment, but once it is taken as an object for achievement and worthy of one's best efforts a long step toward the desired goal is made. A home on the land and a living extracted from the few acres adjoining mean hard work, but they carry with them a guarantee of health, contentment and economic self-respect. Were this movement of population from the cities to the soil to become at all general it would effect a cure of the worst ills, social, economic and moral, that folks suffer from today, while it would mean better wages and more considerate treatment for those who remained in industrial pursuits.
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    The decadence of many a small town of a thousand inhabitants or less may be the result of seemingly inevitable economic conditions, agricultural and industrial, but it is worthwhile citing the fact that this lapse seems coincident with the amassing of enormous fortunes by big mail order houses in the large cities which bear none of the burden of taxation imposed in the small towns notwithstanding the fact that they are sapping their very lifeblood. Someday farm dwellers will wake up to the fact that their lands have shrunk in value, or at least failed to advance to the point that they otherwise would, as a result of this trading away from home. There can be no other result. The only reason why land is worth more near a town of 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 people is not because it is more fertile or productive, but simply owing to the fact that it lies adjacent to a good town. A grain elevator, stockyards and post office are necessary adjuncts to every town, but they do not in themselves serve as a flaming advertisement suited to attract men of energy or business enterprises of real value.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, March 12, 1910, page 6


FAMILY AND MARKET ORCHARDS.
    For the apple orchard which is to produce fruit for family use only it does very well to set several varieties, which will answer the several purposes for which the fruit is used and will cover as long a season of consumption as possible. But if the apples are to be grown for the market it is by all means best to restrict the varieties set to one or two kinds which are known to be prolific and hardy and will fetch a good price at the season when one must market them. A buyer would always prefer to handle a carload of fruit of uniform quality and one variety than a conglomerate, mixed-up assortment, even if the several varieties ripened at the same time, which is rarely the case. We are well aware of the fact that if left to himself many a nurseryman will load his patrons up with just as many varieties--good, bad and indifferent--as he will take, but he ignores the conditions which make the largest success possible when he does so.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, March 14, 1910, page 6


SHOULD KNOW IT.
    The adobe or "sticky" soil, as it is commonly called, found in several sections of the West, while very rich and well-suited to the growing of apples, pears and other fruits, is very difficult to handle and must be plowed at just the right time--a few days following a rain, when the "slacking" has advanced to the proper stage--to secure results that are at all satisfactory. Rather oddly, though, while continued hot and dry weather tends to form a hard crust a few inches beneath the surface, there seems to be no other soil which retains its subsoil moisture more completely or on which fruit trees will stand more protracted drought. When one buys a "sticky" ranch he should have in mind that it will either be necessary for him to have a solid macadam road leading to his place, if he is to reach it during the wet season, or to lay in a sufficient stock of supplies and provisions so that he will not have to leave his place for two or three months at a time. The only pointer that the prospective buyer of a "sticky" ranch needs is that he should be thoroughly acquainted with the antics of the soil during the rainy season, so that he will not be taken by surprise when the sticky time comes.
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    Apples, prunes and figs are recognized by most all diet specialists as mild yet excellent laxatives, and the health of many would be improved were tons and tons more of these fruits consumed.
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    A fruit ranch that we saw near Mountain Home, Ida., the other day from the car window consisted of scrubby fruit trees set four or five years ago in the midst of the sagebrush in the arid Snake River bottom. The fellow who set them out had grubbed out no sagebrush except where the trees were to stand and given the tract no cultivation whatever. This is a sample of some of the "orchard investment" propositions that the gullible easterner is expected to take over at the end of five years for from $300 to $500 per acre and from which he is assured he will get rich without work in a very few years. Other orchards in the same valley, watered and well tended, are all that a prospective owner could desire. In buying western fruit land it is well to investigate the soil and the water right guarantees, but even more the moral status and business pedigree of the man or corporation promoting the same.
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    In setting young fruit trees of any kind care should be taken that the root system equals or exceeds that of the top. It seems hard to cut back a thrifty and promising top, but this is just what should be done if the tree is to make the best development.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, March 28, 1910, page 8


    In making choice of land in a new section it is well not only to keep in mind the fertility of the soil and its ability to produce bumper crops, but the distance of the land from market. There have been cases where such handicap has well nigh offset the two advantages named.
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    Many of the trees in the older orchards in the Hood River Valley were set too near together, from fifteen to twenty feet, and the visitor to the valley last fall saw these same trees in yellow leaf, bearing undersized fruit and in general appearance suffering from both lack of fertility and moisture at the end of an unusually dry season. Most later plantings correct this fault.
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    An oat grower with whom the writer was talking the other day had an experience last season in the matter of a preparation of the soil for the seed that will be of practical value to him from this one and ought to be to others who read this item. Last spring when he put in his oats he plowed the larger of the tracts and let the smaller, the soil of which was not quite so rich, go with two diskings, one before and one after the seed was sown. He was warned by some of his neighbors that if he plowed his oat land in the spring he would get no yield at all. He kept their doleful prediction in mind, but at harvest time noted the fact that on the plowed ground his oats yielded at the rate of fifty-five bushels per acre, while on the piece which was disked only they went but about eight or nine bushels. He tumbled to a most important soil and crop fact and henceforth will discard the old way.
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    While the dry farming country of the West has opportunities for the man who understands the type of tillage he will have to follow and an adequate comprehension of the difficulties which will likely confront him, it is no place for any man to go who has not had brains, initiative and energy enough to succeed in the central and eastern states, where the rainfall is sufficient and where conditions are, on the whole, favorable to a successful and profitable tillage of the soil. Those who succeed in the West succeed by dint of energy and well-directed effort.
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    An admonition that agricultural papers over the country should repeat monthly and that the would-be settler on irrigated lands should keep steadfastly to mind all the time is that when land is bought in an irrigation district the terms of sale should give an absolute and unequivocal guarantee of water both in necessary quantity and at such times and seasons as it will be needed. While the soil in most all arid sections is sufficiently fertile and productive, it is worth little or nothing unless water can be got onto it. Whether the backers of this or that irrigation project are reliable and can deliver the goods in the matter of water when wanted can be quite accurately determined by inquiry cheaply made, not costing more than 2 cents, directed to the Department of the Interior at Washington.
Excerpt, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, April 4, 1910, page 7


   The shakes, or long split shingles, which have been used in many sections of the West in place of the ordinary shingle, are cut chiefly from the sugar pine, which possesses a remarkably straight and even grain. The water follows the grooves of the grain very closely, while the method of laying them insures a good circulation of air and tends to check the rot which is so destructive of closely laid common shingles.
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    The Delicious apple when tasted fully bears out its name, and being juicy and of a delicious flavor and possessing a red color that is hardly surpassed by the Spitzenburg. However, it is tender like the Jonathan and of about the same season and should be put on the market by Christmas time if the consumer is to get it at its prime. The Delicious apple has been on the market but a few years, being originated by a southern Iowa nurseryman.
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    Many a municipality has a bad blot on its reputation because of the wretched condition of the thoroughfares leading thereto when timely work done with a road grader and drag would greatly improve their condition. In too many cases these same "rocky" roads are found in townships and towns whose road supervisors or street commissioners are drawing good salaries for taking care of the highways, while the equipment for keeping them in order is acquiring a coat of rust in some vacant lot or alley.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, April 22, 1910, page 11


