Opportunities Out of Doors
100 SUGGESTIONS—If you love the country and delight in working close to nature, you can find profitable occupation in a hundred different ways. At the same time you can enjoy an abundance of health, fresh air, exercise and the peace that comes with a life that is lived out of doors.
Here are some activities that are proving satisfactory and profitable to thousands. Select any one of these out-of-door activities that is best suited to your nature and locality.
SUCCESSFUL EGG FARMING—The business of producing eggs scientifically for market offers great opportunities even for the amateur, for the demand always exceeds the supply of fresh country eggs. The egg is the nation's breakfast food and a necessity in every household, restaurant, cafe, hotel, bakery, and soda fountain.
Successful egg farmers choose as a rule the white Leghorn as the best egg-laying machine today, laying more eggs on less feed than any other.
The right location, the scientific system, and the correct hens to start with, make a sure foundation on which to build a successful poultry farm.
MONEY FROM FISHING—Deep sea fishing is hardly to be recommended as a part-time engagement for obvious reasons. However, spare time money can be made in fishing where the hazards are not so great.
(1) Lake Fishing. A morning or an afternoon spent in fishing at any of the thousands of lakes will result in a good catch of trout, carp, and other varieties of fish, depending on location. These fish can always be sold to the local trade.
(2) Clam Digging. Along the Atlantic Coast from Maine down to Long Island during six months of the year there is ample opportunity for any person to dig for clams. Two or three bushels is a fairly good catch for a morning's work. You can sell them at around $1.50 a bushel.
(3) Spudging for Eels. In the fall of the year, eels burrow in the mud and remain until the spring rains and sunshine warm the water again. The experienced eeler who knows where there are muddy bottoms, will in the winter time chop a hole two or three feet in diameter in the ice above the mud, and spudge around with a spear, jabbing until he has reached every part of the available mud. When he strikes an eel he can recognize it by the vigorous movements of the spudged eel. It is not unusual to catch a bushel of eels in a few hours' fishing.
(4) Lobster Catching. Along the Maine and New Jersey coasts there is opportunity for lobster catching. Fish scraps are the best bait. Lobsters bring a very good price.
RAISING TURKEYS—Turkey raising is another profitable part-time activity. If you can afford a few months' study at your state agricultural college, that will be all the study necessary to operate a turkey farm successfully. Moreover, the demand for turkeys as in the case of eggs is always certain. Seldom does one hear of a surplus of extra-fine turkeys.
Methods of feeding, incubation, housing, and a host of other problems make this occupation scientific.
RAISING TURTLES FOR THE MARKET—The price of turtle soup is very high, but the wealthy make no protest and the turtle farmer always makes a profit.
One successful farmer started a turtle farm by turning a number of turtles loose on a piece of boggy land, which for a number of years he considered worthless. He now has thousands of them, and his enterprise has been more successful each year.
His first turtles were snapping turtles. He greatly improved these by crossing them with a sort of chicken tortoise like the leatherback. The result was a turtle grotesque in appearance but of fine flavor.
He sells the flesh and eggs of turtles to hotels and restaurants that have calls for these choice delicacies.
A VEGETABLE GARDEN—If you have a little land suitable for a vegetable garden you can make even a few square yards pay you a fair return for your efforts.
Whatever vegetable you may grow, whether it be radishes, parsley, or corn, you will find your neighbors eager to buy your entire crop, for they prefer at all times fresh vegetables freshly plucked from the garden. If your crop exceeds this neighborly demand, send your boy or girl out with a basket of these vegetables to other districts.
By calling at a number of kitchen doors, it will not be long before they will return for another basket full. Or if you drive a car, load it up with vegetables, station yourself along a main automobile road and see the larger number of eager buyers from the city.
A large variety of vegetables can be grown successfully without expert agricultural knowledge such as beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peas, potatoes, squash, beets, etc.
The Government Printing Office publishes a number of bulletins dealing with the best methods of growing these and other vegetables. Write for detailed information.
SELLING SEEDS—Many farmers are in the habit of patronizing seed houses for their seeds for Spring planting. Unless the crops have been poor in your own neighborhood, it is very likely that local seed can be selected which will not only germinate with as high a percentage as seed purchased from the dealer, but will be ideally suited to that locality.
