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WONDERS WORKED BY WATER THE WORD DESERT A MISNOMER— SCARCITY OF RAIN FALL MAKES THE SOIL RICHER— ALONG THE COL ORADO RIVER— SUNSHINE AS WELL AS WATER ON TAP THE IMPERIAL CANAL SYSTEM THE CHARM OF THE DESERT. AN ABLE REVIEW OF DESERT RECLAMATION BY THE MIDWINTER TIMES. Hear in mind that the word <i- crt" is often s misnomer, it is strange that a people claiming tO be intelligent, and leading the world in farming, ever tolerated such 1 word, and allowed its Idea of sterility to be applied tO its best lands. Kven lifter 11 was found false as applied tO the \.i 1 prairies of Kansas and Nebraska, II was still SliPPOaed true in those States where the rainfall was lighter. It took years to learn what the sim plesi chemistry of agriculture should have taught thai the scarcity of rain fall made the soil richer. It is only in the lands having rainfall enough to leach out the nitrogen, potash nnd phosphoric acid thai real sterility Is found Where the rainfall is too light for vegetation, soil may have an excess of fertilizer, as in the case of some alkalies, where the drainage Is Interrupted and the excess cannot be ■arrled off. And It may he too coarse, as at the base of some hills. Hut wherever It contains enough tine material to make it hold moisture well enough, and has drain age enough to carry away any excess of potash or soda, there seems no such thing as sterility In the lands where the sunshine Is so incessant as to make the great, bare, dry plains that go under the name of desert. And there b> no greater mistake than to suppose sand a special feature of it Take awa\ the rain from the prairies of the Western States, and in a few years the wind would be drifting the SOU, while its color would change to the lighter tints of sand. If it had never had any rain to darken the groattd by decaying roots combining with Iron. It would always have had the light gray tint that suggests bar renness. And If the rainfall were cut off entirely, with no irrigation to take Its place, it would in time change back to grayer tints, while the desert will finally darken to a richer looking hue with decaying roots. It In therefore no wonder that every part of California has once been con< Steered desert, nnd that each part in turn, as It was found worth something, should prove a richer garden than its predecessors that had emerged from the desert State, And it was the same in Arizona, and has long been the ■ ,inu- in parts of Mexico, Alonn tht Colorado. Consequently there was no experi ment in undertaking the reclamation of the vnsi plains along the Lower Colorado with the water from that river. The result was us certain as the flowing of the great stream itself. ii:i<i not Irrigation received a tem porary setback by the manner in which great works had been "mon keyed" Into bankruptcy by wild-eyed promoters nnd financial desperadoei trying to get rich over night on the money <>f others, tins work would have been undertaken before, it remained for an experienced hand to take hold of the proposition in a business-like \\.i\ and manage it first, hist and all the time for Irrigation. The conse* queues Is a living creation, adding wealth by the da? to the state. No .-iwiivriMH 1 . problems are Involved thai have not been solved over and over again, BO th:<t hero Is no need of any failure The spring and sum mer rise of th<" great river is as Bure as that uf the tide, and. even if It were not. the lowest stage of w*l ever iooti there is enough to reclaim an urea greater than has been re claimed by any other ditch in \nior Ira \s the largest nmouni thai can be needed during the Irrigation season win not Interfere with navigation In the slightest, and as there is no other nlnce where the river can he ♦ ' out for irrigation, the enterprise will be free from that litigation thai has perplexed many such* bul if there were there would be enough water for all, both above and belon . and leave enough for navigation, too. Southern California no longer has to work up colonies among the green horns of othor States or Europe to settle Its Irrigated lands. It now has enough men of means who know right well what the combination of land and water means under its warm sun and long growing season. There was, there fore, no waiting for settlers. The settlers were rather waiting for the water. Every one here knows that of all the sure things of this earth alfalfa and other products of our irrigated lands tako the lead, and the only question Is, How soon is that water going to be on the ground? There Is nothing remarkable about this. It is simply the plainest busi ness principle. People from the rainy countries look upon irrigation as a poor substitute for rain, something with which an existence can be eked out if one must live in a desert. Why people of means persist in living in one of those same deserts is a ques tion they never ask themselves. It Is because rain is a mighty poor sub stitute for irrigation. The man who understands irrigation knows he is better off if he can get entirely clear HKIDUB ACROSS A 16-KOOT LATKRAI, OK THK IMPERIAL CANAI. SYSTKM of rain. It is just as essential for the best results to keep water off when you do not want it as It is to put it on when you do. The clouds are too capricious for direct results. You want them leagues away at the head of some big river and in mountain! Where rain never falls. Then you have sunshine on tap as well as water. The man who will farm on rain is a fool if he can't get a combination that he «an control. Such a combination is exactly what the Colorado River Canal offers, and that is why settlers from all parts of Southern California are flocking there. Tins makes many followers among the new arrivals from the East, and in a short time there will be a hun dred square miles of green where last year there was nothing but the gray glare Of the desert. Among those that knew, it was not necessary to prove the fertility of this section. But if it were, enough has already been done this year to show the mar velous growth that can be made In a short time Artesian Wells. Ne\t to a great river like the Col orado, artesian wells that flow from the drainage Of great mountains under ground in the channels of ages past make the most reliable supply. Such is the supply at Indio on the Colorado Desert, and this point is really the pioneer in this respect. Three years a(O the cultivation by water from wells fed by the drainage of the east ern Slopes of the great mountains of s.in Bernardino and Ban Jacinto sur passed almost anything that can be Seen inside the mountains, and over shadow d completely anything that can he done on the rainfall direct In any country. The six weeks of cool IMPERIAL PRESS spring weather along the coast that holds bark some of the best fruits is wanting here, and the difference in time for many fruits like grapes, with melons and many other things, is over a month and often six weeks. Growth is also later in the fall, so that the highest number