“Well, if we don’t expect to get something for nothing, I think we ought to add it. Adding $4000 will make the returns from the farm $15,118, leaving $18,276 to add to the interest-bearing debt. Last year this debt was $84,404. Add this year’s deficit, and we have $102,680. A good deal of money, Polly, but I showed you well over $100,000 in assets,—at our own price, to be sure, but not far wrong.”
“Will you ever have to increase the debt?”
“I think not. I believe we shall reduce it a little next year, and each year thereafter. But, supposing it only pays expenses, how can you put on as much style on the interest of $100,000 anywhere else as you can here? It can’t be done. When the fruit comes in and this factory is running full time, it will earn well on toward $25,000 a year, and it will not cost over $14,000 to run it, interest and all. It won’t take long at that rate to wipe out the interest-bearing debt. You’ll be rich, Polly, before you’re ten years older.”
“You are rich now, in imagination and expectation, Mr. Headman, but I’ll bank with you for a while longer. But what’s the use of charging the farm with interest when you credit it with our keeping?”
“There isn’t much reason in that, Polly. It’s about as broad as it is long. I simply like to keep books in that way. We charge the farm with a little more than $4000 interest, and we credit it with just $4000 for our food and shelter. We’ll keep on in this way because I like it.”
THE MILK MACHINE
In opening the year 1898 I was faced by a larger business proposition than I had originally planned. When I undertook the experiment of a factory farm, I placed the limit of capital to be invested at about $60,000. Now I found that I had exceeded that amount by a good many thousand dollars, and I knew that the end was not yet. The factory was not complete, and it would be several years before it would be at its best in output. While it had cost me more than was originally contemplated, and while there was yet more money to be spent, there was still no reason for discouragement. Indeed, I felt so certain of ultimate profits that I was ready to put as much into it as could possibly be used to advantage.
The original plan was for a soiling farm on which I could milk thirty cows, fatten two hundred hogs, feed a thousand hens, and wait for thirty-five hundred fruit trees to come to a profitable age. With this in view, I set apart forty acres of high, dry land, for the feeding-grounds, twenty acres of which was devoted to the cows; and I now found that this twenty-acre lot would provide an ample exercise field for twice that number. It was in grass (timothy, red-top, and blue grass), and the cows nibbled persistently during the short hours each day when they were permitted to be on it; but it was never reckoned as part of