More than one person living in the country has selected the better grade of the crop he has harvested and sold it for seed the following spring. Hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn, for instance, are sold at the regular market price when they could be handled as seed and the price doubled at least.
RAISING MUSHROOMS—If you have a good, clean airy cellar you can turn it into use by growing mushrooms in it. The darker the cellar the better, for mushrooms thrive best in darkness. The temperature of the cellar should always be kept constant, between 60 and 70 degrees and it should be ventilated. It should be of rich soil with a high-grade fertilizer rich in phosphates for the foundation of the bed.
Finding a market for mushrooms will not be difficult. They are considered a great delicacy and any high class market will buy them from you.
SQUAB RAISING—The demand for squabs in the modern poultry market has steadily increased with the high standard of living. Dealers are complaining that the increased demand is not being met by the squab raisers. The Government Printing Office, in Washington, has published a bulletin on squab raising. It will give you all information necessary to operate a squab raising business. The price of the bulletin, which is No. 684, is 5 cents.
TRAPPING FOR FUR—This work offers a great deal of fun. The money isn't always easily earned and there are hours of actual hard work. But if you like to loiter on the banks of creeks and rivers or on the shore of tranquil lakes; if you like to roam through fields and through the brush, this is a job for you.
Go after muskrats. They are found around ponds, lakes or sluggish streams. Go after them before the first of January, before the streams and marshes have frozen.
Raccoon are to be found in woods, usually near a stream or a swamp. Minks live along rivers and little brooks that are choked with logs and foliage winding about under thick brush. Skunks live on farms and pastures, in old logs, under stone fences and buildings.
Nor need you stop with merely hunting these furs. Establish a contact with any of the reliable fur houses and act as its representative in your neighborhood. Some states require a fee of $2 or $3. With this special license in your possession you can buy furs from your friends and ship them in one consignment to your fur house.
Send to the U.S. Government Printing Office at Washington, D.C., for the following bulletins. They cost 5¢ each:
Bulletin No. 587, Value of Skunks.
MONEY FROM A FLOWER GARDEN—If you are interested in growing flowers, and at the same time if you want to make this pastime also profitable, you will find a ready market for your product. Arrange with nearby tea rooms and restaurants to keep their tables decorated with a daily supply of flowers. The florist in your town will likewise be interested in buying your excess supply.
BECOME A GARDEN DOCTOR—If you have studied at an agricultural school or if you have had years of experience in planting, growing, and gardening, why not offer your expert knowledge and experience to the community? If you can help the inexperienced gardener with his planting and advise on what to plant. If you can show him how to turn a hopeless vegetable garden into a productive one. If you can cure sick trees and apply corrective methods to a flower bed that is not thriving, you should be able to earn substantial yearly sums.
FUR FARMING—A surer way of making money from furs than hunting is to raise fur bearing animals on your own farm. By proper control and handling you should be able to raise large quantities of rabbit, mink, silver fox, beaver, raccoon, marten, etc.
The possibilities in this field of farming are given in detail in the following government bulletins:
Bulletin No. 27, Fur Farming for Beginners.
MAPLE SYRUP PROFITS—If there are some hard maple trees about the farm do not fail to take advantage of the many uses that can be made with maple syrup. Sell your product to tea rooms, restaurants, etc. Or sell your supply to any of the outlets in your community such as candy kitchens for maple syrup candies.
COLLECTING AND GROWING MEDICINAL PLANTS—The possibilities of deriving profits from the growing and the picking of cultivated and wild drug plants increase yearly. The pharmaceutical industry imports millions of dollars worth of drugs which are extracted from plants which grow under conditions of soil and climate resembling those of many localities in the United States.
A great many of these medicinal plants now grow in profusion as common weeds in every section of the country, and those acquainted with these plants are taking advantage of the demand and are devoting part or full time to their collecting and gathering. Not all of these plants grow wild. Some are being cultivated in quantity. In this connection it is important to consider types of soil that these plants thrive in best. Some require well drained loam, some require soils rich in lime, while others thrive only in marsh lands.
