Page images
[graphic][ocr errors]


prairie, sometimes of farm houses, when go through the leafy aisles and only see the prairie grass becomes so dry that it by chance the sky. The logged-off lands ignites. Occasionally fire sweeps through' form one of the principal sources of the the so-called forests of the East, but forest fires. After the trees have been these are merely bonfires compared with cut down, the sap in the stumps dries out the work of the flames in the great wood- rapidly and they begin to decay in a short lands on the slopes of the Rockies and time. Then they are literally masses of the Cascades. The fir forests are notable tinder which may take fire even from for their dense growth, the trees being the match carelessly dropped after a so near together that sometimes one can settler has lighted his pipe. In getting

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

ing area to throw water upon the flames even if enough water could be secured to extinguish them. Nor can they turn up the earth in furrows as the men of the prairies do in fighting the grass fire and thus stopping it for want of fuel to feed upon. The people can only hope and pray for rain or a change of wind. An idea of what these forest fires mean in the destruction of our timber can be gained when it is stated that there are places on the Northern Pacific Railroaď where the track has literally been destroyed for stretches of twenty-five or thirty miles—ties turned to ashes and rails twisted and warped so that they are fit only for the scrap heap. The smoke

fire for cooking or heating even in the open field without extinguishing it before he goes away. If a lumberman, settler or a prospector should forget to put out even the embers of his camp fire and is caught afterwards he stands the chance of spending a half year in prison. In fact, the forest fires have done so much damage that the farmers look upon an offender of this sort very much as the people of the plains regard the horse thief. The timber cutters themselves are largely responsible for starting many of the big fires because they seem to care nothing for the enormous waste in the industry. Talk with any of them and the man thinks that there is no limit to

the woodland—that it can never be cut down an adjacent cedar and split it into off, but fire and the axe are playing shingles for a roof, and the house is such havoc with it at present that ex- ready for occupation when the stove, perts of the Bureau of Forestry predict dishes and furniture are put in. A trunk that these great firs will, like the buffalo, fifteen feet in diameter will give a surbecome only a memory unless more prising amount of room. Some of them stringent measures are taken. For this contain nearly one hundred and fifty reason the Bureau of Forestry advocates square feet. new methods of felling the trees, such as If the stump is so sound that it would using saws driven by steam power, which be too big a job to cut away the inside will cut the trunks close to the roots. A of it, the settler sometimes uses one end law is also being advocated compelling for a wall of his house, placing logs or the timberman to bore into the base of planks against it and making a sort of the tree and not leave the decayed spots roof lean-to, which is covered with to guess work. Laws of some sort are shingles or boards. Then he nails some certainly needed, for it is estimated by cleats against the sides of the stump for the forestry experts that of the total a stepladder and it is used for a variety amount of timber cut for various pur- of purposes. Children may take it for a poses only sixty-five per cent is actually playground. It is handy for the mother saved, and that the enormous proportion to spread out her clothes to dry in the of thirty-five per cent of good lumber is sun where she has no other back yard. left in the forests to waste.

It also serves for a front porch, the The big stumps which are not cut up family sitting on it in the summer eveninto shingles, however, are not all wasted. ings. After the farmer gets enough The people who are taking up the logged- money ahead to build a larger and more off lands are usually accustomed to get comfortable home the old stump is genting along in a small way and do not erally preserved, for it can be used as a mind living in rather crowded quarters, shed, sometimes a stable for the ponies, so quite frequently one of the biggest or as a storehouse. will be kept for a temporary home. The decayed wood is so rich and fertile After the tree has been cut down, if the that plants will readily grow in it, and heart of the stump is rotten, exposure to some of the people who can find time to the weather rapidly increases the decay, have a dooryard and a few flowers will so that in a few years it may become leave one of the stumps after the land merely a shell with the outside only a has been cleared, to be turned into a few inches in thickness. Then it is an flower bed, sometimes planting vines easy matter to cut a hole in one end for which run up about the base and make a a door and two or three small holes for very pretty effect. So are covered some windows, to clean out the inside, to cut of the scars the lumbermen leave.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]

Life-Saving and Swimming Hints Written and Illustrated by Montague A.

Holbein, Famous Swimmer

For upwards of twenty-five years Mr. Holbein has created walking, cycling and swimming records every year with unfailing regularity ; while his persistent swims across the English Channel from Dover to Calais, more than twenty-one miles, proclaim him, at forty-four years of age, one of the greatest "stayers" of his time. -Ed.

DON’T know why I should swimmer little if he can only negotiate state that every man and half the distance before he becomes exwoman, boy and girl should hausted. I remember a press man in the know how to swim, and tug following me on my last swim across

save life in the water be- the English Channel, calling out: “Why

h sides. The thing is so ob- do you carry your head so low, Holbein ?" vious. And yet, what a strange state “I don't carry my head," I replied; of affairs we see. Every year thousands “I let the water do that.” of people lose their lives bathing in the The whole situation is here summed sea or rowing and sailing in small boats up. Watch any long-distance swimmer, on lake or river. And even winter brings and you will find that his mouth is well its tragic tale of drowning because of below the water at the beginning of each skaters slipping through the ice.

stroke, when the air is expelled, and a I have no hesitation in saying that fresh breath taken as the stroke raises nearly all these sad events might be pre- the mouth above the surface. In other vented if elementary instruction in swim- words, the correct time to breathe is ming and life-saving were made com- ' when the arms are fully extended in the pulsory in the public schools. And in stroke. the Old World at any rate a new era The swimmer who breathes “anyhow" is dawning in this matter-especially in will never go far, however powerful he London, where the various school swim- be, as the strain of maintaining and proming associations with hundreds of thou- pelling himself is too great, if his body sands of adherents are teaching first of be incorrectly balanced. The fact is all "dry-land" swimming in the play- swimming should not be a fatiguing grounds, and then practical instruction exercise ; certainly the strain should be as in specially erected swimming baths nothing compared with that of riding a under competent instructors engaged by bicycle up a stiffish hill. the school authorities.

Personally I have no great opinion of And quite apart from the question of the sea-bathing idler who steps gingerly saving one's own life or that of another, out of his tent, wades out up to his swimming opens up a new and pleasur- middle, bobs for a few minutes, and then able exercise, as well as quenching for- goes miserably back with the secret conever the dread of deep water which viction that sea-bathing is a delusion and seems to be on the bravest of us who a snare. All who have made the expericannot swim.

ment agree that the most delightful and And as to those who can, I never could beneficial of sea baths is obtained from a understand their utter exhaustion after boat pulled half a mile or more from going a few hundred yards until I in- shore. No swimmer should miss the devestigated the questions of balance and licious shock of the first dive—which by breathing adopted by so many novices. the way should never be over the side, You see in the event of a boat upsetting but over the stern; the former is a dana good way out from land, it avails the gerous as well as incorrect method.

« PreviousContinue »