(I posted this earlier today under the title "I'm puzzled by this road sign.")
A photo I encountered while digitizing the family memorabilia. Two unknown-to-me-but-probably-distantly-related young women posing by a roadside sign. Approximate date based on other photos would be early 1900s.
Don't fail to Plant Your Fruit Trees With
Du Pont Exp__sives
Best (b)y Test
Assuming two letters are obscured by the young lady's hat, the only words I know that would fit are explosives, expensives, and expansives.
As much as I would love to learn that my ancestors planted fruit trees using explosives, I would have to think they were advertising "expansives," but a quick Google search doesn't reveal any such use of the term.
This is totally unimportant, but sometimes readers here have ideas or resources or interpretations that escape me.
Updated: The puzzle was solved by readers Kara and Bob and Rob from Amersfoort and David and The First and some unknowns:
"Subsoil broken up by blast making easy path for roots." Progressive farmers are "using dynamite for removing stumps and boulders, planting and cultivating fruit trees, regenerating barren soil, ditching, draining, excavating and road-making. Write now for Free Booklet - "Tree Planting With Dynamite, No. 290.""It makes sense (and I wouldn't have minded having a little when I first hand-tilled our tomato patch out back). In retrospect the reason I ignored this possibility was that I thought there was no evidence on the sign for the top of a letter "L" behind her hat. Now I realize her hat had a white peak.
Dynamite for gardening. You learn something every day.
Addendum: And here's that Du Pont booklet, located by reader Paul and others.