« PreviousContinue »
Raising a garden means the investment of labor in the premises on the part of the tenant, and in the absence of individual ownership creates an added attachment to the place which tends to offset the temptation of packing up and following vague rumors about steadier work, higher wages, thicker seams, etc.
A number of companies have gone to much trouble and expense to encourage the planting of gardens. One company plows the yard, furnishes manure gratis and seeds at cost, and at the end of the season awards valuable prizes for the most successful gardens. (PI. IV). Once the garden habit is started it ought to become largely self-supporting
The Department of Agriculture publishes bulletins describing suitable crops for special soil conditions, which will prove valuable to those who desire to initiate interest along these lines. A limited supply of these bulletins is printed for free distribution, and may be obtained by writing to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. An incomplete list of the bulletins is as follows:
Farmers' Bulletin 154, The home fruit garden, preparation and care.
Farmers' Bulletin 218, The school garden.
Several States have schools, experiment stations, and departments of agriculture, and by getting in touch with these information of particular local value may be obtained. The operators' associations might collect information from these various sources and distribute it among the workers. This practice has been adopted with marked success by the Alabama Coal Operators' Association,
The fences surrounding the houses in a company-controlled mining town have more significance than is usually attributed to them. If the amount of money involved be considered, perhaps no improvement sets in motion such a train of beneficial results as assigning, by means of a fence, a definite amount of land to each individual cottage. The fence fixes responsibility; it creates a healthy sense of pride and feeling of proprietorship; it insures a certain amount of privacy; it permits the planting of gardens and results in clean yards and premises. (Pl. I, C.) The painstaking, though unsightly fences, built by individuals, particularly among non-English-speak
ing people, display an inherent desire for the control of land, more or less dominant in us all. This trait should be gratified in the construction of new mining towns, and in old towns a little money in. vested in neat fences will return good dividends.
Certain details of the fence discussed herein may appear farfetched if only an individual house is concerned, but it should be remembered that if three or four hundred houses with large-sized yards are to be fenced every foot of lumber saved counts up. The fence should harmonize with its surroundings; but in this, as in other improvements, economical methods and simplicity of design and construction should govern.
LOCATION OF FENCE.
A pleasing effect may be obtained in some cases by setting the front fence back between the houses rather than on the front property line. By this arrangement a parklike area is made between the sidewalk and the houses, which may be grassed and will appear more spacious than if cut up by fences. This method also reduces the linear feet of fence. Similarly, if the house is on the side line rather than centered on the lot, the two side yards will be combined into one and the linear feet of fence required to inclose the lot will be reduced by the depth of the house. (See fig. 4.)
HEIGHT OF FENCE.
Oftentimes a low fence answers the purpose as well as a high one and costs less. As far as preventing people from trespassing, it is in its symbolism more than as an actual barrier that the fence is effective. In some places the fence must be built so as to keep out hogs. Even if the keeping of hogs is not permitted in the town itself, there may be no law against stock running at large in the surrounding country, and the yards and gardens must be protected from the inroads of these "outsiders.” Usually this can be corrected by legislation, but a better method is by rigidly enforcing sanitation and cleanliness within the town. This means frequently collecting and destroying the garbage, trash, and other wastes which attract the unwelcome visitors. Hogs, like flies, are attracted by filth.
TYPES OF FENCES.
There are three types of fences largely used in mining townsthe rail fence with certain modifications, the woven-wire fence of various designs, and the pale or picket fence. The rail fence can be made artistic and is usually built rather low. It is not a very effective barrier. Woven-wire fences are usually unnecessarily high and are not very pleasing in appearance. They are, perhaps, the
most economical fence and most effective barrier. In some cases they do not last long when they are built near coke ovens, on account of gases in the air. Specially prepared wire might be obtained to resist this action. The pale or picket fence is the best appearing of the three. In the construction of a new town, pickets can be made very economically by utilizing waste ends and trimmings. A very satisfactory and economical arrangement is to make the front fence out of pickets and the side and rear fences from woven wire. (See fig. 4.)
The post is one of the least durable parts in a fence and fails chiefly by rotting near the ground where it is subject to alternate wet and dry conditions. Creosoting makes the post more resistant to decay, and if it is not practical to have the posts treated under pressure, simply applying a creosote paint will be of some value. By making the height of the fence 4 feet instead of 5, and setting the posts that much deeper, the fence will be strengthened. Corner posts and those to which the gates are hinged should be diagonally braced. It might pay to set all the posts in concrete, in which case the concrete should extend three or four inches above the ground so that the post will be protected at the point most liable to decay. Concrete and metal posts, both of the manufactured and homemade type, are sometimes seen. Old boiler tubes and discarded water pipe when cut and drilled and embedded in concrete make very stable posts. The pipes should be filled with sand and capped with concrete.
The gate is a second weak part of the fence, and numerous methods have been improvised for making a strong, durable, selfclosing gate. The gate should be made as light as is possible without impairing its strength. This can be accomplished by using light wood and not making the gate unnecessarily wide or high. Long, strong, galvanized, strap hinges should be used and should be attached with long screws driven directly into the framework or standards. The flimsy, haphazard way in which hinges are applied is responsible for many broken gates. How often are gates seen with hinges attached to the picket side of the gate so that some screws must be left out because the hole in the hinge is between the pickets. The patented self-closing cast-iron hinges are easily broken. Figure 9 shows how a gate may be made self-closing with ordinary strap hinges by putting the hinges off center a little. This arrangement detracts little from the appearance and does away with the use of springs and counterweights. This is the same principle used in self-closing mine doors. The gate should swing in.