Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

never saw it in the state — the genuine article — until within a year. I have seen a grass that grows on low ground that has a root a little similar, but it is not the genuine article. I found it in my garden within a year, and I am perfectly satisfied I got it of some of these nurserymen; and that is where friend Martin thinks be got his Canada thistles. Now I have no doubt we get a great many of these things through that means. I am satisfied that I imported it with raspberry roots. I think we should be careful, when buying these plants of nurserymen, to look them over very close and see if we don't get more than we bargain for.

Mr. Stickney — I have no doubt we have disseminated a lot of Quack grass from my place. I am going to balance accounts with the farmers. We buy lots of manure from the hay brought into Milwaukee from twenty miles all around us. We never fail to get a grist of seeds from the outside in the way of Quack grass and Canada thistles, and mustard and snap grass. Those four items we get from all points. If the farmers will quit even I will.

Secretary Bryant - This question of “How to kill thistles," was asked in the Country Gentleman some time during the month of December last, and brought out letters from all over the land. If any of you take the paper, you remember reading them. The sum and substance of all of them was cultivation, salt and clover.

Mr. Stickney - I would add, you can very effectually keep them in check, if not destroy them, by two cuttings with the scythe in one season, just as they are coming in, when the stalk has its full size and become hollow. All the qualities of the plant are ready to be expended in the production of seed. If you cut the weak growth that comes after that, in the same season, you kill nineteen-twentieths of it.' That is the easiest and simplest check you can get.

Mr. Daubner – I wish to remind Mr. Stickney that Canada thistle seed isn't ripe when hay is cut. (Laughter.)

Mr. Stickney - I take it back. The gentleman lives about six miles west of me, and our prevailing winds are from the west. (Laughter.)

Mr. Daubner - I have no Canada thistles on my place. Two

years ago I bought two hundred trees of Mr. Stickney, and I have some Quack grass.

Adjourned to two o'clock.

WEDNESDAY, 2 O'CLOCK P. M.

Convention called to order by President Fratt.

CLEARING OFF TIMBER LAND.

By J. W. WOOD, BARABOO.

It seems almost unfortunate to have an article for this convention on the subject of tree destroying, especially after reading again the pleasant letter from Dr. Warder, of our convention a year ago, entitled “ A plea for tree planting," and published in our Transactions.

In fact, there has been so great a pressure brought to bear in favor of tree planting, especially in the west, within the last few years, that it makes the poetical side of a man feel guilty of vandalism to take a well balanced axe, examine its edge to see if it is keen and well polished, and start for the grand old woods which have been hundreds of years growing into their present magnificent proportions, with the intention of utterly demolishing and exterminating them, root and branch; but the practical side of the man comes to the rescue when he sees clearly that it has always been, and is yet, the only road to comfort and prosperity in all heavily timbered regions.

The early settlement of our national domain progressed but slowly until it passed the timbered boundaries of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Since emigration has struck the prairie regions of the west, it has gone like wild-fire, and in the open prairie, five years will do more towards surrounding people with the comforts of life than twenty-five will do in the heavy timber.

Men are mourning over the wasted hill sides of New England, and measures are being instituted for replanting them with trees; but it does not follow that the fathers made a mistake in cutting them off and making them contribute towards their support. If

it is best to replant them, let it be done; it is in harmony with the great system of rotation in crops, which nature adopts, and which is imitated by all intelligent farmers. If it had been possible to have farmed those hill sides so as to have preserved their fertility, it ought to have been done; but agriculture has so far in the world's history been a wasteful process, and the fertility of the earth bas diminished in all districts confined to their own resources for fertilizers. Scientists are now agreed that our whole solar system is in a transition state towards death and darkness, and that the appearance of man on our planet, and his full career, will form but a brief chapter when the whole history of the universe shall be written. If this general law of exhaustion applies in full force to agriculture, it teaches us the duty which we owe to posterity of husbanding our abundant natural resources and so preserving the fertility of our land as long as possible. In the worn out lands at the south, neglect alone is all that is required to secure forest growth. The land is only held in cul. tivation by constant diligence.

Prof. Searing told us last winter that in Northern Georgia "the pine appears to spring up spontaneously almost everywhere in neglected places, and grows with surprising rapidity.” I wish it were so more generally in the north. It is not unusual, in reading the literature of forestry, to find it urged as an inducement for planting trees, that forests promote rain fall and in many ways modify climate.

