A farm home, adequate, comfortable, beautiful in harmony with its natural setting, reflecting the interests and ideals of the family it shelters, is the goal toward which the whole cooperative extension program tends. Success in the business of farming is sought, just as success in any other business is sought, in order that all interests of the home may benefit. Not least of these interests is the physical make-up of the home, the house, its furnishings, its equipment.
Farm women who participate in the undertakings of the cooperative extension service frequently request that attention be given to specific features of home improvement. Among the extension projects relating to home improvement included in the programs of many states this year are:
House plans Lighting
Repair and refinishing of furniture
Arrangement of furniture
Beds and bedding
Handicrafts, color, dyeing, etc.
Pictures for the home
Planting and care of the home grounds
Methods of conducting the projects vary with the state. Frequently the county home-demonstration agent arranges one or more lectures and demonstrations to be given before groups of women by a member of the extension staff at the state college who has specialized in that subject. Illustrative material is usually brought by the specialist. Sometimes local people cooperate in giving demonstrations and discussions of furnishings, equipment, and materials. Contests in improvement of certain features of the home, such as kitchen, living room, or grounds, afford an added interest to the program occasionally. Tours to visit the entries in the contest provide a means of obtaining information which many non-contestants, as well as those who are in the contest, avail themselves of.
Special emphasis is given this project by the National Better Homes Week. County home-demonstration agents join with other agencies in the county in planning and carrying out programs for this week. Frequently the home-demonstration agents plan a special demonstration for this week. In one county in Virginia as a special feature for Better Homes Week an old house was made available to the women working with the county home-demonstration agent, and together they remodeled and placed in it furniture and equipment loaned by business firms of the county. During the week the women took turns acting as hostesses in the demonstration home. In Tennessee the home-demonstration agent reports that ideas gained from a somewhat similar demonstration, carried out several years ago, are still being put into practice.
In addition to the above-mentioned governmental activities in the field of housing and home improvement the Division of Agricultural Engineering of the Bureau of Public Roads has been engaged in studies and research on the Requirements of Farm Structures. A small number of farmhouse plans have been prepared by the Division, and information is distributed in pamphlet form on such subjects as heating and plumbing. The bulletins Construction of Chimneys and Fireplaces, Operating a Home Heating Plant, Farm Plumbing, and Simple Plumbing Repairs are some of the Division's publications of particular interest to home owners.
The Bureau of Mines of the United States Department of Commerce has made a number of studies on household fuels and fuel conservation and also on house heating. This information may be obtained from the Bureau in pamphlet or leaflet form.