« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
THE FARMERS' CLUB PAY A VISIT TO THE CHANDLER FARM-A PLEAS.
ANT DAY AND A PLEASANT COMPANY.
On Thursday morning, November 12, 1874, the Ingham County Farmers' Club—to the number of thirty-five, including eleven ladies—took the northern bound train at Mason, and at about 9:30 A. M. were safely landed at “Chandler's," a flag station on the premises, about four miles north from Lansing, and were given a cordial welcome by the Hon. R. E. Trowbridge, superintendent of the farm, formerly our Representative in Congress.
After brief salutations, Mr. Trowbridge led the way, a distance of about forty rods through a pleasant park of native oak up to the farm house,-- a large, square, two-story, attractive, rural dwelling, where, after a formal introduction to Mrs. Trowbridge and the junior members of the family, we were soon made to feel ourselves quite at home. While the gentlemen are having a little chat in the parlors we will give a brief synposis of the farm, how Mr. Chandler came by it, etc.
The grant made by Congress to all the States, some years since, donating lands equal to 40,000 acres to each member of Congress, gave Michigan 240,000 acres of swamp lands. These lands were subsequently, by an act of the State Legislature, given to the Agricultural College, and so fast as disposed of to go into an endowment fund, expecting that eventually this will make the college self-sustaining. The college located these lands in various places through the State, but largely, we beliere, in the Grand Traverse region.
From the college Mr. Chandler purchased what to-day is known as the Chandler farm, with the exception of a few lots to square out his tract. The farm consists of 3,086 acres, lying within the townships of Bath and De Witt, Clinton county, and was purchased at a cost of about $30,000.
From Mr. Trowbridge we learn that of these lands fourteen hundred acres are open marsh, about eight hundred of tamarack border or swamp, and about eight hundred of up-land. The up-lands are generally of light, sandy soil, covered with forest oak.
OUT ON THE MARSH.
Standing on the bank of a ditch sixteen feet wide and six feet deep, we are informed that this is the main ditch, starting at Plum Creek, a point about two miles below Mr. Chandler's land, in order to get a good outlet,-it runs in a southeasterly course to what is known as Park Lake, forming an outlet for the same, a distance of seven miles. This ditch is intersected at regular intervals by smaller ditches, usually, we believe, on section or quarter-section lines. These ditches on the lower half, east side, run east and west, while those on the opposite side of the main ditch run north and south, forming acute angles. On the nipper half of the marsh this order is reversed. These ditches are not cut hap-hazard, but from a carefully prepared diagram, drawn by a civil engineer, with a view to a perfect system of drainage. There are about thirty miles of open ditch on this marsh cut by Mr. Chandler within the past five years.
This marsh is fast undergoing a wonderful change. Mr. T. thought the change within the past six months greater than the entire five years previous, -the surface seems to be settling down and becoming firmer. Mr. J. N. Smith, of Bath, president of the Central Agricultural Society, who has been a close observer and is quite extensively engaged in the reclamation of marsh lands, spoke very encouragingly of recent changes and future prospects of these lands.
Up to last year the mowing on the marsh was all done by hand. Now, a mower can be run on a considerable portion of it. Last year Mr. Trowbridge put up about seven hundred tons of hay. This year the grass was quite light, and he only secured about three hundred tons. Blue-joint and tame grasses are creeping in, and much of this hay is of a very good quality.
Mr. T. was preparing a piece by dragging, which he designs to sow in the spring with timothy and fowl meadow grass, equal parts. Another parcel nad been sowed and was coming on fively. About fifteen acres had been plowed this fall. This was well done, and looked as though it might produce a good crop of buckwheat or roots. Mr. H. A. Hawley recommended sowing it to buckwheat,-thought it the best crop for subduing land he had ever tried. Mr. Trowbridge, we believe, contemplates seeding it down.
The reclamation of this tract of land which Mr. Chandler has undertaken is the solving of a big problem, the solution of which, if brought to a financial success, will prove of incalculable value to the State of Michigan. Mr. Trowbridge thinks there is only one question involved,—that is, whether Mr. Chandler lives. Few men who have the means are willing to take the chances taken by him in this enterprise. If he lives he will push it to a successful issue. He has expended already in improvements a sum equal to the original cost of the farm, $30,000, and yet much remains to be done. The main ditch is to be lowered at least three feet. The ditches serve as fences, the small bridges the gateways, which are turned to prevent stock from crossing.
