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Stumpy Valley: 1939

Stumpy Valley: 1939

October 1939. "A stumpy valley where new farms are being established. Photos show character of land which settlers are buying -- stump land farmers making a new start in the Priest River Valley, Idaho." Medium format acetate negative by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Energetic Stump removal methods

When I was a kid, oh so many years ago, it was still possible to go down to the farm supply and get a few sticks of dynamite and caps, so you could "blow some stumps". I can also report that they weren't terribly picky about whether you actually had a farm or not, or whether or not you had any particularly pesky stumps, nor if you were an adult.

Sometimes you actually did need something pretty powerful, it's easy to cut/dig out most of the visible roots and get the stump loose -- but that tap root can be pretty hard to get to and very hard to break by prying on it. My dad once tried pulling one with a steel cable attached to the bumper of our Corvair -- with predictable results.

Before the Farms

Whenever I see farmlands, and hear about people "protesting" (complaining) that they are putting subdivisions over the open farmland, I wish I could see the land before it was developed into that "undeveloped" farmland. As though the farmland is the natural state!

This is a great photograph of this pre-pre-development in a way we'd probably never imagine it. Even though most of it is essentially gone by the time the photograph was made.

[Most of these unirrigated "stump ranches" failed due to desertification and soil depletion of the deforested land, with most of the acreage eventually given over to grazing. - Dave]


I guess Stumpy Valley means clear cut forest.

Hard to tell

if those stumps were previously logged before or after the fire, good luck with the new farmers pulling all those stumps.

[The farmers blasted them with dynamite. - Dave]

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