October 14, 2012

The Dustbowl ~ People Impacting Places Unit

Out of the Dust
We began reading Out of the dust by Karen Hesse a while back.  The novel is set in the 1930s in Oklahoma in the middle of the historic "Dust Bowl."  Unit two this school year is People Impacting Places and we're learning about the causes of the Dust Bowl. 

People Impacting Places
In the 1800s people believed that plowing the soil allowed more rain to soak into the prairie sod.  The moisture then evaporated, adding humidity and leading to more rainfall.  Science of the day supported this belief and so people's belief was that God had destined them to control the land (http://www.kshs.org). However, rainfall is inconsistent.  When settlers realized this, some left. Those who stayed tried other methods of watering their crops.  Instead of relying solely on rain, farmers practiced irrigation.  They took water from rivers and streams, and pumped water from underground. 




A severe drought struck the Plains in the 1930s.  Strong winds lifted the light, dry soil and blew it over the landscape in terrible dust storms, and the region became known as the Dust Bowl.







The drought's effects had been made worse by human actions.  In the 1910s, World War I increased the need for grain around the globe.  New technology--particularly gas-powered farm equipment--allowed farmers to work faster and more efficiently.  To meet the higher demand for grain, American farmers broke new ground for crops.  This destroyed deep-rooted prairie grasses that had held the region's topsoil in place for centuries.  The exposed topsoil became airborne in spectacular fashion when the Great Plains were hit hard by drought and winds in the 1930s.

Places Impacting People

So, what happened to the people living in the prairie ecosystems during the 1930s?  They were of course impacted by their environment...but how?

A family of farmers moving to California.



All of the problems started in the early 1930’s.  When all this started, people had hard time getting money.  Some way’s people could get money were picking crops for farmers, moving to California, and being a farmer.












In the dust bowl, things changed.  Children had to start hearing their parents worry about money and food.  Children would play with anything they could find.  Little kids had to do a lot of work if they lived on a farm, like feeding the animals, and milking the cows.  Big kids had to help their parents with the chores like mowing the grass, making clothes, and anything else they could do.











In the dust bowl, people had hard times getting food.  Sometimes people with no homes went to public parks and ate there.  Some parks had cooking areas where people could build fires.  People would share with others and some would bring a kettle for water, and some people brought food to boil.  People would eat a potato, hotdog, or meat stew.  When they would start eating they had to put a plate over their drink so no dust would get in it.





Farm life started getting very hard!  With crops dying and bad soil, farmers could not produce enough food to live on, much less sell.  Farmers were unable to pay their share to the landowners.  Farmers were forced to leave the land with huge debts they could not pay.  The government started to help; they gave seeds, money, and equipment.


Children of the Dust bowl





We will be learning more about the dust bowl, specifically the Children of the Dust Bowl.  As you've already read, many families moved away from Dust Bowl areas and tried to relocate to California.  What happened to them there?  Stay tuned!
 

159 comments:

  1. Causes of the Dust Bowl
    In my opinion the Dust Bowl was caused by the farmers. During WWI, farmers made money selling wheat to Europe. Hearing of great land to plow, thinking they could make money again selling wheat. After plowing all the cryptobiotic soil that sustains the bottom soil, dust storms coming blew the top soil making dirty clouds forming the Dust Bowl. This is my opinion on how the Dust Bowl was caused

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    1. Hi Daniel,

      What advice would you give the farmers from that time? How would you recommend that they support their families? It would be a hard to choose between feeding your family and protecting the land. Is there a way they could have balanced those?

      I'd love to hear your ideas.
      Lisa Meyer-Jacks
      Aidan's mom

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    2. The advice that I would have given them would of given them is to migrate like the other farmers and go to California. It would be hard but probaly worth it there kids if lucky tey could get an education and the father could get a job probaly 5 cents an hour and at the time the government was setting up camps for the migrants.

      I hope I answerd your question.