Some of these claims I regard as good, and others I do not. That the removal of forests will dry up wet places and so affect springs and wells, and also intensify floods and hasten freshets, is no doubt true; and for this reason it is often essential to the general health of a county that it should be cleared up. In fact, a single tree or row of trees casting a shade into the road will often prolong a muddy spot until it comes to be regarded as a nuisance; but that forests affect the general rain fall, I do not believe. The sources of our rain storms are often remote, and nature does up its work on so magnificent a scale that our heaviest timber is relatively no more than the moss on the top of a stone, and the myriad blades of grass may be as efficent conductors of electricity, if any are needed, as the leaves on the tallest oaks.

A timber belt may check the wind on the earth's surface, just as a stone in the bottom of a river may form an eddy in which a fish may rest, but it does not affect the great flow of the water above, nor does the timber affect in the least the great flow of the atmosphere over our heads. Whatever may be said in favor of forests, the fact still remains that over immense areas in middle and northern Wisconsin our only road to prosperity lies in the destruction and removal of these primitive forests.

The first thought of every person on looking at this timber is to preserve it for the time of scarcity and high prices foretold by seers, and which will surely come; but land has been held here for thirty years, near flourishing towns, which will not, this winter, pay in timber for thorough clearing. Taxes have eaten it up more than once, and tax sales are common in all heavily timbered sections. A man settling on new land had no doubt better take the open plain and depend on raising the necessary wood, rather than choose a timbered track and depend on bewing his way to a farm.

Farming land which has to be cleared of timber, in a country where it is plenty, is always very costly, and owing to stumps and roots, makes for some years expensive farming. It takes & generation to open up a farm. Timber preserved may profit grandsons, but not so much as it would for the grandsire to clear it off and till it intelligently. There is one thing in favor of the timber a man who has to clear off his farm by inches cannot run over it and ruin it so fast as he can on the prairies.

After thirty years of waiting, on the edge of this great northern timber belt, our best tracts are not worth as much now in timber as the same acres would be in corn or clover, and the advent of our railroad has opened up tracts remote from us, where men are content to get paid for the actual labor expended in removing their timber products, rather than pile and burn them for nothing, so that our local market is no better than it was before the rail. road came. In the meantime the grub-land, interspersed through the southern prairies, bas, since the fires have ceased, grown up to small timber, and the country at large is better supplied with wood than it was when first settled. In the Baraboo Valley, on

the south side of the river, the farms have all been opened in heavy timber, and the land is so good that the clearing process is yearly pushed in an increasing ratio. At first the labor was purely destructive, but the erection of mills and factories soon led to the utilization of the wood, so that at the present time there is supposed to be a small margin of profit in clearing land near our villages. I have been wrestling with this timber for the past ten years, and have several men at work at it now. I thought that some freshness of effect might be had in our convention by giving some of the methods of destruction contrast witli those of propagation.

Our clearing off is generally done in the winter. It would be surer death to the stumps if it could be done while the trees are in full leaf, but our summers are occupied in other work, and choppers can be more easily hired in winter when farm work is laid aside; and then again we need the snow for removing the logs and other heavy products.

We prepare for our winter's work as early in the fall as possible, and in the first place we cut closely all of the undergrowth, piling the brush carefully, so that it may be compact enough to readily catch fire. We pick up the down stuff as far as we conveniently can, piling it with the rest ; a few rotten chunks thrown in with the brush will, when dried out, assist in setting the fires. We next cut out all the small timber suitable for fencing and either remove the rails or pile them in compact heaps, so that a tree accidentally striking them will not crush them. The stumps of all this small timber are to be cut so low that a sled can readily pass over them while doing the heavier work.

A good woodsman is careful in felling his trees to lay them where they can be readily worked up without interfering with other trees, either by lodging in their branches or crushing the smaller ones in their fall. Intelligent men acquire great skill in woodcraft and soon become expert in all departments of the work. We haul our logs to the neighboring mills to be cut for ourselves, or we sell them outright, as we may choose. Good oak logs, butt cuts, will bring seven or eight dollars per thousand, scaled by Scribner's rule. Basswood and maple, suitable for

« PředchozíPokračovat »