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Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PST

Dear Mr. Miller,
I recently came across this 100 year old newspaper while cleaning out the woodshed. There is an article titled “Money In Weeds” that I thought was interesting. Maybe you’ll find some other articles of note, if not for printing then maybe just for fun. Please excuse the condition it is in.
Hope all is well with you and your family.
Keep up the good fight,
Matt Stauffer, Palermo, Maine
P.S. I really enjoyed your talk years ago at the Common Ground Fair, so nice to hear it and get a chance to meet you.paula's-garden

 

MONEY IN WEEDS

reprinted from The Maine Farmer: An Agricultural and Family Newspaper, May 10, 1906

One of the simplest and most novel ways for a boy to earn money is by gathering the leaves and roots of weeds that grow by the roadside, and in the fields where they pester the farmer.

The most annoying weed the farmer has to deal with is “witch-grass,” “couch-grass,” or “quack-grass.” It was regarded once as a good thing, but it has become a nuisance. It is a coarse grass growing in clumps of two or three stems from two to four feet high from a creeping, pointed rootstalk, and bears densely-flowered, spike-like heads resembling those of rye and beardless wheat. The stems are round, smooth, thickened at the joints, and hollow, bearing from five to seven sheath-like leaves. The grass is one of the most difficult weeds to eradicate on account of the long-jointed root-stalk, each joint of which is the source of a new plant.

These roots are caught by the harrow when the land is cultivated, and it has to be dumped of its trailing burden at the edge of the patch. Here is the chance for the lad after money. The part of the grass most valuable to the pharmacist is the part most aggravating to the farmer. It is the long, tough, creeping root-stalk which creeps along just under the surface. In color it is pale yellow, smooth, about one-eighth of an inch in diameter, with joints at intervals of about an inch, from which slender, branching rootlets are produced. The tip of a root is needle-pointed.

After the root-stalks have been collected and washed, the rootlets should be removed and the root-stalks cut into short pieces about two-fifths of an inch long. The lever-feed cutter that farmers use for cutting corn fodder is good for this work. The chopped roots should then be spread out to dry on shelves in a shed or barn where there is light and air. They should be spread thinly and turned from day to day until completely cured. This process takes from three to six weeks. Be neat, for the bright, clean roots bring the highest prices.

In the drug trade “witch-grass” is known as triticum. As sold at stores it is in the form of small angular pieces, straw-colored, shiny and hollow. For medicinal purposes, it is almost wholly an imported article. About 250,000 pounds are imported annually from Europe, and the price paid is from three to seven cents per pound. In selling drugs, a sample lot, a handful, should be sent for inspection and quotation to the nearest commission merchants dealing in drugs, whose address may be secured at the home drug store. “Witch-grass” roots are best gathered in the spring when the land is under cultivation.

Later in the summer a new weed, the dandelion, is at its best for medicinal purposes. This common plant thrives everywhere but in the South. It is found in fields, in the rank roadside growths, and is especially annoying on lawns. The part of the plant valuable as a drug is its long taproot from twelve to eighteen inches long, thick and fleshy like a parsnip dull yellow or brownish on the outside, clear white on the inside, odorless and very bitter. A thick, milky juice oozes from the root when it is cut or bruised. The time to dig the root is from July to September when the milky juice is thickening and the bitterness is increasing. The root should be thoroughly washed and dried. It wrinkles lengthwise in drying, and decreases in weight one-half. Last year the imports of dandelion root amounted to 115,522 pounds, and the price paid varied from four to six cents per pound.

Other weeds that are valuable as drugs, wholly or in part, are the burdocks, mullein, lobelia and tansy. Ambitious boys may pick up considerable money in collecting drugs for the market, and even “grown-ups” may find it profitable. The modern manufacturer is successful in proportion to his ability to utilize the by-products of his factory. In the same way, farmers and farmers’ sons may convert the necessary evil by-products of their business, the weeds, into coin of the palm.—American Boy.