The following is a list of sixty drug plants which grow or may be grown in the United States; wintergreen, spearmint, saffron, sage, peppermint, licorice, lavender, horehound, larkspur, goldenseal, ginseng, digitalis, dill, dandelion, catnip, castor beans, camomile, cascara sagrada, arnica, belladonna, anise, aconite, alteris, althea, angelica, blue flag, boneset, burdock, calamus, calendula, cannabis, caraway, conium, coriander, echinacea, elecampane, fennel, gentian, henbane, insect-powder flowers, lobelia, lovage, melissa, orris, parsley, pennyroyal, pinkroot, pokeweed, safflower, seneca, snakeroot, serpenteria, stramonium, tansy, thyme, valerian, vetiver, wormseed, and wormwood.
If you live in the Central and Eastern states you will find the following plants best suitable for cultivation because of proper soil and climate: anise, belladonna, camomile, caraway, conium, coriander, digitalis, dill, elecampane, fennel, henbane, horehound, sage, stramonium, tansy, and thyme.
Some perennials, such as belladonna and digitalis, are only partly hardy and would be subject to winter killing in the colder sections. Such plants as aconite, arnica, lovage, poppy, seneca, valerian, and wormwood seem to thrive best in the northern half of the United States in situations where the rainfall is well distributed throughout the growing season. On the other hand, cannabis, licorice, and wormseed are better suited to the warmer climate of the southern half of the United States. Alteris, althea, angelica, calamus, orris, pinkroot, peppermint, spearmint, and serpentaria are adapted generally for localities in which the soil is rich and moist, but lavender and larkspur are partial to well drained sandy soil. Ginseng and goldenseal occur naturally on rich soil in the partial shade of forest trees and can be cultivated successfully only when planted in woodlands or in specially prepared soil under artificial shade.
The marketing of these drug plants requires special methods unlike those suggested in the production of products that can be marketed locally. Growers who live near the cities in which dealers in crude drugs are located or in sections where mild medicinal plants are collected, may be able to find a local market, but in many localities the local marketing of crude drugs in quantity will not be possible. In such cases the grower should send samples of his product to dealers in crude drugs or to manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and request them to name a price at which they would purchase his crop.
The latest issue of The Oil and Drug Reporter, New York, a copy of which can be had on request from the publisher, will bring you the latest price quotations of your product.
If you can make a contract with a reliable manufacturer or dealer to purchase your entire annual crop of your particular drug at a fair price you will be doing well.
The methods of cultivation, the propagation, the sowing of the seed, the harvesting, distillation, and the handling of the drug plant after it is fully grown; all these are factors that require special consideration.
A number of bulletins published by the United States Department of Agriculture will give all information and instructions necessary to the successful cultivation of drug plants. The following are now available at no cost to anyone requesting them:
Bulletin No. 26, American Medicinal Flowers, Fruits and Seeds.
GROWING WILLOWS—If you have some low, swampy ground that is very wet, you can utilize it by growing willows. These are used in the manufacture of chairs, baskets, trays, and a number of other popular products.
One successful farmer who has seven acres of swampy land now grows $2,000 worth of willows each season.
COLLECTING CHICKWEED—The chickweed is one of the common weeds that grows in gardens and fields, and is generally regarded as troublesome. It is used extensively for feeding canary birds. It can be collected, carefully washed, then sold in 10-cent bundles, a dozen stalks to the bundle. Canaries are very fond of it. You will find a ready market for it in practically every home that has a canary.
LOCATING BEE TREES—This may sound dangerous unless you know how to handle bees, but experienced bee hunters can locate such trees by following the flight of bees. Often one can find as many as 100 pounds of honey in one of these trees. Your retail grocery store will sell any amount that you will bring to him.
Anyone interested in making money from bees in a more business like fashion will of course find the regular bee hive industry more definitely profitable. This activity naturally requires specialized experience and knowledge. Anyone interested in the possibilities should write to the Government Printing Office at Washington, D.C., for the following bulletins:
Bulletin No. 447, Bees.
SELL WILD FLOWERS—Tourists from the city into the country often like to return with a bouquet of wild flowers. A stand located on an automobile road where traffic is heavy could easily dispose of many a bunch of bitter-sweet, pussy willows, cat-tails, bayberries, partridge berries, etc. These wild flowers are easy to pick, and they are easy to sell.