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  2. In my opinion, there was never a lot of food or water in the dust bowl area.So when people came there was even less food and water.Then there was even more problems,dust pneumonia,drought,and hunger.Some times people were covered in the sand.When people plowed,the roots from the old plants could not hold the soil in place,and the soil blew away.So there was barely any food left and don't even mention the water.

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    1. Hi Emily,
      As I read through all these interesting comments, yours caught my eye because I was already thinking about parallels between the dust bowl and our own community in New Mexico. Though the dust bowl was influenced by poor farming practices, there are other similarities. We have scarce water here, and I read that what we're now calling drought really is our norm in the Southwest. Yet we continue to encourage population growth, water usage, and lifestyles beyond what this ecosystem can accommodate. We need to be working on this! By the way, Out of the Dust is one of my favorite books, both as a reader and a writer! Hesse's words are simple, strong, and elegant. Thanks!

      Dee (Lisa, Eva, and Aidan's friend:-)

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  3. The dust bowl affected the environments and humans. An effect it had on the environment is that it destroyed most of it. One of the effects it had on humans was that it made a lot of the Okies have to migrate to California. The reason it made Okies migrate was that all the dust was hurting people and destroying their houses. That's how the dust bowl affected the environment and humans.

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  4. In my opinion, the dust bowl impacted people and the environment. People would inhale the dust which can injure or be fatal. Sometimes, people would would loose their jobs or even homes because they had nothing to sell. The prairie ecosystem was permanently damaged along with the top soil. Those are some ways the dust bowl impacted the environment.

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    1. Hi Sam,

      I'm curious what you have learned about the impact of the dust bowl on the land today. Has most of it been repaired or been renewed naturally? Do we still see the impact today from our actions so long ago?

      Lisa Meyer-Jacks
      Aidan's mom

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    2. No, the dust bowl did so much damage that the prarie ecosystem was permanently damaged along with the top soil. And yes we still see the impact from so long ago. only parts of the ecosystem remain.

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  5. The Dust Bowl by DanielleNovember 8, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    The Dust Bowl was caused by the farmers. Wen the farmers first took the land from the Indians the Indians told them "don't plow the land!" But, they did it anyways! The farmers were being inconsiderate! They were growing crops very well but they were using all the water and they did not have a lot of water. The wind came and the dirt got caught up in the air. The crops slowly died because there was a drought. That is how the dust bowl was caused.

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  6. I believe the Dust Bowl had an impact on the humans and the environment. An impact on the humans is that when the dust came, the people got very sick with dust pneumonia and sometimes even died from it. another human impact was that the people lost their jobs and had no money, no food, they were starving! An environmental impact is that the rain stopped and the wind came and blew all the top soil away. If you go there, you will only find clay, yards and yards of clay, in the permanently destroyed prairie ecosystem. I believe the Dust Bowl had an impact on the humans and on the environment.

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    1. Hi Addie,

      Thank you for sharing your ideas.

      Do you think people in the United States have learned any lessons from the dust bowl? Do you see any places today where we are hurting the environment with our actions? If so, where? What do you think we should be doing instead?

      I'm curious to hear what you are thinking.
      Lisa
      Aidan's mom

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    2. 1.I do think the people of the United States have learned a lesson not to plow when they are told not to.
      2.Yes
      3.I have seen people in New York hurting the environment with there actions.
      4.We could pick up litter and leave the environment.

      Thank you for spending time to read my opinion about what the effects that the Dust Bowl had.

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    3. I'm curious how you have seen people in New York hurting the environment with their actions. I wasn't quite sure if it was littering or something else.

      How do you see people in Albuquerque hurting the environment? What are ways you help the environment? How do you think you hurt it? I know that I could cut down on the length of my showers. I could use less water which could help us save that important resource.

      Lisa
      Aidan's mom

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  7. Causes and Effects of the Dust Bowl
    In my opinion, the Dust Bowl impacted the people and the environment. People got dust pneumonia and sometimes even died. They had to do lots of work like scrubbing up dust, cleaning cow noses, taking care of animals and more. Most people went to California for freedom, but it almost got worse. There were no jobs, California people called the travelers Oakies, teased them in a bad way and more. It was horrible because people from California were being so mean. After the Dust Bowl, there was a permanent soil loss. This is my opinion on what happened to the people and the environment of the Dust Bowl.

