Old Newspaper Articles from Capper’s Farmer: Farm Plans, Farming Crops, and a Tire Chain Advertisement

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This ad for Dreadnaught Tire Chains appeared in the February 1929 issue of Capper's Farmer.

Farmstead Plans that Save Steps

By Ivan D. Wood

In Cass County, Nebraska, on the Omaha-Kansas City road, you may see a well-designed brick house placed on a rise of ground about 100 feet from the highway. It is the home of E.H. Spangler, and the latch string always is out to visitors. Visitors come because this place seems to invite them.

Should you drive into the yard, something would tell you that this farmstead is different from the usual run. It was carefully planned before a foundation was laid. Each building seems to be just suited to its location. Mr. Spangler spent many hours deciding what the arrangement should be. He had one advantage, however, which many do not have: He could start and build everything new.

Alex Lind, Madison, County, Nebraska, moved to a new place a year ago and found that he must have new buildings, but also must use some of the old ones.

Here was a problem which could not be solved in a minute. Leaving an old building here and there, yet working in a few new ones with lots, scales, stackyards and sheds, requires the most careful thinking and planning if a convenient unit is to result.

W.D. Glandon, Burt County, Nebraska, has spent odd times for more than a year working out a new plan for his building and yard arrangement. It is a splendid piece of work, too, and last summer he saw his dreams come true – new lots, new gates in the right place, and remodeled buildings which are convenient.

Mr. Glandon bought a place which had been farmed by renters for many years. The buildings, such as they were, had no definite placing. They were put just where the material was unloaded, as is the case on hundreds of farms. The new owner first did a wise thing. He got a big sheet of cardboard, a tape line and pencil, and drew an accurate map of things as they were. At odd times, a new map was developed which showed how to make the best of a bad situation. He was surprised to find that when working on paper, one could see many ways to shorten steps, save opening gates, and get things straightened out in general. Yet in looking at the actual ground, all seemed hopelessly tangled up.

No given set of rules for arrangement will work under all conditions, because each place has its own peculiarities, but these men have considered certain things which always are helpful to others. Mr. Spangler could have put his buildings in the center of the farm instead of on the main road. The former placing would have been close to fields and pastures, but the latter puts him near a graveled road, the power line, and the mailbox, and generally is to be preferred. In most cases, the residence may be as close as 100 feet to the road unless it be the north side of a much traveled highway, when dust may be a real nuisance.

A high, well-drained area has many advantages. Low, hemmed-in valleys are damp and hot in summer, and little if any warmer in winter. It is possible to heat buildings in cold weather, but there is no cure for the raging heat of an August night, if the house is surrounded by hills or covered up with trees so there is not a chance of getting a bit of cooling wind.

Mr. Glandon found that steep side hill locations were not good either, owing to the difficulty of getting rid of flood water which carried great quantities of silt down against one side of the building while it washed away from the lower side. Lots and feed yards give best results if placed on south or southeast slopes.

Prevailing winds are from the south in summer, but from the north or northwest in winter. It is well to take advantage of this face and let each barn or shed form a windbreak to the adjacent yards. Notice how Mr. Lind has done this in his plan, which is shown in the sketch (previous page), yet he will have no difficulty from odors of the lots reaching the house.

Also, the windbreak is placed far enough from the buildings so snow will drift before it reaches them. He did not make the mistake of trying to group all the yards around the well either. It always is far better to work up a convenient arrangement and then pipe the water where it is needed.

A common error in farmstead design is that of putting a granary, fuel house or other structure of this type where it may easily be reached with a team, but is inconvenient in every other way. Thus a cob house is put 100 feet from the dwelling where it can be filled conveniently once a year, but where thousands of extra steps are taken to reach it on foot from the residence.

Notice in the sketch how Mr. Lind has arranged so each fence serves two lots, and how conveniently either grain, hay or stock may be weighed over the scales. Lot fences must be well-built to stand up under years of service. The same is true of gates. Those which are used frequently may well be hung on hinges and provided with handy fasteners.

The buildings are grouped around a central court or open turn yard in the well-planned farmstead. This permits a wagon or truck to be driven to any structure without opening gates. Properly placed lanes save hours of time in the handling of livestock to and from pastures. The doing of chores consumes hours of time each year, yet little study is given to arrangements which will save steps in this process. Factory managers save thousands of dollars by saving steps, which means saving time.

This planning is done even before any building is started. Actual observation has shown that proper planning of farm buildings has saved a mile of walking a day in many instances.

The farm home may be made a place of beautiful surroundings without a great outlay of money. This is not often accomplished, however, without a definite landscaping plan.

Place the residence on the highest ground – and be sure to select a good view of the surrounding countryside if possible. Keep the lawn open to the road, placing most of the shrubs and trees where they will form an attractive background. The results of study in
arranging and beautifying the farmstead will be enjoyed through all the years to come. Investment in time and forethought when designing the homestead pays off in the years ahead.

Standard plans, which will help anyone, no matter what the conditions with which they have to cope, in developing an attractive farmstead, may be obtained for 15 cents a set.

Kee Doubles His Pasture Capacity

By L.V. Miller

Orchard grass is the best crop I can grow on my land,” said J.H. Kee, Muskogee County, Oklahoma. “It will carry twice as much livestock as native pasture, and provide five weeks more pasture in spring and two months more in fall.”

A satisfactory pasture is one of the big problems of that section of the South. There is a general impression that tame grasses will not thrive. Mr. Kee contends that farmers have not worked persistently enough to get a stand and maintain their pastures. Increasing the carrying capacity of pastures is just another way of increasing profits. Many tame pasture grasses will carry twice as much stock as
native pastures for a longer season if they can be grown.

Mr. Kee has devoted his time and attention to discovering methods and conditions under which orchard grass will succeed under his soil and cli-
matic conditions.

“I apply a good coat of manure, 22 to 25 loads an acre,” said Mr. Kee. “In preparing a seedbed, I disk, harrow and drag the land twice, and then seed 5 or 6 pounds of sweet clover and 10 or 12 pounds of orchard grass an acre. This spring I sowed 15 acres, last spring 25 acres, and 10 acres two years ago. I have 70 acres on the place. A year ago in September, I harvested 60 tons of hay from 25 acres. In May, two years ago, I harvested 2 tons an acre from one pasture.”

The tame pasture not only increases the carrying capacity of the land and extends the pasturing season, it maintains a better flow of milk. He turned his 13 milk cows on orchard grass pasture in March. Later in the spring, they were shifted to native pasture for eight days, and they dropped 5 gallons a day in production.