Friday, July 15, 2011

North Carolina Adjusts to War, September, 1942

Written by Frank H. Jeter, North Carolina College Extension Editor, and Ruth Current, State Home Demonstration Leader, and published in The Southern Planter, September, 1942
After Pearl Harbor
During the five-month period after Pearl Harbor, the farms of North Carolina furnished the armed forces and the war production industries of this nation at the rate of 10,000 men and boys monthly, finds Dr. C. Horace Hamilton and Jay T. Wakeley of the rural sociology department of the North Carolina Experiment Station. These investigators made a survey of the situation in cooperation with state and federal agencies and found that 44 per cent of those leaving entered some branch of the armed services while the remainder found employment in defense industries. Single men between the ages of 20 and 45 accounted for 28,000 of the total of about 50,000 who left the farms during the first five war months. Two-thirds of these went into the Army. There is no way to tell if the same rate of departure exists at present but farm owners would be quick to say that few able bodied men are left.
Despite a lack of labor on most North Carolina farms, and despite the difficulties and higher cost of producing a crop, indications are that the State’s first harvest since Pearl Harbor will be abundant and profitable.
Tobacco, say old time growers, is curing out brighter than ever and, except in one or two sections where the rainfall was spotted, an excellent crop was harvested and cured. Cotton growers are talking of a bale average surely and many growers anticipate two bales. The only thing to prevent this, over the Piedmont, is a late heavy boll weevil infestation and the dry, hot weather of early August had some effect in preventing that. Lespedeza looks fine. Gardens are everywhere and more canning done since World War No. 1.
Pigs are growing lustily and the finished animals are selling for $14 per hundred pounds. Pastures and grazing crops have been satisfactory. Summer silage of cereal grains did not spoil despite a lack of molasses. Dairymen found the corn and cob meal a satisfactory silage preservative, although some said even this was not needed. There was more grass in the cotton and corn and more hoe labor required, but in the main this difficulty was overcome.
Women probably found this 1942 season one of the hardest they had ever experienced because they took their places right where the sons left off when the Army called. Working in the fields and trying to carry on the home work at the same time was a severe test that only the adaptable American woman would undertake; but the results are out there in the fields and barns and pack houses, and this crop could not have been made had not everyone pitched in and done his part to carry the load.
His Poultry Still Ranges
J.K. Crissman, Pittsboro, Route 2, Chatham County, is an excellent poultry grower. He follows the plan of growing his pullets on clean, sanitary summer range where the birds can forage for grass and insects and yet be properly protected. But this past summer when he went to get his requirement of wire and galvanized roofing to build the needed poultry range shelters, he found that these two items were unobtainable. He went to a nearby saw mill, bought $11 worth of strips and spent $4 for labor and other necessities and for $15 constructed as nice a shelter as one could find.
Luck Was With Him
E.W. Westmoreland of Huntersville, Route 2, Mecklenburg County, seeded vetch in one of his cotton fields last fall and this spring when it came time to plow under the vetch, Mr. Westmoreland followed his hunch to let it go to seed. Later, he had it combined and, at little cost, secured 1,280 pounds of excellent seed. He plans to plant that seed this fall to grow nitrogen for his crops next summer. He says he has more than enough for himself and will sell some to neighbors who also felt the lack of nitrate fertilizers this year.
She Bought Screens
The healthy farm home, among other things, is well screened against the encroachment of flies, mosquitoes and similar insect pests. The need is particularly acute down in Eastern Carolina where sounds, swamps and tidewater conditions are ideal for the development of such pests. Mrs. R.P. Gooding of the North River section in Beaufort County was not able to buy the necessary equipment to screen her home, so this summer, when blackberries became ripe, she picked and sold enough on the curb market at Morehead City to screen four doors and 15 windows. The Gooding home is now a more livable place.
After One Year
