Agricultural Uses of Dynamite, and Other Farm Tales

Did you know that dynamite was a traditional farm tool? For decades, you could buy it by the case by mail-order from Sears. It had many uses around the farm: blowing stumps, shattering boulders, breaking up plow-pan, digging holes for tree planting, and even (believe it or not) digging ditches.

I’ve republished We Wanted a Farm by M. G. Kains, which has a whole chapter about his newbie experiences with dynamite in the old days, including snake-holing and other semi-exotic techniques. M. G. Kains is the author of the 1936 back-to-the-land handbook, Five Acres and Independence. It turns out that (not surprisingly) the wisdom that went into Five Acres came partly from having a farm of his own, with the triumphs and tragedies that go with it.