PEACTIC.1 F012ESTI; APPLIED Tll SMALL AREAS The problem OF UNPROFITABLE HILLSIDES. — There is much land in the United States that is unfit for agriculture, but there is none so poor Or so dry, except in the arid regions, that it will 110t, grow trees. A great deal of land in the eastern states has been exhausted of its fertility long ago, and does nut bring retnrns for the labor the farmer puts upon it. There may he some sentiment but there is little sense in working year after year upon bare ridges and bleak knolls, planting them with care, only to see the crop fail. What is the matter? Why it does not pay the plow has pulverized the soil, and put it into the best possible condition, the rains come and wash the fertility out of it. and deposit it in some distant marsh, or give it to some river. The wind, too. is a thief. The particles of dust, which tire the richest part of the soil, are continually being blown away and scattered over the lower lands. There is nothing to pre vent this constant pillage of the soil's hest treasure.
Field/n(/ to the iiiccitoble. —When the farmer gives up the struggle, Nature steps in and works a miracle,—aye two of them. Wind-blown seeds lodge on the knolls. They grow, and among the weeds may appear a few brambles. The stubborn dead stems mat and bend over the soil in winter, resisting the wind that world tear them out by the roots. The rain by rotting the leaves and steins adds fertility to the land. Tree seeds blow in, germinate, and in a short time overshadow the other plants. Among their sapling steins leaves accumulate. The soil is firmly gripped and permeated by the roots of trees and plants. Its coarse leaf carpet becomes ti. spongy mat that absorbs and holds water. The tree roots go always deeper as they grow, and find plant food which the plow and the roots of most farm crops could never have reached.
JACitare's doltble There is little blowing and washing of the soil now. Each year it hoards fertility for the growth of the next. The trees, as saplings a beautiful part of the landscape, are becoming a. timber crop. We usually think of crops as causes of soil deple
tion. Vet Nature has grown a crop of trees and regenerated the soil at the same time. That, is the double miracle.
Dollars awl cents.—Every farmer worthy of his calling knows the value of his wood lot. In trnth, he often has 110 more profitable land. If he doubts this, let him open an account with this tract and another with a. plowed field of equal size and similar soil, and compare the figures at the end of a year.
Debits and credits.—Before he knows what profit he has made on his corn, he must deduct the value of his labor. The field was plowed, and harrowed and planted and cultivated. There is the seed to count. and the share this crop must bear in the cost of the farm imple ments used in its cultivation. The wood lot has had no tillage. There was no seed to buy and no labor was expended except in harvesting. Against an almost blank debit side the owner must. set. down the fuel, and the lumber that lie was saved from buying— the poles for the shed, the fence posts, and the rails—the litter that was used to lied the cattle, or to fertilize the garden, or for both.
Incidental pnyits. —There are some other values which he may over look. The wood lot is probably on land that was practically useless when Nature was given a chance to re-forest it. Now the soil is rich and deep—virgin soil, if ever he should want to clear it and add it to his fields. That piece of woods has held the snow in winter and doled the moisture out in the summer by unseen, underground ways to his crops in the lower ground instead of sending it off in surface torrents of spring rains.
Enhanciny fitr»1 (alues.— Again, that wood lot adds greatly to the market value of the farm. A prospective buyer likes the look of it. It adds to the beauty of the plantation. It is a part of the land scape, and the landscape is a part of every home. It may be situ ated so as to serve a good end in protecting the house and the garden and the orchard from cold. It may temper the force of pre vailing winds.