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Title: Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets - Being a selection, with revision, from the teachers' - leaflets, home nature-study lessons, junior naturalist - monthlies and other publications from the College of - Agriculture, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., 1896-1904
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets - Being a selection, with revision, from the teachers' - leaflets, home nature-study lessons, junior naturalist - monthlies and other publications from the College of - Agriculture, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., 1896-1904" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Transcriber's Note:

Italicized text indicated by underscores.

12-3/4 represents whole and fractional parts of numbers.]










  Hon. C. A. WIETING,
  _Commissioner of Agriculture_,
  Albany, N. Y.:

SIR.--I submit herewith as a part of the Annual Report of 1903 a number
of the nature-study publications for reprinting. Most of these
publications are out of print and the call for them still continues.
These publications have practically all arisen under your supervision,
and under the directorship of Professor I. P. Roberts.

Nature-study work should begin in the primary grades. It is a
fundamental educational process, because it begins with the concrete and
simple, develops the power of observation, relates the child to its
environment, develops sympathy for the common and the near-at-hand. By
the time the child has arrived at the fifth or sixth grade he should be
well prepared for specific work in the modern environmental geography,
in the industries, or in other exacter common-life subjects.
Nature-study is a necessary foundation for the best work in biology,
physiography and agriculture. Since it is content work, it is also
equally important as a preparation in all expression work, as in
English, number and reading. In most present-day rural schools it may
well continue through the eighth grade; and, if well taught, it may even
take the place very profitably of some of the "science" of some of the
higher schools. Its particular sphere, however, in a well-developed
school, is below the sixth grade, possibly below the fifth. But even if
the term nature-study ceases at the fifth or sixth grade, the
nature-study method will persist throughout the school course,--the
method of dealing first-hand and in their natural setting with objects,
phenomena and affairs, and of proceeding from the simple and undissected
to the complex and remote.

The reader should bear in mind that the College of Agriculture has no
organic connection with the public school system of New York State, and
that its nature-study work is a propaganda. From first to last the
College has been fortunate in having the sympathy, aid, and approval of
the State Department of Public Instruction, and now of the new Education
Department. The time is now near at hand when nature-study will be
adequately recognized in the school system of the State, and then the
nature-study work of the College of Agriculture may take new form.

In these reprinted leaflets the reader will find many methods of
presentation of a great variety of subject-matter. A wide range has
purposely been included, in the hope that any interested teacher may
find at least one or two leaflets that will be suggestive in his own
work. Our own ideas as to what is a valuable leaflet have changed
greatly since the work was begun; and it is to be expected that they
will continue to change with the progress of the work and the
development of the schools. It would be an interesting review if we were
to summarize our own experiences with our own work. The leaflet that is
most praised by the critics may be the least useful in practice. The
greatest danger is that of making the work too complete, too rigid and
too formidable.


_Director College of Agriculture._



  Leaflet.                                                        Page.

  The Schoolhouse                                                     9
  L. H. Bailey.

  I. What is Nature-Study?                                           11
  L. H. Bailey.

  II. The Nature-Study Movement                                      21
  L. H. Bailey.

  III. An Appeal to the Teachers of New York State                   31
  L. H. Bailey.

  IV. What Is Agricultural Education?                                45
  L. H. Bailey.

  V. Suggestions for Nature Study Work                               55
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  VI. A Summer Shower                                                81
  Ralph S. Tarr.

  VII. A Snow Storm                                                  93
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  VIII. A Handful of Soil: What It Is                                99
  Ralph S. Tarr.

  IX. A Handful of Soil: What It Does                               115
  L. A. Clinton.

  X. The Brook                                                      125
  J. O. Martin. Introduction by L. H. Bailey.

  XI. Insect Life of a Brook                                        135
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XII. Life in an Aquarium                                          141
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XIII. A Study of Fishes                                           157
  H. D. Reed.

  XIV. The Opening of a Cocoon                                      167
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XV. A Talk about Spiders                                          171
  John Henry Comstock.

  XVI. Life History of the Toad                                     185
  Simon Henry Gage.

  XVII. Life in a Terrarium                                         207
  Alice I. Kent.

  XVIII. Directions for Collecting and Preserving Insects           213
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XIX. Some Tent-Makers                                             227
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XX. Mosquitoes                                                    237
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XXI. The Ways of the Ant                                          243
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XXII. The Birds and I                                             253
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXIII. The Early Birds                                            261
  Louis Agassiz Fuertes.

  XXIV. The Woodpeckers                                             269
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XXV. The Chickadee                                                279
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XXVI. The White-Breasted Nuthatch                                 283
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XXVII. About Crows                                                287
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XXVIII. How a Squash Plant Gets Out of the Seed                   291
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXIX. How the Trees Look in Winter                                297
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXX. One Way of Drawing Trees in Their Winter Aspects             307
  Charles W. Furlong.

  XXXI. Four Apple Twigs                                            317
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXII. The Burst of Spring                                        327
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXIII. Evergreens and How They Shed Their Leaves                 333
  H. P. Gould.

  XXXIV. The Clovers and Their Kin                                  349
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XXXV. How Plants Live Together                                    361
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXVI. Planting a Plant                                           367
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXVII. Cuttings and Cuttings                                     369
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXVIII. A Children's Garden                                      379
  L. H. Bailey.

  XXXIX. A Hill of Potatoes                                         385
  I. P. Roberts.

  XL. The Hepatica                                                  391
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLI. Jack-in-the-Pulpit                                           395
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLII. Indian Corn                                                 397
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLIII. The Ripened Corn                                           401
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLIV. The Uses of Food Stored in Seeds                            409
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLV. The Life History of a Beet                                   415
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XLVI. Pruning                                                     417
  Mary Rogers Miller.

  XLVII. Study of a Tree                                            423
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLVIII. The Maple in February                                     431
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  XLIX. The Red Squirrel or Chickaree                               435
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  L. Improvement of School Grounds                                  437
  John W. Spencer.


  The Child's Realm                                                 451
  L. H. Bailey.

  LI. A Snow Storm                                                  453
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LII. A Plant at School                                            455
  L. H. Bailey.

  LIII. An Apple Twig and an Apple                                  467
  L. H. Bailey.

  LIV. Twigs in Late Winter                                         473
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LV. Pruning                                                       475
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LVI. The Hepatica                                                 477
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LVII. Jack-in-the-Pulpit                                          479
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LVIII. Dandelion                                                  481
  Alice G. McCloskey and L. H. Bailey.

  LIX. Maple Trees in Autumn                                        483
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LX. A Corn Stalk                                                  485
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXI. In the Corn Fields                                           487
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXII. The Alfalfa Plant                                           489
  L. H. Bailey and John W. Spencer.

  LXIII. The Red Squirrel                                           495
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXIV. Robin                                                       499
  L. H. Bailey.

  LXV. Crows                                                        501
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXVI. A Friendly Little Chickadee                                 503
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXVII. The Family of Woodpeckers                                  505
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXVIII. Deserted Birds' Nests                                     515
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXIX. The Poultry Yard: Some Thanksgiving Lessons                 517
  Alice G. McCloskey and James E. Rice.

  LXX. Little Hermit Brother                                        529
  Anna Botsford Comstock.

  LXXI. A Home for Friendly Little Neighbors                        537
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXXII. Moths and Butterflies                                      545
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXXIII. The Paper Makers                                          551
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXXIV. Some Carpenter Ants and Their Kin                          555
  Alice G. McCloskey.

  LXXV. A Garden All Your Own                                       559
  John W. Spencer.

  LXXVI. The Gardens and the School Grounds                         569
  John W. Spencer.

  LXXVII. Something for Young Farmers                               573
  John W. Spencer.

  LXXVIII. Bulbs                                                    577
  John W. Spencer.

  LXXIX. A Talk About Bulbs by the Gardener                         581
  C. E. Hunn.

  LXXX. Horses                                                      589
  Alice G. McCloskey and I. P. Roberts.






In the rural districts, the school must become a social and intellectual
centre. It must stand in close relationship with the life and activities
of its community. It must not be an institution apart, exotic to the
common-day lives; it must teach the common things and put the pupil into
sympathetic touch with his own environment. Then every school house will
have a voice, and will say:

          I teach

  The earth and soil
  To them that toil,
  The hill and fen
  To common men
      That live right here;

  The plants that grow,
  The winds that blow,
  The streams that run
  In rain and sun
      Throughout the year;

  And then I lead,
  Thro' wood and mead,
  Thro' mold and sod,
  Out unto God
      With love and cheer.

          I teach!




[1] Paragraphs adapted from Teachers' Leaflet, No. 6, May 1, 1897, and
from subsequent publications.


Nature-study, as a process, is seeing the things that one looks at, and
the drawing of proper conclusions from what one sees. Its purpose is to
educate the child in terms of his environment, to the end that his life
may be fuller and richer. Nature-study is not the study of a science, as
of botany, entomology, geology, and the like. That is, it takes the
things at hand and endeavors to understand them, without reference
primarily to the systematic order or relationships of the objects. It is
informal, as are the objects which one sees. It is entirely divorced
from mere definitions, or from formal explanations in books. It is
therefore supremely natural. It trains the eye and the mind to see and
to comprehend the common things of life; and the result is not directly
the acquiring of science but the establishing of a living sympathy with
everything that is.

The proper objects of nature-study are the things that one oftenest
meets. Stones, flowers, twigs, birds, insects, are good and common
subjects. The child, or even the high school pupil, is first interested
in things that do not need to be analyzed or changed into unusual forms
or problems. Therefore, problems of chemistry and of physics are for the
most part unsuited to early lessons in nature-study. Moving things, as
birds, insects and mammals, interest children most and therefore seem to
be the proper objects for nature-study; but it is often difficult to
secure such specimens when wanted, especially in liberal quantity, and
still more difficult to see the objects in perfectly natural conditions.
Plants are more easily had, and are therefore usually more practicable
for the purpose, although animals and minerals should by no means be

If the objects to be studied are informal, the methods of teaching
should be the same. If nature-study were made a stated part of a rigid
curriculum, its purpose might be defeated. One difficulty with our
present school methods is the necessary formality of the courses and the
hours. Tasks are set, and tasks are always hard. The best way to teach
nature-study is, with no hard and fast course laid out, to bring in some
object that may be at hand and to set the pupils to looking at it. The
pupils do the work,--they see the thing and explain its structure and
its meaning. The exercise should not be long, not to exceed fifteen
minutes perhaps, and, above all things, the pupil should never look upon
it as a "recitation," nor as a means of preparing for "examination." It
may come as a rest exercise, whenever the pupils become listless. Ten
minutes a day, for one term, of a short, sharp, and spicy observation
lesson on plants, for example, is worth more than a whole text-book of

The teacher should studiously avoid definitions, and the setting of
patterns. The old idea of the model flower is a pernicious one, because
it does not exist in nature. The model flower, the complete leaf, and
the like, are inferences, and pupils should always begin with things and
phenomena, and not with abstract ideas. In other words, the ideas should
be suggested by the things, and not the things by the ideas. "Here is a
drawing of a model flower," the old method says; "go and find the
nearest approach to it." "Go and find me a flower," is the true method,
"and let us see what it is."

Every child, and every grown person too, for that matter, is interested
in nature-study, for it is the natural way of acquiring knowledge. The
only difficulty lies in the teaching, for very few teachers have had
experience in this informal method of drawing out the observing and
reasoning powers of the pupil without the use of text-books. The teacher
must first of all feel in natural objects the living interest which it
is desired the pupils shall acquire. If the enthusiasm is not catching,
better let such teaching alone.

Primarily, nature-study, as the writer conceives it, is not knowledge.
He would avoid the leaflet that gives nothing but information.
Nature-study is not "method." Of necessity each teacher will develop a
method; but this method is the need of the teacher, not of the subject.

Nature-study is not to be taught for the purpose of making the youth a
specialist or a scientist. Now and then a pupil will desire to pursue a
science for the sake of the science, and he should be encouraged. But
every pupil may be taught to be interested in plants and birds and
insects and running brooks, and thereby his life will be the stronger.
The crop of scientists will take care of itself.

It is said that nature-study teaching is not thorough and therefore is
undesirable. Much that is good in teaching has been sacrificed for what
we call "thoroughness,"--which in many cases means only a perfunctory
drill in mere facts. One cannot teach a pupil to be really interested in
any natural object or phenomenon until the pupil sees accurately and
reasons correctly. Accuracy is a prime requisite in any good
nature-study teaching, for accuracy is truth and it develops power. It
is better that a pupil see twenty things accurately, and see them
himself, than that he be confined to one thing so long that he detests
it. Different subjects demand different methods of teaching. The method
of mathematics cannot be applied to dandelions and polliwogs.

The first essential in nature-study is actually to see the thing or the
phenomenon. It is positive, direct, discriminating, accurate
observation. The second essential is to understand why the thing is so,
or what it means. The third essential is the desire to know more, and
this comes of itself and thereby is unlike much other effort of the
schoolroom. The final result should be the development of a keen
personal interest in every natural object and phenomenon.

Real nature-study cannot pass away. We are children of nature, and we
have never appreciated the fact so much as we do now. But the more
closely we come into touch with nature, the less do we proclaim the fact
abroad. We may hear less about it, but that will be because we are
living nearer to it and have ceased to feel the necessity of advertising

Much that is called nature-study is only diluted and sugar-coated
science. This will pass. Some of it is mere sentimentalism. This also
will pass. With the changes, the term nature-study may fall into disuse;
but the name matters little so long as we hold to the essence.

All new things must be unduly emphasized, else they cannot gain a
foothold in competition with things that are established. For a day,
some new movement is announced in the daily papers, and then, because we
do not see the head lines, we think that the movement is dead; but
usually when things are heralded they have only just appeared. So long
as the sun shines and the fields are green, we shall need to go to
nature for our inspiration and our respite; and our need is the greater
with every increasing complexity of our lives.

All this means that the teacher will need helps. He will need to inform
himself before he attempts to inform the pupil. It is not necessary that
he become a scientist in order to do this. He goes as far as he knows,
and then says to the pupil that he cannot answer the questions that he
cannot. This at once raises him in the estimation of the pupil, for the
pupil is convinced of his truthfulness, and is made to feel--but how
seldom is the sensation!--that knowledge is not the peculiar property of
the teacher but is the right of any one who seeks it. Nature-study sets
the pupil to investigating for himself. The teacher never needs to
apologize for nature. He is teaching merely because he is an older and
more experienced pupil than his pupil is. This is the spirit of the
teacher in the universities to-day. The best teacher is the one whose
pupils the farthest outrun him.

In order to help the teacher in the rural schools of New York, we have
conceived of a series of leaflets explaining how the common objects can
be made interesting to children. Whilst these are intended for the
teacher, there is no harm in giving them to the pupil; but the leaflets
should never be used as texts from which to make recitations. Now and
then, take the children for a ramble in the woods or fields, or go to
the brook or lake. Call their attention to the interesting things that
you meet--whether you yourself understand them or not--in order to teach
them to see and to find some point of sympathy; for every one of them
will some day need the solace and the rest which this nature-love can
give them. It is not the mere information that is valuable; that may be
had by asking someone wiser than they, but the inquiring and sympathetic
spirit is one's own.

The pupils will find their regular lessons easier to acquire for this
respite of ten minutes with a leaf or an insect, and the school-going
will come to be less perfunctory. If you must teach drawing, set the
picture in a leaflet before the pupils for study, and then substitute
the object. If you must teach composition, let the pupils write on what
they have seen. After a time, give ten minutes now and then to asking
the children what they saw on their way to school.

Now, why is the College of Agriculture at Cornell University interesting
itself in this work? It is trying to help the farmer, and it begins with
the most teachable point--the child. The district school cannot teach
technical professional agriculture any more than it can teach law or
engineering or any other profession or trade, but it can interest the
child in nature and in rural problems, and thereby join his sympathies
to the country at the same time that his mind is trained to efficient
thinking. The child will teach the parent. The coming generation will
see the result. In the interest of humanity and country, we ask for

How to make the rural school more efficient is one of the most difficult
problems before our educators, but the problem is larger than mere
courses of study. Social and economic questions are at the bottom of the
difficulty, and these questions may be beyond the reach of the educator.
A correspondent wrote us the other day that an old teacher in a rural
school, who was receiving $20 a month, was underbid 50 cents by one of
no experience, and the younger teacher was engaged for $19.50, thus
saving the district for the three months' term the sum of $1.50. This is
an extreme case, but it illustrates one of the rural school problems.

One of the difficulties with the rural district school is the fact that
the teachers tend to move to the villages and cities, where there is
opportunity to associate with other teachers, where there are libraries,
and where the wages are sometimes better. This movement is likely to
leave the district school in the hands of younger teachers, and changes
are very frequent. To all this there are many exceptions. Many teachers
appreciate the advantages of living in the country. There they find
compensations for the lack of association. They may reside at home. Some
of the best work in our nature-study movement has come from the rural
schools. We shall make a special effort to reach the country schools.
Yet it is a fact that new movements usually take root in the city
schools and gradually spread to the smaller places. This is not the
fault of the country teacher; it comes largely from the fact that his
time is occupied by so many various duties and that the rural schools do
not have the advantage of the personal supervision which the city
schools have.