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  8. In my opinion the dust bowl was caused by the farmers.Because the farmers said to the Indians give us the land so the Indians said you could have it but do not plow.So the farmers did plow to grow wheat and it was raining in 3 day's.when it stop a big wind came and its called the great American dust bowl.It was horrible and the dust was there sense 5 years and it was sad.

    by Hector

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    1. Hi Hector,

      You were the first student to talk about the interactions between the Indians and the farmers. I'm curious to learn more. Did the Indians tell them not to plow the land? Did they warn the farmers about what might happen? How did the farmers' decisions impact the Indians? Was that fair to the Indians?

      Waiting for your thoughts,
      Lisa
      Aidan's mom

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  9. PALOMA
    In my opinion,the Dust Bowl(DB)caused horrible things.The DB caused people to get dust pneumonia.Dust pneumonia is a sickness people used to get.The dust gets into a cleaning system inside your lungs.An other thing that the DB caused is people could not grow their crops.It was so windy that the wind blew so hard that the wheat came out of the ground. But the crops did not grow just because of the wind;there was no water.There was no water to help the plants;the plants have roots to hold down the loose dirt 'er...grit.In my opinion,the Dust Bowl caused The Worst Hard Time.

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  10. In my opinion the farmers caused the Dust Bowl the farmers were greedy for money so they plowed and plowed. When world war 2 hapend they got a lot of money after plowing their farms. Naturally there is a lack of water, wind and the plowing. That is my opinion of what the farmers caused.

    In my opinion the Dust Bowl caused a lot of deaths from dust pneumonia becuse the dust got in the respiratory system. Naturally there was a lack of water and food from the ecosystem. There were no resourses( no food or water) no food becouse they killed of all the Bison ; water becouse the plants could survive With out a lot of water. A lot of people went hungry becouse of the lack of water and food some even died from dust pneumonia also they're was a mass migration to California. That is my opinion of what the Dust Bowl coused.

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    1. Hi Gabriel,

      How did the mass migration to California impact people and resources there? Did this create another set of challenges for people?

      Lisa
      Aidan's mom

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  11. What caused the Dust Bowl?
    In my opinion, the dust bowl was caused by ignorant people. The indians told the farmers not to plow but the farmers ignored the indians. The cowboys said "Do not plow." but the farmers did. In the Panhandle there was a natural drought. Because of the drought, the ground was dirt. The dirt and wind mixed to form a big cloud. This proves that the dust bowl was caused by ignorant people.

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    1. Hi Eva,

      Cowboys! I hadn't thought of their role with the farmers. How did the dust bowl impact their lives? Where did they end up going once the dust bowl hit? How do you think they felt about the farmers?

      Lisa
      Aidan's mom

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  12. In my opinion, the Dust Bowl impacted the people and the environment. What the dust did to the humans was that it got them sick with dust pneumonia. Anther thing is when the Dust Bowl came, there wasn't any food or water. They lost their money and when the Dust came some houses fell to the ground. The environment was falling apart because of permanent top soil loss. This is what the Dust Bowl caused.

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  14. I think that the dust bowl happened because of farmers planting the same crops in the same area and turning top soil for more nutrients so the top soil became separated and lose persipitaion in the soil fast winds piked up the soil the wind carried so much dirt that it broke windows coated beds, tables and the whole house. Killed the life stok the farmers depended on the rain and they where in a drought. Also in the great depression after world war 2. Economic down fall after the war . Over half of the budget gows to military purposes (the government budget ).

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    1. this information is from out of the dust and in class the reasouse is Sra,Raff

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    2. Hmmm..."precipitation in the soil" Can you explain that Connor? Also, we did not talk about government budget or military purposes but since you mention it, would you please cite your information? Finally, in Out of the Dust and in Children of the Dust Bowl we did learn about how the government tried to help farmers with loans; do you think those did more harm than good and why?

