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Marshmallow Made nv Clever Hands.
a slender curved brown stalk. It looks hopeless to attempt to reproduce this delicate fairy thing with its five, incurving, red tines, each capped with a yellow knob. If cast entire in a waxen bullet it would be horrible, leaden. To make it, each lobe, which is virtually a petal tightly curled, is opened out flat, and a cast taken of it. A thin white wax sheet is now worked into the mould and cut a sixteenth of an inch larger than size along one edge. A steel rod is*prepared by pointing it to exactly fit inside one of the tines and the wax petal is then curved around it as a form. The extra sixteenth-inch laps over and is burnished down with a smooth, warmed rod. The little knob at the end is worked up with the fingers. The five lobes are colored with the air brush, the stamens put in and the flower assembled complete around the stem. In most of the flowers there are so many colors that white wax is usually selected as the color to form the parts with.
All the grasses, including the canes, are simple and easy to mount. Most of them arc simply dried and then re-colored with the air brush. If the leaf is broad, like the cat-tail, it is cast and made up from wax sheets. In large stemmed fleshy plants like the sagittaria water lilies—the ones with the flowers in a close blue spike and spear-head leaves—the stems are cast from life and molten wax
poured around a stout steel wire. The leaf is made separately as described before and secured to the stem.
The preparation of tree and plant fruits presents a range of problems, varying in difficulty from the easily reproduced fruit of the pawpaw, to the well-nigh impossible catkin of the white willow. The laboratory is still wrestling with this latter, after many flat failures.
Beginning with the large, smooth fruit of the pawpaw—with which may also be classed the persimmon and wild plum— the first step is to beat out a flat ribbon of clay about an inch wide and mould it edgewise around the fruit, resembling the rings of Saturn. Thick plaster of Paris is poured over the fruit, the ring acting as a stop, and followed up with a paste of the plaster, moulding it with the hand as it sets. The clay is then peeled off, and any fins of plaster that may have crept up under it are trimmed with a sharp knife.
This same process is repeated by dividing the remaining half of the fruit into two sections and plaster-moulding them one at a time, the final result being a three-piece mould around the fruit. It is then drilled at one end and poured full of wax, giving a cast of the pawpaw, which is forthwith colored to life with the air brush.
Any fruit treated this way must be first coated with beeswax thinned out in kerosene. While not thick enough to fill any detail, it still is greasy enough to part the plaster from the fruit.
A second method of preparing tree fruits is to actually preserve them by saturating with glycerine on the osmotic principle. Acorns, winged ash and maple seeds, and the tiny green flowerets that
are the blossoms of so many trees, are all treated in this way. Glycerine has a very strong affinity for water, though it must be first diluted with it to enter any vegetable tissue. Besides this, the solution must be an insecticide and germproof, so formaldehyde and arsenate are added. The acorn or maple seed is soaked in a bath of this solution. Gradually the fluid enters the pulpy interior, forcing the water from the cells, entirely replacing it with non-shrinkable, deliquescent glycerine. The seed will not hold its color, turning brown in a few months, so the air brush is used to color it to match a green fruit.
Still another method, applicable to hard dry seeds like the chestnut and sweet-gum burrs, is to dry them out and recolor with the air brush. Many of the berries, such as the red sumach drupes, are also treated this way.
Hardest of all are the catkins. Being full of interstices, it is impossible to cast them in wax, they are too perishable for the glycerine process, and, unless accommodating enough to dry in shape like the catkins of the birch family, the last resort is usually to make them laboriously by hand. And if, in addition to countless tiny berries, the catkin further adorns itself with fine downy fuzz, colored both black and white, the ingenuity of the curator is well-nigh overtaxed to reproduce Nature's handiwork.
To prevent branches and twigs from shriveling, there are large vats of glycerine and formaldehyde solution in the laboratory, in which they are put to soak. Heavy branches, and tree trunks with smooth sappy bark, are simply painted with the same solution, as it is only
necessary to impregnate through the sap wood.
The preparation of such a panorama as that of the bird life of the Arizona deserts, for instance, involves an immense deal of close Nature observation, study by life photographs, and skill in mounting the birds and plants'. The expedition sent out for this group consisted of two curators, a museum artist, and some helpers hired on the spot. Camp was pitched near the Carnegie Laboratory, a short distance from Tucson, and the work begun of collecting specimens and photographing the birds in all conceivable postures of life action. The cameras were concealed in blinds near nests, and thus characteristic postures were photographed from which the birds would later be mounted. The scientists then selected the most typical scene for the proposed group, and decided what must be included and what left out. A strip of ground on which might be several desirable bushes holding nests, was marked off and photographed from different positions. Then every stick and stone in the strip was gathered up and color-sketches of all objects made on the spot. If a characteristic bush or cactus grew just outside the strip, but no good specimen on it, it was taken in place of non-essential plants. When the group was finally complete, every last foot of it was packed up in sections and expressed in boxes to the Museum—■
ground, stones, sticks, plants, shrubs, and trees.
The nests were tied in place and packed tight with excelsior, and the trees sawed up and marked branch by branch. It made no difference which tree the nest happened to be on; that was the one the bird chose; that one must come up, root and branch, and be shipped to the Museum. Finally, the artist sat him down and painted the large canvas panorama that forms the present background of the group in the Museum.