_Retrospect and Prospect after five years' work._[2]

[2] From Bull. 206, Sixth Report of Extension Work, 1902.

To create a larger public sentiment in favor of agriculture, to increase
the farmer's respect for his own business,--these are the controlling
purposes in the general movement that we are carrying forward under the
title of nature-study. It is not by teaching agriculture directly that
this movement can be started. The common schools in New York will not
teach agriculture to any extent for the present, and the movement, if it
is to arouse a public sentiment, must reach beyond the actual farmers
themselves. The agricultural status is much more than an affair of mere
farming. The first undertaking, as we conceive the problem, is to awaken
an interest in the things with which the farmer lives and has to do, for
a man is happy only when he is in sympathy with his environment. To
teach observation of common things, therefore, has been the fundamental
purpose. A name for the movement was necessary. We did not wish to
invent a new name or phrase, as it would require too much effort in
explanation. Therefore, we chose the current and significant phrase
"nature-study," which, while it covers many methods and practices,
stands everywhere for the opening of the mind directly to the common
phenomena of nature.

We have not tried to develop a system of nature-study nor to make a
contribution to the pedagogics of the subject. We have merely
endeavored, as best we could, to reach a certain specific result,--the
enlarging of the agricultural horizon. We have had no pedagogical
theories, or, if we have, they have been modified or upset by the actual
conditions that have presented themselves. Neither do we contend that
our own methods and means have always been the best. We are learning.
Yet we are sure that the general results justify all the effort.

Theoretical pedagogical ideals can be applied by the good teacher who
comes into personal relations with the children, and they are almost
certain to work out well. These ideals cannot always be applied,
however, with persons who are to be reached by means of correspondence
and in a great variety of conditions, and particularly when many of the
subjects lie outside the customary work of the schools.

Likewise, the subjects selected for our nature-study work must be
governed by conditions and not wholly by ideals. We are sometimes asked
why we do not take up topics more distinctly agricultural or economic.
The answer is that we take subjects that teachers will use. We would
like, for example, to give more attention to insect subjects, but it is
difficult to induce teachers to work with them. If distinctly
agricultural topics alone were used, the movement would have very little
following and influence. Moreover, it is not our purpose to teach
technical agriculture in the common schools, but to inculcate the habit
of observing, to suggest work that has distinct application to the
conditions in which the child lives, to inspire enthusiasm for country
life, to aid in home-making, and to encourage a general movement towards
the soil. These matters cannot be forced. In every effort by every
member of the extension staff, the betterment of agricultural conditions
has been the guiding impulse, however remote from that purpose it may
have seemed to the casual observer.

We have found by long experience that it is unwise to give too much
condensed subject-matter. The individual teacher can give subject-matter
in detail because personal knowledge and enthusiasm can be applied. But
in general correspondence and propagandist work this cannot be done.
With the Junior Naturalist, for example, the first impulse is to inspire
enthusiasm for some bit of work which we hope to take up. This
enthusiasm is inspired largely by the organization of clubs and by the
personal correspondence that is conducted between the Bureau and these
clubs and their members. It is the desire, however, to follow up this
general movement with instruction in definite subject-matter with the
teacher. Therefore, a course in Home Nature-study was formally
established under the general direction of Mrs. Mary Rogers Miller. It
was designed to carry on the experiment for one year, in order to
determine whether such a course would be productive of good results and
to discover the best means of prosecuting it. These experimental results
were very gratifying. Nearly 2,000 New York teachers are now regularly
enrolled in the Course, the larger part of whom are outside the
metropolitan and distinctly urban conditions. Every effort is made to
reach the rural teacher.

In order that the work may reach the children, it must be greatly
popularized and the children must be met on their own ground. The
complete or ideal leaflet may have little influence. For example, I
prepared a leaflet on "A Children's Garden" which several people were
kind enough to praise. However, very little direct result was secured
from the use of this leaflet until "Uncle John" began to popularize it
and to make appeals to teachers and children by means of personal talks,
letters and circulars. So far as possible, his appeal to children was
made in their own phrase. The movement for the children's garden has now
taken definite shape, and the result is that more than 26,000 children
in New York State are raising plants during the present year. Another
illustration of this kind may be taken from the effort to improve the
rural school grounds. I wrote a bulletin on "The Improvement of Rural
School Grounds," but the tangible results were very few. Now, however,
through the work of "Uncle John" with the teachers and the children, a
distinct movement has begun for the cleaning and improving of the school
grounds of the State. This movement is yet in its infancy, but several
hundred schools are now in process of renovation, largely through the
efforts of the children.

The idea of organizing children into clubs for the study of plants and
animals, and other outdoor subjects, originated, so far as our work is
concerned, with Mr. John W. Spencer himself an actual, practical farmer.
His character as "Uncle John" has done much to supply the personality
that ordinarily is lacking in correspondence work, and there has been
developed amongst the children an amount of interest and enthusiasm
which is surprising to those who have not watched its progress.

The problems connected with the rural schools are probably the most
difficult questions to solve in the whole field of education. We
believe, however, that the solution cannot begin directly with the rural
schools themselves. It must begin in educational centres and gradually
spread to the country districts. We are making constant efforts to reach
the actual rural schools and expect to utilize fully every means within
our power, but it is work that is attended with many inherent
difficulties. We sometimes feel that the agricultural status can be
reached better through the hamlet, village, and some of the city schools
than by means of the little red school house on the corner. By appeals
to the school commissioners in the rural districts, by work through
teachers' institutes, through farmers' clubs, granges and other means we
believe that we are reaching farther and farther into the very
agricultural regions. It is difficult to get consideration for purely
agricultural subjects in the rural schools themselves. Often the school
does not have facilities for teaching such subjects, often the teachers
are employed only for a few months, and there is frequently a sentiment
against innovation. It has been said that one reason why agricultural
subjects are taught less in the rural schools of America than in those
of some parts of Europe, is because of the few male teachers and the
absence of school gardens.

We have met with the greatest encouragement and help from very many of
the teachers in the rural schools. Often under disadvantages and
discouragements they are carrying forward their part of the educational
work with great consecration and efficiency. In all the educational work
we have been fortunate to have the sympathy and co-operation of the
State Department of Public Instruction. We do not expect that all
teachers nor even a majority will take up nature-study work. It is not
desirable that they should. We are gratified, however, at the large
number who are carrying it forward.

This Cornell nature-study movement is one small part of a general
awakening in educational circles, a movement which looks towards
bringing the child into actual contact and sympathy with the things with
which he has to do. This work is taking on many phases. One aspect of it
is its relation to the teaching of agriculture and to the love of
country life. This aspect is yet in its early experimental stage. The
time will come when institutions in every State will carry on work along
this line. It will be several years yet before this type of work will
have reached what may be considered an established condition, or before
even a satisfactory body of experience shall have been attained. Out of
the varied and sometimes conflicting methods and aims that are now
before the public, there will develop in time an institution-movement of
extension agricultural teaching.

The literature issued by the Bureau of Nature-Study is of two general
types: that which is designed to be of more or less permanent value to
the teacher and the school; and that which is of temporary use, mostly
in the character of supplements and circulars designed to meet present
conditions or to rally the teachers or the Junior Naturalists. The
literature of the former type is now republished and is to be supplied
gratis to teachers in New York State. The first publication of the
Bureau of Nature-Study was a series of teachers' leaflets. This series
ran to twenty-two numbers. It was discontinued in May, 1901, because it
was thought that sufficient material had then been printed to supply
teachers with subjects for a year's work. It was never intended to
publish these leaflets indefinitely. Unfortunately, however, some
persons have supposed that because these teachers' leaflets were
discontinued we were lessening our efforts in the nature-study work. The
fact is that later years have seen an intensification of the effort and
also a strong conviction on the part of all those concerned that the
work has permanent educative value. We never believed so fully in the
efficiency of this kind of effort as at the present time.




[3] Reprinted from the Proceedings of the National Educational
Association, 1903. Paper read in general session at Boston, July, 1903.

The nature-study movement is the outgrowth of an effort to put the child
into contact and sympathy with its own life.

It is strange that such a movement is necessary. It would seem to be
natural and almost inevitable that the education of the child should
place it in intimate relation with the objects and events with which it
lives. It is a fact, however, that our teaching has been largely exotic
to the child; that it has begun by taking the child away from
its natural environment; that it has concerned itself with the
subject-matter rather than with the child. This is the marvel of marvels
in education.

Let me illustrate by a reference to the country school. If any man were
to find himself in a country wholly devoid of schools, and were to be
set the task of originating and organizing a school system, he would
almost unconsciously introduce some subjects that would be related to
the habits of the people and to the welfare of the community. Being
freed from traditions, he would teach something of the plants and
animals and fields and people. Yet, as a matter of fact, what do our
rural schools teach? They usually teach the things that the academies
and the colleges and the universities have taught--that old line of
subjects that is supposed, in its higher phases, to lead to "learning."
The teaching in the elementary school is a reflection of old academic
methods. We really begin our system at the wrong end--with a
popularizing and simplifying of methods and subjects that are the
product of the so-called higher education. We should begin with the
child. "The greatest achievement of modern education," writes Professor
Payne, "is the gradation and correlation of schools, whereby the ladder
of learning is let down from the university to secondary schools, and
from these to the schools of the people." It is historically true that
the common schools are the products of the higher or special schools,
and this explains why it is that so much of the common-school
work is unadapted to the child. The kindergarten and some of the
manual-training, are successful revolts against all this. It seems a
pity that it were ever necessary that the ladder of learning be "let
down;" it should be stood on the ground.

The crux of the whole subject lies in the conception of what education
is. We all define it in theory to be a drawing out and a developing of
the powers of the mind; but in practice we define it in the terms of the
means that we employ. We have come to associate education with certain
definite subjects, as if no other sets of subjects could be made the
means of educating a mind. One by one, new subjects have forced
themselves in as being proper means for educating. All the professions,
natural science, mechanic arts, politics, and last of all agriculture,
have contended for a place in educational systems and have established
themselves under protest. Now, any subject, when put into pedagogic
form, is capable of being the means of educating a man. The study of
Greek is no more a proper means of education than the study of Indian
corn is. The mind may be developed by means of either one. Classics and
calculus are no more divine than machines and potatoes are. We are much
in the habit of speaking of certain subjects as leading to "culture;"
but this is really factitious, for "culture" is the product only of
efficient teaching, whatever the subject-matter may be. So insistent
have we been on the employing of "culture studies" that we seem to have
mistaken the means of education for the object or result of education.
What a man is, is more important than what he knows. Anything that
appeals to a man's mind is capable of drawing out and training that
mind; and is there any subject that does not appeal to some man's mind?
The subject may be Sanskrit literature, hydraulics, physics,
electricity, or agriculture--all may be made the means whereby men and
women are educated, all may lead to what we ought to know as culture.
The particular subject with which the person deals is incidental, for

"A man's a man for a' that and a' that."

Is there, then, to be no choice of subjects? There certainly is. It is
the end of education to prepare the man or woman better to live. The
person must live with his surroundings. He must live with common things.
The most important means with which to begin the educational process,
therefore, are those subjects that are nearest the man. Educating by
means of these subjects puts the child into first-hand relation with his
own life. It expands the child's spontaneous interest in his environment
into a permanent and abiding sympathy and philosophy of life. I never
knew an exclusive student of classics or philosophy who did not deplore
his lack of touch with his own world. These common subjects are the
natural, primary, fundamental, necessary subjects. Only as the
child-mind develops should it be taken on long flights to extrinsic
subjects, distant lands, to things far beyond its own realm; and yet,
does not our geography teaching still frequently begin with the universe
or with the solar system?

In the good time coming, geography will not begin with a book at all,
as, in fact, it does not now with many teachers. It may end with one. It
will begin with physical features in the very neighborhood in which the
child lives--with brooks and lakes and hills and fields. Education
should begin always with objects and phenomena. We are living in a
text-book and museum age. First of all, we put our children into books,
sometimes even into books that tell about the very things at the child's
door, as if a book about a thing were better than the thing itself. So
accustomed are we to the book-route that we regard any other route as
unsystematic, unmethodical, disconnected. Books are only secondary means
of education. We have made the mistake of considering them primary. This
mistake we are rapidly correcting. As the book is relegated to its
proper sphere, we shall find ourselves free to begin with the familiar
end of familiar things.

Not only are we to begin with common objects and events, but with the
child's natural point of contact with them. Start with the child's
sympathies; lead him on and out. We are to develop the child, not the
subject. The specialists may be trusted to develop the subject-matter
and to give us new truth. The child is first interested in the whole
plant, the whole bug, the whole bird, as a living, grooving object. It
is a most significant fact that most young children like plants, but
that most youths dislike botany. The fault lies neither in the plants
nor in the youths. A youth may study cells until he hates the plant that
bears the cells. He may acquire a technical training in cells, but he
may be divorced from objects with which he must live, and his life
becomes poorer rather than richer. I have no objection to minute
dissection and analysis, but we must be very careful not to begin it too
early nor to push it too far, for we are not training specialists: we
are developing the power that will enable the pupil to get the most from
his own life. As soon as the pupil begins to lose interest in the plant
or the animal itself, stop!

There is still another reason for the study of the common things in
variety: it develops the power to grasp the problems of the day and to
make the man resourceful. A young man who has spent all his time in the
schoolroom is usually hopelessly helpless when he encounters a real
circumstance. I see this remarkably illustrated in my own teaching, for
I have young men from the city and from farms. The farm boy will turn
his hand to twenty things where the city boy will turn his to one. The
farm boy has had to meet problems and to solve them for himself: this is
sometimes worth more than his entire school training. Why does the farm
boy make his way when he goes to the city?

It is no mere incident to one's life that he be able to think in the
thought of his own time. Even though one expect to devote himself wholly
to a dead language, in school he should study enough natural science and
enough technology to enable him to grasp living problems. I fear that
some institutions are still turning out men with mediæval types of mind.

Now, therefore, I come again to my thesis,--to the statement that the
end and purpose of nature-study is to educate the young mind by means of
the subjects within its own sphere, by appealing to its own sympathetic
interest in them, in order that the person's life may be sweeter,
deeper, and more resourceful. Nature-study would not necessarily drive
any subject from the curriculum; least of all would it depreciate the
value of the "humanities;" but it would restore to their natural and
proper place the subjects that are related to the man. It would begin
with things within the person's realm. If we are to interest
children--or grown-ups, either, for that matter--we must begin by
teaching the things that touch their lives. Where there is one person
that is interested in philology, there are hundreds that are interested
in engines and in wheat. From the educational point of view, neither the
engine nor the wheat is of much consequence, but the men who like the
engines and who grow the wheat are immeasurably important and must be
reached. There are five millions of farms in the United States on which
chickens are raised, and also thousands of city and village lots where
they are grown. I would teach chickens. I would reach Men by means of
the Old Hen.

How unrelated much of our teaching is to the daily life is well shown by
inquiries recently made of the children of New Jersey by Professor Earl
Barnes. Inquiries were made of the country school children in two
agricultural counties of the State as to what vocation they hoped to
follow. As I recall the figures, of the children at seven years of age
26 per cent desired to follow some occupation connected with country
life. Of those at fourteen years, only 2 per cent desired such
occupation. This remarkable falling off Professor Barnes ascribes in
part to the influence of the teacher in the country schools, who is
usually a town or city girl. The teacher measures everything in terms of
the city. She talks of the city. She returns to the city at the end of
the week. In the meantime, all the beauty and attractiveness and
opportunity of the country may be unsuggested. Unconsciously both to
teacher and pupil, the minds of the children are turned toward the city.
There results a constant migration to the city, bringing about serious
social and economic problems; but from the educational point of view the
serious part of it is the fact that the school training may unfit the
child to live in its normal and natural environment. It is often said
that the agricultural college trains the youth away from the farm; the
fact is that the mischief is done long before the youth enters college.

Let me give another illustration of the fact that dislike of country
life is bred very early in the life of the child. In a certain rural
school in New York State, of say forty-five pupils, I asked all those
children that lived on farms to raise their hands; all hands but one
went up. I then asked those who wanted to live on the farm to raise
their hands; only that one hand went up. Now, these children were too
young to feel the appeal of more bushels of potatoes or more pounds of
wool, yet they had thus early formed their dislike of the farm. Some of
this dislike is probably only an ill-defined desire for a mere change,
such as one finds in all occupations, but I am convinced that the larger
part of it was a genuine dissatisfaction with farm life. These children
felt that their lot was less attractive than that of other children; I
concluded that a flower garden and a pleasant yard would do more to
content them with living on the farm than ten more bushels of wheat to
the acre. Of course, it is the greater and better yield that will enable
the farmer to supply these amenities; but at the same time it must be
remembered that the increased yield itself does not arouse a desire for
them. I should make farm life interesting before I make it profitable.

Of course, nature-study is not proposed merely as a means of keeping
youth in the country; I have given these examples only to illustrate the
fact that much of our teaching is unrelated to the circumstances in
which the child lives--and this is particularly true of teaching in the
rural schools. Nature-study applies to city and country conditions
alike, acquiring additional emphasis in the country from the fact that
what we call "nature" forms the greater part of the environment there.
But the need to connect the child with itself is fundamental to all
efficient teaching. To the city child the problems associated with the
city are all-important; but even then I should give much attention to
the so-called "nature subjects;" for these are clean, inspiring,
universal. "Back to nature" is an all-pervading tendency of the time.