    Now and then one unwittingly of necessity moves into a house that is already furnished with the notorious bedbug, the bane and object of loathing of every cleanly housewife. A friend who was confronted with just such a situation as this resorted to the sulphur method, which consisted of sprinkling about three pounds of sulphur on half an iron kettle of live hardwood coals. It did the business. The sulphur fumes penetrated everywhere, coming out of the cellar windows and through the cracks in the shingles, where dead bugs were found by the dozen when roof repairs were made later. It is well to set the kettle of coals in a shallow box of earth or on an old piece of sheet iron or zinc to prevent things catching fire in case the sulphur boils over. To make the smudge most effective all the interior doors should be open, and all the windows and outside doors should be closed.
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    A coat of tar and a free ride on a three-cornered rail would be too good for the chap we heard of the other day who succeeded in getting the owner of a little ten-acre property near where the writer lives interested in a deal for the purchase of his place and finally wound up by paying him a dollar, having him sign a contract for sale which entitled the grafter to a commission if sold to any other party within a period of ninety days. This deal in effect gave the real estate manipulator an option on the place three months for a dollar, while the advance in the price of the place during that period was easily from $250 to $1000. The transaction was the more contemptible because the ranch owner was an honest, simple-minded fellow for whom the ways of the agent were "dark." It is tricks of this caliber that tend to put real estate agents and fruit tree peddlers in the shyster-grafter class and tend to bring on them the contempt of all fair-minded people.
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    The only kind of settlement which does a new country any good is that resulting from a representation of the advantages of the section in their true light, as misrepresentation always reacts. Those interested in the permanent progress and welfare of their locality should do all in their power to see to it that the newcomer is not swindled or hoodwinked. The major part of this development dirty work is not chargeable to responsible parties, but usually to grafting real estate agents who deceive and defraud the settler to the limit, and when they have plucked him to the pinfeathers decamp to greener fields, where they may operate on new and easy victims. In view of this situation, so general as hardly to require mention, commercial organizations in new and developing sections would do well to put a damper on this contemptible shark work, for they must realize that, while the contented settler is the best possible automatic advertising agency a community can have, there is no factor tending to put a more effective quietus on progress than a half-dozen folks who have fallen prey to the unconscionable land boomer and grafter, as they are sore and can be counted on to knock in season and out, and in view of their experience they can be excused if the rosy-tinted prospects held out have become a trifle dimmed.
Excerpt, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, May 18, 1910, page 6


WILL BEAR WATCHING.
    The present unexampled solicitude of the fruit jobbers' trust for the financial welfare of the independent fruit growers is entirely too belated to be credited with any large degree of philanthropy or altruism. Time was--and that but a short time ago--when all growers were independent--that is, each operated individually and was easy picking for the commission sharks, who saw that their victims got just enough returns from their produce to keep soul and body together, and sometimes not that much. The city buyers were banded together to quote a price for a given shipment of produce and then notify all associates of the clique what that price was, and the victim could wait until he got black in the face, but he would get no better offer. In time growers woke up and realized how they had been hoodwinked and swindled. They are now organized, and organized effectively enough so that they are beginning to get fairly decent treatment from those who formerly plundered them at will. Some dissatisfaction has been felt by members of some growers' associations with prices received, and these are being enticed away from the organization by temporary decent treatment by the commission men and jobbers, but it is only for the purpose of disrupting these cooperative marketing organizations, when the old tactics can be counted on to put into play; hence when the fruit jobbers' trust displays undue kindness toward the independents it is safe to assume there is an ulterior motive behind it. There is a nigger in the woodpile.
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HAND THINNING OF FRUITS.
    When danger of frost is past and it is apparent that the trees have set more fruit than their size would seem to indicate that it will be possible for them to bring in a good-sized maturity, hand thinning should be resorted to. This will not only reduce the number, but will at the same time improve both the size and quality of the fruit remaining, the total weight or volume of fruit not being reduced by the process, but simply being confined beneath fewer skins. The thinning in most of the western orchard districts is done when the apples are about the size of a shelled walnut, and the practice is to leave no fruit on the trees closer than six inches. The same rule holds for pears, while for smaller fruits, such as peaches and apricots, the distance at which the fruit is left apart is about four inches, varying somewhat upon the variety and size which it usually attains. If the thinning is carefully done much defective fruit may be eliminated in the process, thus reducing the number of culls which will have to be handled at harvest time.
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    When one finds himself under the necessity of borrowing tools or machinery fairness would seem to justify the payment of a nominal sum to the owner for the accommodation. This would but cover wear and tear and a small interest returned on the money invested in such equipment.
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    If perchance samples of pills or other dope should be left at the back door it would be well to put the stuff in the garbage can or fire before the youngsters about the house get hold of it. Most of this peddled trash contains deadly poison, which will not only make a child sick, but kill it if in an overdose.
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    More than one housewife saves herself a world of hard work by having the men of the house put off their muddy boots and shoes before going into the kitchen or dining room. This takes a little time, but the reasonableness of it will be appreciated by any fair-minded man who will get down on his prayer bones and scrub the floor two or three times.
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    If any of our readers have been belated, as the writer has been, in the setting of fruit or shade trees, the fruit may be remedied in part by a judicious watering, care being taken to see that the ground is mellowed shortly after the watering is done so as to prevent the formation of a crust about the tree, while the application of a shovelful of well-rotted manure through which the rain or water artificially applied can work is an excellent aid in enabling the tree to make up for the lost time.
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    A majority of the soothing syrups at present on the market and frequently used by tired mothers to quiet crying babies contain considerable quantities of morphine or cocaine, both of them deadly poisons, and many of the so-called cures for several drug habits contain the very drugs a craving for which these cures are supposed to relieve the drug victim of. Farmers Bulletin No. 393, put out a short time ago by the Department of Agriculture at Washington, gets very thoroughly into the subject of these death-dealing nostrums. There should be one in every house.
Excerpt, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, June 3, 1910, page 6


A SMALL GAME.
    A word of caution may be of help to some who contemplate shipping household goods to western states, particularly those bordering on the Pacific. This has reference to including in shipment of "household goods" only those things which are classed as such in the freight schedules, and what these are may be ascertained from the agent at the point of shipment. To illustrate: Not long since a gentleman who had engaged a through car to the coast after loading his goods thought he would put in two or three tons of baled hay. At the last division point before the car arrived at its destination the car was inspected and additional charges exacted which increased the freight bill more than $100. Thus instead of being a source of profit the small amount of hay shipped cost close to $40 a ton to transport. The lesson was a costly one, but it was well learned. To the average patron of transportation companies this looks like straining at a gnat and taking advantage of trusting and unsuspecting immigrants for the poorly concealed purpose of picking their pockets. It's a holdup game that does credit to no railroad management, and it goes without saying that it would not be practiced at all in sections where there was even a semblance of competition. It is tricks and skulduggery of this type practiced by some transportation companies that tend to put the whole class in disrepute and seem, in fact, to justify the feeling on the part of the payee that transportation companies are holdup institutions and enemies of the public which place full faith in the "public be damned" policy. In several other instances related the same trick was tried, in one case upon a widow and her daughter, who were easy victims, while in one or two other instances a loud "holler" was put up, and the railway officials modified their tactics.
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THE HOME WATER SUPPLY.
    The healthfulness prevailing in any home depends in part upon the wholesomeness of the food consumed, but in much larger measure upon the water supply, the purity of which is largely affected by the proximity of contaminating causes, such as the seepage from the barnyards and cesspools. Where it is not feasible to install a toilet system with watertight drainage to a cesspool located at a safe distance from the water supply, the most rational equipment for the outhouse is a substantial drawer made of two-inch stuff, the contents of which can be killed by the addition of slaked lime from time to time and which can be hauled afield and dumped as often as may be necessary. By such disposal of night soil the danger of a contamination of the water supply is reduced to a minimum. We realize that this is not a pleasant subject to discuss, but it is practical and vital and concerns chiefly those who are least able to foot heavy doctor's bills. Where a cesspool is already in bad shape, conditions may be improved by dumping in half a barrel or so of quicklime, which will put a quietus on any disease germs which may be lurking there. It should then be cleaned out and filled up and a better system installed.
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    There is nothing calculated to check milk flow in a dairy cow more effectually than being chased around a yard by a cursing, loudmouthed man or boy and being ever and anon pounded over head or rump with club or milk stool. Not long ago we saw a pretty likely-looking heifer put through this kind of mill by a couple of little heathens, whose treatment would be sufficient to cause a cow to give skim milk, sour milk or no milk at all. It may suffice to say that the father of these boys wasn't in the dairy business for profit or he would have got busy on the boys with a big slat.
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    A fellow may not suffer anything more than physical discomfort if he orders his undershirt and prunes from a distance mail order house, but he had better pass the practice up when it comes to grass seed and order from a home man who he can bat with a stuffed club if the seed is not pure and as represented. Not as yet is there in force an adequate federal pure seed law; hence a fellow has no recourse for damages if he orders from a firm outside of his own state and gets worthless or even pernicious grass seed. A number of states have effective pure seed laws, and where seller and buyer reside in such states the latter's rights are amply safeguarded.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, June 8, 1910, page 5