Orange County farmers decided to do something about the milk business in May 1941. They have organized eight milk routes in the county since that decision was made and right now 300 farmers are selling about 1,500 gallons of milk each day along these routes. They estimate that the sale of milk will bring $100,000 in extra money into the farm homes of Orange this year.
Scale Your Timber
A farmer in Johnston County spent $35 to pay M.M. Riley, a State College forestry graduate, to scale or cruise his timber. For this investment he received an increase in price above his previously offered $2,650. Bill Barker, assistant extension forester, says “that’s good interest on anybody’s money.” This Johnston county farmer estimated that he had between 400,000 and 500,000 board feet of timber in threes 12 inches or larger in diameter. Barker told him the only way to be sure was to have it scaled. The farmer said he would have been glad to have received $50,000 for the timber, but after he had it scaled, he received an offer of $6,000 and finally sold the timber for $7,650.
Double Trouble
Last year, Bertie County farmers raised an excellent crop of corn. The season was good and the corn produced abundantly. So this spring, many of them sold off their surplus to discover later that the men who came in trucks to buy it used over-sized measures so that more than a bushel of corn was delivered for each bushel paid for. Then, just as this year’s corn crop was in the making, the worst drought in 19 years came along and shortened the crop. Now hogs are selling for 14 cents a pound and Bertie farmers face the prospect of little corn on which to feed out their animals.
North Carolina Girl Sets Example
Edith Badgett, Copeland 4-H Club, Surry County, North Carolina, is busy in essential homemaking and more work at home. “I am taking more 4-H projects than I have ever taken before. To beautify the home and yard, I have torn up a woodpile and planted it in flowers. Water from a house drain has been piped off down into a field, thus eliminating two bad places in the yard caused by the water drain.
“I have improved two rooms at home, instead of just one. Curtains and a couch cover for one room, and paint for the beds in the other room were bought with money I made selling blackberries. The 100 food dishes I have prepared so far and many more I hope to do before the year is out are teaching me how to cook food properly to retain all the food value.
“Through the clothing project, I have helped with the family sewing. Thirty-seven articles made include four dresses, one pair slacks, three slips, one quilt top, two pair pillow cases, two doilies and 3 dish towels.”
Ready for Winter
Ready for cold winter months are 791 lovely comforters, some tacked with colored threads, others quilted in artistic design, made by the women in Dare County, North Carolina. There is a courageous behind-the-scene story about the work of these women and their agent, Miss Sadie Hendley.
The little fishing village of Duck, on a narrow sand bar, is almost deserted. From about 20 homes still open, the men are all away on defense jobs. At the home of Mrs. Carrie Whitson, the women eligible for comforters gathered each afternoon to make theirs.
Roads into Duck have been almost impassable at times. A new road, the first, is being finished into the little village of Mashoes. Miss Hendley says, “I tried this road out when I went to help the women with their comforters. A quarter of a mile from my destination, I had to leave my car and walk, carrying the cotton and all the materials.
“When I had almost reached the house, planks had to be laid for me. I was mired in mud over my ankles! But I got there and we had an all-day picnic and demonstration. Getting the cotton weighed, packed, then onto the centers to help the women with the comforters has been worth it, even though I sometimes had to go by bus or in the back of the mail truck.”
Share-a-Ride Clubs
North Carolina club women have tried hitch-hiking of meetings. This is not always satisfactory, because many times the best part of the program is over before they arrive. Says Mrs. Joe Phillips, Idlewild community, Ashe County, “Our home demonstration program is keeping us informed on our duty toward victory. It is helping us more than anything else in strengthening our home front. My husband and I have decided that using our car in turn in the ‘Share A ride’ Club for attending club meetings is one of the first uses of our allotment of gas and tires.”
The Books are Coming
A circulating library in Watauga County, North Carolina, means winter reading for as many 4-H and home demonstration clubs as have librarians appointed. Most of the librarians are 4-H girls. The home demonstration agent, Miss Elizabeth Bridge, takes a box of books to each club meeting.

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