As motive power for the churn and separator, a two-sheep-power treadmill has proved entirely satisfactory. It is worked by two sturdy wethers who are harbored in a pleasant house and run, close to the power-house, and who pay for their food by the sweat of their brows and the wool from their backs. They do not appear to dislike the “demnition grind,” which lasts but an hour twice a day; they go without reluctance to the tramp that leads nowhere, and the futile journey which would seem foolish to anything wiser than a sheep. This sheep-power is one of the curios of the place. My grand-girls never lose their interest in it, and it has been photographed and sketched more times than there are fingers and toes on the sheep.
The expenditure for equipment, from separator to sheep, was $354. I made an arrangement with a fancy grocer in the city to furnish him thirty pounds, more or less, of fresh (unsalted) butter, six days in the week, at thirty-three cents a pound, I to pay express charges. I bought six butter-carriers with ice compartments for $3.75 each, $23 in all, and arranged with the express company to deliver my packages to the grocer for thirty cents each. The butter netted me thirty-two cents a pound that year, or about $60 a week.
In July I bought four thoroughbred Holsteins, four years old, in fresh milk, and in October, six more, at an average price of $120 a head,—$1200 in all. These reenforcements made it possible for me to keep my contract with the middleman, and often to exceed it.
The dairy industry was now fairly launched and in working order. It had cost, not to be exact, $7000, and it was reasonably sure to bring back to the farm about $60 a week in cash, besides furnishing butter for the family and an immense amount of skim-milk and butter-milk to feed to the young animals on the place.
By April 1st all my sows had farrowed. There was much variation in the number of pigs in these nineteen litters. One noble mother gave me thirteen, two of which promptly died. Three others farrowed eleven each, and so down to one ungrateful mother who contributed but five to the industry at Four Oaks. The average, however, was good; 154 pigs on April 10th were all that a halfway reasonable factory man could expect.