ORCHARD HEATING DEVICES.
    When the fruit ranchmen in several sections of the West where spring frosts are likely to occur were first confronted with this menace to their industry they seemed to consider themselves victims of natural forces and well nigh helpless. But within the past few years necessity has proved the mother of invention, and they have devised methods whereby they have been able to protect their trees at blossom time against damage by frost. Among these devices oil pots--simple lamps adapted to the burning of crude oil--and little stoves for the burning of soft coal have proved effective methods of keeping the temperature above the freezing point. In some other sections where wood is plentiful as good or even better results have been secured by building from twelve to fifteen small wood fires per acre. In one case in which these wood fires were used by a friend in a western valley last spring he protected his ten-acre orchard for seven nights at a cost of $5 per acre during the frosty period. He had previously tried oil pots and coal and yet found wood fires more effective in giving the desired result. While little has been done along this line in central and eastern orchards, there are many springs when the prospective crops could be protected by just such means.
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    Experiments which have been conducted by a number of state experiment stations in the matter of smudging fruit trees to prevent frost damage would seem to indicate that it is not the heat generated by the smudge or fire that keeps the fruit from freezing, but that the smoke generated forms a blanket which keeps cold air from penetrating the smoke zone and holds down the heat radiating from the earth. The smudge, according to this view, is a means of heat conservation rather than heat production. It also further serves the purpose of obscuring the light of the sun in the early morning hours, thus preventing a rapid thawing of blossoms that may have been frostbitten.
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    The other day we saw a pear orchard which its owner had started to head close to four feet high, the trees having the appearance of slender whipstocks with tufts of feathers at the tip. In a section where the prevailing summer winds are from one quarter this will mean that all of the tree will have to be staked up to be kept in an upright position, and this at best will be a baggled-up job. Later on as they come into bearing it is questionable if there will be sufficient strength of trunk to bear the fruit without breaking down. In this instance the situation is aggravated because all the lower buds on the trees have been snipped off, so that the growing of a lower-headed tree is well nigh impossible.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, June 22, 1910, page 3


COOPERATION IN ROAD WORK.
    There is no sort of public work in which folks are interested generally where the principle of cooperation could be followed to better advantage than in the care of the public highways. In some sections this fact seems to be recognized, in some others not. Especially is there need of this cooperation in those sections where earth roads are the rule and where the character of the soil is such that there is need of working it at a critical time following heavy rains or wet seasons. Particularly is this true of stiff clay or adobe soils, which can be advantageously worked and leveled only when they possess the proper amount of moisture and the right consistency. Under such conditions it is impossible for one road superintendent and his helpers to give all the road of their territory treatment at the proper time. As a result many such highways dry up rough and hard and remain in this condition for months. Could a system have been followed which would have enlisted the aid of property owners or renters along the highways, and the roads have been dragged at the proper time, a good highway would have been secured. The benefit of this cooperative system is recognized in some states, the road tax being remitted in case property owners give a stipulated amount of aid in keeping in condition the roads abutting their own premises. This plan gives excellent results and should be adopted in other places where the roads at certain seasons of the year are little short of unspeakable, yet for the attempt to keep which in repair large sums are expended annually, but to little purpose.
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    The painting of the trunks of the orchard trees with a good lime wash in which several pounds of salt and a few ounces of carbolic acid have been mixed will not only improve the condition of the bark and kill insect pests, but by reflecting the rays of the sun will tend to prevent sun scald. Carefully slaked stone lime should be used for the purpose, this being diluted to the consistency of paint after the slaking process is completed.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, June 29, 1910, page 6

THE PRECOOLING OF FRUIT.
    Great benefit is expected to come to the fruit growers of the Pacific Coast from the plants which have been installed at several points in California and will shortly be erected at other points for the precooling of fruit destined for transcontinental shipment. In the past, even with the most careful refrigeration en route, both transportation companies and growers have sustained serious loss as a result of fruit spoiling in transit. In these new precooling plants, which are really mammoth refrigerating plants, whole trainloads of fruit can be reduced to a temperature close to the freezing point in the course of two or three hours, artificial means being used to draw the warm air from and inject the cold air into the cars. Carloads of fruit made ready for shipment in this way are given the usual icing in transit, with the result that the fruit arrives at its destination in as nearly perfect condition as possible, the loss resulting from the fruit being in heated condition at the time of shipment, as has been the case heretofore, being virtually nothing. The installation of these plants at important shipping points not only in the West, but in other parts of the country, will mean increased revenue for the growers of fruit and a greatly improved quality for the consumer.
Excerpt, Gettysburg Times, Pennsylvania, June 25, 1910, page 3


THE BOY AND THE SLINGSHOT.
    The other morning the writer found the remains of two pretty bee martins (kingbirds) in the corner of his orchard and learned on inquiry that some small boys had been in the locality with slingshots the day before and had found the birds easy victims because of their loyalty to a nestful of fledglings placed on the archway to a gate near the sidewalk. It is possible that this offense was the result of thoughtlessness and not because the boys in question were bad at heart, but the result was the same for the birds. If a highwayman had come along when one of these boys was a helpless babe in the cradle and had wantonly killed both father and mother, resulting in the starvation of the child, we would have an exact counterpart of what happened to the birds. Putting it in terms which every boy who has a spark of manliness and fairness in his makeup can understand, the boys who killed these birds did not give them a square deal. Particularly was this the case because they were killed at nesting time, when not only their own lives, but the lives of their young were at stake. Fire away, boys, at red squirrels, English sparrows, blackbirds, blue jays and crows, but grant all useful birds freedom from attack, but especially during the nesting season.
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    While temperature readings run much higher in the semiarid and arid South and West than in the great humid section east of the Mississippi River, it is a fact of common note that the dryness of the atmosphere reduces the discomfort of this heat to the minimum. This accounts for the fact that, while prostrations are frequent in the eastern half of the country at 90, they are practically unheard of in the West at 110 degrees F.
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    One of the several advantages in living in a section where water power is abundant is the cheapness of electricity for lighting purposes. Instead of turning out the lights when going from one room to another to squeeze the meter at pay time, folks run their lights all night and their porch lights a good share of the forenoon.
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    A lot of folk fall down badly in their well-meaning attempts at economy by reducing both the quantity and variety of the bill of fare beyond a point which is justifiable and reasonable. It doesn't pay to underfeed horses which have to work, nor does it pay human beings to take less food than is needed to maintain the body in a healthy condition and furnish the excess vitality consumed in labor. A lot of folk who subsist largely on potatoes, wheat bread and tea should balance their ration with bacon and eggs, beefsteak, cornbread and baked beans when they would get rid of that "tired feeling" which they suppose is due to a disordered liver or some other like cause.
Excerpt, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, June 29, 1910, page 6