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    3. they didn't do anything at all they just get ripped out by the dust storms

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    4. Joaquin, who is they and what do you mean by they get ripped out by dust storms?

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  16. I was on page 8 into reading Voices of the Dust Bowl by Sherry Garland, a story about an old cowboy in Southeastern Colorado. He talked about " eager nesters who tore up the soil" The farmers... At this point they are deep in a drought. " I say this land is meant for grazing, not farming, but nobody wants to listen to an old cowboy like me." I noticed that in those last words he's saying that maybe if the farmers had thought it over and listened to the cowboys, maybe, just maybe they would have done something for their farming to not affect the environment, meaning... NO DUST BOWL!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. That's a very interesting take I think because as we learned after reading Aldo Leopold's writings and in Children of the Dustbowl constant cattle grazing also causes erosion. Here in the SW it causes all the silt to go into the river. Do you think maybe one of the causes of the dust bowl could have also been cattle grazing or was it all due to farming and plowing.

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    2. Well, I remember that the bison were actually keeping the dust fixed to the ground by running on it.... so maybe it was all those people who randomly killed bison's fault that all that dust started flying around. But still your right the cattle grazing might have helped a bit....

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    3. the cattle grazing sorta helpt but also plowing brou the dust up to

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    4. Plowing probably did make things worse but remember cattle are probably not native to that ecosystem (are they?) and when introduced they are bound to have some impact on the new ecosystem. Remember that anytime non native species are introduced there is an impact.

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    5. Well... do bison count as cattle?

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  17. The farmer preety much made the dust bowl, beacause they kept digging in the dirt loosening the dirt. Then the winds picked up the dirt to make big dirt storms.

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    1. this is from a vidio I watched in the other 5th grade class

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    2. After watching the video and learning about natural environments what would be your advice to farmers in the prairie land attempting to take on "dry farming"?

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    3. I would just leave Cali, even though the Okies will be treated bad, but it is better than at Oklahoma. At least they will not have to deal with dust storms.

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    4. butt why not go north east or west instead of going to california ?

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    5. yeah north east was very green and had lots of farm land

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    6. I'm not sure where I would go. I think, they wanted to move to California because that's where they could continue to do what they knew - farming. Also because everyone was talking about how many workers were needed in California.

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    7. why not go to north cali instead of south

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    8. Because there are more crops in the south of Cali.

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    9. Because there are more crops in the south of Cali.

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    10. the dust storms hit north cali

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    11. the crop got ripped out by the dust

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  18. Well, I think that the farmers caused the dust bowl, I think that because farmers plowed the land which made the top soil loose. I learned this with a book called Children of the dust bowl

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    1. Hi Naomi!

      What were other contributing factors to the Dust Bowl? What else do you think helped make it so bad?

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    3. I think that people started killing bison and also that farmers could not grow much because there was nota lot of water in the area so they made no money [also part of the great depression].

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    4. You're right, there wasn't a lot of water in the area! The farmers called it dry farming because they were farming without any water nearby. How do you think dry farming contributed to the loss of the ecosystem?

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    5. the water replenishes nutrients in the ground and kept the ground moist and compact

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    6. the farmers ploud it up and that made it dry

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  19. it was completely farmers fault the caused the dust bowl by turning and they did not listen the the natives

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    1. Thats what I have been saying the whole time!!!!!!!

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    2. Don't you think other people could have done something? Maybe even before the farmers, thats what I thought.... you should look at the second thing I wrote under this article.

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    3. What would have been your advice to people moving into Oklahoma? They're already there, what could they have done to helped make things better?

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  20. I think that there was not a lot of water in the area. So when people moved in there was less water

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    1. i dont understand what you mean

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    2. Well in the grass land area there was not a lot of rain :-]

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    3. do u mean Cali or Oklahoma????

