Reprinted by permission from Successful Farming, copyrights 1909, Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.
Improving Live Stock
The annual live stock exhibitions each year show many excellent types of animals of different breeds. Did you ever stop to think that many of these fine animals represent years of patience in selection and breeding. The process has not been a rapid one. Especially is this true with horses and cattle. Much clear thinking, judicial mating and careful feeding has been employed along definite lines for a period of years. Many a successful breeder will tell you of disappointments in results expected and that much money has been lost in attempting to accomplish a certain result in the process of breeding. They will also tell you that in many instances the breeder has aimed at a mark when the ammunition in the gun was not sufficient to hit the object aimed at.
A certain line of breeding to be successful must have back of it well known traits in ancestry that in breeding will perpetuate desired qualities in the offspring.
The improvement of our live stock, like farm machinery, has been slow but sure. It has taken years to produce types of horses, cattle, hogs and sheep. It will take years more to improve along certain lines, before desired results will be obtained.
It pays to buy well bred stock, even at what may seem to be fancy prices. The farmer may think that the amount asked for a single individual is much beyond reason but if he figures out the capital invested on the ancestry of the animal to be purchased he will find that the price asked is reasonable.
In selecting a pure bred animal, individual characteristics as well as pedigree should be looked to. The breeder who is conscientious should use the knife when necessary and not sell inferior animals because of pedigree and the desire for the profit the transaction will bring.
The time to begin to improve all live stock is now. The demand for better stock is increasing every year and he who would be successful must meet this demand.
Feeding Brood Sows.
A good brood sow may be kept until seven or eight years old with profitable results. They need a great variety of food while carrying their young and a good deal of nourishing food with some milk while the pigs suck. Sows that have not had a balanced ration are quite apt to eat their pigs when they come along. The growing of the pigs has robbed the sow's system and she has a craving appetite. Give a nourishing diet with some animal food for two months before farrowing. Salt the food a little. — W. W. Maxim, Oxford Co., Me.
Watering Chickens in Winter.
Experience teaches a great many things and one that I learned was in regard to watering chickens in the winter.
I find that chickens that are given warm water, or that from which the chill is well removed, twice a day, lay more eggs than those that are watered haphazard or with cold water. At night what is left in the dishes is emptied and not left to freeze. Lots of work? Of course it is, but so is anything that brings with it good returns, and if you are skeptical about the paying part just try it once and see. — Irma B. Matthews.
Clover for Poultry.
Use second growth hay and cut into very short lengths, one-quarter inch if possible. Scald and let stand until next morning. Add a teaspoonful of salt to every gallon of water used in moistening the clover. Before feeding sprinkle the mess with a mixture of bran, turning the clover occasionally until the whole is well mixed with the grain foods.
Fowls will eat this readily and it will prove an excellent change from corn and wheat. It will also promote egg production. — Wm. Purdue, Madison Co., Ind.
Wood Ashes for Grape — M. E. S., Mich. Yes, hard wood ashes makes a good fertilizer for grape vines. Spread the ashes between the rows. Potash is what the vines need.
Dressing Wounds in Pruning — A. W. H., Mo. A good dressing or covering for wounds is especially advisable where large limbs are removed. The object of such a dressing is to check weathering of the wood and to prevent decay. A heavy application of lead paint is the best all-around dressing for pruning wounds.
Oat-Pea Succotash — R. H. N. Minn. This makes a good cow feed for either soiling or hay. Two bushels of field peas and one bushel of oats sown at the rate of three bushels to the acre.
Good time to get up the summer supply of wood for the kitchen fire. Cut enough to last a year, then there will be no green wood fires. Let the sun dry the wood, it's the proper way, brethren.
Planting trees in Semi-Arid Regions — W. E. R., Wyo. Three things should be looked after in planting trees in semiarid regions, viz: grow in large numbers; plant them close together; keep well cultivated. Box elder, green ash and soft maples are good for your latitude.
Sore Teats — A. E. F., Wis. Wetting the teats during cold weather is a common cause of sore teats. Filth may also cause it. A good treatment is vaseline ten parts, acetate of lead one part. Rub on the sores after milking.
Mixing Concentrates with Roughage — T. O. H., Ill.. With steers on feed it is important that they consume a proper amount of roughage. It is a mistake to feed steers all they will eat of concentrates. Likelihood of their getting "off feed" or waste high priced feed. The steer is a ruminant and his digestion will suffer if suitable amounts of roughage are not supplied to be eaten with concentrates. A good plan to follow is to mix the concentrates with the roughage so that the steers are obliged to take both at the same time. This may be done by bedding down the feeding troughs with mixed clover and timothy hay, shredded fodder, or ensilage, over this distribute your corn, oil meal, etc. In feeding corn fodder much is likely to be wasted unless care is observed.
All Around the Farm.
A good time to fix up a work shop. Just lots of odd jobs to be done these winter days.
Let your motto "cleaner and better seed" shine. The fanning mill is doing its work well. It's one of the sensible farm investments.
Are you planning to put up a new building? Now is the time to draw plans. On warm days maybe, you can dig the cellar or haul the stone for the basement. A little later there will be other things to do.
How are the fences? Good time now to get the posts ready, gates made and the order in for woven wire fencing. Good gates and fences are found on the up-to-date farm. Better look into this fence problem a little.
A farmer from Illinois writes: "I have been using a manure spreader the past two seasons on a ten-acre hay field and get more hay off one acre than my, neighbor (who applies his manure in the old way) does off four acres, and our land adjoins."
Pick up the boards in the barn yard. Apt to be nails in them and stock may be ruined.
Bad rains or melting snows are sure to come during the winter. Look over the roofs of your outbuildings and see that they don't leak.
Cookies Without Eggs.
The greater part of the success in cooky making as in most every kind of cake is due to the right kind of an oven — not hot enough to burn nor cool enough to "sun dry." I use the dough as soft as I can roll it without sticking.
My receipt is: Two cups of sugar, one cup of butter — if I have any nice soft beef suet on hand I often take a quarter part of that, but never lard — two-teaspoonfuls of cream tartar, one teaspoonful of soda and one cupful of milk. They are just as good with sour milk, only if that is used omit the cream tartar.
I also have a molasses cooky receipt without eggs that is very nice. The dough may be rolled thick or thin, as desired. I like to roll the dough about two or three sixteenths of an inch thick, and then go over it with a crimped rolling-pin and cut in oblong squares. These when baked will be a quarter of an inch thick and will be soft and tender. In order to have them rise well a hot oven is required. For the thick squares the dough should be mixed quite soft and it works better to mix it the day before and set it away in a cool place with a little flour shaken over it. For thin cooking I mix a little stiffer and roll as I do the sugar ones.
My receipt is: One cupful of sugar, one cupful of molasses, one scant cupful of shortening, two teaspoonfuls of ginger, one teaspoonful of salt, unless butter is used — I use beef suet, if I have it, and sausage fat makes them delicious. Dissolve the soda in a cupful of hot water. Half of this receipt, also, is enough for a small family.
An eggless cake requires one cupful of sugar, two cupfuls of flour, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder, one teaspoonful of cinnamon, half of a nutmeg, a little clove, if desired, and a cupful of raisins.