We must distinguish sharply between the purposes of nature-study and its
methods. Its purposes are best expressed in the one word "sympathy." By
this I do not mean sentimentalism or superficiality or desultoriness.
The acquiring of sympathy with the things and events amongst which one
lives is the result of a real educational process--a process as vital
and logical and efficient as that concerned in educating the older pupil
in terms of fact and "science." Nature-study is not "natural history,"
nor "biology," nor even elementary science. It is an attitude, a point
of view, a means of contact.

Nature-study is not merely the adding of one more thing to a curriculum.
It is not co-ordinate with geography, or reading, or arithmetic. Neither
is it a mere accessory, or a sentiment, or an entertainment, or a
tickler of the senses. It is not a "study." It is not the addition of
more "work." It has to do with the whole point of view of elementary
education, and therefore is fundamental. It is the full expression of
personality. It is the practical working out of the extension idea that
has become so much a part of our time. More than any other recent
movement, it will reach the masses and revive them. In time it will
transform our ideals and then transform our methods.

The result of all this changing point of view I like to speak of as a
new thing. Of course, there is no education that is wholly new in kind;
and it is equally true that education is always new, else it is dead and
meaningless. But this determination to cast off academic methods, to put
ourselves at the child's point of view, to begin with the objects and
phenomena that are near and dear to the child, is just now so marked,
and is sure to be so far-reaching in its effects, that I cannot resist
the temptation to collect these various movements, for emphasis, under
the title of the "new education."

"Nature-study" is another name for this new education. It is a revolt
from the too exclusive science-teaching and book-teaching point of view,
a protest against taking the child first of all out of its own
environment. It is a product of the teaching of children in the
elementary schools. The means and methods in nature-study are as varied
as the persons who teach it. Most of the criticism of the movement--even
among nature-study folk themselves--has to do with means and methods
rather than with real ideals. We are now in the epoch when we should
overlook minor differences and all work together for the good of a
common cause. There is no one subject and no one method that is best.

While it is not my purpose to enter into any discussion of the methods
of teaching nature-study, I cannot refrain from calling attention to
what I believe to be some of the most serious dangers, (1) I would first
mention the danger of giving relatively too much attention to mere
subject-matter or fact. Nowhere should the acquiring of mere information
be the end of an educational process, and least of all in nature-study,
for the very essence of nature-study is spirit, sympathy, enthusiasm,
attitude toward life. These results the youth gains naturally when he
associates in a perfectly free and natural way with objects in the wild.
Science-teaching has fallen short of its goal in the elementary
schools--and even in the colleges and universities--by insisting so much
on the subject-matter that the pupil is overlooked. In standing so
rigidly for the letter, we have missed the spirit. President Eliot has
recently called attention to this danger: "College professors heretofore
have been apt to think that knowledge of the subject to be taught was
the sufficient qualification of a teacher; but all colleges have
suffered immeasurable losses as a result of this delusion." (2) A second
danger is the tendency to make the instruction too long and too
laborious. As soon as the child becomes weary of giving attention, the
danger-point is reached; for thereafter there is loss in the spirit and
enthusiasm, however much may be gained in dry subject-matter. I believe
that even in high schools and colleges we make mistakes by demanding too
long-continued application to one subject. Short, sharp, enthusiastic
exercises, with pith and point, of five to ten minutes' duration, are
efficient and sufficient for most purposes, particularly with beginners.
(3) A third danger is the practice of merely telling or explaining. Set
the child to work, and let the work be within his own realm. Pollen,
lichens, capsules, lymphatics, integuments--these are not within the
child's range; they smack of the museum and the text-book. Yet it
appears to be the commonest thing to put mere children at the subject of
cross-fertilization; they should first be put, perhaps, at flowers and
insects. I wish that in every schoolroom might be hung the motto,
"Teaching, not telling." (4) A fourth point I ought to mention is the
danger of clinging too closely to the book habit; this I have already
touched on. We are gradually growing out of the book slavery, even in
arithmetic and grammar and history. This means a distinct advance in the
abilities of the teacher. Of all subjects that should not be taught by
the book, nature-study is chief. Its very essence is freedom from
tradition and "method." I wish that there were more nature-study books;
but they are most useful as sources of fact and inspiration, not as
class texts. The good teacher of nature-study must greatly modify the
old idea of "recitations." I wish to quote again from President Eliot:
"Arithmetic is a very cheap subject to teach; so are spelling and the
old-fashioned geography. As to teaching history in the old-fashioned
way, anybody could do that who could hear a lesson recited. To teach
nature-studies, geometry, literature, physiography, and the modern sort
of history requires well-informed and skillful teachers, and these cost
more than the lesson-hearers did." (5) Finally, we must come into
contact with the actual things, not with museums and collections.
Museums are little better than books unless they are regarded as
secondary means. The museum has now become a laboratory. The living
museum must come more and more into vogue,--living birds, living plants,
living insects. The ideal laboratory is the out-of-doors itself; but for
practical school purposes this must be supplemented. The most workable
living laboratory of any dimensions is the school garden. The true
school garden is a laboratory plat; time is coming when such a
laboratory will be as much a part of a good school equipment as
blackboards and charts and books now are. It will be like an additional
room to the school building. Aside from the real school garden, every
school premises should be embellished and improved as a matter of
neighborhood and civic pride; for one cannot expect the child to rise
above the conditions in which he is placed. All these dangers cannot be
overcome by any "system" or "method;" they must be solved one by one,
place by place, each teacher for himself. Whenever nature-study comes to
be rigidly graded and dressed and ordered, the breath of life will be
crushed from it. It is significant that everywhere mere "method" is
giving way to individualism.

In time, the methods of teaching nature-study will crystallize and
consolidate around a few central points. The movement itself is well
under way. It will persist because it is vital and fundamental. It will
add new value and significance to all the accustomed work of the
schools; for it is not revolutionary, but evolutionary. It stands for
naturalness, resourcefulness, and for quickened interest in the common
and essential things of life. We talk much about the ideals of
education; but the true philosophy of life is to idealize everything
with which we have to do.




[4] Supplement to Home Nature-Study Course, March, 1904. (Vol. V, No.


The kernel of modern educational development is to relate the
school-training to the daily life. Much of our education is not
connected with the conditions in which the pupils live and is extraneous
to the lives that they must lead. The free common schools are more
recent in development than universities, colleges and academies and they
are even yet essentially academic and in many ways undemocratic. They
teach largely out of books and of subjects that have little vital
relation with things that are real to the child. The school work is
likely to be exotic to the pupil. The child lives in one world, and goes
to school in another world.

Every subject has teaching-power when put into pedagogic form. The
nearer this subject is to the child, the greater is its teaching power,
other conditions being comparable; and the more completely does it put
him into touch with his environment and make him efficient and happy
therein. In time, all subjects in which men engage will be put in form
for teaching and be made the means of training the mind. The old
subjects will not be banished, but rather extended; but the range of
subjects will be immensely increased because we must reach all people in
terms of their daily experience. How all these subjects are to be
handled as school agencies, we cannot yet foresee, nor is it my purpose
now to discuss the question; but it is certain that the common things
must be taught. And the common subjects are as capable of being made
the means of developing the imagination and the higher ideals as are
many of the traditional subjects.

[Illustration: _Fig. 1. Junior Gardeners beginning the work of cleaning
up a New York school ground._]

Great numbers of our people are in industrial and agricultural
environments. By means of the industrial and agricultural trades they
must live. These trades must be made more efficient; and the youth must
be educated to see in them more than a mere livelihood. These industrial
and agricultural subjects must be put more and more into schools. My own
interest lies at present more with the agricultural subjects, and these
are the occasion for this appeal. The so-called "industrial" and
commercial subjects have already been put into schools with good effect:
the agricultural subjects now must come within the school horizon.

Probably one million and more of the people of New York State live on
farms. This is approximately one in seven of our entire population.
Moreover, every person is interested in the out-of-doors and in the
things that grow therein. The future agricultural efficiency of New York
State will depend on the school training more than on any other single
factor; and on the agricultural efficiency of the State will depend, to
an important extent, its economic supremacy. New York is the fourth
State in total agricultural wealth, being exceeded only by Illinois,
Iowa and Ohio. All the country children should be reached in terms of
the country. Most of our school books are made for the city and town
rather than for the country. The problem of the development of the rural
school is the most important single educational problem now before us;
and it is essentially an agricultural problem.

[Illustration: _Fig. 2. Junior Gardeners at work in a New York school
ground. The grounds are now ready for planting. The mail carrier now
calls and the pupils take the mail home._]

My appeal, therefore, is to every teacher in New York State, whether in
country or city--for the city teacher makes public opinion, helps to set
educational standards, and many of the country children go to school in
the cities. I do not wish to press agriculture into the schools as a
mere professional subject, but I would teach--along with the customary
school work--the objects and phenomena and affairs of the country as
well as of the city. The schools lead away from the country rather than
towards it. All this I do not regard as a fault of the schools, but
merely as a limitation due to the fact that the schools are still in
process of evolution. It requires time to adapt a means to an end, and
the schools are not to be criticised. But we must do our best to hasten
the evolution. Schools, colleges and universities have only begun to
reach the people effectively: these institutions must eventually touch
every vital and homely problem, for they are to be the controlling
factors in our civilization. Any subject that is worthy a person's
attention out of school is also worthy his attention in school.

[Illustration: _Fig. 3. Sugar beets and a fourteen-year-old
experimenter. (Supt. Kern, Illinois.)_]

I heard a good story the other day of an occurrence of many years ago
illustrating the fact that school training may be wholly exotic to the
pupil. The story was told in Ogdensburg, and Heuvelton is near by. The
class in geography was on exhibition, for there were visitors. The
questions were answered quickly: "How far is it from Rome to Corinth?"
"From Rome to Constantinople?" "From Paris to Rome?" A visitor was
asked whether he had any questions to propound. He had one: "How far is
it from Heuvelton to Ogdensburg?" No one answered; yet the visitor
said that none of the pupils would be likely to go from Rome to
Constantinople, but that every one of them would go from Heuvelton to

Not only must the school teach in terms of its own environment, but more
and more it must become the intellectual and social center of the
neighborhood or district. Every modern rural school building should be
attractive enough to induce clubs of many kinds to hold meetings in it.
In the old "lyceum" days the school house was an important gathering
place. These days are mostly past, but better days should be coming: the
school should connect at every point with the life of the community. Any
event, however small, that centers the attention of the people at the
school house is a beginning and is worth while. A year ago the children
and teacher in one of our district schools began the work of "cleaning
up" the premises. The picture (Fig. 1) shows them at work. Later, when
the grounds were renovated and ready for the planting, boxes were placed
for the reception of the mail for those who do not live on the carrier's
route: this is the beginning of a centering of attention at the school
house. I think that the boxes might have been more attractive and
perhaps better placed, but this will come in time: a beginning has been
made. When once the people of any community come to think of the school
house as a meeting-place for old folks as well as for children, what may
we not expect of the rural school? We need adult education as well as
juvenile education.

I have now no course of study to propose for agricultural or
country-life subjects in the schools, but I would like to know how many
teachers in the State desire to take up certain work of this nature as
an experiment. The College of Agriculture will be glad to suggest the
kind of work, if need be. The western states are undertaking this work:
we must not be behind. It is endorsed by Superintendent Skinner, as will
be seen from the letter published at the close of this pamphlet.

To be effective and meaningful, this work should deal directly with the
things,--handling the things, studying the things, learning from the
things. This is nature-study. To commit to memory something about things
is of little consequence. We are too closely committed to books. We are
often slaves to books. Books are only secondary or incidental means of
educating, particularly in nature-study subjects. We have known the
book-way of educating for so long a time that many of us have come to
accept it as a matter of course and as the only way. A New York school
man recently told me an incident that illustrates this fact singularly
well. In the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation he opened a school in which
at first he employed only manual-training and nature-study work. Soon
one of the children left school. The teacher sought the mother and asked
why. The mother replied that there was no use in sending the child to
school because the teacher had given it no books to study. So slavishly
have we followed the book-route that even the Indian accepts it as the
only road to schooling!

[Illustration: _Fig. 4. Prize corn and a ten-year-old experimenter in
one of Supt. Kern's districts, Illinois.]_


Many lines of work might be suggested for an occasional period. Perhaps
the best one for spring is a school-garden. In time, every good school
will have its garden, as it now has charts and blackboards and books. A
school-garden is a laboratory-room added to the school house. It may be
five feet square or ten times that much. The children prepare the
land,--lessons in soils, soil physics; sow the seed,--lessons in
planting, germination, and the like; care for the plants,--lessons in
transplanting, struggle for existence, natural enemies, conditions that
make for the welfare of the plants. The older pupils may be organized
into experiment clubs, as they are being organized in parts of Illinois
(see article on "Learning by Doing," by Supt. O. J. Kern, Review of
Reviews, Oct., 1903, p. 456). We can help you in this school-gardening

[Illustration: _Fig. 5. "Learning by doing." A new kind of school work
in Illinois, under the direction of Supt. Kern._]


If not school-gardens, take up other lines of work,--study the school
premises, the nearby brook or field, an apple tree, or any other common
object or phenomenon. If there is any special agricultural industry in
the neighborhood, discuss it and set the pupils at work on it. Any of
these common-day subjects will interest the children and brighten up the
school work; and the pursuit of them will teach the children the
all-important fact that so few of us ever learn,--the fact that the
commonest and homeliest things are worthy the best attention of the best
men and women.


Just now, the improving of school grounds is a pressing subject. As a
preliminary to the actual improving of the grounds, suppose that the
following problems were set before the pupils:

1. _Exercises on the Grounds._

1. _Area._--Measure the school grounds, to determine the lengths and
widths. Draw an outline map showing the shape. The older pupils may
compute the square surface area. The distances may be compared, for
practice, in feet, yards and rods. (Arithmetic.)

[Illustration: _Fig. 6. Using the Babcock milk test at Professor
Hollister's School, Corinth, N. Y._]

2. _Contour._--Is the area level, or rough, or sloping? Determine how
great the slope is by sighting across a carpenter's level. In what
direction does the ground slope? Is the slope natural, or was it made by
grading? The older pupils may draw a cross-section line, to a scale, to
show what the slope is. (Geography.)

3. _Fences._--What parts of the area are fenced? What kind of fence?
Total length of fence? Give opinion whether this fence is needed, with
reasons. Is the fence in good repair? If not, what should be done to
remedy it? (Arithmetic, language.)

4. _Soil._--What is the nature of the soil--clay, sand, gravel, field
loam? Was subsoil spread on the surface when the grounds were graded? Is
the soil poor or rich, and why do you think so? Is it stony? What can
be done to improve the soil? (Geography, language.)

5. _Ground cover._--What is on the ground--sod or weeds, or is it bare?
What do you think would be the best ground cover, and why? (Geography,

6. _Trees and bushes._--How many trees and bushes are there on the
ground? Were they planted, or did they come up of themselves? Make a map
showing where the principal ones are. Name all the kinds, putting the
trees in one list and the bushes in another. Do any of the trees need
pruning, and why? State whether any of them have been injured or are
unhealthy. (Geography, language.)

7. _Tenants._--What animals live or have lived on the school premises?
What birds' nests do you find (these may be found in winter)? Hornets'
nests? Perhaps you can find cocoons or egg-masses of insects in winter,
and the active insects themselves in spring and fall. What birds visit
the place? Do rabbits or mice or moles or frogs inhabit the premises?
(Geography, language.)

8. _Natural features._--Describe any strong natural features, as rocks,
ponds, streams, groves. What views do you get from the school grounds?
(Geography, language.)

2. _Exercises on the School Structures._

9. _Buildings._--How many buildings are on the grounds, including sheds,
etc.? Give the sizes in lengths and widths. Brick or wood? Color? Make a
map or chart showing the position of these structures, being careful to
have the buildings properly proportioned with reference to the entire
area. (Language, geography.)

10. _Repairs needed._--Describe what condition the structures are in.
Tell whether repairs are needed on foundations, side walls, roof,
belfry, chimney, steps, doors, windows, paint. (Language.)

11. _Flag pole._--Where is your flag pole? Could it be in a better
place? How tall is it above ground? How much in diameter at the base?
What kind of wood? Painted? How deep in the ground? When was it put up?
What repairs does it need? (Language.)

3. _General Exercises._

12. _History._--When was the land set aside for a school? When was the
school house built? Who built it? (History, language.)

13. _Cost._--Try to find out what the land cost. What the building cost.
Are they worth as much now? (History, language.)

14. _Government._--Determine what officers have general control of the
school. How did they come to be officers? How long do they hold office?
What are the duties of each? Determine whether your school receives any
aid from the State. (Government.)

15. _Improvement._--Tell what you think should be done to improve the
school grounds and the school structures. (Language.)

16. _Photographs._--The teacher or some pupil should photograph the
school premises, and send the picture to us. We want at least one
picture of every rural school house and grounds in the State. Even a
very poor photograph is better than none.