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    4. their was not a constant water source in the great plains

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    5. The prairie did not have a water source, no river, no ocean near by - nothing to bring moisture to the land. Farmers had to "dry farm." It's not like here in NM where they constructed canals or ditches or dams to help bring water to dry areas.

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  21. i think that this was a great thing to learn about so we don't destroy the future

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    1. Yeah I think you are right we did learn a very important lesson and we hopefully won't do something like that again!

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    2. I think you are right as well

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    3. ya I don't want to drink dust

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    4. i agree now hopefully we can make better choices in the future and not distroy things

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    5. me nether jake i dont want to eat dust

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    6. dust in the milk dust on the corn

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    7. and dust in there eyes mouth and hair

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    8. we are already destroying the agriculeteral ecosystems for most of the same reasons like planting the same crops in the same place and not reaplenashing the nutrients

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  22. I think the people who killed bison are part of it and the farmers and maybe the cattle.

    What do you guys think?

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    1. Totally on the cattle they at the grass so that was part of making the dirt loose.

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    2. I also think that the people who killed bison are part of the dust bowl

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    3. When i said they at the grass
      I ment ate

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    4. they killed what kept the dirt down I agree

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    5. i think that two kamila

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    6. i think so to

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    7. i agree with that to

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    8. kinda if the farming never had stoped it would have helped and the war with the texas vs indians the ground got wrecked

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    9. i agree because the animals would eat the grass witch held the dirt

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  23. I think it was sort of not smart for farmers to move to a place that relies on rain so they can grow crops!

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  24. I think it was the farmers fault they caused the dust bowl becuase they did not listen to the natives and they plowed the land. Also it was really dry.I learned from the video and some books from the library .

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    1. I agree with you the farmers were that smart

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    2. i agree with you adah that it was the farmers fault

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    3. i agree with you

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    4. ya and they would not let the ground replenish the nutrients in the ground so the ground beacome loose and not compact

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    5. i agree with you because maybe because they plowed the land it made it loose

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  25. who thinks it was the government fault for the great depression i think it was because they did not provide money or jobs for those who needed them and they falsely advertised O.K

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    1. yeah, I never thought about that

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    2. But remember, the president at that time was the one who distributed more jobs. Wasn't he???

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    3. Yeah I think he was a good president

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    4. He was a good president but he did not give enough jobs in the dust bowl

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    5. he did give jobs and loans in the great depretion

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    6. but the loans made the banks go bankrupt and people lost all of there money

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  26. I was reading and it said kids had to work with their parents. Kids who lived in farms had to do a lot of work like feeding animals and much more. Older kids had to help parents with their chores. I think it was only fair because what they were going through was terrible. Crops were gone and they didn't have money do you agree that children should have helped or not ?

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    1. Yeah, I mean we were the only workers they had that didn't need payment to work and they didn't have that kind of money to pay someone else!

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    2. Ya I read that too, but the kids had to clean the nose of cows.

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    3. yes that is true that the kids had to clean the cows noses 3 times a day

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    4. i agree with you adrian

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  27. I agree the farmers where not smart

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    1. not smart and not vigelent about the grounds condition

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  28. i think the dust bowl was made becouse the farmers keeped diging to plant crops and they losened the top soil and made it easy for the air to make giant dust storms

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    1. I think that ever body thinks that it was the farmers fault

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    2. i think that too and i also think the animals ate all the grass and there was nothing to hold the dust

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    3. not all the grass they wher in a drougt so no wetniss

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  29. I do not think kids should have worked during the dust bowl becouse the dust and becose there work was probably harder

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    1. What about the parents? Like Billie Jo, her mom was pregnant and she could not help her dad so Billie Jo was helping. Adults need help too...

