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Tasks and Techniques

Household Tips

Unknown Author - The Springwater Enterprise

20 August 1896

Clean Dairies

There is hardly a single reform now needed in farming greater than that of securing extreme cleanliness about our milking, says J. Morgan of New York. It is a great pity that we have lost the English and Dutch custom of having the cows handled entirely by the women, and so the dairy product should be in their hands from the beginning. The original meaning of the word daughter was milker. Having occasion lately to buy a few quarts of milk per day for a few weeks, I found most of it tainted from the barnyard. In one case it was so foul that it could not be used. Even the cats refused to drink it. I was led to investigate and found one heard in a barnyard where the urine was a foot deep, and the cows were a horrible sight. In another yard the hired man spit on his hands frequently while milking. Remonstrating, I was told, “Oh, lots of ‘em do that.” The sum of my investigation was a resolution to buy as little milk as possible. But in our own yards it needs the most constant watching and determined supervision to prevent the average hired man from habits which foul the milk.

There is no reason why a horse should be groomed and curried that does not equally apply to a cow. It conduces to her health and to the flow of milk. It is vastly more important for our own health. The milk from the large dairy that I found too bad for men or cats goes into a creamery every day to be worked up into butter. That this is wholesome for consumers no one need assert. It is a steady source of disease. It is an outrage on the community.

The average American barnyard is far from what it should be. It has not improved largely on what it was when our people camped in the woods as pioneers. It is seldom thoroughly drained, and the barn eaves provided with gutters to keep the yard from being soaked by showers. Not over half of the yards of this section are supplied with wells. In many cases the cows drink from pools that are tainted from the yard. Saying to a farmer that the women ought to be given charge of the milking , he said, “They can’t get around in the barnyards.” To be sure; the woman without rubber boots would be ruined; in fact, you could not persuade her to try it. There is a common sentiment that a barnyard is too dirty for women. While living in Michigan, I saw the barnyards of the Quakers of the Raisin valley. The cows were clean. There was neither filth, nor profanity, nor tobacco juice about. The spirit of love and peace touched the animals. Honor pervaded all that was done. There was no lie or deceit about what was done any more than about what was said.

- The American Agriculturist.

The Best Soil for Rhubarb

It requires high manuring to make rhubarb growing profitable, especially as most of the money to be made is from the very early cutting, and these must be grown on warm, sandy land, which is not generally very rich. The plant is a great consumer of nitrogen, and this is not supplied early in the season by coarse manure. Either the manure applied must be well rotted, so that it will have available nitrates, or these must be applied in the form of commercial fertilizers. The late rhubarb is easily grown with coarse stable manure, but its price is always very low.

Care of Flowers

Dust rose bushes occasionally with air-slacked lime to kill the bugs. Try sprinkling pulverized borax around plants that are infested by ants. If rose bushes mildew in hot, damp weather apply sulphur after they are watered. Keep the flowers picked from the annuals if you would have abundant and constant bloom. Keep cut flowers fresh by clipping the ends of the stems and putting a pinch of soda in the water. If the rose bushes become red and rusty, give them a thorough sprinkling once a week with a solution containing a handful of Paris green to a bucketful of water.

For the Housewife

One of the best ways to preserve eggs is to smear them well with Vaseline, pack them carefully in a wooden box with a lid, putting a good layer of kitchen salt between each layer of eggs. When the box is full tighten the lid firmly down, and every fortnight turn the box upside down to prevent the yolks from settling. Eggs preserved in this way, when boiled, cannot be told from fresh ones. Vaseline answers better than butter, as it does not decompose.

Home-made Filter

An eminent sanitarian, Dr. Parkes, has given directions for a home-made filter for drinking water. A large common flower pot is covered over at the bottom, the opening and all, with a piece of clean flannel or of zinc gauze. Over this put a layer of coarse gravel about three inches deep, and over the gravel a layer of white sand of the same depth. Above the sand put four inches of charcoal, broken in fragments. If possible use animal charcoal. Lay over the top a clean fine sponge that covers it, of if you have not a sponge, a layer of clean flannel. The top layer whether of flannel or sponge, is to be made sterile by frequent washing and boiling. Set the filter in a wooden frame, and under it put a clean vessel to receive the water that comes through the filter.

Grow $200 Horses

There is a great deal of importance attached to the advice to be careful in breeding horses that will sell for something, instead of the old haphazard way. A writer in one of our agricultural exchanges suggests now that farmers have had a good deal of hard experience with the cheap service craze, and the fast horse craze and the color craze, all bringing the same result - millions of small, worthless horses for which there is no profitable market. In sober judgment, let us look at the markets and raise no horse that will not sell above $200. The heavy draft and large coachers will do that, and the sooner we begin to grade up to what the markets want the sooner we will begin to make horse breeding pay, and we will not then complain of the times or the prices when we have good horses to sell.

- Indian Farmer.

Sour Meal Kills Chicks

The following from the Ploughman, is a plain fact so well known that we call attention to it, as each reader well knows that he has perhaps done the same thing. Here is the method of murdering the chicks:

This common custom is to keep a dish of Indian Meal mixed up, and two or three times a day a lot is thrown down to the chickens. If they eat it, well and good; if not, and the chances are they will not, they having become tired of one single article of diet set before them day after day, it stands and sours. If a quantity is thus found uneaten, the next feed is likely to be a light one, and the chickens, driven by hunger, finally devour the sour stuff; the result is cholera, or some other fatal disease, sets in and their owner wonders “Why my chickens are dying off?” In our own practice we find quantities of varied food, if given to the chickens often, produce vastly better results than any other method of feeding.

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