It looked like the wing-wave thrown to either side by the bow of a power boat that cuts swiftly through quiet water. From it my eye began to slip over to the snow expanse. The road was wide, lined with brush along the fence to the left. The fields beyond had no very large open areas windbreaks had everywhere been spared out when the primeval forest had first been broken into by the early settlers.
"Sometime we'll plant hedges and forest trees and checker the country with windbreaks until days like this will belong only to an old pioneer's memory," Asher said, as the storm swept wide away. "Then, I'm glad I came early enough to see this. I'm getting 'plains-broke' along with Juno. Isn't it wonderful to be a real pioneer?
Hardly knowing why because one part of the coastline was as good as another Ross began to walk again, threading a path in and out among the rocky outcrops. So he found it, a hollow between two such windbreaks within which was a blackened circle of small stones holding charred wood, with some empty shells piled near-by. Here was unmistakable evidence of a camp!
Past hedges he rode, where cricket drummers beat the long roll for the muster of winter days; past gates letting into fields, clamped and chained to their posts as if jealous of the plenty which they guarded; past farmsteads set in dark forests of orchard trees and tall windbreaks of tapering poplar, where never a light gleamed from a pane, where sons and daughters, worn husbandmen and weary wives, lay soothed in honest slumber; past barn-yards, where cattle sighed as they lay in the moonshine champing upon their cuds; down into swales, where the air was damp and cold, like a wet hand on the face; up to hill-crests, over which the perfumes of autumn were blowing the spices of goldenrod and ragweed, the elusive scent of hedge orange, the sweet of curing fodder in the shock; past peace and contentment, and the ripe reward of men's summer toil.
Narrow strips of forest planted as windbreaks make agriculture possible in certain regions by preventing destruction of crops by moisture-stealing dry winds which so afflict the central portions of our country.
When you go out of the house into the flower garden, there you feel again the order and fine arrangement manifest all over the great farm; in the fencing and hedging, in the windbreaks and sheds, in the symmetrical pasture ponds, planted with scrub willows to give shade to the cattle in fly-time. There is even a white row of beehives in the orchard, under the walnut trees.
Flicker and Owl boxes, to a Martin hotel; and, lastly, the supplementing of the natural growth by planting pines, spruces, and hemlocks for windbreaks, and mountain ashes, mulberries, sweet cherries, flowering shrubs and vines for berries and Hummingbird honey."
Asher inquired with a smile. "Oh, Asher! What a change since the days when we invented parties for our lonely evenings here! What has become of the old prairie?" "It's out there still, under the wheat fields. We have driven the wilderness back; plowed a fireguard around the whole valley; tempered the hot winds by windbreaks and groves."
It was still a new country where few trees, save some lone cottonwoods, were as tall as a cabin, and nothing broke the view. But groves had rooted, low windbreaks cut the country at frequent intervals; many acres of sod had been turned by the plow, and many more were being shut in by fences where the open cattle range was preempted by freeholds.
On the Culp farm I found they were planting double rows of shade trees along the main roads, and graveling the interior roads; also, they seem to feel the high winds which sweep through the California valleys, and were planting almonds and cotton-woods for windbreaks in the fields. It seemed odd to see long rows of almond-trees used for this purpose.