The Fat of the Land eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about The Fat of the Land.

Butter $1126.00
Eggs 351.00
Hogs 1807.00
   Total $3284.00



>One hazy, lazy October afternoon, as my friend Kyrle and I sat on the broad porch hitting our pipes, sipping high balls, and watching the men and machines in the corn-fields, as all toiling sons of the soil should do, he said:—­

“Doctor, I don’t think you’ve made any mistake in this business.”

“Lots of them, Kyrle; but none too serious to mend.”

“Yes, I suppose so; but I didn’t mean it that way.  It was no mistake when you made the change.”

“You’re right, old man.  It’s done me a heap of good, and Polly and the youngsters were never so happy.  I only wish we had done it earlier.”

“Do you think I could manage a farm?”

“Why, of course you can; you’ve managed your business, haven’t you?  You’ve grown rich in a business which is a great sight more taxing.  How have you done it?”

“By using my head, I suppose.”

“That’s just it; if a man will use his head, any business will go,—­farming or making hats.  It’s the gray matter that counts, and the fellow that puts a little more of it into his business than his neighbor does, is the one who’ll get on.”

“But farming is different; so much seems to depend upon winds and rains and frosts and accidents of all sorts that are out of one’s line.”

“Not so much as you think, Kyrle.  Of course these things cut in, but one must discount them in farming as in other lines of business.  A total crop failure is an unknown thing in this region; we can count on sufficient rain for a moderate crop every year, and we know pretty well when to look for frosts.  If a man will do well by his land, the harvest will come as sure as taxes.  All the farmer has to do is to make the best of what Nature and intelligent cultivation will always produce.  But he must use his gray matter in other ways than in just planning the rotation of crops.  When he finds his raw staples selling for a good deal less than actual value,—­less than he can produce them for, he should go into the market and buy against higher prices, for he may be absolutely certain that higher prices will come.”

“But how is one to know?  Corn changes so that one can’t form much idea of its actual value.”

“No more than other staples.  You know what fur is worth, because you’ve watched the fur market for twenty years.  If it should fall to half its present price, you would feel safe in buying a lot.  You know that it would make just as good hats as it ever did, and that the hats, in all probability, would give you the usual profit.  It’s the same with corn and oats.  I know their feeding value; and when they fall much below it, I fill my granary, because for my purpose they are as valuable as if they cost three times as much.  Last year I bought ten thousand bushels of corn and oats at a tremendously low price.  I don’t expect to have such a chance again; but I shall watch the market, and if corn goes below thirty cents or oats below twenty cents, I will fill my granary to the roof.  I can make them pay big profits on such prices.”

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The Fat of the Land from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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