THE SCHOOLMA'AM AND TEN ACRES.
    There is little doubt that the conservative purchase of favorably situated fruit lands in many sections of the West is a perfectly safe proposition, but such purchase ought to be made with a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the future contingencies, especially in some of the heavily timbered sections. The point we would make in this is nicely illustrated in the case of an eastern schoolma'am whose purchase was detailed to us the other day. This girl, who has saved a nice little nest egg, has thought to insure her material well-being for coming years by purchasing a ten-acre tract of raw land in a heavily timbered section, not seeming to have taken into account the fact that the cost of clearing the land alone before the little trees are set will range from $125 to $175 per acre, the word of zealous real estate agents to the contrary notwithstanding. At best there must be a wait of five or six years before the trees begin to bear, and then not enough to pay for their actual care. Of course, potatoes, strawberries and other small fruit crops may be grown between the tree rows during the first few years, but this means a degree of hard and painstaking work that one who has not had experience in horticulture has little conception of. On the other hand, if the tract in question was bought as an investment only, to be sold to someone else to develop, the question is entirely different so far as the schoolma'am is concerned. When she starts to develop her tract she will doubtless consider it wise to sell.
Adams County News, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, August 6, 1910, page 7


    Luscious as the peach may be and delicious the pear, after all a fine, crisp apple will be eaten with greater relish day in and out than any other fruit known. It is this that makes it the king of all fruits.
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    There are days when the Pacific Slope rancher may perspire as freely as the eastern farmer, but he can count on cool nights for refreshing slumber and is not harassed with the prospect of June freshets, tornadoes and cyclones.
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    The orchard should not be turned into a hog lot, but it is not a bad idea to turn the drove of hogs into the orchard for three or four hours every few days from now on until harvest time to clean up the defective and wormy fruit. They will not only relish the fruit, but will play smash with a good many worms. More than this, it removes from under the trees a mess which is likely to be sort of nasty at picking time.
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    While scenery is not usually figured as a tangible asset when one purchases [a] farm or ranch, it is nevertheless a source of much satisfaction and inspiration when one is working a field to lift his head and see the varied greenery and translucent blue haze of mountain vale, ridge or slope, the same, yet ever-changing with the change in density of air, in angle of sunlight and with shadow cast by passing cloud. Such tree-clad slopes are never dull or prosy, but a constant object of admiration on the part of former plain country dwellers.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, August 9, 1910, page 4


A PLEA FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.
    Many of the saddest and most hear-rending of life's tragedies might be averted were parents to recognize the responsibility which is surely on their shoulders of informing their children in the early years--far better too early than too late--of the chief facts in connection with their physical origin and the dangers incident to ignorance of the vital facts. Find out about these things boys and girls will--if not from pure and reliable then from vulgar and untrustworthy sources. Perhaps the victim is a fair young girl, whose confidence has been betrayed and whose bright and happy life is blasted at its threshold, or maybe it is a stalwart son, who finds out too late through agonizing experience that he is a virtual imbecile or is tainted for life with some loathsome disease which may mean early death, but in any event must always debar him from those joys which center in a happy home of his own and a life of wholesomeness and usefulness. The teaching of these truths in the home and in the school is of far more account than mathematics, history or language, yet they are almost universally and most stupidly ignored. As a people we are devoting too much time and energy to material things--the shop, the office, the farm; too much time to horses and cattle, to sheep and swine, their breeding and their rations--and far too little thought to the boys and girls and their problems, on whom more than all other things or interests the future welfare of the country depends. The boys and girls are worthwhile. It is time they were given a square deal.
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PEAR BLIGHT.
    In portions of California and Oregon plant disease experts of the Department of Agriculture have for the past two or three years been directing a campaign for the stamping out of the pear blight, which in sections of the former state has ruined tens of thousands of bearing trees. A careful study of the pest coupled with numerous experiments has shown the only effective method of combating the blight to be the cutting out of affected shoots and limbs below the point of infection, the pruning instrument, saw or shears, being sterilized after each cutting by dipping in kerosene. Another means serving to lessen the severity of an attack of blight has been found to lie in the removal of all fruit spurs from the trunk and larger lower limbs, as the spores of the blight are transmitted to such spurs by bees at blossom time. Pear orchards in sections where the blight is prevalent should be inspected frequently and no time lost in cutting out affected limbs should the pest put in an appearance. A delay of a day has often mean the loss of many trees, as the blight works with great rapidity, often passing from twig to trunk in the course of a few hours.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, August 17, 1910, page 3


THE FOREST FIRES.
    The unusually dry weather which has prevailed through most of the timbered sections of the great Northwest during the past four months has made possible an epidemic of forest fires which have not been exceeded in either extent or losses sustained for a generation. Some of the fires have been set by sparks from passing trains, some by careless campers and hunters, while there is a pretty definite conviction that some of the worst have been of incendiary origin, set by Indians out of spite against the whites or by white owners of timber homesteads, cooped in by the holdings of grasping timber companies, who have preferred to lose their own property outright in a forest conflagration rather than dispose of it for a song to lumber companies on the humiliating terms which the latter are usually disposed to dictate. Again, other fires have been started by just such idiots as the one who on the evening of the Fourth of July threw firecrackers out of the car window along the railroad right-of-way near Grants Pass, in Southern Oregon, and maybe thought he was rendering his country patriotic service by so doing. While the forest fires have been the worst in years, it is also true that never has the service rendered through the careful organization of the forest rangers and the ready aid of thousands of private citizens been more effective than in the past few weeks. In some sections, however, the forest fires were so large and gained such headway as to be entirely beyond the power of those who were available to fight them. In two or three instances appeals have been made to President Taft by state officials and citizen's committees for the aid of the Army in fighting the fires, and he has acceded to the request, promising to furnish the desired aid whenever calls are received. There is no type of conservation which is more practical than this of saving and protecting our timber wealth from this fearful loss resulting from careless fires, and to give aid in reducing this loss to the lowest possible limit is the plain duty of every good citizen.
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    In the vast majority of cases the deliberately unruly pupil comes from a home where the parents are neither respected nor exercise any wholesome authority. And quite often it is the parents of just such pupils who back them up rather than the teacher when they make trouble at school.
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    Last spring there were two or three pear trees in the writer's orchard which looked decidedly sick. A nurseryman who saw them thought the trouble might be blight. A fruit inspector at first diagnosed the case as crown gall. But a digging up of one of the trees showed a perfectly clean and healthy condition of the root wood and bark, but that the lower roots were virtually standing in water, which came within a foot and a half of the surface at that point. None of the tree fruits flourishes with wet feet. A tiling of the low spots is the only remedy.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, September 28, 1910, page 3


    An interesting fact has been noted by many an orchardist the past few months, and that is the purple color which was early taken on by so many varieties of apples which are a pure green or yellow at harvest. The writer has noted the same tendency on his own ranch in the case of the Newtown Pippin, Yellow Transparent and White Winter Pearmain. The coloring referred to seems to have been caused by cool nights, followed by warm days, and those who have made a careful study of the coloring referred to assert that the purple color not only enables the small apples to withstand more degrees of cold than fruit not colored, but that it more readily absorbs the heat of the sun, resulting in better growth and larger size.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, September 28, 1910, page 6