of cuttings of alfalfa that can be made in the temperate zone can be made on this ground. For corn and similar products it can not be surpassed by the finest of river bottom or prairie, while it will at the same time grow nearly all the finer varieties of deciduous frurls. Of course it is hot, but that is just what makes things grow. It Is no hotter than Phoenix, in Salt River Valley, where thousands of people have been making money and enjoying good health for the last twenty years. If you want to know what they think of heat, go there and try to buy a farm. The price will somewhat surprise one who does not know the value of irri gation under a stream of brilliant sunshine. In the intensely dry air the heat or over, is a stimulant that becomes the chief source of wealth. This heat means a heavy crop of alfalfa in five or six weeks after the last cutting, often in five weeks; not a mere crop that it will pay to cut, but one that it will not pay to let grow any longer. For this dry cli mate means no cold rains to chill down the ground so that it takes sev eral days to got grass growing again after cutting. One who has never investigated this has little idea of how much valuable time is lost in thiß way in the East. But water from a ditch, warmed, too, in the sun to blood heat or over, is a stimulant that makes anything jump into joyous life "lnsUtnter." This is a most important factor in the gre«t yields of alfalfa Been in the sunny lands, and the des ert has it in greatest power. Thus, at Indio, alfalfa sown as late as last March made a large crop in June, something undreamed of on the west ern slope of the mountains, though very large crops are grown even there. An enormous crop of sorghum raised at Imperial sown broadcast for fodder on the first land reached in June with the water, gave ten tons of cured feed to the acre for the first cutting. Mil let showed the same results, and noth ing is more certain than that it can be done with anything adapted to this country, which means almost any thing. Settlement at Indio depended on the flowing wells which each settler had to bore for himself, and many could not be finished in time to put in crops this season. But over seven hundred acres are already under cultivation there, and the boring of wells this summer and fall on other tracts has been so successful that several thou sand acres will be in crops In 1902. For the rush of settlers to each of these points Is very great. It Is one of the last opportunities left to get cheap land with water In California. Under the desert land act it can be taken for a dollar and a quarter an acre, and under the homestead act for about nothing. Under the canal sys tem at Imperial the price of water will probably be $20 an acre during the coming year, or about one-fourth the price of the cheapest land In Califor nia or Arizona that Is watered from any reliable system. At Indio every farmer owns his own waterworks, but then there is always more or less uncertainty about the cost and flow of an artesian well. Hut even with the smallest and most expensive wells yet bored there, the cost of water per acre is still below the average of Southern California, while with the larger ones it is as cheap as water was from the canal in its early stages of selling. Over one hundred and twenty-five thousand acres of government land have already been taken up under the Imperial Canal, but as the water did not reach any of the land until June last, and as it takes some months to build the laterals for distribution, not much could be done in proportion to the area. But the work is now pro gressing so fast that housands of acres will be in cultivation this winter. The Charm of the Desert. To many ttie name desert is for bidding, but the majority of those who live on it learn to like it. Not alone because man can learn to like anything that pays well, but be cause there is an attraction In the almost endless procession of clear, bright days, in the freedom from fric tion with Ice, snow, slush and mud that goes far toward compensating for the loneliness of even the most remote sections. It is a common remark that you cannot live on cli mate. But it is equally true that good climate goes a good way. It helps out amazingly. The desert at the beginning of the new century is quite a different article from that of fifty years ago, and especially in California. As soon as the conditions of successful settlements are in the right shapev the rest fol lows, and there is no old-time pioneer ing. Many actually prefer the desert, not only because there is no rain to interfere with their cultivation, but .oeause it is also the most healthy of all climates. The extreme dryness of the air makes it the very best of all places for those troubled with any affection of the throat or lungs, and, while it will not finally cure catarrh, most forms of it are kept dormant by the freedom from cold and wet. Settlement comes so fast wherever the. canal pours a free volume of water that there is no more monotony on the desert than in any other flat section. The whole is soon lost in a wealth of shrubbery. Until then the land scape, bounded by distant mountains, that, in the dry. warm air, play a thousand tricks of color every hour of the morning and evening, and sleep in golden haze at noon, with the mirage that toys with the fancy better than anything in the landscape of the rainy lands, all furnish such novelties of scenery that you can scarcely believe you are in what from the car window seemed so worthless and repulsive. Progressive California. Alexander Craw, quarantine officer of the State Board of Horticulture, summarizes the progressive spirit of California In the following manner: To California belongs the credit of first suggesting the Introduction and propagation of beneficial insects for the purpose of benefiting her fruit growers and farmers. To California belongs the honor and credit of having furnished the follow ing countries with Insects that were of great value to them: Hawaii. Cape Colony. TCgvpt, Italy. Portugal. Ceylon, Jamaica. Florida and several islands of the Pacific. To California belongs the Invention of many of the best sprays and washes now in use. To California belongs the credit of Inventing and perfecting fumigation of orchard trees. To California belongs the credit of Inventing many of the most appioved appliances for fighting pests in the orchard. To California belongs the credit of improved methods of packing and transportation. To California belongs the credit of protective legislation for the benefit of our great industry, so beneficial in its operations that it has become the model for other States of the Union and other nations of the world. And. above all, and the cause of all of our advancement along these lines. California must he credited with the most intelligent, progressive and advanced horticulturists in the world. The average assessor in a corpora tion ruled city would not make a good burglar. He could not find anything worth taking.