Spotlight On: Livestock

Walsh No Buckle Harness

from issue:

When first you become familiar with North American working harness you might come to the erroneous conclusion that, except for minor style variations, all harnesses are much the same. While quality and material issues are accounting for substantive differences in the modern harness, there were also interesting and important variations back in the early twentieth century which many of us today either have forgotten or never knew about. Perhaps the most significant example is the Walsh No Buckle Harness.

Cultivating Questions The Cost of Working Horses

Cultivating Questions: The Cost of Working Horses

Thanks to the many resources available in the new millennium, it is relatively easy for new and transitioning farmers to learn the business of small-scale organic vegetable production. Economic models of horse-powered market gardens, however, are still few and far between. To fill that information hole, I asked three experienced farmers to join me in tracking work horse hours, expenses and labor over a two-year period and to share the results in the Small Farmer’s Journal.

Harnessing the Future

Harnessing the Future

by:
from issue:

En route to a remote pasture where the Belgian draft horses, Prince and Tom, are grazing, we survey the vast green landscape, a fine mist hovering in distant low lying areas. We are enveloped in a profusion of sweet, earthy balance. Interns and other workers start their chores; one pauses to check his smart phone. Scattered about are many animal-powered rustic implements. This rich and agriculturally diverse, peaceful place is steeped in contrasts: modern and ancient.

Lineback Cattle

Lineback Cattle

by:
from issue:

Cattle with lineback color patterns have occurred throughout the world in many breeds. In some cases this is a matter of random selection. In others, the markings are a distinct characteristic of the breed; while in some it is one of a number of patterns common to a local type. Considering that livestock of all classes have been imported to the United States, it is not surprising that we have our own Lineback breed.

Rabbits

Rabbits

by:
from issue:

The domestic rabbit has the potential to become one of the world’s major sources of meat protein. As human populations continue to put pressure on the resources of the food providers, the farmers, the rabbit is likely to begin to interest, not only the farmer, but the family interested in providing food for it’s table. They convert forage more efficiently than do ruminants, such as cattle and sheep. In fact, rabbits can produce five times the amount of meat from a given amount of alfalfa as do beef cattle.

Expanding the Use of the Heavy Draught Horse in Europe

Expanding the Use of the Heavy Draught Horse in Europe

“La Route du Poisson”, or “The Fish Run,” is a 24 hour long relay which starts from Boulogne on the coast at 9 am on Saturday and runs through the night to the outskirts of Paris with relays of heavy horse pairs until 9 am Sunday with associated events on the way. The relay “baton” is an approved cross country competition vehicle carrying a set amount of fresh fish.

Shoeing Stocks

An article from the out-of-print Winter 1982 Issue of SFJ.

Working Steers and Oxen on the Small Farm

Working Steers and Oxen on the Small Farm

by:
from issue:

For centuries, the skills of training steers for work and the craft of building yokes and related equipment was passed down from generation to generation. It was common for a young boy or girl to be responsible for the care and training of a team from calves to the age of working capability. Many farms trained a team each year, either for sale or for future replacement in their own draft program.

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

Horse Labor Instead of Tractors

by:
from issue:

Three different parcels of land were committed for a series of tests to directly compare the impact of tractors and horses on the land. One side of each parcel was worked only with horses and the other only with tractors. There were measurable differences between each side of the worked areas; the land’s capacity to hold water and greater aeration were up to 45cm higher in areas worked by horses as opposed to tractors.

On The Anatomy of Thrift Fat & Slat

On the Anatomy of Thrift Part 3: Fat & Salt

On the Anatomy of Thrift is an instructional series Farmrun created with Farmstead Meatsmith. Their principal intention is instruction in the matters of traditional pork processing. In a broader and more honest context, OAT is a deeply philosophical manifesto on the subject of eating animals. Fat & Salt is the third and final video in the series. It is the conceptual conclusion to the illustrated, narrated story that weaves throughout the entire series, and deals instructionally in the matters of preserving pork.

