WE PLAT THE FARM
On Monday I was out by ten o’clock, armed with a surveyor’s chain. Thompson had provided a lot of stakes, and we ran the lines, more or less straight, in general accord with my sketch plan. We walked, measured, estimated, and drove stakes until noon. At one o’clock we were at it again, and by four I was fit to drop from fatigue. Farm work was new to me, and I was soft as soft. I had, however, got the general lay of the land, and could, by the help of the plan, talk of its future subdivisions by numerals,—an arrangement that afterward proved definite and convenient. We adjourned to the shade of the big black oak on the knoll, and discussed the work in hand.
“You cannot finish the cellar before to-morrow night,” I said, “because it grows slower as it grows deeper; but that will be doing well enough. I want you to start two teams ploughing Wednesday morning, and keep them going every day until the frost stops them. Let Sam take the plough, and have young Thompson follow with the subsoiler. Have them stick to this as a regular diet until I call them off. They are to commence in the wheat stubble where lots six and seven will be. I am going to try alfalfa in that ground, though I am not at all sure that it will do well, and the soil must be fitted as well as possible. After it has had deep ploughing it is to be crossed with the disk harrow; then have it rolled, disk it again, and then use the flat harrow until it feels as near like an ash heap as time will permit. We must get the seed in before September.”
“We will need another team if you keep two ploughing and one on the harrow,” said Thompson.
“You are right, and that means another $400, but you shall have it. We must not stop the ploughs for anything. Numbers 10, 11, 14, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and much of the home lot, ought to be ploughed before snow flies. That means about 160 acres,—80 odd days of steady work for the ploughmen and horses. You will probably find it best to change teams from time to time. A little variety will make it easier for them. As soon as 6 and 7 are finished, turn the ploughs into the 40 acres which make lots 1 to 5. All that must be seeded to pasture grass, for it will be our feeding-ground, and we’ll be late with it if we don’t look sharp.