    Not infrequently the man who complains that those who live near him are not neighborly will be found, if his case is looked into closely, to be himself lacking in some of the essential qualities which characterize a good neighbor.
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    It is interesting to note that, while many a tabby cat may keep pretty well away from the house in her state of single blessedness, she seems to understand human nature enough to know that when her little ones are presentable she will be accorded a friendly reception.
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    Under date of June 22 last the Department of Agriculture published farmers' bulletin No. 401 on the protection of orchards in the Pacific Northwest from spring frosts, by fires and smudges. The subject matter was prepared by professor P. J. O'Gara, assistant pathologist, at present stationed in the Rogue River Valley. It will be a valuable bulletin for every ranchman located in districts subject to spring frosts.
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    A lot of folk in town and country are pretty regular takers of booze tonics and invigorators and are breeding bleary eyes and red noses when what they need is not slop of this kind, but more corn-fed beef, more pure milk and fresh eggs, more sunshine during the day and fresh air at night. This last prescription doesn't cost anything, but it will take the kinks out of a disordered stomach or liver quicker than any dope on the market.
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IRRIGATION IN OREGON.
    Western Oregon wheat lands that used to produce sixty bushels per acre have been robbed of their fertility by continual cropping to this cereal until the average yield is now barely twelve bushels per acre. This means that the man who has been in the grain-raising business is up against a very real proposition. It was with a view to helping him solve the problem that he has on his hand that the irrigation office of the Department of Agriculture at Washington undertook an investigation a short time ago with a view to ascertaining the feasibility of irrigation as a means of aiding intensive agriculture in the Willamette, Umpqua, Rogue and tributary valleys. The findings of the investigators--and their report is very encouraging--are embodied in bulletin No. 226 of the office of experiment stations. The bulletin shows that with an abundant water supply and favorable land conformation the problem gives promise of being readily and satisfactorily solved. The bulletin referred to may be had by writing the Department of Agriculture, Washington.
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BLOWING OUT STUMPS.
    It is doubtless due to the vigorous way in which the westerner does most everything that he lays hand to that he frequently uses a good deal more giant powder or dynamite in blowing stumps from the ground than is really needed. In fact, the smaller charge often gives more satisfactory results. A rancher who was relating his experience along this line the other day stated that for a time he had very unsatisfactory results, but when finally he reduced his charges of dynamite to about one-third of what he had been using the explosive did business and lots of it. He learned from his own experience that it is necessary to adjust the charge to the work which it must do, too large an amount of explosive being just as ineffectual as too little.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, October 19, 1910, page 3


    We have made the observation before, but it is nevertheless worth repeating, that on every farm where there are a hay fork and a manure spreader in the barn there should be linoleum on the floor in the kitchen and a drainage system for the kitchen sink which will do away with the necessity of emptying pails.
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    There is many a boy who for one reason or another is not making satisfactory progress in school, but nevertheless is compelled to attend by his parents, who would be vastly better off, as would also the other pupils of the school, if he were taken out and put at some job which would keep his hands busy, occupy his mind and furnish an outlet for a whole lot of pent-up physical energy. As a general rule, there is no time that a boy can put in that will give larger or more satisfactory returns than that spent in school. Occasionally, however, the time thus spent is worse than wasted, breeding idleness, inattention and disrespect for constituted authority.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, October 26, 1910, page 6


    The chap, in whatever portion of the country he may operate, who contends that by boring a hole in diseased fruit trees and inserting some of the dope he has to sell at a long price a cure can be effected is an arrant grafter and fraud and should be drummed out of the neighborhood. Take no stock in any of this tribe.
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    There is a sort of terrible irony to be found in the fact that some of the severest losses in both life and property in the forest fires which raged for weeks in several of the western states occurred in those states whose representatives in Congress voted to reduce or at least opposed an increase in the appropriation which was asked by the Forest Service for patrols and equipment to be used in the prevention and extinguishing of forest fires. It is safe to say that the idiocy of this niggardly course is now apparent to the most thick-pated in Congress and that when an appropriation is called for in the future it will be granted ungrudgingly.
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    Owing to improvement work which had to be done last spring on the writer's ranch, the work of setting out young pear trees was delayed until early in May, which in the section in which the writer lives is considered two months late. However, we took pains in setting them, kept them thoroughly cultivated through an unusually dry season without watering, and this fall finds them holding their own admirably. We would not advise as late planting as this, but mention this instance to show what is possible if trees are healthy and are properly set and cultivated.
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    Along with looking after the pigs, calves, sheep and other farm animals it would be a pretty good idea to call now and then at the country schoolhouse and see what progress the youngsters are making. You can't count on their being profitable from the standpoint of pork, veal or mutton, but with the right kind of care and attention they will develop into something a good deal more important than these--wholesome and wide-awake men and women, the citizens of tomorrow. And, by the way, it's a good idea to visit the school often enough so as to have the teacher grow used to visitors and not be scared to pieces when a patron of the district shows head inside the door. Incidentally if the visit is prolonged some first-hand data may be collected relative to the boys and girls who make trouble in school and with whom their parents usually side and aggravate matters. It is well "to visit the flocks and the servants who labor and also to visit the school."
Excerpt, Herald Recorder, Potsdam, New York, November 4, 1910, page 5


ROSEVILLE PRECOOLING PLANT.
    After years of transcontinental fruit shipment in the old way--putting aboard cars at natural temperatures and allowing as great a reduction in temperature as could be had with the ordinary icing system--a comprehensive system has finally been devised for the wholesale precooling of fruits before shipment, exemplified in the $1,000,000 plant which was given its first test on Oct. 9 of last year and the results of which were highly satisfactory in every way. In the initial tryout ten cars of ripe grapes from Lodi, Cal., were reduced from a temperature of 70 to 38 degrees in two hours. The cars were then sent out by fast express, with no ripening or decay in the course of their long journey, and ten days later were offered for sale in New York and Philadelphia in practically the same perfect condition as when picked from the vines. Used at full capacity, the Roseville plant will handle twenty cars at a time, and it will cool this number of cars of fruit in three hours. The plant is combined with an ice plant which has two 300-ton refrigerating machines with an ice making capacity of 150 tons each. The cooling process is a simple one. When the twenty loaded cars of fruit have been run into the long cooling shed the car doors are unlocked and swung open and false doors equipped with canvas connections leading to a huge coil of ammonia pipes are then adjusted. The warm air in the car is first drawn off by means of an intermittent valve through two canvas connections above the ice bunkers at the ends of the cars. The two fans which drive the air through the ducts and cars are each ten feet in diameter and deliver 50,000 cubic feet of air per minute. The coil box through which the air passes and is cooled is eighty feet long, thirty-two feet wide and contains 80,000 feet of two-inch pipe, with more than 12,000 ammonia joints. The box is made of hollow blocks reinforced with steel and is made airtight with a coating of asphalt. The duct which delivers the air to the cars is made of galvanized iron, is sixty inches in diameter and 400 feet long. When the temperature of the cars has been reduced to about 38 degrees F., which is considered the ideal temperature, the cars are iced and ready for shipment. The precooling of Pacific Coast fruits in this manner will practically revolutionize the business, not only improving immensely the quality of fruit shipped, but greatly increasing its consumption. A similar plant has been built at Colton, Cal. for the precooling of citrus fruits, and there is little question that in a short time like plants will be erected for the cooling of less perishable fruits--peaches, pears and apples--in well-known fruit sections in states to the north and east.
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A MENACE TO HEALTH.
    That the country as a whole needs an awakening to the necessity of giving more heed to and applying just common everyday horse-sense methods to a conserving of the public health is nicely shown in an instance which came to our attention the other day. A miserable-looking individual with the usual greasy card put in an appearance, but instead of recording the fact that the bearer had lost his voice, arm or toe it stated that he was in a bad way from tuberculosis and was trying to get enough money by selling shoestrings to take him to the northern woods, where the bracing air and the smell of the conifers would restore his health. Like many another, we paid 10 cents for penny shoestrings and later put them in the stove and then for a brief interval contemplated the menace to public health of having a consumptive of this type frequenting streets, hotels, passenger cars and other public places and no doubt scattering germs of his dread disease as he went about.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, November 23, 1910, page 3


    There is no particular connection between the manure spreader and the telephone, yet both have had a whole lot to do with making farm work more endurable and life on the farm more cheery and enjoyable.
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    There is little excuse that can be made for the type of shiftlessness and poor management so often noticed in the use of a good part of the worth of the winter fire drying out green wood that ought to have been cured and seasoned in the summer sun.
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    In the enthusiasm of the very wholesome and commendable "back to the land" movement which is just now receiving a good deal of attention it may be in point to suggest that a large measure of success will hardly be achieved in a tillage of the soil or in horticultural lines by those who through lack of brains, initiative or energy have made a dismal failure of every other business enterprise in which they have embarked. The returns from agricultural and allied pursuits are generous, but only in proportion to intelligent, persistent and well-directed effort. The realm of agriculture is no place for weaklings or incompetents.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, December 28, 1910, page 3