Arrived at home the collection was unpacked and made up according to the photographs. The cacti all had to be cast from plaster life moulds, first cutting off the clusters of thorns. That big prickly pear on the right of the group, for example, has all the old wax drippings of a generation of laboratory work in its interior. The casts were then colored with the air brush and the clusters of thorns replaced. Some of the hard thorny bushes gave worlds of trouble as it was exceedingly difficult to drive out their sap with glycerine. The bush in the center of the group—the one with a nest on it—is still alive today and grows a few leaves every spring! This, though the branches have been sawn in sections fastened with iron dowels. Its present roots are also iron dowels, driven into a block of wood in the bottom framing, but the bush does not seem to mind the loss of the real ones.
To secure a smooth curved surface for the canvas background, a light stud frame is first built, and on it wire mesh is fastened for a furring. It is then plastered with hair - felt plaster bon d. upon which is applied a smooth finish coat, much as in lath-andplaster work in house building. On this surface is sized canvas, giving a horizon around the scene, except at the
window, through which .. _ _
. , .& . Mould Of An Osage Orange.
the Observer looks. A very difficult one-to mako.
It is astonishing how much the canvas has to be retouched to match the actuality of the foreground. The effects of lights and shades on objects, as the artist sees them, are often glaringly at variance with the appearance of the real foreground, especially at the junction of canvas with reality. Of course the painting has to be worked over until the most fastidious eye can scarcely point out where they shade into each other.
A still further matter must be looked to, to secure the wonderful reproduction of the actual scene that these panoramas give. It is the effect of shadows on the groups. The real objects hi the foreground must have cither no shadows at all, or else they must agree with those on the canvas. The former method has proved the best. The light is thrown directly down on the group by concealed reflectors which receive their light from the adjoining windows. In some cases this is further reinforced by outside reflectors which throw in the light of the zenith.
The Museum has at present twelve of these panoramas on exhibition in the Bird flail. It is worthy of appreciative consideration to reflect that each one cost an expensive expedition by scientists and artists of the Museum Staff, months of laboratory work in mounting the birds from photographs and preparing the accessions, so as to reproduce the actual plants and trees precisely as found. The expense of this work is all borne by a coterie of public-spirited private citizens of New York. The result of it all, is to take the observer into the heart of typical American wild scenery which he could never otherwise see, and to fill the study of wild birds with interest and instruction that never by any possible circumstance could be gotten from the old-fashioned stuffed bird on a varnished wooden pedestal.
FRED C .
THE greatest problem that confronts the people of the Pacific Coast states, is what to do with the vast areas of land left barren by the woodsman's ax and saw. Millions of acres of giant timber have been cut-over and the great stumps and tangles of underbrush left to menace standing timber through fire and to bar the way of the agriculturist.
In eighteen counties in the state of Washington, west of the Cascade Mountains there are 8,700,000 acres of assessed land. Of this, 5,034,000 acres are covered with merchantable timber: 429,000 acres are under cultivation; and 2.352,000 acres have had the timber cut off and consist of what is called "logged-off" land. In Oregon the logged-off area is about equal to that in Washington. In British Columbia, on the Canadian side of the line, another million acres of logged-off
land lie idle, of no use whatever to mankind.
The big lumber companies of the West have hewed and slashed ruthlessly into the virgin timber of the Northwest. The standing trees are of such huge size, that the average tree is cut ten or twelve feet above the ground, leaving an enormous stump from ten to sixteen feet in diameter. Only the long straight knotless trunk of the tree is used and the tangle of branches is left where it falls. No attempt is made by the timber hewers to remove anything from the land except the choicest timber. In fact so little do the lumber barons care for the land after they get the timber off, that in most cases they allow it to revert to the county for taxes.
The survey made last summer by Professor Landes, Dr. Benson, and Dr. Fry of the Washington State University and Prof. W. J. McGee, of the federal Department of Agriculture was to determine how best to utilize these vast logged-off areas. One of the most important lessons growing out of this investigation was that the cut-over lands should be protected from fire. It is more important, according to these men, to keep the fire out of these areas than out of the standing timber.
On the logged-off lands the great accumulation of waste becomes dry and highly inflammable. In addition, this land is heavily covered with moss, which by the exposure to the sun becomes like tinder. This waste, including the pitchloaded stumps, burns freely and with great heat. The thick moss quickly carries the flames to the nearby timber, as well as ignites the heavy rich mulch, with which the soil is covered, beneath the moss. This reduces the soil to a barren wilderness. Thus all the constructive work of nature for ages reverts to the desert.
One big lumber company in Washington has seen the folly of this enormous
waste and is now experimenting with a view to converting it into dollars. The spectacle of this concern taking up the dairy business and the production of prime beef is now engaging the attention of Western economists. The members of this company, on whom the final success or failure of the conservation idea is conceded to rest, announce that never since the conservation policies were first urged, has there been a departure of such vital bearing on the immediate future of the Pacific slope.
Two hundred and fifty acres of this concern's logged-off land have been set aside for the experiment. This land has been seeded to orchid grass and clover. Several carloads of young stock were turned loose to graze as soon as the crop was well rooted. In a few weeks additional stock will be added. The experiment so far is declared to be successful and of far more value than the timber wealth, will be the agriculture worth after the woods have disappeared.
The finest dairying country in the world eventually will be found where the