_Experiment Garden._--Every school ground should have at least one small
plat on which the children can grow some plant that is useful in that
community. Just now alfalfa is demanding much attention from farmers,
and it is certain soon to become a very important farm crop in New York
State. It is used for pasturage and for hay. When once established, it
lives for years. It is allied to clover and is a handsome plant for any
school grounds. Will not the teacher suggest to the children that they
make an alfalfa bed along one side of the school grounds? It will be
attractive and will teach many lessons to pupils and parents even if it
is only a few square feet in size. We want to put an alfalfa plat on
every rural school ground in the State. _We will supply the seed free._
Alfalfa is easy to grow if only a few essential principles are kept in
mind. We will send full directions to any one who applies. From year to
year we will give nature-study lessons on these alfalfa plats.

We are anxious to start work of the above kind. It can be done at any
time of the year. We are already in touch with more than 400 school
grounds, but we want to reach every rural school ground in the State.
_Will not the teacher send to us the best piece of work done by any
pupil in any of the foregoing sixteen problems?_ These papers we will
file, as showing the conditions of the premises of the particular
school. They will enable us to see the progress that is being made from
year to year in the improvement of your school premises. They will also
enable us better to give advice, when called upon to do so. Sometimes we
can send to the particular school a man to give advice on the spot.
Sending the best reports to the University will be a reward to the most
diligent pupils. Send all reports to John W. Spencer, Nature-Study
Bureau, Ithaca, N. Y.

We desire to put in the rural school houses of the State some good
pictures of country and farm scenes. These pictures will be artistic
reproductions of meritorious photographs, and large enough to hang on
the walls of the school room. With each picture will be sent
instructions for framing in order to make the picture more attractive.
We shall choose eight such pictures for distribution the present school
year. _We will send one of these pictures free to any rural school in
the State that takes up two of the problems given above; and all of them
to schools that take up the sixteen problems._ We expect to publish
lists of all schools, with teachers' names, that take up this work in
improving the premises of rural schools.

[Illustration: _Fig. 7. Junior Naturalists making ready for planting.
Tompkins Co., N. Y._]

To one who is not teaching in the public schools, all this work seems to
be simple enough. Such persons are likely to be impatient that more
rapid progress is not made in introducing agricultural and common-life
subjects into the schools. But the teacher knows that all this work
requires patience and skill. It cannot as yet be forced into the schools
and still retain spontaneity and vitality. It must come gradually, and
prove itself as it goes. Probably all public school teachers are now
agreed that the schools should be put closely in line with the life of
their various communities. The questions now to be solved are chiefly
those of means and methods, and of arousing the school constituencies to
the new points of view. A full and free discussion of the whole subject
is now needed. The time is hardly yet ripe for very definite courses of
study in these new fields. Many schools are already teaching these new
subjects with entire success: these schools can serve the cause by
making their experience public.


[Illustration: _Fig. 8. Junior Gardeners at work in one of the New York

However, this circular is merely an appeal. It is an inquiry for
suggestions and co-operation. I desire to know what can be accomplished
in the schools of New York State in the direction of inspiring and
useful work for children that live in the country or are interested in
the country. I am sure that something needs to be done: just what is
most feasible and best the teachers must largely determine. As further
suggestions, I append two letters from New York teachers:

_From A. M. Hollister, Principal of the Corinth Public Schools, Saratoga
Co., N. Y._

    "I am sending you under separate cover a picture of my class at
    work with the Babcock test machine (Fig. 6). We have used the
    machine both as a means of instruction in physics and chemistry
    and as a general demonstration before the different classes in the
    school. It beautifully illustrates some very important principles
    of physics and chemistry. The most marvellous effect, however, has
    been shown in the quality of the milk sold in the village. Milk
    was sold showing a test as low as 2.9 per cent butter fat. Almost
    as soon as the first testing was reported, the milk showed 3.8 per
    cent butter fat. Milk has been sent to the school from a number
    of dairymen with request for a test on particular cows that the
    parties might base their purchases of cows on the results of the

    "In regard to the gardening with some of our boys, I would say
    that both boys and parents are much interested in the subject. We
    shall doubtless start about forty gardens of one-tenth acre each.
    The boys are to keep an exact account of all expenses to study
    methods, and to do all the work. I am anticipating results in a
    number of directions. The boys will be given something to do and
    to interest themselves in, which of itself is an important thing
    for a village boy. It will also develop a power of observation and
    ingenuity. We wish to get all the information we can on potato,
    tomato and squash culture. Other things will be suggested during
    the winter."

    _Approval of the Superintendent of Public Instruction._

    (_Published by permission._)

    "For many years I have been making earnest efforts to induce
    teachers, pupils and patrons to improve and beautify the school
    buildings and school surroundings of our State. Some progress has
    been made, but much remains to be done.

    "I heartily welcome the coöperation of every agency which can
    contribute to this result. We must interest parents and teachers
    in this work, but to obtain the best results I have always found
    that we must first interest the children. Once a spirit of
    enthusiasm is awakened in the children, it is easy to keep them
    interested and busy.

    "I have long appreciated the earnest assistance of representatives
    of Cornell University in arousing the interest of pupils, and I
    heartily commend the plan outlined by the College of Agriculture
    to make a study of the schoolhouse and school grounds a practical
    part of the daily education of the child. A child's surroundings
    have much to do with his education. The result of such systematic
    study as is suggested must surely be a steadily increasing
    determination to remedy defects and correct any evil which may
    exist. When the attention of children is directed to existing
    conditions which bring discomfort, it will not be difficult to
    induce them to devise ways and means to improve matters.

    "I shall watch the result of your efforts with deep interest, and
    stand ready to coöperate with you in every way.

    "Very sincerely yours,


    "ALBANY, _Dec._ 17, 1903.

    _State Superintendent._"




[5] Cornell Countryman, June, 1904.

Agricultural education has made great progress within the past few
years. Methods are crystallizing and at the same time the field is
enlarging. We once thought of agricultural education as wholly special
or professional, but we now conceive of it as an integral part of
general and fundamental educational policy. As a college or university
subject it is necessarily technical and semi-professional; but college
work must articulate with the common-school work, as language and
science now articulate with the schools. That is, agricultural subjects
are now to be considered as a part of primary and secondary school work,
leading naturally to special work in the same subjects for those who
desire technical training. In the schools the subjects are to be treated
non-professionally, as primary means of educating the child. The reason
for using these subjects as means of educating lies in the principle
that the child should be educated in terms of its own life rather than
wholly in subjects that are foreign to its horizon and experience. It is
most surprising that, while the theory of education is that the person
shall be trained into efficiency, we nevertheless have employed subjects
that have little relation to the individual child's effectiveness.

Not long since my father showed me a letter that he received from a
school girl in 1851. It read as follows: "I seat myself expressly for
the purpose to finish this letter which has been long begun. I go to
school room to Mr. Wells and study parsing mental Philosophy grammar and
penciling." This sounds as if it came from "The Complete Letter-Writer."
This person lived on a farm. She lives on a farm to this day. Her
parents and grandparents lived on a farm. The family had no expectation
of living elsewhere than on a farm. Yet, in her entire school life, I
presume there was not a single hour devoted to any subject directly
connected with the farm or with the country. If her studies touched life
in any way that she could comprehend, it was probably in habits of
thought of the city and of the academician rather than in anything that
appealed to her as related to the life she was to lead. It is small
wonder that the farm has been devoid of ideals, and that the attraction
has been to leave it. The direction of the stream determines the course
of the river.

The future course of education will develop many means of training the
child mind. Heretofore these means have been few and the result has been
narrow. We shall see agricultural, commercial, social subjects put into
pedagogic form and be made the agencies whereby minds are drawn out.
These will be at least as efficient as the customary methods that we
happen thus far to have employed. How much of one or how much of another
is a detail that must be left to the future. Nor does it follow that the
old-time subjects are to pass away. They will be an important part of
the system, but not the whole system. These new subjects are now coming
into the schools as rapidly, perhaps, as they can be assimilated. It is
a general feeling that our schools already are overcrowded with
subjects; and this may be true. The trouble is that while we are
introducing new ideas as to subjects, we are still holding to old ideas
as to curriculums and courses of study. We will break up our schools
into different kinds; we will employ more teachers; we will not endeavor
to train all children alike; we will find that we may secure equal
results from many kinds of training; we will consider the effect on the
pupil to be of much greater importance than the developing of the
particular subject that he pursues; there are many men of many minds;
some system will be evolved whereby individual capabilities will be
developed to the full; the means will be related to the pupil: one of
the factors will be subjects making up the environment of the pupil that
lives in the country.

My plea, therefore, is that agricultural and country life subjects
become the means of educating some of the pupils of at least some of the
schools. To be sure, we have already introduced "natural science" into
many of the schools, but, for the most, part, this has worked down from
the college and, necessarily, it usually stops at the high school. We
need something much more vital for the secondary schools than science as
commonly taught. The great nature-study movement is an expression, as
yet imperfect, of the feeling that there should be some living
connection between the school life and the real life.

A college of agriculture, therefore, is as much interested in the common
schools as a college of arts and sciences is. It should be a part of a
system, however informal that system may be, not an establishment
isolated from other educational agencies. But even as a college it will
reach more persons than it has ever reached in the past. In any
self-sustaining commonwealth it is probable that one-third of the people
must be intimately associated with the soil. These people need to be as
well-trained as those who follow the mechanic trades or the professions.
It is immensely difficult to put these agricultural subjects into
teachable form and to reach the agricultural people in a way that will
mean much to them, because agriculture is a compound of many wonderfully
diverse trades in every conceivable kind of natural conditions. Nor can
one institution in each large state or province hope eventually to reach
all these people, any more than one institution can reach all those who
would best be taught in terms of books. But there must be at least one
institution that is well equipped for the very highest kind of effort
in these fields; Congress long ago recognized this fact in the
establishment of the land-grant colleges, and all persons who are
informed on agricultural education also now recognize it. The
agricultural colleges have been handicapped from the first for lack of
funds. It is now coming to be recognized that the highest kind of effort
in these colleges cannot be sustained on a farm that pays for itself nor
by means that are copied from the customary college work in "humanities"
and "science." If it is to be efficient, agricultural education of a
university grade is probably more expensive to equip and maintain than
any other kind of education.

Once it was thought that the agricultural college should be wholly
separate from any "classical" institution. The oldest of the existing
American agricultural colleges, the Michigan institution, is established
on this principle. So are the Massachusetts, Iowa and Pennsylvania
colleges and a number of others. It is natural that this should have
been the feeling in the original movement for the establishment of these
colleges, for the movement was itself a protest and revolt from the
existing education. Time, however, has put agricultural subjects on an
equal pedagogical plane with other subjects, and there is no more
reason why the agriculture should be segregated by itself than that the
architecture or law or fine arts should be. The agricultural colleges
connected with universities are now beginning to grow rapidly. This is
illustrated in the great development of the agricultural colleges at the
universities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri,
Ohio, and elsewhere. It was once thought that the agricultural student
would be "looked down upon" in a university or in a college with other
departments. This was once true. It was true once, also, of the student
in natural science and mechanic arts. Pioneers are always marked men.
The only way to place agricultural students on an equality with other
students is to place them on an equality.

These remarks are made in no disparagement of the separate agricultural
colleges, but only to illustrate the character of the growth of
agricultural education. No doubt the separate colleges blazed the way.
They stand for an idea that we would not like to dispense with. Every
state and territory has one college founded on the land grant, and in
the Southern states there are two, one for the whites and one for the
blacks; in nearly half of the states these colleges are separate
institutions. But the fact remains that the college connected with the
university is to have the broader field in the future. Its very
connection dignifies it and gives it parity. It draws on many resources
that the separate college knows not of, unless, indeed, the separate
college develops these resources for itself. The tendency, therefore, is
for every ambitious separate college to develop the accessory resources,
in the way of equipment in general science, literature, the arts; for
agricultural education is constantly coming to be of a higher grade. The
separate agricultural and mechanical colleges are rapidly becoming
essentially industrial universities, giving general training but with
the emphasis on the technical subjects.

It is strange how far this principle of education by isolation has been
carried in the development of the agricultural colleges. Not only have
the colleges been separated from other educational enterprises, but in
many cases they have been planted far in the open country, partly on the
theory that the farm boy, of all others, should be removed from
temptation and from the allurements of other occupations. It was the
early theory, also, that the agricultural student must be compelled to
do manual labor in order that he be put in sympathy with it and that his
attention be isolated from tendencies that might divert him from
farming. These methods seem to have rested on the general theory that
if you would make a man a farmer you must deprive him of everything but
farming. It would be interesting to try to estimate how much this
general attitude on the part of the agricultural colleges was itself
responsible for the very inferiority of position that the agricultural
student was supposed to occupy. This attitude tended to maintain a
traditional class distinction or even to create such a distinction.
Agricultural education must be adapted to its ends; but it must also be
able to stand alone in competition with all other education without
artificial props. It is no longer necessary that the agricultural
student wear blinders.

On the other hand, the farm point of view must be kept constantly before
the student, as the engineering point of view is kept before the student
in a college of civil engineering; but we are coming to a new way of
accomplishing this. Mere teaching of the sciences that underlie
agricultural practice will not accomplish it; nor, on the other hand,
will drill in mere farm practice accomplish it. It is not the purpose of
an agricultural college to make men farmers, but to educate farmers. We
are not to limit the student's vision to any one occupation, but to make
one occupation more meaningful and attractive than it has ever been
before. From the farmer's point of view a leading difficulty with the
college course is that it sometimes tends to slacken a man's business
energy. One cannot at the same time pursue college studies and
commercial business; and yet farming is a business. In a four years'
course some students are likely to incur certain habits of ease that are
difficult to overcome upon their return to the farm. How much this is a
fault of the courses of instruction and how much a personal equation of
the student is always worth considering. But if this is a fault of
college work it is generic and not peculiar to colleges of agriculture.
Experience has now shown that a compulsory labor system is no preventive
of this tendency, at least not with students of college and university
age. Student labor is now a laboratory effort, comparable with
laboratory work in medicine or mechanic arts. The mature student must
have some other reason for laboring than merely a rule that labor is
required. However, it is yet largely an unsolved problem with the
agricultural colleges as to just how the stirring business side of
farming can be sufficiently correlated with the courses of study to keep
the student in touch and sympathy with affairs. With the passing of
compulsory student labor there has no doubt been a reaction in the
direction of too little utilization of the college farm in schemes of
education; but we shall now get back to the farm again, but this time on
a true educational basis.

Nothing is more significant of the development of the agricultural
colleges than the recent splitting up of the professorships. From
agricultural chemistry as a beginning, in one form or another, there
have issued a dozen chairs, first one subject and then another being
separated as a teachable and administrative entity. Even the word
"agriculture" is now being dropped from the professorships, for this is
a term for a multitude of enterprises, not for a concrete subject.
Horticulture was one of the first protuberances to be lopped off; and
even this must very soon be divided into its component parts, for there
is little relationship between the effort that grows apples and that
grows orchids or between the market garden and landscape gardening. Even
the chair of agronomy, the newest department of the colleges, must soon
be separated into its units. Forty years ago mechanic arts was
undivided. Who then would have prophesied such professorships as
experimental engineering, electrical engineering, marine engineering,
railroad engineering, naval architecture, machine design? The progress
of the dividing up of the mechanic arts and civil engineering marks the
rate of our progress, in the terms of the Land Grant Act, "to promote
the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the
several pursuits and professions in life." All trades, classes and
professions are to be reached with a kind of education that is related
to their work. One by one we are reaching persons in all walks and all
places. Socially, there are centuries of prejudice against the farmer.
When education is finally allowed to reach him in such a way as to be
indispensable to him, it will at last have become truly democratic.

In this spirit agriculture is divided into its teachable units. The
lists of divisions of the teaching force or curriculum in the larger
agricultural colleges illustrate this admirably. In Illinois, for
example, the title of professors and instructors are associated with
such divisions as thremmatology, agronomy, pomology, olericulture,
floriculture, soil physics, dairy husbandry, dairy manufacture, horses,
beef cattle, swine husbandry, farm crops. At Cornell the coördinate
departments of instruction in the College of Agriculture are classified
as agricultural chemistry, economic entomology, soils, agronomy,
horticulture, animal husbandry with its sub-department of poultry
husbandry, dairy industry, agricultural engineering and architecture,
the farm home, rural economy and sociology, out-door art (including
landscape gardening), nature-study for teachers, besides miscellaneous
courses--making altogether thirteen divisions. The courses now offered
in the Cornell College of Agriculture, not including the winter-courses,
are 76, of which 71 are to be given in the next academic year. Nearly
all these courses comprise a half-year's work.

While all this subdividing represents progress there are disadvantages
attending it, because it tends to give a partial view of the subject.
The larger number of farmers must engage in general "mixed husbandry"
rather than in specialties. Farming is a philosophy, not a mere process.
The tendency of the inevitable subdividing of the subjects is to force
the special view rather than the general view, as if, in medicine,
students were to become specialists rather than general practitioners.
The farm-philosophy idea was represented by the older teachers of
agriculture. Of these men Professor Roberts is a typical example, and
his work in making students to be successful, all-around farmers is not
yet sufficiently appreciated. Much of this farm philosophy is now coming
into the courses of instruction under the titles of rural economy, rural
economics, rural sociology and the like. I have sometimes thought that
the time may come when we will again have professors of "agriculture"
who will coördinate and synthesize the work of the agronomist, soil
physicist, chemist, dairyman and others. However, the dividing has not
yet worked any harm, and perhaps my fears are ungrounded; and it is
certain that with increasing knowledge and specialization the courses of
instruction must still further divide.