VIOLET CULTURE—If you live in the suburbs and you have grounds for cultivation, you will find that violet culture will bring you satisfactory spare time money. All that is necessary is but a passing knowledge of planting. Any number of books and bulletins published on the subject will enlighten you as to methods. Any florist will gladly act as an outlet for the splendid variety of lovely and fragrant violets that you should be able to grow if you specialize in the culture of this one species of flower.
A SMALL ORCHARD—A fair sized garden or even a small back yard can be turned into profit by planting a number of apple trees, pear or plum trees. If you prefer you can plant as easily some grape vines, and some berry bushes.
It requires a few seasons for these to grow and bear products, but your patience will be amply rewarded by a yearly supply of fruits or berries, sufficient for canning and for resale.
The work of watching a small orchard grow is the most pleasant one imaginable. At the same time it can serve as a good source of income.
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS WAYS—There are of course hundreds of other money-making ideas that the productivity of nature makes possible. Those that have been suggested above lend themselves to part time activity and not to professional farming as such. The following additional suggestions, given in brief, can likewise be used for spare time money-making. Bulletins for more specific and detailed information can be had by writing to the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Washington, D.C.
Basket willow culture; duck raising; rose cultivation; goose raising; sheep raising for beginners; butter making; raspberry culture; milk goat raising; home drying of fruits and vegetables; cooperative marketing of farm products; making cheese; growing an acre of potatoes; marketing fresh tomatoes; greenhouse lettuce growing; nut tree propagation; poultry keeping in back yards; cucumber growing; transplanting trees and shrubs; collection and preservation of insects; dairy farming with a few cows; propagation of game insects; peanut growing; growing Christmas trees; cutting farm woods; roadside markets, etc.
BREEDING DOGS—If you are a lover of dogs, you may find that rearing and breeding them is a very profitable hobby.
With dog shows increasing in popularity allover the world, and with the public becoming more educated to high standards, the value of a pure bred dog was never as great as it is today.
The marketing of these pedigreed dogs, however, is a simple matter. Small "ads" in your local paper. An attractive sign in front of your door. Approaching pet stores, etc.
One of the most remarkable ways of marketing dogs known to the writer is that of a taxi driver who breeds dogs as a sideline. In his taxi, which he uses chiefly in transporting people from a railroad station in a suburb, he has a placard placed where the rider can see it at all times, announcing the sale of pedigreed fox terriers. If a passenger evinces interest he volunteers to drive him to his kennel, without charge, to show him the dogs. In this way, he is able to sell several dogs each year.
If you are already engaged in the breeding of dogs or if you contemplate doing so, bear in mind, that you can make arrangements with all of the taxi drivers in your town to carry a neat card advertising your dogs in their taxis, paying the taxi driver a commission for all sales that he is instrumental in making for you.
The technique involved in the rearing and breeding of dogs is not difficult. The following is a list of books recommended by leading breeders as helpful to the novice:
Animal Breeding, Lawrence M. Winters. John Wiley & Sons,
New York, 1925.
RAISING TROPICAL FISH—Amateur breeders of tropical fish can make a good profit at this enjoyable hobby.
Last year $1,200,000 worth of tropical fish were imported into this country. When you realize how easy it is to raise them and how fast they breed and multiply, you will recognize why this form of business is profitable.
There are about 300 known species of tropical fish suitable for home breeding and they can live from 5 to 10 years.
To get started in this spare time business, buy an aquarium, either a tank or a stand, at a special tropical fish store or a department store. Get a tank that is large enough to afford a good surface area of water so that there will be plenty of oxygen. To eliminate the carbon dioxide that forms in the water put some water plants into the tank. The best temperature for tropical fish to thrive in should be between 70 and 80 degrees. A lamp heater and a thermometer should always be on hand.
When you have obtained the proper tank, go to any of the pet or fish stores, have the storekeeper help you select a half dozen of the more popular kind ranging from 25 cents to $5.00 each.
It will not bit long after you have put your supply of fish in your tank that you will wake up some morning to find it thronging like a beehive.
Without buying a single additional fish you will soon find that you will need three or four additional tanks.
You will find a ready market for your fish by selling them to your local pet shop and shops in neighboring towns; also to your own neighbors, friends, and others who will soon hear of your activities.
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.