The legumes fulfil the three requisites of the cover crop: protection, humus, and the storing of nitrogen. That was why, when the corn in the orchard was last cultivated in July, I planted cow peas between the rows. The peas made a fair growth in spite of the dry season, and after the corn was cut they furnished fine pasture for the brood sows, that ate the peas and trampled down the vines. In the spring ploughing this black mat was turned under, and with it went a store of fertility to fatten the land. Cow peas were sowed in all the corn land in 1897, and the rule of the farm is to sow corn-fields with peas, crimson clover, or some other leguminous plant. As my land is divided almost equally each year between corn and oats, which follow each other, it gets a cover crop turned under every two years over the whole of it. Great quantities of manure are hauled upon the oat stubble in the early spring, and these fields are planted to corn, while the corn stubble is fertilized by the cover crop, and oats are sown. The land is taxed heavily every year, but it increases in fertility and crop-making capacity. For the past two years my oats have averaged forty-seven bushels and my corn nearly sixty-eight bushels per acre. There is no waste land in my fields, and we have made such a strenuous fight against weeds that they no longer seriously tax the land. The wisdom of the work done on the fence rows is now apparent. The ploughing and seeding made it easy to keep the brush and weeds down; hay gathered close to the fences more than pays us for the mowing; and we have no tall weed heads to load the wind with seeds. This is a matter which is not sufficiently considered by the majority of farmers, for weeds are allowed to tax the land almost as much as crops do, and yet they pay no rent. Fence lines and corners are usually breeding beds for these pests, and it will pay any landowner to suppress them.
DOGS AND HORSES
It was definitely decided in August that Jane was not to go back to Farmington. We had all been of two minds over this question, and it was a comfort to have it settled, though I always suspect that my share of it was not beyond the suspicion of selfishness.
Jane was just past nineteen. She had a fair education, so far as books go, and she did not wish to graduate simply for the honor of a diploma. Indeed, there were many studies between her and the diploma which she loathed. She could never understand how a girl of healthy mind could care for mathematics, exact science, or dead languages. English and French were enough for her tongue, and history, literature, and metaphysics enough for her mind.
“I can learn much more from the books in your library and from the dogs and horses than I can at school, besides being a thousand times happier; and oh, Dad, if you will let me have a forge and workshop, I will make no end of things.”