Another most significant development in agricultural education is the
change in attitude towards the college farm. Once it was thought that
the college estate should be run as a "model farm." However, a farm that
sets a pattern to the farmer must be conducted on a commercial basis;
yet it is manifest that it is the province of a college to devote itself
to education, not primarily to business. A farm cannot be a "model" for
all the kinds of farming of the commonwealth; and if it does not
represent fairly completely the agriculture of the state, it misses its
value as a pattern. At all events the pattern-farm idea is practically
given up. It is then a question whether the farm shall be used merely to
"illustrate,"--to display kinds of tools, examples of fences and
fields, breeds of stock. This conception of the college farm is
comparable with the old idea of "experiments" in agricultural chemistry:
the teacher performed the experiments for the students to see. The
prevailing idea of the college farm is now (or at least, I think, soon
must be) that it shall be used as a true laboratory, as the student in
chemistry now works first-hand with his materials instead alone of
receiving lectures and committing books. Is a student studying cattle?
The herds are his for measurements, testing as to efficiency, studying
in respect to heredity, their response to feeding, their adaptability to
specific purposes, and a hundred other problems. Cattle are as much
laboratory material for the agricultural student as rocks are for the
geological student or plants for the botanical student. Technical books
were once kept only in libraries; now they are kept also in laboratories
and are laboratory equipment. College museums were once only for
display; now they are also for actual use by the student. Barns are
laboratories, to be as much a part of the equipment of a college of
agriculture as shops are of mechanic arts. They should be in close
connection with the main buildings, not removed to some remote part of
the premises. Modern ideas of cleanliness and sanitation are bound to
revolutionize the construction and care of barns. There is no reason why
these buildings should be offensive. It was once thought that dissecting
rooms and hospitals should be removed from proximity to other buildings;
but we have now worked these laboratories integrally into the plans of
colleges. Time has now come for a closer assembling of the college barns
with the college classrooms. Likewise the entire farm is no doubt to be
used in the future as a laboratory, at least in the institutions of
university grade--except such part as is used for pure investigation and
research. Where, then, shall the student go to see his model barn? To
these farms themselves; here a stock farm; there a fruit farm; elsewhere
a dairy farm. The shops in the colleges of mechanic arts have long since
come to be true laboratories; they do not engage in railroading or
manufacturing. They do not try to "pay their way;" if they do pay their
way this fact is only an incidental or secondary consideration. A
college of agriculture is a teaching institution: it must have equipment
and laboratories.

It will be seen that the word "agriculture" has taken on a new and
enlarged meaning. The farmer is not only a producer of commodities: he
is a citizen, a member of the commonwealth, and his efficiency to
society and the state depends on his whole outlook. Also his personal
happiness depends on his outlook. He must concern himself not alone with
technical farming, but also with all the affairs that make up an
agricultural community: good roads, organizations, schools, mail routes,
labor movements, rural architecture, sanitation, the æsthetic aspect of
the country. One will be struck with the new signification of
"agriculture" if he scan the titles of publications that issue from
governmental agricultural departments, agricultural experiment stations,
agricultural nature-study bureaus, agricultural colleges.

I cannot close this sketch without calling attention to the fact that
the college of agriculture has obligations to the farmers of its
commonwealth. The very fact that every college of agriculture in North
America is supported by public funds imposes this obligation. Moreover,
the colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts stand for true democratic
effort, for they have a definite constituency that they are called upon
to aid. It is desirable that as many persons as possible shall assemble
at the college itself, but those who cannot go to college still have the
right to ask for help. This is particularly true in agriculture, in
which the interests are widely separated and incapable of being combined
and syndicated. Thereupon has arisen the great "extension" movement
that, in one way or another, is now a part of the work of every
agricultural college. Education was once exclusive; it is now in spirit
inclusive. The agencies that have brought about this change of attitude
are those associated with so-called industrial education, growing
chiefly out of the forces set in motion by the Land Grant Act of 1862.
This Land Grant is the Magna Charta of education: from it in this
country we shall date our liberties.




[6] Syllabus of Lectures: Nature-Study (Animal and Plant Life), Mrs. A.
B. Comstock.


Suggestions for nature-study must necessarily be more or less general.
Nature-study should be a matter of observation on the part of the
pupils. The teacher's part is to indicate points for observation and not
to tell what is to be seen.

After the child has observed all that it is possible for him to see, the
remainder of the story may be told him or may be read.

The objects of nature-study should be always in the teacher's mind.
These are, primarily, to cultivate the child's power of observation and
to put him in sympathy with out-of-door life.

Having these objects clearly in mind, the teacher will see that the
spending of a certain amount of time each day giving lessons is not the
most important part of the work. A great amount of nature-study may be
done without spending a moment in a regular lesson. In the case of all
the things kept in the schoolroom--_i. e._, growing plants, insects in
cages and aquaria, tame birds and domestic animals--the children will
study the problems for themselves. The privilege of watching these
things should be made a reward of merit.

The use of nature-study readers should be restricted. The stories in
these should not be read until after the pupils have completed their own
observations on the subjects of the stories.

Stories about adventures of animals and adventures with animals may
always be read with safety, as these do not, strictly speaking, belong
to nature-study. They belong rather to literature and may be used most
successfully to interest the child in nature.

Blackboard drawings and charts should be used only to illustrate objects
too small for the pupil to see with the naked eye. The pupil must also
be made to understand that the object drawn on the board is a real
enlargement of the object he has studied with his unaided eye.

The use of a simple lens often contributes much interest to the work of
observation. The compound microscope may be used to show some
exceptionally interesting point, as the compound eyes of insects, the
scales on the butterfly's wing, or the viscid thread of the spider. But
this is by no means necessary. Nature-study work does not actually
require the use of either microscope or lens, although the latter is a
desirable adjunct.

The great danger that besets the teacher just beginning nature-study is
too much teaching, and too many subjects. In my own work I would rather
a child spent one term finding out how one spider builds its orb web
than that he should study a dozen different species of spiders.

If the teacher at the end of the year has opened the child's mind and
heart in two or three directions nature-ward, she has done enough.

In teaching about animals, teach no more of the anatomy than is
obviously connected with the distinctive habits of each one; _i. e._,
the hind legs of a grasshopper are long so that it can jump, and the
ears of a rabbit are long so that it can hear the approach of its foes.

While it is desirable for the teacher to know more than she teaches, in
nature-study she may well be a learner with her pupils since they are
likely any day to read some page of nature's book never before read by
human eyes. This attitude of companionship in studying with her pupils
will have a great value in enabling her to maintain happy and pleasant
relations with them. It has also great disciplinary value.

_Reasons for and against graded courses in nature-study._

The question whether there should be a graded course in nature-study is
decidedly a query with two answers.

The reasons why there should not be a graded course, are:

1st. The work should be spontaneous and should be suggested each day by
the material at hand. Mother Nature follows no schedule. She refuses to
produce a violet one day, an oriole the next, and a blue butterfly on
the third.

2d. A graded course means a hard and fast course which each teacher must
follow whether or not her tastes and training coincide with it.

3d. There is no natural grading of nature-study work. A subject suited
for nature-study may be given just as successfully in the first as in
the fifth grade.

There is only one reason why a nature-study course should be graded, and
that is so cogent that it outweighs all the reasons on the other side:
the training of the grade teacher in nature-study is at present so
limited in subject-matter that if the course were ungraded the same work
would be given over and over in the successive grades until the pupils
became utterly weary of it. To many a pupil in the lower grades to-day,
nature-study means the sprouting of beans and peas and nothing more. As
a matter of experience, we believe that after a nature-study subject is
once studied it should be dropped entirely, the pupil should not again
meet it in the schoolroom until he finds it in its respective science in
the high school or college. On this account, we have been persuaded that
a graded course, or at least a consecutive course, is necessary.

The following suggestions about grading the course are given with a hope
of being helpful, and not because we believe that the courses indicated
are necessarily the best courses possible. We have graded each subject
so that a teacher may follow her own tastes and inclinations, and may
not be forced to teach zoology when her interests are entirely with
botany, or vice versa.

We have tried to give a distinctive trend to the observations for each
year, and have suggested a line along which the work may be done.

As a matter of fact, however, the time to study any living thing is when
you chance to find it. If you find an interesting caterpillar or cricket
or bird, study it, whatever your grade of work. The probabilities are
that it may be long before you chance upon these same species again.

It has been the experience of most teachers that the lower grades are
much more interested in nature-study than are the higher. Especially are
the seventh and eighth grades difficult to interest. Therefore, we have
made this part of the course economic in its bearing, hoping that this
may appeal to the grown-up feeling of pupils of these grades.



The first year of work with insects may well be restricted to
familiarizing the pupils with the three most striking phases in the life
of insects with complete metamorphosis, _i. e._, the larvæ, the pupæ,
and the winged insects. Moths and butterflies are especially adapted for
this work with the small children.

_Fall work._--In September there are still many caterpillars feeding.
Bring them in the schoolroom and feed them in breeding cages. For
different forms of cheap breeding cages, see Insect Life, pp. 326-330;
Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 5 (No. XIX, this volume); Lessons in
Nature-Study, p. 45.

During October many of the hairy caterpillars will be found hurrying
along in quest of suitable winter quarters. These should be brought in
and put in box cages having sand or dirt in the bottom. They are seeking
secluded corners in which to curl up and hide during the cold weather.
Some of them pass the winter in their cocoons, and some do not. Insect
Life, pp. 239-241; Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 317-324; Moths and
Butterflies, (_b_), pp. 191-198.

Bring in as many cocoons as possible. November or December, after the
leaves have fallen from the trees, is the best time in which to hunt for
the cocoons of _Cecropia_, _Promethea_, and _Cynthia_. Insect Life, pp.
194-196; Moths and Butterflies, (_b_), pp. 119-180.

Teach the pupils the difference between the cocoon and the pupa. The
pupa is the quiescent form of the insect. The cocoon is the silken bag
covering it, and is always made by the caterpillar before it changes to
a pupa.

If possible bring in some butterfly larvæ. In September many may be
found. The cabbage butterfly especially is always with us. Insect Life,
p. 245. Also the larvæ of the black swallow-tail may be easily found.
Insect Life, p. 243; Everyday Butterflies, p. 130; Moths and
Butterflies, (_b_), p. 39.

Show the children (do not tell them) that the butterfly caterpillars do
not make cocoons, but that the naked pupa is suspended by a silk button,
and in some cases also by a silk thread.

Many teachers complain that but few of the moths are able to get out of
the cocoons. The usual reason for this is that in the heated atmosphere
of the schoolroom the cocoons become too dry. To obviate this, the
cocoons should be dipped in water every week or two.

_Spring work._--During the spring term use the apple-tree
tent-caterpillars. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 5 (No. XIX, this
volume); Moths and Butterflies, (_b_) p. 201. Show the four stages of
the insect: egg, caterpillar, pupa, and moth. Pay especial attention to
the way in which the caterpillars grow.

_Summary of methods._--This whole year's work may be done with no
regular "lessons," and all the time required will be the care of the
breeding cages and the time given to hunting for the caterpillars and
cocoons. The child's reading may be selected from the many stories of
the caterpillars, moths and butterflies. Yet be very careful to make
each child understand that he himself is studying out the especial story
of each caterpillar and cocoon in the schoolroom.


The plan for the second year is to continue the study of the
life-histories of insects. The pupil, having learned the different
stages of the moths and butterflies, should learn that all insects do
not experience such marvelous changes of form.

_Fall work._--Arrange a breeding cage like figs. 288, 289, Insect Life,
p. 329, placing fresh sod in the flower pot and covering the lamp
chimney with a square of wire netting. Push the glass chimney down into
the earth so as to allow no crevices through which the insects may
escape. In such a cage, place grasshoppers and crickets of all sizes,
and study their growth. Insect Life, pp. 33-37.

Show the pupils that the young grasshopper looks like the old one except
that the wings are shorter; the same is true of crickets. Keep the sod
damp so the grass will not become dry; and when it gets too old replace
it with other sod. A good way to keep these insects alive and to keep
the children interested in them is to plant wheat and grass seed in
several flower pots, and then to move the glass chimney from pot to pot,
giving the insects fresh pasturage when needed.

As early as possible start some aquaria. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No.
11 (No. XII, this volume); Insect Life, pp. 330-332.

The mosquito is one of the most available insects for study in the
aquarium. Insect Life, pp. 131-136; Lessons in Nature-Study, p. 12.

The nymphs of dragon flies and damsel flies and many others may be
studied during the entire winter. Insect Life, pp. 140-142; Cornell
Teachers' Leaflet, No. 11 (No. XII, this volume); Outdoor Studies, p.
54. Those that have cannibalistic habits should be kept apart, each one
in a separate jar. They may be fed by dropping into the jar a bit of raw
beefsteak tied to the end of a string. The purpose of the string is that
the uneaten meat may be withdrawn before it decays. It should not be
left in the water more than twenty-four hours. The insects do not need
feeding more than twice a week.

_Spring work._--In the spring get new material for the aquaria. In pools
where there are many dead leaves look for the caddice worms that build
the log cabin cases, for these may be kept in aquaria that have no
running water. Insect Life, p. 149.

While we advise the introduction of the aquaria during the second year,
their use should be continued during the following four grades; there
are always new things to study in ponds and streams, and nothing so
fascinates a child as watching the movements of these little denizens of
the water.

_Summary of methods._--There need be no set lessons in the work of the
second year, unless the teacher in a few words, now and then, chooses to
call attention to certain things as the occasion seems to demand. The
object of the year's work is to teach the pupil the life histories of
insects which have no quiescent or pupa stage, and this should be
accomplished by simple observation of specimens bred in the schoolroom.


The general subject of this year's work may well be the Homes of
Insects. This is a most interesting topic, and if well taught will
inspire the pupils to much individual observation and collecting.

The questions to be asked concerning insect homes are:

Of what material are they made? How are they made? What is the purpose
of the home? Is it made by the insect for itself to live in, or is it
made by the mother for the protection of her young? Is it made as a
protection for the insects while they are eating, or do they go out to
feed and come back only to rest and spend the night or day?

_Fall work._--Leaf rollers: Insect Life, p. 206; Ways of the Six-Footed,
p. 119.

Leaf miners: Insect Life, p. 208; Ways of the Six-Footed, p. 29.

Galls: Insect Life, p. 210; Outdoor Studies, pp. 18, 38-39.

Fall web worm: Insect Life, p. 200.

Scallop shell moth: Insect Life, p. 201.

Nests of silver spotted skipper: Insect Life, p. 203; Everyday
Butterflies, p. 190.

Bag worms: Insect Life, p. 204. Ant lions: Outdoor Studies, p. 81.

Carpenter bees: Ways of the Six-Footed, p. 108.

Tiger beetle larvæ: Insect Life, pp. 270-272.

All kinds of cocoons are found by the children. Ask concerning the
cocoons: Where did you find them? Were they in protected places? Why?

Of these nests there are many more than those mentioned above. In fact,
to one who sees what he looks at, every plant, every tree, every fence
corner and every foot along the country path contains many most
interesting homes. The leaf rollers and leaf miners are the most common
and most easily found of all.

_Spring work._--The spring work in this subject may be to study the way
in which caddice worms make their houses; take a caddice worm out of its
house and watch it build another. This is a new phase of the study of
caddice worms. Ways of the Six-Footed, p. 133.

Study the homes of beetles under sticks and stones, and find the homes
of the engraver beetles under bark. Insect Life, p. 216. This work must
necessarily be done by the pupils out of school hours, and their
discoveries and specimens of homes should be made topics for lessons for
the whole school.

During this term begin a butterfly calendar, made on the same plan as
the bird calendar. A collection of butterflies might be started for the
schoolroom in connection with the calendar. Study the specimens caught
and determine whether they hibernated as adults or chrysalids. If their
wings are battered and torn, they spent the winter as adults. If they
are bright in colors and their wings perfect, they spent the winter in
the chrysalis state.

Hints for collecting insects: Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 7 (No.
XVIII, this volume); Insect Life, pp. 283-314 and pp. 48-49. How to Know
the Butterflies.

_Summary of methods._--The work in the third grade, as outlined,
requires a lesson period now and then when single specimens are brought
in by individual pupils. Each pupil should examine the specimen, and
after that the lesson may be given.


After having studied Insect Homes, the pupils will be ready to take up
the broader subject, How Insects Live. The work of this year may be
given on this subject.

In order to study the life-histories of insects, the pupils should know
some things about insect anatomy. If the work as indicated in the
previous grades has been followed, the pupils know the number of legs,
wings, and compound eyes most insects have, without ever having killed a
specimen or having received a special lesson in insect anatomy. Now
teach the children how insects breathe and how they eat. Show the
spiracles on the body of any caterpillar which is not hairy; they may be
seen on the abdomen of a grasshopper or of a butterfly that has not too
many large scales to cover them.

After they have seen these spiracles or breathing pores, give a lesson,
illustrated by chart or blackboard, showing that these holes lead to the
breathing tubes of the body. Manual for the Study of Insects, pp. 73-75.