    More boys go to the bad every year because they are not made to feel that they amount to something than from any other cause. The ball is started to rolling when they are little fellows and treated as if they were all-round nuisances, and it's kept up until the job is finished. Those who have a hand in this process of degeneration apparently forget that the boys (and girls) are the best asset the country has, not excepting all the blue ribbon winners at the big stock shows. Give the boys something to do and try to cultivate in them a feeling that they amount to something in the busy workaday life and many of them will be saved from failure and utter misery.
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    Kids that are allowed the run of all outdoors will get their hands and faces dirty, but for their own sakes and the reputation of the place they call home they ought to be cleaned up at least once a day and be given an all-over warm water bath once or twice a week--twice won't hurt 'em any. We saw some forlorn little heathens the other day that but for the fact that they stood on their hind legs might have been little pigs right out of the pen or kittens from an ash barrel. When the good Lord ordained lye and grease he made soap possible and probably intended when six or eight bars can be had for a quarter that parents should use enough of it to keep their kiddies clean.
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    Where it is possible to do so it is a good idea to place the semi-tropical plants such as the palm, sword fern, sprengeri and cactus as high on the plant stand as possible, this because of the fact that there is a difference of several degrees in a stove-heated room between the air three feet and seven feet from the floor. One of the most beautiful and long-fronded sword ferns we ever saw was given a high niche, and we do not doubt that the warmer upper air had something to do with its thriftiness.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, January 11, 1911, page 3


    We went by a home the other night where the windows were all down tight--no provision made for a breath of fresh air--and where, to cap the climax, a kerosene lamp turned low was doing much to befoul what little air the house contained. Fresh air is a good deal cheaper than dirt, more health-promoting than pills and tonic, and yet some folks are as afraid of it as death and a good deal more so than taxes.
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    The average lively boy has all the native impulse and outward incentive that he needs along the line of sowing wild oats without being sort of encouraged or at best excused by an indulgent but shortsighted parent. This wild oats business is one unique line of recent production where the corp is always sixtyfold, lessened neither by drought, frosty nights nor hail at harvest time. The thoughtful parents will do the most in their power to reduce the sowing to a minimum.
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    Notwithstanding the fact that it is entirely feasible, we nevertheless have neither seen nor heard of any serious effort being made to utilize the grass and weeds that annually go to waste on tens of thousands of acres of country highways by herding over them neighborhood flocks of sheep, which could be looked after by some of the grandfathers of the community whose days of active farm work are past. Not only would the grazing of the highways in the manner suggested turn into dollars a lot of roughage that annually goes to waste, but it would greatly improve the appearance of the highways and prevent their being weed seed manufactories for the fouling of the adjoining fields. Of course the carrying of such a cooperative plan into effect presupposes that the folks in the community are on good terms, which is one of the essentials to good farming.
Excerpt, Herald Recorder, Potsdam, New York, January 20, 1911, page 4


    The young fruit tree should be pruned during the winter or early spring months if the object is the encouragement of wood growth and the building of a proper frame. If the trees are old enough to bear and one wishes to induce such a result, the pruning should be deferred until mid-summer, preferably during the month of July.
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    Some "shortcuts" are commendable, then again, others are not. We ran across an instance of the latter kind the other day. It had to do with a young fellow who seemed to be discouraging in himself the inclination to honest toil.He thought he would try his hand at a shortcut, so intercepted a nine-dollar money order, forged it, and at the present writing is in a nearby jail awaiting action by the grand jury. His youthfulness may lead the authorities to consent to a compromise; otherwise he is likely to do two or three years in the pen. It's a mighty rocky road this young fellow is setting out on. The "shortcut" he counted on bids fair to be much longer and much more difficult than he thought.
Excerpt, Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire, January 23, 1911, page 6


    Rarely if ever do you see a father, whether tiller of the soil, merchant or day laborer, who has taken time from his pressing duties to take an interest in his boy and share in his sports, who is later called upon to "give the boy his time"--that is, virtually renounce the responsibilities of a father toward him. Seldom even in such cases is the fault entirely with the parent, but naturally as the older he is fairly chargeable with the larger measure of responsibility, and time was probably when he failed in his duty to the boy along the lines suggested.
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    The proper place for little girls up to eighteen years of age who want to develop into pure, winsome and estimable women is at home with their folks when night comes and not on the streets, unless some specific errand calls them thither. Many a tragedy too pitiful for print, with heartbreak and heartache, would be spared if mothers would take this simple precaution with their daughters and were daughters on their part sensible enough to appreciate the wisdom of it. And the place for boys who want to grow into clean, manly men is also at home when night comes, and for the same reasons.
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    The writer inspected the contents of a box of Pacific Coast fruit the other day that was sure an eye-opener in view of the packing standards that are supposed to be in vogue with the most progressive western apple growers' associations. The fruit in question was odd-sized, bruised, wormy and much of it positively runty, fit only for hog feed. Of course it is the unusual scarcity of apples that made possible the transportation of this kind of fruit 2,000 miles, and yet we seriously question if the profit accruing to the boxer and shipper of this "truck" will not be more than offset by the ill repute which will be attached to Pacific Coast fruits as a class as a result.
Excerpt, Daily News, Des Moines, Iowa, January 15, 1911, page 2


THEY'RE GETTING TIRED.
    If northwestern fruit growers had not decided on the move before, the beggarly price which they have been able to realize on their best fruit the past season, when trash not fit for hog feed has been shipped from 2,000 to 3,000 miles and sold at retail at $2 per box, will furnish the last argument needed to unite them into an effective organization whose prime object will be the systematic and cooperative marketing of their fruit, which will cut out two or three classes of jobbers that have been gouging them with the one hand and robbing the consumer with the other. The jobbers got soaked in the apple deal they tried to pull off four or five years ago, and they have been taking heavy toll of the producers ever since. The latter are getting wise.
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    An investigation into the probable cause of rust spots appearing on apples shipped from some Pacific Coast points made by Professor P. J. O'Gara, fruit disease expert, leads him to the conclusion that the spots in question are due to impurities contained in the arsenate of lead used in spraying the trees and not to any fungus or scale pest.
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    Until recently plaster was seldom used in the interior finishing of Pacific Slope houses, owing to the fact that it so frequently became loose and fell off during the rainy weather. Instead, the rooms were finished with matched sheathing, heavy building paper or cloth and the paper put on over this. Since the introduction of wood-fiber plaster, it is being quite generally used in the section mentioned.
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    In a recent statement published by Chief Forester Graves the estimate is made that 84 percent of the loss from forest fires during the year 1909 was directly traceable to carelessness on the part of settlers in burning their timber clearings and similar carelessness on the part of the railroads through failure to use effective spark arresters. Here is a type of conservation of natural resources that can be put into practice without the necessity of legislative deliberation or executive decree to make it effective.
Excerpt, Evening Independent, Massillon, Ohio, February 1, 1911, page 8