A Year of Contract Grazing

A Year of Contract Grazing

by:
from issue:

Contract grazing involves the use of livestock to control specific undesirable plants, primarily for ecological restoration and wildfire prevention purposes. The landowners we worked for saw grazing as an ecologically friendly alternative to mowing, mechanical brush removal, and herbicide application.

Praise for Small Oxen

Praise for Small Oxen

by:
from issue:

Every day in the winter, and a fair number of days in the summer, I choose to work with a team of Dexter oxen, just about the smallest breed of cattle in North America. Harv and Mr. Whistling Sweets are three years old, were named on a half-forgotten whim by my young children, and stand 38” tall at the shoulder. Sometimes, perched on top of a load of hay, moving feed for my herd of thirty cows, I look and feel comical — a drover of Dachshunds.

Littlefield Notes Making Your Horses Work For You Part 2

LittleField Notes: Making Your Horses Work For You Part 2

by:
from issue:

Every beginning horse farmer at some point will find himself in need of procuring that first team. After land, this is certainly one of the most critical purchasing decisions you will make in the development of the farm. The animals you choose can make your farming glow and hum with moments of blissful certainty, or contribute to frustration, bewilderment, loss of resolve, and God forbid, horses and people hurt and machines wrecked.

Livestock and Predators No Easy Answers

Livestock and Predators: No Easy Answers

by:
from issue:

Since we’ve raised sheep commercially, we’ve been committed to trying to live with the predators in our environment. Over the years, we’ve lost just a handful of sheep — several to coyotes, at least one each to mountain lions and rattlesnakes, and four in one night to a neighbor’s dog. Mostly, though, our commitment to nonlethal predator protection tools has worked. A combination of electric fencing, livestock guardian dogs, sheep selection and grazing management has allowed us to co-exist with the predators in our environment.

Multiple Hitching with One Set of Lines

Multiple Hitching with One Set of Lines

by:
from issue:

A great deal of interest has been shown the last several years in using multiple hitches in horse farming, especially in spring fieldwork. The question often asked is how to keep it simple and easy in driving and assembling the hitch as far as lines are concerned. We demonstrated our method at the Horse Progress Days at Mt. Hope, Ohio in 2003 and have been asked numerous times how we drove four, six and eight-horse hitches using only two lines.

A Gathering of Comtois in France

A Gathering of Comtois in France

by:
from issue:

I was soon planning for a stop in the town of Pontelier, the main hub in one corner of the country I had never been to and was bent on exploring: the Franche-Compte. As luck would have it, this region has its very own breed of draft horse, the Comtois. It was to an “exhibition” of this horse that I was heading, although thanks to my lousy French, I was not sure exactly what kind of “exhibition” I was heading to.

Ask A Teamster Horse Don't Won't Can't Turn

Ask A Teamster: Horse Don’t, Won’t, Can’t Turn

After moving the drop ring on the other side down we went out to the round pen for a test drive. The difference in how she ground drove and turned was amazing – not perfect, but real sweet. With the lines at that level a right turn cue on the line obviously meant go right to her, and a left turn cue meant left. After we drove around for a while with me smiling I couldn’t resist moving the drop rings back up to the line rings – Bam, back to the old confusion.

Irish Dexter Rose Veal

Irish Dexter Rose Veal

by: ,
from issue:

“Farm to Fork” food programs are a revival of the past. Big Horse Ranch & Little Cattle Company is now involved in developing “Old School” free raised Irish Dexter rose veal. We are trying to replicate ranching as it was 100 years ago. This is not a fast paced business venture; it does allow us to best use our ranch to provide old style food for those who are seeking food that has a history of quality.

Small Farmer's Journal

Small Farmer's Journal
PO Box 1627
Sisters, Oregon 97759
800-876-2893
541-549-2064
agrarian@smallfarmersjournal.com
Mon - Thu, 8am - 4pm PDT