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SBillShfefWlS IP1 "l wonder if Uncle Frank would know?" he He had expected that when he began work in the .SZ7... - u .fe.... fe.". fW
3 8 WiIfV;A promised. They had themselves suffered too severely from the )?&kJ$ MmSiS:i!JSKa But when tk nn.wrr came it oroved that Uncle droucht not to feel sympathy for one who was try- te&HB """"" " e the Waters 2T.r FREDERICK HALL. ! OEL HART folded the letter and placed it in his inside pocket. It read simply: "I leave for Denver, Friday, and will stop at Morris, to talk tilings over with you." But to him those wurds meant much: for one thing, they represented almost the only secret that he had ever kept from his mother. He stopped a moment at the barn door to look across the corn and wheat fields, withering beneath tl c fierce heat of the July sun, then he saddled Pinto and started on the ten-mile race to Morris. Two great events in Joel's life had come the year that he was seventeen: one the death of his "father and the other a change within his own heart. He sometimes thought the one had come at the time it did that he might have strength to bear the other, for Joel loved his father, and the loss that had left the home so empty had laid upon the boy's 'young shoulders a heavy load of responsibility. It was chicflv for Ephraim Hart's health that the family had moved into the West, and the clear, dry air of the plains, h had done so little for the crops, had given adle months of life to the hopeful, failing mac It was that which had kept up their hearts during those first two years of drought, when hundreds of settlers had given up and gone back East. "It doesn't i. latter," Mrs. Hart would say, "so long as father keep well and happy." Joel never failed to nod assent and neighbors said "Well, maybe the Harts can stick it out. They've got in )i)L y bai k East." B" only Joel and his mother knew how mea ger those eastern resources, or how heavily thev hau been drawn upon. Then came their year of plenty, with its generous rains, when the father, in his wheel chair upon the prrji, could look across fields ripening to an abund ant harvest and, in a voice which grew each day weaker, would talk of the good times which were coming, when he should once moro be well and strong, the years of drought had plainly been ex ceptional, the soil was v.i fertile as any in the world, prosperity had come to stay; anil Joel and his mother, who saw only too clearly the end that was con ing so quickly now, encouraged him in all h;s hopeful prophecies. The autumn's rich harvest had been gathered in, wii tor had passed and then hail come exactly such a spring as they had known those first two years. Dry winds swept for days across the prairies; thetc was scant ran in May and almost none in June. When July came, they could see that nothing but speedy and abundant rain could save even a fraction of their crops. "We'll be ruined if it doesn't rain," Joel said to old Dr. ( nmeroii, to whom he had gone for advice and comfort. "We couldn't sell for the cost of our buildings, It isn't myself; I'm young and strong and I can c.iru a living anywhere; but mother hasn't the health '.e used to have, and Ruth and Sadie, they're lit'lc They can't work, and it can't be that they are ! ' se all that their father saved for them when he w . well and strong. And then, at the worst, we arc better off than others; there arc doy ens, yes, hundreds who will suffer more than we shall." "Have you ever read of the men who arc cultivat ing parts of tlm Sahara?" said Dr. Cameron, sud denly looking up at the boy. "Now these western plains they may have been meant to be irrigated, or they may be best adapted to crops that you have not tried." "It's all so new," answered Joel. "No. I never looked at it that way before. I'll I'll have to think it out. It " he hesitated "it shakes me up some. It's like the parable in the Bible about the houses, somewhere the floods have come and the winds blow. Of course my house has got to ttand, all right, only " his voice died out and for sonic mon cuts he sat silent. Dr. Cameron hail had a hurry call to the next town to sec a patient, and Jocl walkcd with him to the station, shook hands with him and stood watch ing as the train pulled slowly out. On the rear plat form two men, apparently tourists, were standing, and as they were whirled past, a scrap of their con versation reached his ears: " simply depends on whether dry farming ' and the rest was lost in the rumble of the train. But the half dozen words stuck in his memory nnd all the way home, whenever he was not ponder ing what Dr. Cameron had said, he was wondering what "dry fanning" might mean. "Mother," asked Joel, as he sat down next morn ing at the breakfast table, "what's dry farming?" "I don't know." she answered. "What makes you k? I don't think I ever heard of it before," "I heard two people talking about it yesterday, Jtnd I thought maybe it was something that would help us." "I think It's chickens," announced Sadie. Joel and his mother laughed, for it was a family Joke that the poultry always paid, no matter what the eeason, but the answer did not satisfy Joel, L "I wonder if Uncle Frank would know?" asked. "I'll ask him, the next time I write," his mother promised. But when the answer came it proved that Uncle Frank knew nothing whatever about dry farming. He could only guess that it must mean farming without