"Our Friends on the Acres"
Mr. & Mrs. E.W. Green
Another old property is the subject of this week's chapter of "Our Friends on the Acres." It is known as "Maplewood Farm," located six miles northwest of Postville in Bloomfield township, Winneshiek county. It was settled in 1851 by the late Gideon Green, grandfather of E.W. Green, who is now living on the farm.
Gideon Green was farsighted. He brought boards along with him from Milwaukee, Wis., stopping at McGregor before completing the journey by ox cart. With the boards he built the only door in his log cabin. In those days a door of this type was a mark of distinction. When he passed away in 1882, his son, Melvin Green, purchased the farm from his brothers and sister. he operated it until his death in 1904. Then his two sons, E.W. Green and S.A. Green, purchased the property. It comprised some 350 acres in 1904, but the land has been split up and changed so today Maplewood Farm covers 257 acres.
E.W. Green was born October 24, 1871, on the farm and for 68 consecutive years has made it his home. His wife is the former Margaret Bollman, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Moses Bollman. Together they attended the "Old Red Schoolhouse," which was located a mile and half southwest of the Green farm. They both remember their first teacher, Julia Garland and also remember Dr. F.W. Conover, former Decorah dentist, now living in Mason City, as another of the pioneer teachers in the little red schoolhouse. They were married November 15, 1893. To their union five children were born, Ralph Green of near Ossian; Irene (Mrs. L.C. Shepperd) of Albert City; Bernice (Mrs. H.E. McClain) of Waterloo; Chester Green who lives near the home farm, and Kenneth Green who rents the home farm. Mr. Green's mother attended the old red schoolhouse. So did Mr. and Mrs. Green, their children and their grandchildren. They have two great grandchildren who will probably attend the same old school.
"I can say that we have never had an entire crop failure since I've been on the farm," Mr. Green explained to the Herald writer, "It's been pretty slim sometimes, in fact it's been awfully slim a couple of times, but we managed to get along all right." This past year was a good one on the Green farm. On one seven acre plot of ground, corn went 84 bushels to the acre. An additional 33 acres of corn yielded approximately 60 bushels to the acre. "Our son Kenneth, who rents the farm, does almost all of the work. The crops this year were the best in the history of the farm, at least during the years I've been here," Mr. Green stated. "We had 16 acres of barley, a small acreage of oats and flax, and about 25 acres of alfalfa."
Mr. and Mrs. Green are extremely proud of their farm. In 1908 they had the old farm house moved away and in its place constructed what friends called a "mansion." It was a large two story home composed of 14 rooms, finished off in native wood. The wood was cut out of the timber on the farm, making it one of the most beautiful homes in this vicinity. The dining room was one of the show places of the house. It was 16X17 feet, finished in cherry wood. "We had always lived in a small house before, and when we built, we decided to have plenty of room," Mrs. Green stated, "But we overdid it, I guess." "Yes," interupted her husband, "we found out it was foolish to have such a large place, even if we did have a large family." Then on April 7, 1935, just 27 years later, a fire broke out and the place was reduced to smoldering ashes. The Greens waited until the next summer to rebuild. This time they profited by their experience. The house they erected is a duplex. They live in four rooms on the south side of the house, while their son and daughter-in-law and family have the rooms on the north side of the home.
All of the up-to-date buildings on the property are in good condition. Last summer Mr. Green gave them all a fresh coat of paint. He is especially proud of his barn, 32X78 feet, which houses one of the finest herds of cattle in the state. He has 50 head of purebred, registered Milking Shorthorns. Mr. Green and his son, Kenneth have only 30 Duroc Jersey hogs now, as they sold about 25 this fall. One hundred White Wyandotte chickens comprise the fowl on the farm. "Last summer when we were haying, the hired man uncovered a nest with six pheasants," Mr. Green explained. "We put them in the chicken pen with an old hen and two of them are still hanging around."
Throughout the interview, Mr. and Mrs Green often referred to the "sugar bush." The writer has reserved this important industry to the final paragraphs although it is one of the most important and interesting features of Maplewood Farm. Northeast of the Green home are 100 acres of woods, the majority of the trees being hard maples. Each spring Mr. Green and his son, with the assistance of his brother, S.A. Green, and another worker, tap from 1700 to 1800 trees. They place buckets at the foot of the trees and obtain many gallons of sap. "Last spring the trees produced about 18,500 gallons. The sap is about 97 per cent water, so after we boil it down it takes from 30 to 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup." Mr. Green explained.
"No, we don't get the same amount of sap every year," he said when asked about the yield from year to year. "Some years, if the weather conditions aren't just right, we get only about half that much." Ideal weather conditions, as explained by Mr. Green, are cold, freezing nights with warm days. this combination makes the sap flow freely. "Working the sugar bush has been going on for many, many years," he volunteered. "My grandfather, Gideon Green, wasn't the first one. He used to tell stories of how he saw evidence where the Indians had tapped the trees before he settled on the property. Even today, when we are forced to cut down a tree, we often see scars deep in the heart of the tree, probably caused by Indians who cut into the wood years ago." "Instead of tapping the trees with an axe as they used to do, we auger a hole into the tree, about two inches deep, then drive in an all-metal tap, so grooved that it conducts the sap from the tree to a bucket."
In 1930 a new building was erected with all the necessary equipment to handle the sap. New vats were installed and today the "sugar bush" on the Green farm is said to be the largest in the state of Iowa.
~Postville Herald, January 1, 1940
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