AT THE BARNS
we found everything in order. The stock barn is a very large, imposing building,—has a long shed attached and basement under the whole. The entire length of the shed are two rows of cattle stalls facing a broad alley. In a convenient corner of the barn basement is located the engine for cooking the food, which may be easily attached to a small portable saw mill just outside. A thresher, corn sheller, feed cutter, etc., may be handily belted to this power. Here, too, were the modern appliances for steaming and cooking feed for stock. Mr. Trowbridge has discarded the cutting and steeping of marsh hay, for the reason that there are numerous bitter and obnoxious herbs among the wild grass, and when cut, steeped, and mixed with bran or chopped feed, the cattle have no alternative but to take the bitter with the sweet, and some of these Mr. T. believes to be absolutely injurious to the thrist of the stock. He believes in cooking other fodder.
Mr. Chandler's celebrated Percheron stallion, "Mark Antony," was looking finely. He was brought out and placed upon the scales, and tipped the beam at 1,520. This horse was imported by Mr. Chandler, and is a model of his breed, which stands at the head of the draft horses of the world. Their value has been thoroughly tested in this country, though we believe this is the only pure bred Percheron horse in this State.
He has been particularly successful as a stock-getter, and is gaining great favor where he is known. There are ten colts of his get on the farm,-two years, yearlings, and sucklings; and for uniformity of breeding, both in build and color, we have never seen them equalled, and we were informed by Mr
Trowbridge that a more unlike lot of dams for the number could not be got together, ranging all the way from a pony to a giraffe. The prevailing color is iron grey, and is among the characteristic features which first strikes the eye. “Mark” has faded out to nearly a pure white. His portrait, which adorns the frontispiece of the report of the Michigan Board of Agriculture, 1871, is very correct. A full description of this breed of horses is given in the report above alluded to, and is worthy of perusal by every breeder of horses. Other than the importation of this horse, but little attention has been given to breeding fine stock. A want of plenty of tame feed has been the hindrance, there being less than eighty acres of improved uplands, and these have been grown to coarse grains for stock. No wheat is grown on the premises. This year the corn crop was about 1,400 bushels of ears. We noticed a pen of about twenty fattening hogs. There were about sixty head of horned cattle. Among them was a fine Devon cow and several half-blood heifers. Mr. Trowbridge will stall-feed about thirty head of steers the coming winter. A flock of sheep on the marsh were looking well.
There are two tenement houses on the farm, occupied by help. From fifteen to twenty-five hands comprise the working corps during the busy season. The working teams were four yoke of oxen and five spaa of horses.
There are many other objects of interest which we have neither time nor space to describe, but will simply allude to a few of them. The wagons used in drawing the bay off the marsh have broad fellies and tires to prevent cutting through. A power press for packing and baling hay, occupies a hay barn near the railroad switch, convenient for shipping. With this press three men will bale six tons per day. A windmill,--Halladay's patent,-forces water into reservoirs conveniently arranged for stock in the yards.
Returning to the house at half-past one, P. M., very much to the gratification of the “inner man,” we found that Mrs. Trowbridge and daughter, anticipating our necessities, had prepared a most bountiful repast, and without a second invitation we“ waded in” with a zeal and energy worthy of the occasion, while the jest and laugh went round.
Dinner being over, President A. F. Wood called to order, and after a few appropriate remarks, called out Mr. Trowbridge,—who, by the way, is always “loaded.” He had been very much pleased with the interest and enthusiasm manifested by the club to obtain practical knowledge; was exceedingly gratified for the privilege of showing them what was being accomplished here, and gave us words of encouragement and cheer. Hon. Geo. W. Phillips, of Romeo, a member of the Michigan State Board of Agriculture, being present, was called for. Mr. Phillips is president of the Farmers' Club of Macomb county, one of the most successful in the State, and the first, we believe, which was organized under the State law regulating these societies. Mr. Phillips gave a brief synopsis of wbat they were accomplishing with their association, and bade us“go on.” Remarks were also made by J. N. Smith, of Bath, and several members of the club.
On motion, the Hon. R. E. Trowbridge, Hon. Geo. W. Phillips, and J. N. Smith, were constituted honorary members of the club. Mr. Phillips said that while he had been the recipient of many honors from the hands of the people of the State of Michigan, he had received none that he prized more highly than to be made president of his own, and an honorary member of the Ingham County Farmers' Club.
After a vote of thanks to the Hon. Mr. Trowbridge and his most estimable lady for the sumptuous manner in which we had been entertained, the club adjourned to meet next Saturday at their rooms at 2 P. M., at which time Mr. Trowbridge will address the club on the subject of " Agricultural Fairs." Mr. Smith is also expected to be present.
Repairing to the depot, the train soon came, and in a brief space of time we found ourselves at home,-wiser, if not better, feeling that the day had been pleasantly and profitably spent, and with firmer purpose to go forward and increase the usefulness of our club.