water, which was of course quite absurd; and meanwhile Joel's inquiries among the neigh bors had met with no better success. About two weeks after his talk with Dr. Cam eron a stranger called at Joel's house. His costume was a dark gray Knickerbocker suit and leggins. A pair of glasses extremely concave made his eyes seem to protrude like those of some great insect, and the resemblance was heightened by his large head and slight, wiry figure. He was canvassing for a book and, because strangers were rare, he was made welcome and sat fortwenty minutes discours ing upon the merits of his volume The decision that it was not best for them to buy he received with' a quite surprising good grace and forthwith rose to go. "It seems to have been a pretty bad year for crops, all through this section," he remarked, as he descended the steps. "It's lack of rain," said Joel. "How much have you had?" "None to speak of since May." The stranger took out a little note book and consulted it. "You've had fourteen inches in the last year," he said. Joel made no reply. "Twelve inches are enough to grow forty bushels f wheat to the acre," he went on, "and in that field t doesn't look as if you'd get ten. You haven't used the rain: you've wasted it." The stranger ended with a smile, or Joel might have retorted angrily. After his months of unre mitting labor, it was not pleasant to find himself accused of being the author of his own misfortunes. "How have I wasted it?" he asked. The straneer replied bv putting another ques tion in a quick, nervous tone; "Did you ever write to the Agricultural De partment about your troubles, may I ask?" "No," answered Joel. "Len Stewart said it wouldn't do any good." "Ever visit the Agricultural College at Wapa hoe?" "No." "Ever visit one of their model farms?" "No." "You've a hired man?" "Yes." "Do you use a sub-soil packer?" "No "Dry farming " And then of a sudden Joel fell upon that book agent and seized him, as if he feared that he might take to his heels and escape down the road. "See here," he exclaimed. "What is dry farm ing? I've been trying for months to find out." They sat down on the steps and talked. After a while they rose and walked about from one part of the farm to another, inspecting and discussing it, not heeding the time, while the sun sank lower and lower in the western sky. "Where did you find out all this?" asked Joel, as the twilight began to close about them. "Who are you, anyhow?" "I'm a sort of missionary in disguise,'' answered the stranger. "I teach at Wapahoe. This is vaca tion time and so I'm tramping the country and sell ing books to pay expenses." "Come in, and have some supper," said Joel. ILldredge Brewster accepted the invitation and stayed the night. Every moment that was not spent in sleep was spent in earnest conversation, and when he left next morning, Joel walked with him down the dusty road a mile or more. "I'll send you the books and the tool catalogues," said his new found friend, at parting. "You'll want to read it up. It would help too if you would come to the college and see one of our model farms. If ever you get 'stuck' write to me and I'll come or send some one, but in the main, all you need is to remember a few simple things. There's rain enough, this section has always had rain enough, if only it is kept from running off the surface and evaporating. To save it you must keep your sub-soil packed and your surface, your soil mulch, pulverized. Regin in the Jpring, as soon as the ground s dry enough to let you on it, follow your plow with the sub-soil packer and the disk harrow. Harrow after every rain. Save the water, don't let it get away from you, that's the secret of the whole thing. Keep the work up all summer and if, as you say, you have the money to skip a crop that year, and give your time and energy to getting your soil into the right condition, there isn't a reason in the world why, after that, you shouldn't have good crops every year. You won't peed to depend on the weather. The work will be hard and steady, dry farming was never intcnted for a lazy man, tttt you and your hired man will be able to do it, with perhaps another horse. It is the results you arc afte and when you conic to try it, you will find that you use less seed and get bigger crops than you did the old way, even in the best years. Of course the irrigation ditch would help even a dry farmer, but, as you say, you won't get that for some years yet." They shook hands and Eldredge Brcwter set off down the road. Then, when he had gone a half dozen rods, he turned and came back, "Just one thing more," he said, "don't be talked out of this. If it wasn't so pathetic, it would be funny, the way the old line farmers stick to the notion that methods which were good in Illinois and Ohio, and New England, must be good here' and never stop to consider that there they had twice' the fain fall. I've talked to such men, and men who know ten times what I do about drv fanning have talked, arid lectured to them, and shown them re sults, and still they keep on in the same old wav year after year, and fail. The hope of the country s in the young men. Don't give this up, or be talked out of it. I'll pay the expenses if Vo fail; only if you do as I say, you won't fail. Good-live " And this tunc he was really gone ' Joel set to work as soon as the books came, reading them evenings and at odd moments His mother joined htm in the study and later" after the ' beet, -.n nf V 'r,V' rr,"lu,m- Potatoes, and sugar wAtb,r In . 