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    2. Yeah I agree with Kamila

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    3. i agree with you kamila

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    4. yeah Kamila i am agree with you

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  30. i like your idea about the goverment beacouse it is true that there was not many jobs or money

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  31. my opinion is that is was the farmers fault because they did not listen to the natives

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    1. would have gone to Cali if you were okie

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  32. I don't get why some of the farmers would not want to go to California if thats were they could have gotten jobs

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    1. veronica a i think that they didn't have a car or they didn't have gas to make it there

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    2. and there was not enough jobs in cali

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    3. true thanks for the info

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    4. i am agree with zoe

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    5. their wher no more jobs it just increast the populacion in cali

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    6. their was no sence in going to cali when you could go to Nabrasca or Ohio or even Iowa

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    7. Most posably it is that they did not have a car becouse there was gas stations gave out free gas to the okies.

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  33. Yes I agree with Kamila I like that idea.

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  34. There where not enough jobs in California for all the families from Oklahoma.

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    1. Right some of the Oklahomas did not get to California in time to get a job!!!!!!

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  35. I am posting about jail, during the time of the dust bowl jails provided what you need to survive: water, food, shelter. In the dust bowl the government provided all of the resources to survive so why did they not provide any of the people who were not criminals resources to survive.

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    1. I think this goes back to what Zoe was saying. The government could have done more and sooner for the farmers. Remember our discussion in class? There was a paradigm shift that time for the American people and government. Prior to this the government's main function was to pass and ensure laws were followed. It was in the midst of the great depression and the dust bowl that the Government realized it had to step in and help it's people survive. It may have been a bit late, but the Government did step up to the plate.

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    2. Regarding the topic on jails. There is a constitutional amendment requiring fair and just treatment of inmates. If people in jail had not been provided with food and shelter then it would have been a constitutional violation. There wasn't then and still isn't a law or constitutional amendment requiring the government to feed, clothe or help those who need it.

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    3. ya in the grapes of wrath joey came from jail i think that he kinda liked it but liked being out more

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    4. I wonder if the jails were like the jails today.

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    5. the jails where a good place to be during the dust bowl

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  36. This is Luna,

    The reason the dust bowl happened is because, Once Oklahoma was a peaceful land full of buffalo grass that the buffalos would live on but then the settlers came and sand went to war with the native americans and in 40 years there was not one native american or buffalo in all of Oklahoma [witch I read with my clase in Children Of The Dust Bowl] . Then the settlers wanted to use the land for farming but the land was to dry and no good for farming so they decided to plow. You see the way the land would work is the buffalos would eat the buffalo grass then trample all over it so the land would stay together but then when the farmers plowed it the dry soil was just lying at the surfac so when the wind picked up the dust blew all over turning the sky blood red. But everything was fine in California itch is where most Okies went witch caused over population and other problems witch I am not going to talk about right now but that is what caused the dust bowl.

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    1. you should have checked your spelling

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    2. yes I like your thinking

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    3. I like it Luna I like how you cited your work (most people don't do that) But the fact that the buffalo trampeld it wasn't why the dust bowl happend it happend because they left the grass to grow back; the farmers didin't.

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  37. i think it was the farmers fault

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    1. kinda but not compleatly partioly bad luck =drout

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  38. Yes I agree Luna and it was a peaceful land.

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    1. yes it was a peaceful land but the farmers ruined it

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  39. in california dont have jods

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  40. yeah the farmers should of listen to the natives!!!!!!!!!!

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  41. I think that this is all a great thing to know

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  42. is there anything the farmers could have done to save the crops or the people could they have saved the land











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    1. I don't think they could have done anything it was probably to late to do anything.

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  43. The Dust bowl started when white people killed all the buffalo. They did not know what to do with the land so they gave it to farmers. Farmers followed the prosiguiere they have always followed: Plowing the ground so they could supposedly bring up the better soil. But that only made the ground drier. In the windy season the wind piked up the now "sand" and it went whirling with the wind. This also led to the grate depression: The dust killed farmers crops; so they could not sell them. Eventually the farmers had no money, and the bank took their houses and occasioned off their stuff.

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  44. I think that the dust bowl was a hard time for the U.S.A people lost there home or had to move I think the dust bowl happen because framers thought the land was good for framing and when it did not rain they plowed trying to hit water and they never did all that dirt the wind got that how the dust blow came to be I think we should be happy that the dust blow is not going on right now

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