The credit account for the second quarter of 1898 stood:—
23 calves . . . . . $270.00 Eggs . . . . . . 637.00 Butter . . . . . . 1314.00 Total. . . . . . $2221.00
COMFORT ME WITH APPLES
September added a new item to our list of articles sold; small, indeed, but the beginning of the fourth and last product of our factory farm,—fruit from our newly planted orchards. The three hundred plum trees in the chicken runs gave a moderate supply for the colony, and the dwarf-pear trees yielded a small crop; but these were hardly included in our scheme. I expected to be able, by and by, to sell $200 or $300 worth of plums; but the chief income from fruit would come from the fifty acres of young apple orchards.
I hope to live to see the time when these young orchards will bring me at least $5 a year for each tree; and if I round out my expectancy (as the life-insurance people figure it), I may see them do much better. In the interim the day of small things must not be despised. In our climate the Yellow Transparent and the Duchess do not ripen until early September, and I was therefore at home in time to gather and market the little crop from my six hundred trees. The apples were carefully picked, for they do not bear handling well, and the perfect ones were placed in half-bushel boxes and sent to my city grocer. Not one defective apple was packed, for I was determined that the Four Oaks stencil should be as favorably known for fruit as for other products.
The grocer allowed me fifty cents a box. “The market is glutted with apples, but not your kind,” said he. “Can you send more?” I could not send more, for my young trees had done their best in producing ninety-six boxes of perfect fruit. Boxes and transportation came to ten cents for each box, and I received $38 for my first shipment of fruit.
I cannot remember any small sum of money that ever pleased me more,—except the $28 which I earned by seven months of labor in my fourteenth year; for it was “first fruits” of the last of our interlacing industries.
Thirty-eight dollars divided among my trees would give one cent to each; but four years later these orchards gave net returns of ninety cents for each tree, and in four years from now they will bring more than twice that amount. At twelve years of age they will bring an annual income of $3 each, and this income will steadily increase for ten or fifteen years. At the time of writing, February, 1903, they are good for $1 a year, which is five per cent of $20.
Would I take $20 apiece for these trees? Not much, though that would mean $70,000. I do not know where I could place $70,000 so that it would pay five per cent this year, six per cent next year, and twenty per cent eight or ten years from now. Of course, $70,000 would be an exorbitant price to pay for an orchard like mine; but it must be remembered that I am old and cannot wait for trees to grow.