To show how insects eat, allow the pupils to watch the following insects
in the breeding cages while feeding: a grasshopper; a leaf beetle
(potato beetle is a good example); any caterpillar; an ant; and a wasp.
Show that all these have mouth parts made for biting. Let the pupils see
an aphid sucking the juice of a plant; this may be done by bringing in a
twig infested by aphids. Let the pupils see the water bugs in the
aquarium eat. Insect Life, pp. 123-131, and pp. 137-140. Let them watch
a fly, a honey bee, and, if possible, a butterfly or moth, eat. All
these have mouth parts made for sucking. All this work should be
original investigation on the part of the pupils.

After the pupils find out how insects breathe and eat, let them see how
each insect lives a life adapted to its own peculiar needs. Try to feed
some cabbage worms on clover or grass. Then try turnip or mustard
leaves, and watch the result. Change the potato beetle larvæ to some
other plant, and watch the result.

Let the pupils first find out how the insects breathe in the water. Each
insect in the aquarium tells a different story as to its way of getting
air. The teacher will find all these stories indicated in the chapters
in Insect Life devoted to pond and brook insects.

Call especial attention to protective coloring of insects. Show that
when an insect resembles its surroundings in color it is thereby
enabled to escape its enemies; or, if need be, is enabled to creep upon
its prey unobserved.

Note the color of the grasshopper in the road; color of meadow
grasshopper; color of the caterpillars of the cabbage butterfly (green
and hard to find). Notice the shape and color of walking sticks; color
of the katydids. Note the bright color of the larvæ of potato beetle.
Why? (They are distasteful to birds, and their colors advertise the
fact.) Study the Monarch butterfly and the Viceroy. Everyday
Butterflies, p. 95 and p. 297; Ways of the Six-Footed, p. 39. Bring out
strongly in all this work that the insect in order to live must have its
special food plant and must escape notice of its enemies. This is the
proper place to begin the study of the valuable work done by birds in
destroying insects.

In addition to this general work, study especially the wasps.

Solitary Wasps: Mud daubers. Bring in their nests and examine them. Ways
of the Six-Footed, p. 96. How are the nests provisioned, and for what
purpose were they made? Find, if possible, nests of other solitary
wasps. Insect Life, p. 218, p. 262, p. 264.

Social Wasps: Bring in a deserted nest of yellow-jackets. Of what is it
made? How? What for? Do the wasps store honey? Do they live as a colony
during the winter? All these questions may be answered by a pupil who
knows of a yellow-jackets' nest in the fall and watches it during the
winter. For the teacher there are discussions of these insects in Manual
for Study of Insects, pp. 660-664. Wasps and their Ways.

Continue the butterfly collection and the butterfly calendar.

_Spring work._--In the spring, begin a collection of moths for the
schoolroom. Insect Life, p. 50. Caterpillars and Moths.

In the spring, notice when the first house-flies appear. What happens to
the house-fly in winter? (Send for Circular No. 35, second series, Div.
of Entomology of Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C., for the
life-history of the house-fly.) Explain that one female destroyed early
in the season means thousands fewer late in the season.

Encourage the children to bring to the schoolroom all sorts of flies
and compare them with the house-fly. The object of this is to
teach something of the wonderful variety of forms among small and
inconspicuous insects. Make a collection of flies for the schoolroom.
For description of flies, see Insect Life, pp. 83-84.

A good plan for the spring work is to keep the pupils interested in the
first appearance, after the vicissitudes of winter, of each insect which
it is possible for them to find. Note that insects do not appear before
their food plants appear.

_Summary of objects and methods._--The questions to be answered during
the whole year's work are: How do the Insects live,--on what do they
feed? How do they escape their enemies? What happens to them in winter?
How are the new broods started in the spring? The work is chiefly
observation, but occasional lessons may be given and stories may be told
to keep the interest in the work from flagging.


_Fall work._--Study the Bees and Ants.

Fit up ants' nests. Insect Life, p. 278.

Teach the whole life-history by allowing the pupils to colonize the
nests. Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 633-639; Insect Life, p. 271.
Make observations upon the _eggs, pupæ, workers, males, females_. What
are the winged forms that appear in swarms in June and July.

Let the pupils observe the relation of ants to aphids. This may be done
on almost any shrub or roadside plant. Home Nature-Study Lesson 1904,
No. 8.

The teacher should read Sir John Lubbock's "Ants, Bees and Wasps."

Many stories on these subjects may be told and read, especially those
concerning the habits of exotic ants and ant wars which the children are
not likely to see; also of the slave-making ants. These slave-making
ants are quite common in New York State; their nests may be found under
stones. They resemble the brown mound-builder ant; the slaves are black.

_Spring work._--In the spring work in this grade, study the habits of
the honey bee. An observation hive is desirable but not necessary. Bring
in the honeycomb filled with honey. If there are apiarists in your
neighborhood, they will gladly give you specimens of brood in the comb.
Read The Bee People and the Manual for Study of Insects, p. 673.

Develop all the facts of the wonderful life in the hive by letting the
pupils observe them as far as possible. Then give them the many
interesting stories:

Story of the Workers.

Story of the Queen.

Story of the Drone.

Story of the Bee Larva.

Story of Honey Making.

Story of Wax and Comb Making.

Story of the Swarm.

In connection with the study of the honey bee, study the bumble bee.
Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 672-673; Insect Life, p. 256. Begin
with the study of the big queen that appears in May or June. Show that
she is of great benefit to us and must not be harmed or frightened. Let
the bumble bee's nest be a problem for summer observation, and finish
the study in the next grade in the fall.

_Summary of objects and methods._--The work of this year should have for
its objects the harmonious life of social insects; their unselfish work
for each other; their devotion to their respective colonies; their ways
of building and of defending their habitations.

The work should be based upon observations made by the pupils in and out
of the schoolroom. Many lessons should be given, mostly in the form of
stories. Ways of the Six-Footed, pp. 55-94.


_Fall work._--Study the spiders. Lessons in Nature-Study, p. 103; Insect
Life, pp. 223-232. Cornell Teachers' Quarterly, final number (No. XV,
this volume).

In order to study spiders, they need not be handled with bare hands.
While all spiders are venomous to the same extent, perhaps, that a
mosquito or a bee is venomous, there is only one species in the eastern
United States (and that is very rare) the bite of which need be feared
by human beings.

The use of spiders in nature-study does not have to do with handling
living specimens, but rather with the habits of the different species
and the building of the webs. In catching spiders to bring into the
schoolroom, use the method indicated by Professor Kellogg in
Nature-Study Lessons. Capture the specimen by the use of a pill box:
take the box in one hand and the cover in the other, and catch the
spider by suddenly closing the box over it.

The pupils should be made to observe the chief differences between
spiders and insects; _i. e._, spiders have two regions of the body
instead of three as in insects; eight legs instead of six, simple eyes
instead of compound. Compare spiders with daddy-long-legs.

If the teacher chooses to kill a specimen and show the arrangement of
the eyes and the spinnerets under the microscope, she may do so. This is
not necessary, although I have seen it done successfully in the sixth
grade. Diagrams and blackboard drawings may be used instead of the

Let the pupils observe the uses of silk by the spider:

1. Snare for prey. 2. To enwrap prey when first entangled. 3. Nests for
eggs. 4. Lining for habitations. 5. Means of locomotion.

Introduce the grass spider into the schoolroom in glass jars containing
grass sod, and let the pupils observe it at work.

Encourage a study of cobwebs. Capture the owner of an orb web, and bring
it in a glass jar to the schoolroom. Try to give it its natural
environment; _i. e._, some sort of frame or branch of tree on which it
may fasten its web.

The orb web: 1. How is it made? 2. Of how many kinds of silk? 3. The way
the spiral thread is arranged as shown by drawings. 4. The position of
the spider on the web. 5. The way the spider passes from one side of the
web to the other. 6. The way it treats its prey when the victim is once

The engineering ability shown in making this web is one of the most
marvelous things in all the realm of animal life. These observations may
well cover two months of this term.

Study the ballooning spiders, the jumping spiders, the running spiders,
and the crab spiders. Study as many egg-sacs of spiders as possible.

Another topic for study during the fall term is the Songs of Insects.
Insect Life, p. 235. Bring in the katydids, crickets, and meadow
grasshoppers, place them in cages containing green sod, and observe them
while they are singing. Note that only the males sing. Show the ears of
the crickets, katydids, and meadow grasshoppers in the elbows of their
front legs. The ear of the grasshopper is on the side of the segment of
the abdomen next to the thorax. Ways of the Six-Footed, pp. 3-27.

Study snowy tree cricket. Manual for Study of Insects, p. 118.

If possible, get a cicada as these insects continue to sing through the
warm days of September. Show the cover to the drums on the lower side of
the common cicada. Cornell Nature-Study Bulletin, No. 1, p. 24 (No. VI,
this volume). This can be made a most interesting subject, and pupils
should be encouraged to do observation work outside of school.

Begin a general collection for schoolroom.

_Spring work._--Continue making a general collection for the schoolroom,
and specialize in this direction. When an insect is brought in and added
to the collection, if the teacher knows the insect, a lesson should be
given on its life and habits. This connecting of the life and habits of
the insects with the collection of dead specimens is of greater value
from a nature-study point of view than the collection itself.

_Summary of methods._--While this year's work must be based on the
observations of the pupils in the schoolroom and out-of-doors, yet many
interesting lessons may be given by the teacher.


The study of this entire year may be the relation of insects to flowers.
Most of the references are given in the Plant-life work for this grade.

The insect work may be limited to: What insects visit flowers? How do
they carry pollen? How does each kind of insect reach the nectar? Which
insects are robbers, and which are true pollen carriers? The use of
pollen by insects. Outdoor Studies, pp. 7-12.

Take up the study of golden rod and its insect visitors, _i. e._, let
the pupils watch a bunch of golden rod and note all the insect visitors.
For directions concerning this work see Outdoor Studies, pp. 29-46.

In the same way take up the study of asters and the late flowers, and
their insect visitors. Describe the visitor; what it does; what part of
the plant it visits.

_Summary of objects and methods._--The object of this whole year's work
is to show the beautiful inter-relation between insects and flowers. The
studies must necessarily be made in the field. But many delightful
lessons may be given on the structure of flowers, that make of greatest
use to the flowers the work of insect visitors.


The object of this year's work is the economic side of insect-study.
Many pupils do not continue these studies to high school or college. Yet
if they have homes with gardens or trees in city or country, they must
learn to cope with the many insect enemies that feed upon cultivated
plants. They should also learn to discriminate between insect friends
and foes. They should learn the best methods of combating the foes and
preserving the friends.

Explain first that in fighting an insect enemy we must know how it eats.
If it inserts its beak in the stem of the plant there is no use trying
to kill it by putting poison on the leaves.


To be studied in the schoolroom:

_Fall work._--Codlin-moth. Insect Life, p. 180. Show work on an apple,
and give methods of destroying it.

Plum curculio. Insect Life, p. 182.

The pomace flies. Insect Life, p. 184.

Scale insects. Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 165-174.

Potato beetle. Manual for Study of Insects, p. 176.

_Spring work._--Tussock moths and canker worms. Circular No. 9, 2d
Series, Dept. Agr., Div. of Ent., Washington, D. C.; Cornell Teachers'
Circular, No. 1.

Cabbage worms. How to Know the Butterflies.

Currant worms. Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 613-614.

Plant lice or aphids. Insect Life, pp. 177-178.

Carpet beetle. Circular No. 5, 2d Series, Dept. Agr., Washington, D. C.;
Manual for Study of Insects, p. 539.

Clothes moth. Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 257-258; Circular No. 36,
2d Series, Dept. Agr., Washington, D. C.

Tent caterpillar. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 5 (No. XIX, this

A study of spraying should be made. Insects and Insecticides, pp. 39-56.
Spray Calendar, distributed free by the Cornell Agricultural Experiment

Important Insecticides. Farmers' Bulletin No. 127, Dept. Agr.,
Washington, D. C.


_Fall work._--Lady bugs. Insect Life, p. 179.

Aphis lions. Insect Life, p. 178; Ways of the Six-Footed, p. 125.

Red clover and the bumble bee.

Parasitic insects. Manual for Study of Insects, pp. 621-630.

_Spring work._--Bees and orchard in blossom.

_Summary of methods._--The observations may be made in the schoolroom or
out-of-doors. There should be observations of experiments in spraying.
This may be accomplished in most localities by encouraging the pupils to
visit orchards undergoing the operation of spraying. However, by means
of syringe or watering pot, the infested plants brought into the
schoolroom may be sprayed and the results noted. Lessons should be given
on the importance of preserving insect friends while we are destroying
insect enemies.


_The Toad and Frog._ The study of either of these two species is
delightful spring work for any grade. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 9
(No. XVI, this volume); Wilderness Ways, p. 25.

_Salamanders or Efts._ Familiar Life of the Roadside.

_Fishes._ Observations upon goldfish or minnows kept in an aquarium
should be made the basis of lessons upon the life of fishes. Study: (1)
The shape of the body; see how it is especially adapted to rapid
movement through the water. (2) The shape and arrangement of the fins,
and their uses. (3) How the fish propels itself through the water. (4)
How the fish breathes. (5) The shape of the fish's mouth, and how and
what it eats. (6) Experiment to ascertain the ability of the fish to see
and hear. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 21 (Nos. XIII and XXXVI, this

Encourage observations of habits of different species of fish common in
our ponds and streams. Study their eggs and the places where they are
found. Teach the children the reason for the game laws, and impress upon
them a true respect for those laws. Food and Game Fishes.

_Mice._ Some house mice in an improvised cage may be placed in the
schoolroom, and the habits of the little creatures observed. Give them
paper to see how they make their nests. Note how and what they eat, and
how they clean themselves. Note shape of teeth and their use. If
possible, study the wild mice. Squirrels and Other Fur Bearers, p. 111;
Wild Life, p. 171.

_Squirrels and Chipmunks._ The work on these animals must be based on
out-of-door observations. Try to get the pupils to discover for
themselves answers to the following questions: How and where do they
travel? What do they eat? Where and how do they carry their food? Do
they store it for winter? If so, where? What do they do in winter?
Squirrels and Other Fur Bearers, p. 15, p. 134; Wild Neighbors, p. 1.

_Rabbits._--A domesticated rabbit should, if possible, be kept in the
schoolyard so that the pupils may make their own observations upon its
habits. Let them study: How and what it eats. The shape of its teeth.
The form and use of the ears. How does it travel? What sort of tracks
does it make, and why? From these observations lead the pupils to think
of the life of the wild rabbit, how it is adapted to escape from its
enemies and to get its food. Ways of Wood Folk, p. 41; Story of

_Guinea pigs._--These little animals are easily kept in the schoolroom,
and, though not particularly interesting in their habits, they prove
attractive to the smaller children and may be studied in the same way as
the other animals.

_Domestic animals._--These need not be studied in the schoolroom, as the
pupils, if they have opportunity, can make the observations at home.
Studies of the horse, cow, pig, sheep, and goat, and also the cat and
dog may be made most interesting. Such questions as these may be asked
concerning each: What is the characteristic form of the animal? What is
its clothing? What does it eat? How are its teeth adapted to its food?
What is its chief use to man? How does it travel, slow or fast? How are
its feet adapted to its way of running or walking? Has it a language?
How many emotions can it express by sound? How many can it express by
action? How does it fight, and what are its weapons? What sort of life
did its wild ancestors live? How did they get their food, and how did
they escape from their enemies?

_Summary of methods of nature-study of animals._--Study only so much
anatomy as is clearly adapted to the animal's ways of living.
Observations made by the pupils should be arranged into lessons by
either pupil or teacher. Such lessons make excellent English themes, and
they may be adapted to any grade.


Begin the study of birds by the careful study of some domesticated
species that may be observed closely and for a long period. The hen is
perhaps the best for this purpose. Study carefully all of the
adaptations of her anatomy to her life necessities. Study shape of her
body; the feathers; the bill; her food; how she eats; drinks; the shape
of her feet; their covering; how she sees; hears; smells; sleeps; study
the life of a chick; study the language of chick, hen and cock;
embryology of a chick. Study a robin or some bird that builds near
houses. Note all its habits from the time it appears in spring until

Bird houses and bird protection. Usefulness of birds. Our Native Birds,
Lange. Publications of U. S. Dept. Agr.

_Summary of methods._--It is much more important that the pupil know the
habits of one species than that he should know by name many species.
Therefore encourage patient watching and careful observation concerning
the things which birds do. Such observations may be made into lessons by
pupil or by teacher for the benefit of all the pupils. First Book of
Birds, and Second Book of Birds; Bird Lore; The Story of the Birds; Bird



_Fall term._--Let the children study the different forms and the
colors of leaves. By no means teach the botanical terms for all the
shapes of leaves; simply let the children gather and bring in all
the different kinds of leaves they can find. Let them draw the
different forms in their blank books. Press leaves and mount

The object of this work is to give the child an idea of the great
number of leaf forms and colors, and to get him interested in
observing them. References: Botany, Bailey, pp. 90-100; Lessons
with Plants, pp. 79-90; Gray's How Plants Grow, chapter on
Leaves and Forms of Leaves; Elements of Botany, pp. 89-93.

