1919 Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory Of
Genesee County, Michigan
Tips & Pests


By Holice, Clayton, and Debbie



There is one easy, sure way to make a hotbed, and here it is:

A hotbed is nothing more than a board-edged pit, in which there is fermenting horse manure covered with several inches of soil. The top of the hotbed is roofed with one or more sashes, which usually measure about 3 X 6 feet each. At night a straw or other mat is laid over the glass to keep our the cold.

Hotbeds are usually made of one-inch boards. If the boards on the back of the frame are twelve inches above ground, those in the front should be several inches lower, thus giving a slant to the sashes, enabling water to run off quickly.

Throw the manure into the hotbed pit in successive layers, continuously tramping. Fill the pit to within four or five inches of the top of the frame on the front side. The manure will settle several inches before time for sowing the seed. Place sashes on the frame immediately after filling.


Spring is a good time to prune trees, unless you prefer to wait until June. The rule is that spring pruning induces wood growth and June pruning induces fruit growth. Of course, on young trees you should want only wood growth until they are good-sized and fully able to endure the strain of fruit bearing. Some growers do part of their pruning in March, and part in June.

Don't prune mature trees too severely. A tree must have some place upon which to produce its fruit; otherwise it will produce water-sprout instead of fruit.

Don't prune off a single branch unless you know just why you are removing it and why you are removing that particular branch in preference to some other.

Don't neglect to paint all large wounds. Painting will improve the appearance, prevent decay, prevent evaporation of the tree's supply of moisture, and facilitate healing.

Above all, don't allow any man to prune your trees if his chief recommendations is hi ability to handle an ax and a saw.

Don't prune your trees because some one else think they need pruning. He may not now any more about them than you do.

Don't prune your trees unless you can tell the difference between a dead and a living branch, between a bearing and a non-bearing branch, between a fruit-spur and a water sprout, and between a fruit-bud and a leaf-bud.

It is sometimes stated that the fruit-growers of the Pacific slope, who produce some of the finest fruit in the world, prune away "nearly half of the tops of their trees" every year. they do nothing of the kind. They remove about one-quarter to two-thirds of the annual terminal growth of the previous season. But they give their trees culture that causes the trees to make terminal growth of from two to three, and often four feet. The average eastern farmer gives his trees only enough care to permit the growth of four or five inches of terminal growth; and so his tree tops do not need the same treatment that a larger growth would require.

Trim fruit trees a little every year, rather then much in any one year. Peach trees require more pruning than most trees; at least one-half of the length of the new growth should be removed each season. Cherry trees require the least pruning; merely cut out dead, broken, or "crossed" limbs. Other trees need a judicious thinning-out and, sometimes, cutting-back. Avoid cutting so as to leave "stubs"; make neat cuts close to union.

The harder you prune the more suckers you will have; donít overdo a good thing.


At one time our premises were so over-run with rats that we sustained quite a loss from their devastation. A plan for their destruction was devised, as follows: Filling an iron kettle three-fourth full of barn sweepings, corncobs and a little mixed grain, we set it in an empty stall in the horse stable where the rats seemed to predominate most, and left it this way for some time, keeping plenty of grain in with the rubbish as an enticement for the rats. We laid several boards sloping from the kettle to the floor, so that the rats could easily turn up and down and into the kettle.

At the end of about two week, or when we thought a great number of rats had become accustomed to frequent the kettle, we emptied the kettle of its rubbish contents and filled it three-fourths full of water and covered the water about an inch or more with light chaff, leaving no water exposed. (If water remains entirely undisturbed the chaff will not sink over night.) On the chaff we scattered a light little grain. There was something going on, that night! The rats has a party or something; at any rate, the next morning we went to fishing we scooped out about a half bushel of rats, big and little. The next morning our haul was not quite so large, but we got quite a number; and so on until the rats either got wise or there was no more rats. If we did not get all, we at least got a large majority of them.

At another time when rats were getting altogether too plentiful, we caught a rat ina box trap. This rat we let run into a grain bag and there we caught it by the nape of its neck, guarding carefully against being bitten; then we let all but the head and neck come out of the bag and painted all of the exposed parts of the rat thoroughly with tar, and let the rodent go. We had heard that doing this to one rat and letting it go would clean the premises of all other rats, as they object to the smell of tar, or are frightened at the strange appearance of one of their party. It seemed to work in our case, and work well, We had not trouble with rats for several years after that. Lonesome, heartbroken, or what, I don't know, but one morning shortly after we had tarred this rat we caught the same fellow again in the same trap we had caught it in before. However, this time we did not let it go.

If seems that in no other place are rats to hard to catch as in the cellar. Located there they seem to be able to evade all traps and trapping. But I found a way to get Mr. Rat in the cellar. I set a steel trap and put it in a shallow discarded bread-pan, and covered the trap completely with wheat bran; the bran being light, did not spring the trap nor hinder the working of it. Over and abut the trap on the bran I scattered a few bread-crumbs or meat scraps. This method has never failed me in getting rats in the cellar; although it has when tried in other places. The bran and the foregoing baits differed so much from the edible the rats in the cellar were accustomed to diet in, that they jumped for the chance of a change, and consequently were easily caught in this manner.

I have found that rats often gain entrance to a cellar through the cellar drain, and for this reason the outlet to the drain should be screened so that no rats can enter.

Chloride of lime, if generously sprinkled over the runways of rats, will also clear the premises of the pests. It gets into their nostrils and burns their feet. Rather then brave many repetitions of it, they leave the premises.

Prevention is sometimes better than cure. Where possible to do it, use concrete for floors, foundations, etc. The additional cost of thus making buildings at-proof is slight as compared to the advantages. With cement even an old cellar may be made proof against these pests.



Published By Wilmer Atkinson Company, Philadelphia, 1919

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