A somewhat novel solution of the farm labor problem is the theory of Conductor B. J. Foss of the La Habra line of the Pacific Electric Railway, put into practice on his fourteen-acre lemon and orange ranch. Mr. Foss firmly believes that within twenty-four hours there are two perfectly good working days besides a good night’s sleep—and he proves it by holding down two jobs.
From 4 o’clock in the afternoon until 1 o’clock the next morning Conductor Foss performs the duties of what is generally considered a day’s work. He is brisk and alert and evidently contented in his employment, as any of his friends, the regular passengers, can testify by his cheerful manner. His health is very evidently of the best and he gives not the slightest evidence of being burdened with overwork. In the way of accomplishment it is equally evident that he is “putting over” just twice what the ordinary man counts as a daily stint. And it seems so altogether simple a matter to Conductor Foss himself that he can see no occasion for comment. He says he feels that out-door exercise is the best rest and relaxation possible from confining labor, and it might just as well be the kind that conserve energy by applying it to a productive end.
He Gets Results
And certainly this is what he has done on the pretty little ranch at Yorba Linda, which in the past six years has been transformed with his hard won physical labor from a raw piece of unimproved land to a producing citrus grove and an attractive home place. Even the irrigating system represents the owner’s own personal efforts. During the past few months he has completed this system by the laying of 1000 feet of concrete pipe line, the ditches for which had to be dug two feet in depth. Altogether he has put in 3400 feet of this eight-inch pipe on the sloped of the rolling land comprising his ranch.
This, of course, is only one item among many in the building of a citrus grove, but from the initial plowing of the grassy sloped to the harvesting of the first crop, after several years devoted to development and upkeep labor—in addition to a regular job—all the items on the list are accredited to this rancher-conductor himself. He keeps his own team of horses with which to do the frequent cultivating and the necessary haling, and it is with more than the ordinary satisfaction that he now uses it to take in the monthly crop of lemons. From his 1100 trees he has shipped 500 boxes this season and begins to feel that he is reaping his reward. Mr. Foss has only recently been elected a director of the local citrus association.
In addition to the care of the orchard, there are over 200 chickens on the place to add to the regular chores. And these chores seem to be accomplished with surprising ease. Certainly they are accomplished in a thoroughgoing manner as the appearance of the deep green sturdy trees and the neatness of the entire place clearly testify.
Says It’s Easy
When asked how he managed his double-shift, daily programme, Conductor Foss declared it to be simplicity itself. He says that he sleeps soundly after his early breakfast—or dinner, as it may be—and usually is at work at his out-of-door tasks by 8 o’clock in the morning. He thinks this daily conditioning in the fresh air is equal to any known sport, and plainly enjoys the hours he spends trudging behind his horses between the rows of trees. Certainly he resembles those trees of his in their vigorous healthfulness and his plan seems to have wrought only beneficial results. Oddly enough, when asked whether he went in for vegetable gardening, he replied, “No, that’s too much work.”
So it is quite evident that he has his limitations. He declares them to be those of any ordinary man who gets plenty of sleep and exercise and work. He is fully convinced, from his own experience, that the problem of food production could be greatly simplified if his programme were patriotically adopted by those enlisted in the laboring half of the nation’s “work or fight” armies.