The Old Time Farm Magazines: Dairying, Forest Preservation, and Wintering Bees

Read articles from old farm magazines that give advice on dairying, forest preservation, and wintering bees.
By MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors
January/February 1977
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With the right planning, dairy farming can be a year-round occurrence.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/ANDI TARANCZUK
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This page contains excerpts from issues of Successful Farming dated 1907.  

AGRICULTURE

The farmers of the country are requested to contribute to this Department.  

Dairying

Many farmers now pursue the method of all the year round dairying and find it a profitable one. With a fine product of butter a ready market is assured at good prices. Dealers like to find such producers for the reason that there is then a supply right along that can be depended upon.

This is quite different from summer dairying when with the advent of cold weather production ceases, leaving the dealer to look somewhere else for a supply.

To be successful with winter dairying requires suitable accommodations for the cows, the best kinds of forage and such grain feeds as will add to the value of the daily ration and all necessary care.

With these there should be little or no difficulty in making a fine quality of butter during the winter months, such as will be in quick demand at good prices. At this season of the year the work can be well attended to and found to be profitable. Where this practice is followed the cows should come fresh in milk during late autumn or early winter, or some for a more uniform supply of milk might plan to have them distributed through the year.

Where what is termed winter dairying is followed there is a good opportunity afforded for raising heifer calves for the supply of the dairy or for sale. With warm, comfortable quarters and properly fed and cared for, these will grow finely and by another spring be large enough to turn to pasture. This is an advantage that should not be overlooked. And then when there is skimmed milk for the purpose swine may be kept at a profit, as many have found from experience.

Of course, all of this implies careful attention to all details, but this should come within the province of the wide-awake, up-to-date farmer, who is willing and anxious to do the best possible and is not afraid of the necessary efforts for the desired success which he wishes to obtain, and which is his by right as in the line of successful farming.— E. R. Towle, Franklin Co., Vt.

Wintering Bees

My method of wintering bees is to bury them. I dig a trench 6 inches wider than the hive is long, and deep enough so that with something to keep the hives from 4 to 6 inches from the bottom, the hive is about one-third above ground. I have always used 6-inch fence boards set on edge in the bottom of the trench to set my hives on. This gives a  6-inch space below the hives.

If one does not have the boards, 2x4 scantling will do as well. I remove the bottom boards so that all bees that die daring the winter fall into the bottom of the trench.

Place the hives close together, then cover with two feet of straw, then throw on all the dirt from the trench and when this is done, dig a ditch on each side to carry off water, throwing all the dirt over the bees. Do not leave any vent holes. The bees won't smother.

Forest Preservation

The American people are impulsive. They rush into things for the almighty dollar without a thought for the future. The pioneer slashed down the trees and burned them, then later planted shade trees about his house. The timber merchant laid waste the fine forests that he might be wealthy.

The great advance in the price of lumber in recent years is due to the lumber trust, the protective tariff and the scarcity of trees, all three combined. Instead of learning from other nations in regard to the forests, we, like sheep, have done just as they.

Now the sentiment of the people has awakened an interest in timber preservation and replanting of the denuded mountain sides. The government has taken a firm hand in this matter and the western ranch-men are up in wrath against the department of forestry. They who made free pasture of the mountain sides, thus killing the young trees that would have reclothed the naked mountain range, think the government has gone too far. But has it? Must the greed of a few men cause havoc to hundreds of thousands who are dependent upon the forests.

W e do not refer only to the lumber interests. We can build out of steel and cement if need be. But forests play an important part in the distribution of surface water and in this way farmers for hundreds of miles from forests are concerned. If these mountain sides once covered with trees were now being cultivated the havoc would not be so great.

Trees grow clear to the perpetual snow line. They not only prevent avalanches of snow and' ice but they form a mulch that holds the melted snow water so that it does not rush down the rocky sides, but percolates slowly through the soil. Remove these and the soil soon washes away and the big rain storms are rapidly carried down the rocks into the ravines and canons in a great flood-head, carrying death and destruction to everything in its way. Out upon the plains the flood spreads beyond the river banks and crops suffer for miles beyond the mountain ranges.

When the surface soil or mulch which the trees helped to form is washed away what then can grow on the mountain sides? What then will the rangeman do? He will have to register his kick against a foolish fate rather than against the government. But he must vacate just the same.

There are plenty of places to grow grass at a profit without using the old forest lands. Trees can be grown where no other crop but grass will grow. And good agricultural lands are too valuable to be turned into government forest reservations. Tree protection is in the interest of all humanity and land grabbing by the few ranchmen is not.


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