Advice to Farmers, Instructions on Growing and the Value of the
Pea Vine Crop, Thoughts on the Prohibition Question – Bill Arp, 1886
Sow peas, now. It s not too late for, a forage crop. I am not much of a farmer, but I do know the value of
a pea vine crop. It makes the best forage in the world and the most of it. I don’t sow for the peas, but for
tie vines. and I mow them while the peas are in the dough. The leaves will not fall off then and they are
easily cured. It takes three or four days to cure them, but rain will not hurt them if they are forked over to dry
again. I have had it to rain on them every day for three days after cutting and thought they would certainly
mildew and spoil, but they did not. A man can mow down two acres in a day with a common scythe and it is
the sweetest work in the world. When they are put away in the barn take notice and see if they are moulding
and if so then fork over and toss them to the other side. Air is all they want. The milch cows like them better
than any other food, and they make the milk rich and creamy. Let the farmers sow an acre if no more. Sow
on the stubble land and it will keep the land rich and mellow. The best upland corn I have seen is where I had
peas last year and mowed them. Some folks think they must be turned under to enrich the land, but that is
a mistake. It is the shade they give to the land that enriches it. Shade prejudices ammonis. I don’t believe in
turning under a green crop of any kind. Better let the grass and weeds decay on top and then tarp under. Where
I sow peas on galded spots for fertilizing I do not cut them, but let. them die on the land. It will not pay to harvest
them on such spots. But on good land the vines will sprout soon after mowing, and will cover the ground in a
few days, and make more shade, which is more ammonis, which is more corn or wheat or cotton. Farmers,
sow peas. I have four acres up now on my oat stubble. and they have almost hid the ground. I turned the
stubble with an Oliver chill one-horse plow. Then harrowed in the peas with a roller disc harrow then rolled
with a home made roller, which last is the beet implement on a farm except the plough.
Any farmer can make one. Make in two sections, each three feet long, and as near three feet in diameter
as you can get. Poplar is the best timber. Bore through with a two inch sugar: that is, bore half way from
each end, and if a man has a good eye he can hit the hole. If he misses it a little the iron spindle will burn
its way through. Let the spindle be only one and a half inches in diameter, and project four inches. Put a
washer between the rollers. Build a frame, round, and let the end of the spindle support it. Bolt the corners
of the frame tcgether. Bolt two upright standards at each end for a plank seat to rest upon, and fasten the
seat securely to the cross pieces. Then bolt and brace a good tongue to the front of the frame, and use your
wagon doubletree. Then get aboard and pop your whip and ride. It is splendid riding. Carl does all my rolling,
and Jessie rides with him sometimes. A roller beats any harrow in the works; for pulverizing. In fact. I have
never seen a harrow that would pulverize much. This spring my land broke up very cloddy, but I planted corn
and covered it with the clods and then rolled it, and it was as smooth as a parlor floor, and every hill came up.
I sowed my turnip seed Saturday, and rolled them in and they came up before breakfast last Friiday morning.
Roll your wheat. Roll your clover seed. Roll everything you can. As Byron says, “Roll on.” The weather is
all right now, and we are breaking the middles out of the corn. The corn is in the silk and is big and strong,
and I thought it was laid by, but the middles look so bad I thought it best to “bust em.” It is the first good
corn I ever saw that never ”hid any plowing but a “run round.” We have to pow very shallow now to keep
above the roots. The children’s crops are doing flne-the watermelons and goobbers and popcorn. These
children are getting uppity and bigoty and monopolize my attention and keep Mrs. Arp busy. She is making
some homespun bathing suits for them now. There are six little boys out here. and some girls, and they
have to bathe every evening. its grandma, grandma, all the day long. and they levied on me to build the
dam higher than the water so that the water would be deep enough for them to jump off the spring board.
They call it a wash hole. and are learning to swim. I worked hard and raised the dam, and as I was going
to the house to rest I heard a little rascal say “He’s a mighty good old man, ain’t he.” But I get even with
them; I make them work before I let them play. I made them pull every blade of grass out of the sweet
potato vines, for neither the plow nor the hoe would get it all. They work very well at the start but soon
they begin to grunt and talk about how hot the sun is, and they want to go to the spring every little while.
They are good quarter nags, but haven’t got bottom for a four mile heat. They like to work with me when I
do the most of it. It is their vacation, and a boy’s idea of vacation is unalloyed, undisturbed, uninterrupted
frolic and felicity. It is a mixture of fishing in the branch and baseball in the meadow and marbles in the
front yard and breaking the bull calf and going in a washing in the afternoon and something to eat most
every time of day. There are no evening naps now to do any good, for its “vence your roundance and lose
groundance and fat and stick and fat and go last and dubs and man in and kicks and ringance and you
fudged, you fudged, it’s my go,” and I don’t know what all. Might as well try to sleep in a lunatic asylum.
At night they sleep on a pallet in the parlor and scratch and kick round and roil over and are all over the
floor by morning. I’d rather raise four girls than two boys. except during a war, but I feel more concern
about the girls after they are grown. They get so lonesome in the country and want to go to Atlanta. But
they are very busy now, for I am crowding them with blackberries-splendid buries-and they are making
wine and acid and jam and jelly.
The boys pick about a peck a day, and could pick a bushel if we wanted them. It takes most as many
jugs and bottles as the Atlanta prohibitionists used on the last wet day. Is Atlanta dry yet? Sarn Jones
says be tried to find out when he came through, and the way the people talked reminded him of a feller
he saw one night hugging a lamp post, and the feller said: “Mister, could you told me which are the opposite
side of this street:'” “Why, of course, my friend that side over yonder is the opposite side.” “Why, I was over
there just now, said he, and a feller told me this were the opposite side.” Sam says the Atlanta people talk
sorter forked and quote Scripture like the old nigger preacher who said: “He that is not for us, aint agin us
thank the Lord.” But I think the antics out to tote fair and give the law a fair trial for two years. if it is a bad law
time will tell and then it can be repealed. or amended. Folks have been trying for fifty years to solve this liquor
question but it won’t stay settled. I understand we are to have a candidate for the legislature who will run on
a repeal of the law in this county. I don’t think he can be elected. Our people are satisfied with the prohibition.
Those who are obliged to have liquor can get it at Rome. Rome is very wet. But our crops are so poor this
year we can’t afford to buy whisky and coffee too and so we will go it on coffee for the sake of the women.
I’m sorry for the solicitor general and the lawyers for they get no criminal practice in our county now. But
our taste will be reduced and that will help everybody. So let the law stand awhile longer.
Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Bill Arp
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