BASTION MOUNTAIN RANCH - TALES OF A FARM FAMILY


My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

FARMING WITH DYNAMITE

Yard clean up on a Ranch is a complicated and a never ending task. I have noted that most Ranches and Farms have piles of debris on their property and it is uniformly unattractive. In fact anyone with property beyond an acre or a shed tends to accumulate items, otherwise known as junk. We were unfortunate enough to inherit a massive amount of materials  a number of years ago when the machine, oil and tool sheds were torn down on my parent’s property. A large amount of the contents of these sheds made their way to our machine shed. The local Packrat did it’s best with the sudden onslaught of new material, making piles under the work bench of bolts and tools. The rest of it just sat in greasy, grimy piles, a hoarder’s delight.
The original machine shed on my parent’s property was tidied up once a year by my mother, followed by weeks of complaining by my father, stating he could not find a thing. This took place in the spring, and there was a flurry of sorting, labelling and attempts to discard “stuff”. My father did not like to see things leave his shed, as you never knew when you would need that bolt or piece of metal. A trip to town to gather supplies took a big piece out of a day. I guess given that it should not of been such a shock to discover dynamite when cleaning out my father’s tool shed.
My Father loved dynamite. There were a number of projects in his lifetime that required dynamite, primarily when constructing roads and sewer systems. In the early years of the farm dynamite was used for removing stumps when land clearing. The stumps were blasted out and then hauled away with the horses. Dynamite was commonly used by farmers in the 1900s and could even be ordered through the Sears Roebuck catalogue. 
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Dupont promoted the use of dynamite in a wide variety of areas for farming; clearing away stumps and boulders, breaking up hard packed soil, and instead of plowing. Their brochure claimed; 
“F. G. Moughon, of Walton County, Georgia, reports that he has been raising crops of watermelons, weighing from 50 to 60 pounds each, on land blasted by exploding charges of about 3 ounces of dynamite in holes 2-½ to 3 feet deep, spaced 8 to 10 feet apart.”
Dynamite was promoted to plant and cultivate orchards, make ditches, well and cellars. The literature stated that dynamite could be used to ‘regenerate old, worn out farms”  by turning up “fresh fertile soil”.  
The Project Gutenberg EBook of Farming with Dynamite, by 
E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Co.

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

Title: Farming with Dynamite
       A Few Hints to Farmers

Author: E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Co.

Release Date: May 31, 2012 [EBook #39869]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
 My Father stopped using dynamite for land clearing once he obtained a bulldozer. What the dynamite publications never mentioned were the numerous injuries and errors that ensued with the use of this farming method. 
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 When we discovered the dynamite during demolition of the machine shed we contacted the RCMP. They sent out a special bomb unit from Vancouver, arriving in a flurry of Black Suburbans. They were using the disposal of dynamite found by farmers as a training exercise. 
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Boxes that were found, one that contained old dynamite, in the farm’s machine sheds. 
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Circa 1980s, blasting to make way for a neighbour’s dry well. 
 My father’s last blasting project took place in the early 1990s during the construction of a road to one of our upper pastures. It was a complicated project that my husband worked on with my father, taking a number of weeks to complete. I still remember when my father announced triumphantly; “we will have to blast it”, and the road was made. 
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The road has a beautiful view of our farm.
- See more at: http://shuswaplakeranch.com/farming-with-dynamite/#sthash.dSrgguQR.dpuf

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