_Winter and spring terms._--Let the children study vegetables.
The following questions should be answered concerning a vegetable.
What part of the plant is it? Does it grow below or above ground?
What sort of leaf has it? What sort of flower? What sort of fruit
or seed? Lessons with Plants, pp. 353, 356, 364; First Studies,
pp. 50, 51, 174; Botany, Bailey, pp. 31-37; Cornell Teachers' Quarterly,
No. 7 (No. XXXIX, this volume).


Teach the use of the flower. Do this by bringing in all flowers
possible, and show that as the flower fades the fruit becomes evident.
Let the pupils observe for themselves the fact that the flower
exists for the sake of the fruit. Interest the pupils in all kinds of
fruits and seeds. This is not the place to teach seed dispersion,
but simply the forms and colors of fruits and seeds. Let the
pupils also observe that insects carry pollen from flower to flower.
Do not give the explanation of this to children of this age, but let
them see the bees at work.

For this work see Plant World, by Mrs. Bergen, pp. 80-107.

Let the pupils observe the following things in plant physiology:

Flowers sleep: Botany, Bailey, p. 50; Lessons with Plants, p. 402;
Plants, Coulter, pp. 9, 10, 48; Elements of Botany, p. 98.

Plants turn toward the light: Elements of Botany, p. 100; Botany,
Bailey, p. 50; First Studies, p. 136.

Effect of frost on flowers and leaves.

_Winter and spring work._--Seed germination: First Studies, pp. 1-24;
Lessons with Plants, pp. 316-331; Botany, Bailey, pp. 164-171; Cornell
Teachers' Leaflet, No. 1 (No. XXVIII, this volume); Plants, p. 307;
Lessons in Nature-Study, p. 22.

Let the pupils observe in the field: Position of leaves when first open.
A Reader in Botany, by Newell, Part I, p. 84.

Position of leaves and flowers in the rain. First Studies, p. 135;
Elements of Botany, pp. 175-176; Plants, p. 51.


_Fall work._--The fall work of this grade may be (1) The way flowers
make fruit, _i. e._, the way the fruit is formed from the flower. (2)
The dispersion of seeds.

Fruits. First Studies, pp. 168-171; Lessons with Plants, pp. 251-310;
Botany, Bailey, pp. 147-157.

Seed dispersion. First Studies, p. 176; Plant World, pp. 133-156; Little
Wanderers, by Morley; Seed Dispersal, by Beal; Cornell Teachers'
Quarterly, No. 2 (No. VIII, this volume); Seed Travelers, by Weed;
Botany, Bailey, p. 158.

Let the pupils observe: "How some plants get up in the world." First
Studies, p. 150; Lessons with Plants, p. 396; Botany, Bailey, p. 108.

_Spring work._--Opening of the buds. Lessons with Plants, pp. 48-63;
First Studies, p. 33.

Arrangement of buds. Lessons with Plants, pp. 63-69.

Expansion of bark. Lessons with Plants, pp. 69-72.


The object of this year's work may be the teaching of the value of
earth, air, light, and water upon plants.

_Fall work._--Experiments to show these to be carried on in schoolroom.
Experiments to show value of earth to plants:

(1) Plant seeds in fertile earth; poor earth; clean sand or sawdust.

(2) Plant seeds in sawdust and on cotton batting placed on water in a

Experiments to show use of light to plants:

(1) Sow seeds in two boxes of earth prepared just alike. Place one in
the window, one in a dark closet, and note results.

(2) Place house plants from greenhouse in a window, and note change of
position of leaves.

(3) The story of the sunflower.

Experiments showing use of water to plants:

(1) Place a very much wilted cut plant in water, and note result.

(2) Place seeds in earth which is dry, and in earth which is
kept moist.

(3) Plant seeds on batting floating on a tumbler of water, and note

These experiments should extend over several weeks.

_Winter and spring work._--Begin the study of trees. Choose some tree in
the schoolyard, if possible, and make this the basis of the work. The
following is an outline for the study of a maple tree: Begin
observations in January. Make drawings of the tree, showing the
relations of branches to trunk and general outline. Note the following
details: The color of trunk and branches in January, and the color in
February and March; when the buds begin to swell; the arrangement of
buds; watch closely to determine whether a bud develops into a blossom
or a leaf; the peculiarities of bark on trunk and branches; do the
leaves or the blossoms appear first; the shape and color of the
blossoms; draw them and study them thoroughly; the color and position of
the leaves when they first appear; draw the different stages of the
unfolding of the leaves; keep a calendar of all the year's history of
the tree; when in full leaf make another drawing of the whole tree;
study the tree from below, and if possible from above, to show
arrangement of leaves in reference to light; make drawings of the fruit
when it is formed; study how it travels; when the first autumn tints
appear; make colored drawings of the tree in its autumn foliage, and
note when leaves begin to fall and when the branches are finally bare;
note different form of maple in the open and maple in the forest.

In connection with the year's history of the tree, study the tree from
an economic point of view. Make a special study of sugar-making in
connection with the maple tree. Study maple wood. To do this get a
quarter section of a piece of maple log and study the grain lengthwise
and in cross sections. Study all the industries possible in which maple
is used. Devote one notebook to all the work on the maple tree, and at
the end summarize the observations. For drawing of trees, see Cornell
Teachers' Leaflet, No. 12 (Nos. XXIX and XXX, this volume). Home
Nature-Study, Vol. V, Nos. 2, 5.


The work during this grade may be devoted to plant physiology. For this
work use First Studies of Plant Life, Atkinson. The experiments
described in this book are simple and excellent; they give the pupil
definite knowledge of the life processes of plants, and the use to the
plant of roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit.

Continue studies of trees. Select some other species than the one
studied during the last grade. Study it in the same way. Note the
differences between the two. Two or three contrasting species may thus
be studied.


Having studied in the previous year the uses of different parts of the
plant, the pupil will be fitted now to take up the general subject of

Take some common forms and let the pupils observe that they grow where
other plants do not grow, or that they drive out other plants; then
study the special reasons why each kind of weed is able to do these
things. Botany, Bailey, pp. 214-222; Elements of Botany, pp. 196-205.

During the autumn another subject for study in this grade is
_Mushrooms_. Lead the pupils to see how these flowerless plants produce
seed, and let them bring in as many forms as possible. Do not try to
teach which mushrooms are poisonous. Lessons with Plants, p. 347;
Mushrooms, by Atkinson.

_Winter work._--Evergreen trees. Cornell Teachers' Leaflet, No. 13 (No.
XXXIII, this volume).

_Spring work._--The spring work may well be the making of a calendar for
trees and plants. Keep a record each day of the leafage of plants, the
appearance of weeds, and the appearance of blossoms of fruit trees and
all common flowers. Record which appear first, leaves or blossoms.

This work will be good preparation for the study of the "struggle for
existence," which comes in the next grade.


The work for this year, both fall and spring, may be the study of the
cross fertilization of flowers. Choose a few of the common flowers, and
let the pupils study the means by which pollen is carried from flower to

In studying any flower fertilized by insects always ask: Where is the
nectary? Where in relation to the nectary are the stigma and the
anthers? What path must the insect follow in order to get the nectar? Do
the flowers attract insects by color? By fragrance? What insects do you
find visiting the flowers studied? Lessons with Plants, pp. 224-245;
Plants, Coulter, pp. 109-137; Elements of Botany, pp. 182-196; Readers
in Botany, Newell, Part II, p. 86; Plant World, Bergen, pp. 57-127; Ten
New England Blossoms, Weed.

The cross fertilization of flowers is only one adaptation for succeeding
in the struggle for existence.

Study as many other ways of insuring the continuance of a plant as is
possible. Botany, Bailey, pp. 197-217; Lessons with Plants, pp. 15-20;
Elements of Botany, pp. 199-212.

Study plant communities. Botany, Bailey, pp. 219-227; Plant Relations,
pp. 146, 162, 168; Plant Structures, p. 313; Cornell Teachers' Leaflet,
No. 19 (No. XXXV, this volume).


It seems to be the experience of most teachers that pupils of the
seventh and eighth grades are with difficulty kept interested in
nature-study. This is probably due to the fact that the methods suited
to earlier grades are not suited to these. Pupils of this age, now
feeling "grown up," are attracted only by more mature work. They may be
interested in some of the following subjects:

_Horticulture and Gardening._--Cornell Teachers' Leaflets.
Garden-Making; The Pruning-Book; The Principles of Fruit-Growing; The
Principles of Vegetable-Gardening, all by Bailey. Plant Culture, by

_Forestry._--Relations of forests to preservation of rain-fall and
streams. Preservation of Forests. Use of Forests. Reforesting waste
lands, etc. A Primer of Forestry by Pinchot, United States Department
Agriculture. A First Book of Forestry, Roth.

_Ferns._--Study and make collections of all the ferns of the locality.
Make drawings of each fern and its fruiting organs, and press and mount
the specimens with full accounts of habits and locality of the plant.
How to Know the Ferns, Mrs. Parsons; Gray's Botany; Our Ferns, Clute.


[7] This list comprises some of the books that have been helpful to me.
It is not intended to be complete. Good new books are constantly
appearing. The teacher should endeavor to keep up with the new books.


Every Day Butterflies. S. H. Scudder. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $2.00.

Insect Life. J. H. Comstock. D. Appleton & Co. $1.25.

Lessons in Nature-Study. Jenkins & Kellogg. W. B. Harrison, $1.00.

Manual for Study of Insects. J. H. Comstock. Comstock Pub. Co. $3.75.

Moths and Butterflies. (a) Julia P. Ballard. Putnam's Sons. $1.50.

Moths and Butterflies. (b) Mary C. Dickerson. Ginn & Co. $2.50.

Stories of Insect Life. Weed & Murtfeldt. Ginn & Co. 35 cents.

Outdoor Studies. James B. Needham. American Book Co. 40 cents.

Bee People. Margaret W. Morley. A. C. McClurg. $1.25.

The Butterfly Book. W. J. Holland. Doubleday, Page & Co. $3.00.

Caterpillars and Their Moths. Eliot and Soule. The Century Co. $2.00.

Wasps and Their Ways. Margaret W. Morley. Dodd, Mead & Co. $1.50.

The Ways of the Six-Footed. Anna Botsford Comstock. Ginn & Co. 40 cents.

How to Know the Butterflies. J. H. and Anna Botsford Comstock. D.
Appleton & Co. $2.25.


Animal Life. Jordan & Kellogg. D. Appleton & Co. $1.25.

Familiar Fish. Eugene McCarthy. D. Appleton & Co. $1.50.

Story of the Fishes. James N. Baskett. D. Appleton & Co. 65 cents.

Familiar Life of the Roadside. Schuyler Mathews. D. Appleton & Co.

Squirrels and Other Fur Bearers. John Burroughs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

Wild Life in Orchard and Field. Harper & Bros. Wild Neighbors. The
Macmillan Co. Ernest Ingersoll. $1.50 each.

Kindred of the Wild. Roberts. L. C. Page. $2.00.

Wild Life Near Home. Dallas Lore Sharp. The Century Co. $2.00.

Four Footed Americans. Wright. The Macmillan Co. $1.50.

American Animals. Stone & Cram. Doubleday, Page & Co.

Food and Game Fishes. Jordan & Evermann. Doubleday, Page & Co. $4.00.

Various books that deal with animals from the story or narrative point
of view will be found to be interesting and helpful. They are often
useful in arousing an interest in the subject. There are many good
animal books not mentioned in the above list.


Bird Homes. A. R. Dugmore. Doubleday, Page & Co. $2.00.

Bird Life (with colored plates). Frank M. Chapman. D. Appleton & Co.

Bird Neighbors. Neltje Blanchan. Doubleday, Page & Co. $2.00.

Birds of Village and Field. Florence Merriam. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

First Book of Birds. Olive Thorne Miller. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.00.

Second Book of Birds. Olive Thorne Miller. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

Our Native Birds. D. Lange. The Macmillan Co. $1.00.

Story of the Birds. James N. Baskett. D. Appleton & Co. 65 cents.

How to Attract the Birds. Neltje Blanchan. Doubleday, Page & Co. $1.35.

The Bird Book. Eckstorm. D. C. Heath & Co. 80 cents.

The Relations of Birds to Man. Weed & Dearborn. Lippincott. $2.50.

The Woodpeckers. F. H. Eckstorm. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.00.

Bird Lore. A magazine. The Macmillans. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. $1.00.


Botany; an Elementary Text for Schools. L. H. Bailey. The Macmillan Co.

Corn Plants. F. L. Sargent. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 60 cents.

Elements of Botany. J. Y. Bergen. Ginn & Co. $1.10.

Familiar Flowers of Field and Garden. S. Mathews. D. Appleton & Co.

First Studies in Plant Life. George F. Atkinson. Ginn & Co. 70 cents.

Flowers and Their Friends. Margaret W. Morley. Ginn & Co. 60 cents.

Flowers of Field, Hill and Swamp. C. Creevey. Harper & Bros. $2.50.

Glimpses at the Plant World. Fanny D. Bergen. Ginn & Co. 35 cents.

A Guide to the Wild Flowers. Alice Lounsberry. Frederick A. Stokes Co.

How Plants Grow. Asa Gray. American Book Co. 80 cents.

How to Know the Ferns. Mrs. Frances Theodore Parsons. Chas. Scribner's
Sons. $1.50.

Our Ferns in Their Haunts. Clute. Stokes Co. $2.00.

How to Know the Wild Flowers. Mrs. Wm. Starr Dana. Chas. Scribner's
Sons. $2.00.

Lessons With Plants. L. H. Bailey. The Macmillan Co. $1.10.

Little Wanderers. Margaret W. Morley. Ginn & Co. 35 cents.

Mushrooms. George F. Atkinson. Andrus & Church, Ithaca, N. Y. $3.00.

Plants; a text-book of botany. J. M. Coulter. D. Appleton & Co. $2.00.

Plants and Their Children. Mrs. Wm. Starr Dana. American Book Co. 65

Reader in Botany. J. H. Newell. 2 vols. Ginn & Co. 70 cents.

Seed Dispersal. W. J. Beal. Ginn & Co. 40 cents.

Ten New England Blossoms. Clarence M. Weed. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.

With the Wild Flowers, $1.00; Field, Forest and Wayside Flowers, $1.50.
Maud Going. Baker, Taylor & Co.

Flowers and Their Insect Visitors. Gibson. Newson & Co. $1.00.


A Guide to the Trees. Alice Lounsberry. Frederick A. Stokes Co. $2.50.

Familiar Trees and Their Leaves. S. Mathews. D. Appleton & Co. $1.75.

Our Native Trees. Our Native Shrubs. Harriet Keeler. Chas. Scribner's
Sons. $2.00 each.

A Primer of Forestry. Pinchot. U. S. Dept. Agri.

Getting Acquainted with the Trees. J. H. McFarland. Outlook Co. $1.75.

The First Book of Forestry. Roth. Ginn & Co. $1.00.

Among Green Trees. Julia E. Rogers. Mumford. $3.00.

Trees, Shrubs and Vines. Parkhurst. Chas. Scribner's Sons. $1.50.

Practical Forestry. John Gifford. D. Appleton & Co. $1.20.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Nature-Study Idea. L. H. Bailey. Doubleday, Page & Co. $1.00.

Science Sketches. David Starr Jordan. McClurg & Co. $1.50.

Poetry of the Seasons. Mary I. Lovejoy. Silver, Burdette & Co. 60 cents.

Nature in Verse. Mary I. Lovejoy. Silver, Burdette & Co. 60 cents.

Nature Pictures by American Poets. The Macmillan Co. $1.25.

Arbor Day Manual. Charles Skinner. Bardeen & Co. $2.50.

Songs of Nature. John Burroughs. McClure, Phillips & Co. $1.50.

Among Flowers and Trees. Wait & Leonard. Lee & Shepherd. $2.00.




[8] Teachers' Leaflet, No. 14: Cornell Nature-Study Bulletin, June,


A Rainstorm comes, the walks are wet, the roads are muddy. Then the sun
breaks through the clouds and soon the walks are no longer damp and the
mud of the road is dried. Where did the water come from and where has it
gone? Let us answer these questions.

A kettle on the stove is forgotten and soon a cracking is heard; the
housewife jumps to her feet for the kettle is dry. The kettle was filled
with water, but it has all boiled away; and where has it gone? Surely
into the air of the room, for it can be seen issuing as "steam" and then
disappearing from view, as if by magic. The heat of the fire has changed
the liquid water to a gas as invisible as the air itself. This gas is
_water vapor_.

[Illustration: _Fig. 9. A glass of cold water on which vapor has
condensed in drops._]

Do you wish to prove that the water vapor is there, although unseen?
Then, if the day is cool, watch the window and notice the drops of water
collect upon it. Or, if the day is warm, bring an ice-cold glass or
pitcher into the room and see the drops collect upon it (Fig. 9). People
sometimes say, when drops of water collect on a glass of cold water,
that the glass is "sweating;" but see whether the same thing will not
happen with a cold glass that does not contain water.

These two simple observations teach us two very important facts: (1)
That heat will change liquid water to an invisible vapor, or gas, which
will float about in the air of a room; and (2) that cold will cause some
of the vapor to change back to liquid water.

Let us observe a little further. The clothes upon the line on wash day
are hung out wet and brought in dry. If the sun is shining they probably
dry quickly; but will they not dry even if the sun is not shining? They
will, indeed; so here is another fact to add to our other two, namely
(3) that the production of vapor from water will proceed even when the
water is not heated.

