“There’s no hurry about the poultry-houses. You can build one in the early summer, and perhaps another in the fall. I expect you to do the carpenter work on these houses. I’ll see the mason at once and have him ready by the time you’ve dug the hole. The incubators will be here in good time, and we want everything ready for work as soon as the eggs arrive.”
Sam was pleased with his job; it was exactly to his liking. He took real delight in caring for fowls, and he was especially anxious to prove to me that it was not so much lack of knowledge as lack of capital that had caused the downfall of his previous efforts. Sam could not then understand why one man could sell his eggs at thirty-six cents a dozen when his neighbor could get only sixteen; he found out later.
The mason’s work for the incubator house and the foundation wall for the brooder house cost $290. The lumber bill for these two, including doors and windows, was $464. The five incubators, $65, and the hot-water heater for the brooder house, $68, made the total $897. Add to this $400 paid during two months for eggs, and we have $1297 as the cost of starting the poultry plant.
I had given Nelson this sketch as a guide in working out the plan for the cow barn: Length over all, 130 feet; width, 40 feet. This parallelogram was to be divided lengthwise into three equal spaces, one in the centre for a driveway, and one on each side for the cow platforms and feeding mangers. Twenty feet at the west end of the barn was partitioned off, one corner for a small granary, the other for a kitchen in which the food was to be prepared. These rooms were each thirteen feet by twenty. At the other end of the building, ten feet on each side was given over to hospital purposes,—a lying-in ward ten feet by thirteen being on each side of the driveway.
The foundation for this building was to be of stone, and the entire floor of cement; and the walls were to be sealed within and sheeted without, and then covered with ship lap boards, making three thicknesses of boards. It was to be one story high. An east-and-west passage, cutting the main drive at right angles, divided the barn at its middle. At the south end of this passage was a door leading to the dairy-house, which was on the building line 150 feet away. The four spaces made by these passages were each subdivided into ten stalls five feet wide. Two doors on the north and two on the south gave exit for the cows. I had placed my limit at forty milch cows, and I thought this stable would furnish suitable quarters for that number. If I had to rebuild, I would make some modifications. Experience is a good teacher; but the stable has served its purpose, and I cannot quarrel with the results. The chief defect is in the distribution of water. The supply is abundant, but it is let on only in the kitchen, whence it is supplied to the cows by means of a hose or a barrel swung between wheels.