    The writer has been having a grippy cold of late, which leads him to express the hope that dumb animals are not afflicted in the same way. We are mighty sorry for them if they are.
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    It is the experience of a good many that colds are more often contracted through the wearing of too-thick underclothing and cooling suddenly while in a perspiration than from wearing undergarments that are too thin.
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    While a horse will not long remember a blow on the rump, it takes a long time for him to forget a blow on the head. An intelligent, high-lifed animal which the writer bought last spring had been handled in the latter fashion evidently, and it was only after months of gentle handling that he would not lift his head with a start when we went into his stall. The fellow who hit this horse with a club or whip, or whatnot, did in a couple of seconds what it took more than twice as many months to do. In fact, the harm he did will probably never be fully done away.
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    As a general thing the farmers who are induced to go into the business of growing sugar beets fall short from six to ten tons per acre of getting the yield which the promoters of the sugar factory led them to expect. The land is either too thin, too dry, too wet or too low and never just right.
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    We ran across a fellow the other day who had become involved in several troubles with his neighbors and would have moved out of the neighborhood had not the fellow he hated the worst been the one who was most anxious to buy this place. This was too much for his Yankee makeup, and he still sticks it out.
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    While the curfew law has much to commend it from the standpoint of practical results, it is a woefully inadequate community substitute for individual parental interest, solicitude and responsibility. Parents who care a continental for their children--boys or girls--will keep them from gadding the streets at night, and they will not need a town bell or gong to remind them of their duty. Parents who haven't cared a continental would better turn over a new leaf and try to give their homes sufficient interest so that their children will prefer to stay at home rather than spend their time elsewhere.
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    The postal authorities have lately been rounding up a lot of swindlers who have been using the mails in the disposal of bogus oil, mining and other stocks from which outlandish returns have been promised. In their next roundup it will be well if they landed another numerous company--the tribe of real estate fakers who through misrepresentation are raking in hundreds and thousands of dollars from unsuspecting people for land which never was worth anything and never will be as long as the sun shines. In one case of this kind which came under our notice recently land was palmed off on buyers as ideal for fruit culture when the meteorological records kept at the nearest station showed that the section has frosts every night in the year. Besides, the glowing fruit yield records were stolen bodily from a booklet got out by a town in a beautiful valley on the other side of the mountains, where climatic conditions were entirely different. We are not up on the fine points of what constitutes fraudulent use of the mails, but we have an idea it consists in sending false claims and misrepresentations through the mails for the purpose of separating folks from their hard-earned money. If this diagnosis is correct the fellows who are promoting these bogus land enterprises would seem to be treading on pretty thin ice.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, March 8, 1911, page 2


SETTING AN ORCHARD.
    Doubtless quite a number of our readers will be setting an orchard for the first time this spring, and a few suggestions may be helpful. With a view to saving ground the novice often makes the mistake of setting the trees too close together. We have known of cases where they were set twice as thick in the row as intended ultimately, but the trouble with this is that a fellow seldom has the courage to cut out every other tree after it has grown several years and begun to bear. It is better to put the trees the right distance apart at first, putting the ground between to some annual crop, which can be cultivated. Twenty feet apart is about right for peaches, twenty-five for pears and from twenty-eight to forty for apples, depending upon the variety. For family use a selection of varieties, a couple of trees each, may be made so as to give fruit through as long a period as possible. For commercial purposes it is well to set but one or two standard varieties if the acreage is limited and not more than two or three if it is considerable. The trees should be a year old, with well-developed fibrous roots, which should be pruned back carefully to a length of about eight or nine inches. The writer has found the easiest way to plant to first set three rows of eight stakes across the field, one at each edge and one through the middle, putting them tree distance apart, next setting similar rows across the field at right angles to these. With this preparation one can sight both ways for position in any part of the field and set a stake accurately without aid of string or measuring rod. With this method one should have the setting board--four feet long, five inches wide, peg notches an inch square cut in the center of each and a notch cut in from one side so as to give a space about an inch square at the exact center of the board. After setting the stake where the tree is to be, slip on the board so [the] stake is at center, set stakes in end notches, remove tree stake and board, dig hole, slip tree in, replace setting board and hold tree in place in middle notch while filling in the earth. The trees should be set five or six inches deeper than they stood in the nursery. Within a few days after the trees are set they should be pruned back to a uniform height, from eighteen to thirty inches, depending on whether one wishes a low- or high-headed tree. However, the low-headed, open-topped tree is favored by the majority of the best orchardists.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, May 17, 1911, page 2


SHOULD PLAY SAFE.
    A reader of these notes living in Princeton, Ind., writes making inquiry as to the suitability of a certain western valley lately opened up for fruit growing and asking if this particular valley was included in a reference which recently appeared in these columns, suggesting that it would be well for the post office department to round up the large company of real estate swindlers who are separating unsuspecting people from hundreds of thousands of their hard-earned dollars. Yes, some of these same sharpers are already at work in the valley referred to, and it would be well for intending purchasers to use due caution. As has been stated repeatedly in these notes, there are several things that buyers of fruit land in a new country should do. First, find out from the horticultural experts at the state agricultural college whether a given valley or section in such state is adapted to the raising of the fruits which real estate agents claim it is; secondly, if in a dry country, find out what the rainfall is from the nearest government weather station and whether if needed water for irrigation can be had at that season of the year when most needed--July and August; thirdly, whether the district is subject to frosts during blossom time; fourthly, whether the soil is sufficiently deep and suited to fruit growing, and, lastly, whether the men backing a given orchard promotion proposition are honest men who expect to continue residents of the locality or are downright knaves who will light out for greener pastures when they have extracted from the confiding buyer his hard-earned coin. Many a reader will say to himself, "Oh, this is too much bother, and, besides, if we take the time to look up all of these points the land is likely to advance in value so fast that we will be heavy losers as a result." In reply to such a statement the writer would still urge the prospective buyer to use the greatest caution on all of the points mentioned, for it's a whole lot cheaper to spend a few dollars in carfare, board and livery bills than to tie up a property which may be worth little or nothing and which could not be sold later for love or money. It is easy to fall a victim of the land and dollar lust, to let eagerness run away with judgment and greed outvoice common sense. Because of this we caution our readers who may be thinking of investing in fruit land in a new country to keep their eyes open and play safe.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, May 31, 1911, page 6


    There is often as wide a gap between the pedigree and actual character and performance of a farm animal as there is between the profession of faith and everyday life of many folk whose names are on the kirk roll.
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    If the small boy ever learns to swim he must go swimmin' with his father or with other boys in the neighborhood. Many a mother, naturally anxious for her boy, seems to hold the idea that this can be done by absent treatment--sort o' thinkin' water and swimmin' motions.
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    The slugs that feed on the leaves of roses, cherry and pear trees may be dispatched by dusting the bushes or trees with fine road dust, applied when the dew is on. If beyond reach the same result can be had by spraying trees with a solution made by mixing one pound of arsenate of lead in twenty gallons of water. The solution should be stirred frequently while it is being applied with the sprayer.
Excerpt, The Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa, July 13, 1911, page 5


    It's a pretty sane idea for parents to know where the boys and girls are after 7 o'clock p.m. In one nice little town we know of a bunch of boys, some of them from supposed best families, make a practice of meeting the 8:50 train, and by a prearranged plan the "newsy" furnishes these half-baked kids with cigarette papers in direct violation of the state law. This thing couldn't happen if their parents were wide awake and the boys were at home, where they ought to be.
Excerpt, The Beacon, Spirit Lake, Iowa, August 31 1911, page 2


    In times of severe drought, such as has existed during the past two or three months, one cannot help but be impressed with the pitiful inadequacy of artificial means of watering lawn or garden, especially when effected through the average nozzle. It is such a puny, pygmy performance as to be well nigh ridiculous.
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    In most instances of the "bad" boy the trouble likely is not half so much due to any inherent badness as to a lack of sympathy and real interest in parent or guardian and to a failure to properly direct the outgo of his physical and nervous energy. An engine is a mighty dangerous proposition with steam up and a broken rail ahead; so, too, a team of horses in a runaway with a mower. The bad boy is like both when off the track or lacking wise guidance and restraint.
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    An amusing if somewhat unique incident was related to the writer the other day by a real estate agent setting forth the reason why another agent with whom he was acquainted failed to land a party of a score or more of friends whom he had escorted many miles to a section most of the merits of which were on the land company's advertising matter. The agent in question looked the proposition over pretty carefully and advised his friends not to buy, telling his real estate friend some time later that he was convinced that any man who would defraud his friends by selling them such land was a reprobate and would go straight to hell. The writer has been at a loss to trace the decadence in the belief in a hellfire with the alarming development of the real estate business, but in the above incident there seems to be a clue. It may be suggested for the protection of the greedy unwary that ministers everywhere devote one sermon a month to the mooted subject. Incidentally it would take the kinks out of many a hearer, put a curb on the real estate swindlers and keep a lot of hard-earned money where it rightly belongs.
Excerpt, Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, Iowa, October 11, 1911, page 10