1"dl Krnw luxuriantly under wfmfn f co",!lt,n,,s wanly similar to those upon "' VT,,u'-flvc "way. He saw, too, srie,, T. 'l1 ,la,,?torirs in which were studied ,c'cr " w,"r ' had never known to have any L?"r f"i"ing and, before he returned home, n Url t (," ;ls ia(1 ,,een vanquished and he had Placed !ns order for his new tools. He had expected that, when he began work in the spring there would be criticism and ridicule from the neighbors, but in this he was happily disappointed. They had themselves suffered too severely from the drought not to feel sympathy for one who was try ing, by a new method, to escape its ravages. Joel was ever ready to give reasons and explanations, lie lent his books, he told what he had seen at Wapahoe, some critics were set to investigating, and a few professed their determination to follow Joel's lead, if only his dry farming "panned out." That full season he gave to the culture of his soil. For him and his mother, there was no in come excepting the meager returns from the poul try, but both of them felt that it had been a year well spent, especially as the crops harvested upon neighboring farms were even Icsj than those of the year before. It was the eleventh of September that he made the first test of his work by putting in his fall wheat. In four days the tiny spears had forced their way up through the soil and in all the reg ion his was the only wheat field that showed green that autumn. That battle proved, however, only the first in a victorious campaign, for when the spring came, it was the least favorable of any they had known in the west; and yet, despite hard, conditions, Joel Hart's crops grew, and flourished, in the very face of scorching sun and blistering wind. Neigh bors looked and wondered; from miles around strangers came to investigate the rumors and went away to spread more rumors. It was the triumph of dry farming in that region and for the Harts and manv of their neighbors, it meant the beginning of a new era. "Our 'experiment' is going to make a big differ ence here," wrote Joel to Mr. Brewster. But to Dr. Cameron he wrote: "I've found out how to use the land. It was all my own fault. We might have done it years ago, if only I had read and studied, and asked more ques tions. In farming it isn't just l ard work that counts; I've found out that. It's brains, too, and a man is no farmer if he doesn't do at least half of his farm ing with his head." The Humming Bird X What a "boom I boom!" Sounds among the honey-suckles! Saying "Rooml Room! Hold your breath and mind your knuckles!" And fairy birdling bright Flits like a living dart of light, With his tiny whirlwind wings Flies and rests and sings! All his soul one flash, one quiver, Down each cup He thrusts his long beak with a shiver, Drinks the sweetness up; Takes the best of earth and goes Daring sprite! Back to his heaven no mortal knows, A heaven as sweet as the heart of a rose MI4 n POCKETS IBy &tr!t!bHiir Aldtaia Eimnip -t i Tockcts arc fine For marbles and twine, For knives and rubber-bands; So, stuff them tight From morning till night With anything else but hands I Waiting for Dinner H DC I When one is very hungry, It's hard to wait, I know, For minutes seem like hours And the clock is always slow. There isn't time to play a game, You just sit down am. wait, While Mother says, "Be patient, Our cook is never late." It's best when one is hungry, To think of other things, For then, before you know it. The bell for dinner rings, i n I G' - KK s ( -rvri 0 ir (ft ' '4 The birds are flying to and fro. And singing happy songs. " And if upon their feathers soft The snowy flakes should fall, They shake them off and sing some more, And never mind at all! The flowers, too, don't care a bit, It only makes them grow Because, you sec, this summer storm Is apple-blossom snowl vi i-WT'"iiyrn nnrr viT 8 - - - .?iS - ..VflVA't" II o ' "' "."-54itwS nowto'frn It's snowing hard as it can snow The ground is almost white, And all our pretty orchard grass Is hidden out of sight. The wind is blowing from the south, And coming good and strong. You'd never think a soutkern wind Would bring the snow along! The sun is shining warm and bright The flowers bloom in throngs THE SNAPSHOT I I "Come on; all ready. Stand right there. Ill tell you when I'm t?king. Wait I've got to focus. Now! Preparel No, no the camera's not straight. How far is it do you suppose? I'm focussing at twenty feet. No, papa needn't change his clothes. And doesn't baby lcol' too sweet I "Now! Walt a minute I can't t(et You all in, somehow. Mims, please Move close to papa closer yet; Or sit, with baby on your kneei. I'll move back, too, a littl! bit. Now! Wait you're partly in the shado. I guess that mama'll have to sit, Or else hc won't show, I'm afraid." "And, papa, you sit, too Let's ce No, that won't do; your feet arc out Of focus; they would look to be As big as fcrry-boas, about! Turn catty-corner there! Now! No, That won't do Wait. I guess wc planned Best way at first. You seem so low. Perhaps you all had better stand "No! Wait! until the sun is bright. How mean a cloud should interfere! You're all three now exactly right! Just fine! And baby's moved! Oh, dcarl But there it's coming out! Now, quick I Here, babyl Look at sister lookl Just look at sis I'm taking!" (Click!) "There, now! It's over with. You're 'took.'