Problems With Living And Farming On The Plains Flashcards Preview

The American West 1840-1896 > Problems With Living And Farming On The Plains > Flashcards

Flashcards in Problems With Living And Farming On The Plains Deck (21)
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Explain the problem of water shortages when living on the plains

Water was scarce on the Plains so people found it difficult to keep themselves and their clothing clean


Explain the problem of extremes of weather when living on the plains

Hot in summer and cold in winter with low rainfall and fierce winds. The Indians moved with the seasons but the homesteaders did not.


Explain the problem of fuel when living on the plains

No wood to burn for heating and cooking instead they used buffalo or cow 'chips' (dried dung)


What were the 5 problems with living on the plains?

Water shortages
Extremes of weather
Dirt and disease
Building materials


Explain the problem of dirt and disease when living on the plains

Sod houses had earthy floors walls and roofs which made them not only hard to keep clean but harboured bed bugs, fleas, mice and snakes. Illness was therefore common especially among children


Describe the process for building sod houses
Explain the problem of building materials when living on the plains

Sod bricks were used for constructing the walls and windows and doors were fitted then the house was roofed with boards, grass and more sods. Finally, the outside walls were plastered with clay-like mud.
These houses were cheap to build and did not stop water leaking in when it rained despite them being warm in winter and cool in summer.


What were the six problems of farming on the plains?

Water shortages
Extremes of weather
Protecting crops
Growing crops
Natural hazards


Explain the problem of water shortages when farming on the plains

This could lead to the total failure of crops and then bankruptcy or starvation there were also no rivers or lakes to use to irrigate them. Wells were also expensive and gave no guarantee of finding water


Explain the problem of extreme weather when farming on the plains
Give an example of where, when and what serious weather problem has on the plains occurred

Drought in summer and Cold in winter could damage or destroy crops
In Kansas no rain fell between January 1859 and November 1860


Explain the problem of ploughing when farming on the plains

The plains had never been farmed before therefore the homesteaders had grasses with dense tangled roots to plough and the cast iron ploughs needed constant repairs which made it a slow process.


Explain the problem of protecting crops when farming on the plains

There was no wood for fencing so the crops could not be protected from the buffalo or straying cattle or for marking land boundaries which lead to disputes


Explain the problem of growing crops when farming on the plains

Maize, soft winter and spring wheats that the homesteaders were used to planting were not well suited to the weather conditions on the Great Plains


Explain the problem of natural hazards when farming on the plains
What came in plagues and destroyed crops and when?

In the summer when the grasses were really dry prairie fires would start destroying crops if too big to stop.
Grasshoppers which swept the plains in 1871, 1874 and 1875


What three factors controlled the success of homesteaders when living and farming on the plains?

1) The location of their land
2) Their adaptability to farming conditions
3) Weather conditions


What were the eight solutions to these problems?

Dry farming
Growing surplus
Hard winter wheat
Barbed wire
Sod buster
Other machinery
Hard work


How were windmills a solution?
Who invented the self-governing windmill?
When were they invented?

The self governing windmill kept in line with the wind so it could stand strong winds and could be used to pump water from underground night and day for people to use in their homes and to irrigate their crops
Daniel Halliday


How was dry farming a solution?

Farmers would plough the land when there had been heavy rain or snow leaving a thin layer of dust over the surface which trapped and preserved moisture in the soil and then was left fallow (not sown) for next years crop


What does surplus mean?
How was growing surplus a solution?

Growing an excess of production or supply
The homesteaders could them sell the extra crops they grow once they have enough to feed their family. With is this money they could buy better equipment and increase their surplus


When was farming machinery developed?
Give three examples
How was other machinery a solution?

1) Reapers
2) Binders
3) Threshers
Hey could easily be transported by railroad to the Great Plains and were affordable they also increased the area that a homesteader could manage to farm and were well suited to the wide open spaces of the Great Plains


By what time did the homesteaders solve the problems of farming on the Great Plains?
By then what did the Great Plains become?
How was hard work a solution?

A fertile area for wheat production
Their success was determined by their hard work determination and adaptability


What were the homesteaders supported by that took them to the plains and brought them equipment?
Name one other thing the railroads did to help the homesteaders?

The railroads
Carried their crops to market