    Modern business inflicts much injustice at times upon those less favorably situated on the economic scale and is also responsible for the practice of much dishonesty of one kind and another, but it has also had some most wholesome influences. Among these is a great curtailment of the drinking of intoxicating liquors among practically all railway employees and the workers in many other industries where employers insist on efficiency and sobriety. Many of these same companies have entirely forbidden the use of cigarettes by employees while on duty simply because they take from a man's mental alertness and power of concentration.
Excerpt, The McKean Democrat, Smethport, Pennsylvania, January 25, 1912, page 2


    The mere fact that many men and women who were denied the privilege of an education in their youth have still made a success of life should not be used as an argument by the boy or girl of today for neglecting opportunities for schooling that may be had free of cost. One cannot but wonder in the case of these so-called self-made people who much more they might have achieved along desirable lines had they been able to have such advantages as are open to practically everybody today.
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    When you are inclined to poke fun at an Oregonian because of the long rainy season and the droughty summers he gets some comfort out of the fact that he is not afflicted with blizzards, 30-degree-below-zero spells, cyclones and the like, and he has other bird company during the winter months besides crows, sparrows and blue jays.
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    One of the delights, as the writer looks at it, in connection with life in the West is the practically universal use of wood instead of coal for cooking and heating purposes. This getting rid of the infernal dirt and soot from the use of bituminous coal is a most refreshing change, while the odor of the burning pine or fir wood is fragrant compared to the sulphurous fumes let loose in the combustion of soft coal.
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GIVE IT A TRIAL.
    To any reader of these notes who would like to have a part in this "back to the land" movement and who now has a lucrative position or other employment we would suggest the putting of this longing to the test on a small scale where possible before giving up the salary job. This may be done in a good many instances by renting a half acre or so and putting it in to onions, cabbages or beets, if one is near a beet factory. Doing a good share of the work in connection with the raising of such a crop would enable one to know whether the desire to be near the soil was in passing fancy or an abiding like for the great outdoors and labor with and on the soil. If one will try out such an experiment as this and still hanker for the agricultural or horticultural life it would seem to be pretty safe to make the trial. At least the one who had the preliminary experience suggested would hardly be taken unawares in the experiences which would come to him.
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A COMMON MISTAKE.
    The writer is personally acquainted with instances not a few where those investing in a new section of the country have bitten off more than they could chew financially. That is, they have been so anxious to tie up so much land at the start for the purpose of making as much as possible on their investment that they have been desperately pinched and handicapped in all their later operations, including repairs and improvement, equipment and the meeting of simple running expenses. If one expects to sell a property a few weeks or months after the time of buying the statements made would not apply in so large a degree, but where there is likelihood that one may keep possession a year or more it is very necessary that the precaution suggested should be heeded. Doing so will not only make it possible to avoid operating at a great disadvantage, but perchance the ultimate loss of all that one may have invested.
Excerpt, The McKean Democrat, Smethport, Pennsylvania, April 18, 1912, page 6



    Several apple trees on the writer's ranch have been badly pestered with the green aphids for some years past. This spring he plans to spray with a solution of lime sulphur just as the buds of the trees are swelling, and this will wind up a whole lot of the aphids. Those that survive this will receive an early dose of "black leaf."
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    There is a whole lot of truck that seems to pass muster for religion that comes way short of commending itself to either humanity or good sense. The kind we have specially in mind is nicely shown in the case of a fellow who prayed long and hard Sunday morning, but before sundown gouged a neighbor out of $25 on a misrepresentation in a horse trade. Another is all too often shown in the status of a woman who pretends to be religious, yet nurses so deep-seated a grudge against her neighbor that she won't treat her with courtesy or ladylikeness in public places. This is bogus currency and when the great day for cashing in comes will be heavily discounted.
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SHOULD INVESTIGATE.
    The writer is receiving many inquiries these days from readers living east of the Rocky Mountains who are tired of the frightfully cold winter just past and are looking for a home place where the winter season is milder and where it doesn't take quite all a fellow can earn during the summer season to keep him and his family from freezing to death during the winter. We sympathize with our readers keenly in this matter and are advising them to take a trip to the west country, get acquainted with it firsthand, learn both its drawbacks and advantages and then, after a calm and sober balancing of points good and bad, settle in a section where one will feel most at home. Where one has considerable money to invest, it is well to take plenty of time in making one's investigation of the property to be bought, and, as said in a recent department of these notes, it is always a good idea to limit one's mouthful in an investment way to what one can masticate nicely.
Excerpt, The McKean Democrat, Smethport, Pennsylvania, May 2, 1912, page 2


    A good deal of fun is poked at the pretty, but punky, Ben Davis, the apple that combines the poorest texture and best keeping quality under one skin of any apple on the market. And yet many who have had experience with the Ben Davis say that one year with another it will net as much money per acre as many of the better quality and higher priced apples.
Excerpt, The Delta Times, Ladner, British Columbia, June 22, 1912, page 4


ROAD IMPROVEMENT.
    It is hard to understand why so many country road supervisors, who spend good time and taxpayers' money in grading and shaping country highways, so often fail to put on the finishing touches necessary to make the roads passable. We refer to the practice so often followed of scraping to the center of the road clods, sod and weeds and leaving them there in a rough and unsightly ridge, when a little work with a disk pulverizer or common drag would do much toward inviting traffic. The writer is well acquainted with the aversion of the average man to hauling any kind of load over soft and newly made roads, but the condition in which lots of roads are left is taken as sufficient ground for steering shy of them even with an empty wagon.
Excerpt, The McKean Democrat, Smethport, Pennsylvania, August 22, 1912, page 2


    There are scads of men who would begrudge a quarter in cash for the support of the church who take it as a matter of course if a contribution three or four times this amount is put into a pot of beans, pies and angel's food for a ladies' aid social. Men are sort o' queer anyway.
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    A good old friend of the writer who has passed his eightieth milestone told us the other day that not in a period of fifty-five years, in which he has kept track of farm and garden crops, does he remember such bountiful crops along all lines as in the season just closed.
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    While it is a fine thing if the young wife can play a Chopin nocturne or a Beethoven symphony on the new piano, it is lots more conducive to matrimonial felicity if she can bake a nice tin of light biscuits, prepare a toothsome dish of oatmeal or broil a steak so that it is juicy and tender. It's well to possess both these accomplishments, but if either must be lacking it would better be the nocturne and symphony.
Excerpt, The Waterloo Reporter, Iowa, November 30, 1912, page 11


    The crop of apples of the Pacific Northwest, including Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, is put at 18,000 carloads. The refrigerator cars in which this fruit is carried hold 610 boxes, and at an average price of $1.25 per box this means that the crop is worth in the neighborhood of $14,000,000.
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    Folks older grown are wont to overlook at times the fact that little people--small boys and girls--have a sense of fair play and justice remarkably well developed, and they also forget that there is no surer or more speedy way to lose their confidence than to offend this same sense.
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    French inventors have designed an automobile suitable for children, having engines of less than a horsepower and guaranteed not to go faster than four miles an hour even on a down grade. It would be a mighty good thing if some grown folks in America were compelled to use just such a machine.
Excerpt, The New North, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, June 12, 1913, page 5 
Last revised February 17, 2017