This change of water to vapor is called _evaporation_. The water
evaporates from the clothes; it also evaporates from the walks after a
rain, from the mud of the road, from the brooks, creeks and rivers, and
from ponds, lakes, and the great ocean itself. Indeed, wherever water is
exposed to the air some evaporation is taking place. Yet heat aids
evaporation, as you can prove by taking three dishes of the same kind
and pouring the same amount of water into each, then placing one on the
stove, a second in the sun, and a third in a cool, shady place, as a
cellar, and watching to see which is the last to become dry.

About three-fourths of the earth's surface is covered by water, so that
the air is receiving vapor all the time. In fact, every minute thousands
of barrels of water-vapor are rising into the atmosphere from the
surface of the ocean. The air is constantly moving about, forming winds,
and this load of vapor is, therefore, drifted about by the winds, so
that the air you are breathing may have in it vapor that came from the
ocean hundreds or even thousands of miles away. You do not see the
vapor, you are perhaps not even aware that it is there; yet in a room 10
feet high and 20 feet square there is often enough vapor, if it could
all be changed back to water to fill a two-quart measure.

There is a difference in the amount of vapor from time to time. Some
days the air is quite free from it, and then clothes will dry rapidly.
On other days the air is damp and humid; then people say it is "muggy,"
or that the "humidity is high." On these muggy days in summer the air is
oppressive because there is so much vapor in it. Near the sea, where
there is so much water to evaporate, the air is commonly more humid or
moist than in the interior, away from the sea, where there is less water
to evaporate.

We have seen that there is some vapor in all air, and that there is more
at some times than at others. We have also seen how it has come into the
air, and that cold will cause it to condense to liquid water on cold
window panes and on water glasses. There are other ways in which the
vapor may be changed to liquid.

After a summer day, even when there has been no rain, soon after the
sun sinks behind the western horizon the grass becomes so damp that
one's feet are wet in walking through it. The dew is "falling." During
the daytime the grass is warmed by the sun; but when the sun is gone it
grows cooler, much as a stove becomes cool when the fire is out. This
cool grass chills the air near it and changes some of the vapor to
liquid, which collects in drops on the grass, as the vapor condenses on
the outside of a glass of ice water.

In the opposite season of the year, on a cold winter's day, when you
step out of a warm house into the chilly air, a thin cloud, or fog,
forms as you expel the air from your lungs, and you say that you can
"see your breath." What you really see are the little drops of water
formed as the vapor-laden breath is chilled on passing from the warm
body to the cold air. The vapor is condensed to form a tiny mist.

[Illustration: _Fig. 10. A wreath of fog settled in a valley with the
hilltops rising above it._]

Doubtless you have seen a wreath of fog settling in a valley at night;
or in the morning you may have looked out upon a fog that has gathered
there during the night (Fig. 10). If your home happens to be upon a
hillside, perhaps you have been able to look down upon the fog nestled
there like a cloud on the land, which it really is. Such a fog is caused
in very nearly the same way as the tiny fog made by breathing. The damp
air in the valley has been chilled until the vapor has condensed to form
tiny mist or fog particles. Without doubt you can tell why this fog
disappears when the sun rises and the warm rays fall upon it.

On the ocean there are great fogs, covering the sea for hundreds of
miles; they make sailing dangerous, because the sailors cannot see
through the mist, so that two vessels may run together, or a ship may be
driven upon the coast before the captain knows it. Once more, this is
merely condensed vapor caused by chilling air that has become laden with
vapor. This chilling is often caused when warm, damp winds blow over the
cold parts of the ocean.

This leads the way to an understanding of a rain storm; but first we
must learn something about the temperature of the air. The air near the
ground where we live is commonly warmer than that above the ground where
the clouds are. People who have gone up in balloons tell us so; and now
scientific men who are studying this question are in the habit of
sending up great kites, carrying thermometers and other instruments, in
order to find out about the air far above the ground.

[Illustration: _Fig. 11. Fog clouds among the valleys in the mountains,
only the mountain peaks projecting above them._]

It is not necessary, however, to send up a kite or a balloon to prove
this. If your home is among mountains, or even among high hills, you can
prove it for yourself; for often, in the late autumn, when it rains on
the lower ground, it snows upon the mountain tops, so that when the
clouds have cleared away the surface of the uplands is robed in white
(Fig. 12). In the springtime, or in the winter during a thaw, people
living among these highlands often start out in sleighs on a journey to
a town, which is in the valley, and before they reach the valley their
horses are obliged to drag the sleigh over bare ground. It is so much
warmer on the lower ground that the snow melts away much more quickly
than it does among the hills.

The difference in temperature is, on the average, about one degree for
every three hundred feet, so that a hill top rising twelve hundred feet
above a valley would have an average temperature about four degrees
lower than the valley. Now some mountains, even in New York, rise
thousands of feet above the surrounding country. They rise high into the
regions of cold air, so that they are often covered with snow long
before any snow has fallen on the lowlands; and the snow remains upon
them long after it has disappeared from the lower country (Fig. 12).

[Illustration: _Fig. 12. A mountain whitened by snow on the top, while
there is no snow at the base._]

Some mountains are so lofty that it never rains upon them, but snows
instead; and they are never free from snow, even in mid-summer. If one
climbs to the top of such peaks he finds it always very cold there.
While he is shivering from the cold he can look down upon the green
fields where the birds are singing, the flowers blossoming and the men,
working in the fields, are complaining of the heat.

[Illustration: _Fig. 13. A mountain peak snow capped, and covered on the
very crest by a cloud._]

One who watches such a mountain as this, or in fact any mountain peak,
will notice that it is frequently wrapped in clouds (Fig. 13). Damp
winds blowing against the cold mountains are chilled and the vapor is
condensed. If one climbs through such a cloud, as thousands of people
have done when climbing mountains, he often seems to pass through
nothing but a fog, for really many clouds are only fogs high in the air.
(Fig. 14).

But very often rain falls from these clouds that cling to the mountain
sides. The reason for this is easy to understand. As the air comes
against the cold mountains so much vapor is condensed that some of the
tiny fog particles grow larger and larger until they become mist
particles, which are too heavy to float in the air. They then begin to
settle; and as one particle strikes against another, the two unite, and
this continues until perhaps a dozen have joined together so as to form
a good-sized drop, which is so heavy that it is obliged to fall to the
ground as rain.

[Illustration: _Fig. 14. Clouds clinging to the mountain sides. If one
were climbing these mountains he would find himself, in passing through
the clouds, either in a fog or a mist._]

Let us now look at our summer storms. These do not form about mountain
peaks; yet what has been said about the mountains will help us to
understand such showers.

It is a hot summer day. The air is muggy and oppressive, so that the
least exertion causes a perspiration, and even in the shade one is
uncomfortably hot. Soon great banks of clouds appear (Fig. 15),--the
"thunder heads,"--and people say "a thunder shower is coming, so that we
will soon have relief from this oppressive heat." The clouds draw near,
lightning is seen and thunder heard, and from the black base of the
cloud, torrents of water fall upon the earth. If we could have watched
this cloud from the beginning, and followed it on its course, we would
have seen some facts that would help explain it. Similar clouds perhaps
began to form over your head in the early afternoon and drifted away
toward the east, developing into thunder storms many miles to the east
of you.

On such a day as this, the air near the ground is so damp that it gives
up vapor easily, as you can prove by allowing a glass of ice water to
stand on a table and watching the drops of water gather there, causing
the glass to "sweat" (Fig. 9). The sun beats down upon the heated ground
and the surface becomes like a furnace, so that the air near the ground
is warmed.

[Illustration: _Fig. 15. A "thunder head," or cumulus cloud._]

Air that is warm is lighter than cool air, and, being lighter, will
rise, for the heavy cool air will settle and push it up, as a chip of
wood will rise in a pail of water, because it is lighter than the water
which pushes it to the top. This is why the warm air rises from a
furnace, or a stove, or a lamp. It is the reason why the hot air rises
through a house chimney; undoubtedly you can find other illustrations,
as ventilation, and can find abundant opportunity to prove that warm air
will rise.

The warm, moist air near the ground becomes so light that the
heavy air above settles down and pushes it up, so that an uprising
current of air is formed above the heated ground, much as an
uprising current of hot air rises through the chimney when the
stove is lighted. Rising thousands of feet into the sky the warm
air reaches such a height, and finally comes to a place so cool, that
some of the vapor must be condensed, forming fog particles, which
in turn form a cloud.

On such a day, if you will watch a cloud, you will notice that its base
is flat (Fig. 15); and this flat base marks the height above ground
where the temperature of the atmosphere is low enough to change the
vapor to fog particles. Of course the air still rises somewhat above
this base and continues to get cooler, and to have more and more vapor
condensed. This makes a pile of clouds resting on a level base, but with
rounded tops (Fig. 15). Sometimes the base of these summer clouds,
called cumulus clouds, is a mile above the ground and their tops fully a
mile higher than this.

[Illustration: _Fig. 16. Photograph of a lightning flash._]

Just as on the mountain side, where the drops grow larger until they
must fall, so here, fog particles grow to drops of such a size that they
are too heavy to float. This growth is often aided by the violent
currents of air, which sometimes tumble and toss the clouds about so
that you can see the commotion from the ground. These currents blow one
particle against another, forming a single drop from the collision of
two; then still others are added until the rain drop is so heavy that it
must fall.

But sometimes the air currents are so rapid that the drops are carried
on up, higher and higher, notwithstanding the fact that they are heavy.
Then they may be carried so high, and into air so cold, that they are
frozen, forming hail. These "hailstones" cannot sink to the ground until
they are thrown out of the violent currents, when they fall to the
ground, often near the edge of the storm.

Some hailstones are of great size; you will find it interesting to
examine them. If you do this, notice the rings of clear and clouded ice
that are often to be seen. These are caused when the hail, after
forming, settles to a place where it melts a little, then is lifted
again by another current, growing larger by the addition of more vapor.
This continues until finally the ice ball sinks to the ground.

There is thunder and lightning in such storms. Few things in nature are
grander than these, and those who will watch the lightning flash will
see many beautiful and interesting sights (Fig. 16). Sometimes the flash
goes from cloud to cloud, again from the cloud to the ground. No one
knows exactly why the lightning comes; but we do know that it is an
electric spark, something like that which one can often see pass from
the trolley to the wire of an electric car line. The main difference is
that the spark in a thunder storm is a powerful lightning bolt that
passes over a space of thousands of feet and often does great damage
where it strikes.

The thunder is a sound which may be compared to the crack heard when a
spark passes from the trolley, though of course the noise is very much
louder. The crack of the lightning echoes and reverberates among the
clouds, often changing to a great rumble; but this rumbling is mainly
caused by the echo, the sound from the lightning being a loud crack or
crash like that which we sometimes hear when the lightning strikes near

Some of the vapor of the air, on condensing, gathers on solid objects
like grass, or glass; but some, as fog, floats about in the air. Really
this, too, is often gathered around solid objects. Floating about in the
air are innumerable bits of "dust" which you can see dancing about in
the sunlight when a sunbeam enters a dark room. Some of these "dust"
particles are actual dust from the road, but much of it is something
else, as the pollen of plants, microbes, and the solid bits produced by
the burning of wood or coal.

Each bit serves as a tiny nucleus on which the vapor condenses; and so
the very "dust" in the air aids in the formation of rain by giving
something solid around which the liquid can gather. The great amount of
dust in the air near the great city of London is believed to be one of
the causes for the frequent fogs of that city.

That there is dust in the air, and that the rain removes it, is often
proved when a dull hazy air is changed to a clear, bright air by a
summer shower. Watch to find instances of this. Indeed, after such a
hazy day, when the rain drops first begin to fall, if you will let a few
drops fall upon a sheet of clean white paper, and then dry it, you will
find the paper discolored by the dust that the rain brought with it. So
the rain purifies the air by removing from it the solids that are
floating in it.

These are only a few of the things of interest that you can see for
yourself by studying the air. Watch the sky; it is full of interest. See
what you can observe for yourself. Watch especially the clouds, for they
are not only interesting but beautiful (Fig. 17). Their forms are often
graceful, and they change with such rapidity that you can notice it as
you watch them. Even in the daytime the colors and shadows are
beautiful; but at sunrise and at sunset the clouds are often changed to
gorgeous banks of color.

[Illustration: _Fig. 17. A sky flecked with clouds high in the air._]

Watch the clouds and you will be repaid; look especially for the great
piles of clouds in the east during the summer when the sun is setting
(Fig. 18). Those lofty banks, tinged with silver and gold, and rising
like mountains thousands of feet into the air, are really made of bits
of fog and mist. Among them vapor is still changing to water and rain
drops are forming, while violent currents are whirling the drops about,
and perhaps lifting them to such a height that they are being frozen
into hailstones. Far off to the east, beneath that cloud, rain is
falling in torrents, lightning is flashing and thunder crashing, though
you cannot hear it because it is so far away.

[Illustration: _Fig. 18. The cloud banks of a thunder storm on the

You see the storm merely as a brightly lighted and beautifully colored
cloud mass in the sky; but the people over whom it is hanging find it a
threatening black cloud, the source of a furious wind, a heavy rain, and
the awe-inspiring lightning. To them it may not be beautiful, though
grand in the extreme; and so, too, when the summer thunder shower visits
you in the early evening, you may know that people to the west of you
are probably looking at its side and top and admiring its beauty of form
and color.

The storm passes on, still to the eastward, and finally the cloud mass
entirely disappears beneath the eastern horizon; but if you watch, you
will see signs that it is still there, though out of sight; for in the
darkness of the night you can see the eastern horizon lighted by little
flashes, the source of which cannot be seen. You call it "heat
lightning," but it is really the last signal that we can see of the
vanishing thunder storm, so far away that the sound of the crashing
thunder cannot be heard.

You watch the mysterious flashes; they grow dimmer and dimmer and
finally you see them no more. Our summer shower is gone. It has done
what thousands of others have done before, and what thousands of others
will do in the future. It has started, moved off, and finally
disappeared from sight; and as it has gone it has told us a story. You
can read a part of this story if you will; and in reading it will find
much that interests.




  The snow had begun in the gloaming,
  And busily all the night
  Had been heaping field and highway
  With a silence deep and white.
  Every pine and fir and hemlock
  Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
  And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
  Was ridged inch deep with pearl.
  From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
  Came Chanticleer's muffled crow
  The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down
  And still fluttered down the snow.

[9] Home Nature-Study Course, December, 1903.


The storm which Lowell describes so delightfully is the first soft,
gentle snow fall that comes in November or early December. "The silence
deep and white" settles like a benediction over the brown, uneven
landscape, and makes of it a scene of enchantment. Very different from
this is the storm that comes when the winter cold is most severe and
winter winds most terrific. Then the skies are as white as the fields,
with never a sign of blue; if the sun appears at all, it shines cold
instead of warm, and seems but a vague white spot behind the veil of
upward, downward whirling snowflakes; the wild wind takes the "snow
dust" in eddies across the fields and piles it at the fences in great
drift billows with overhanging crests. On such a day the snow is so cold
and dry, the clouds so low and oppressive, the bare trees so brown and
bleak, that we shiver even though we gaze on the dreary scene from the
window of a warm and comfortable room.

[Illustration: _Fig. 19. Snow crystals enlarged._]

But another change is sure to come. Some February day the wind will veer
suddenly to the south and breathe warm thawing breaths over the white
frozen world. Then will the forests appear in robes of vivid blue-purple
against the shining hills; and in the mornings the soft blue of the
horizon will shade upward into rose-color and still upward into yellow
and beryl green; these hues are never seen on the forest or in the sky
except when the snow covers the earth to the horizon line. The eye that
loves color could ill afford to lose from the world the purples and
blues which bring contrast into the winter landscape.

The snow storm to our limited understanding, begins with a miracle--the
miracle of crystallization. Why should water freezing freely in the air
be a part of geometry, the six rays of the snow crystal growing at an
angle one to another, of sixty degrees? Or as if to prove geometry
divine beyond cavil, sometimes the rays include angles of twice sixty
degrees. Then why should the decorations of the rays assume thousands of
intricate, beautiful forms, each ray of a flake ornamented exactly like
its five sisters? And why should the snowflake formed in the higher
clouds of the upper air be tabular in shape but still, in cross section,
show that it is built on the plan of six radii? Look at it as we will,
the formation of a crystal is a beautiful mystery and is as unfathomable
as is the mystery of life.

[Illustration: _Fig. 20. Snow crystals enlarged._]

I am indebted to the courtesy of Mr. R. G. Allen, Section Director for
New York of the U. S. Weather Bureau, for suggestions in making out the
following questions. The beautiful pictures of snow crystals
illustrating this lesson were made from photographs taken by Mr. W. A.
Bentley of Jericho, Vt. It is our desire to interest all teachers in
the natural history of a snow storm, to the end that "they may love the
country better and be content to live therein."

A thermometer hung in a sheltered, open place away from the warmth of
the house is a necessary preliminary to the proper observation of the
phenomena of a snow storm.

Dark woolen cloth is the best medium on which to catch and observe snow

[Illustration: _Fig. 21. "With a silence deep and white."_]


1. What causes snow?

2. At what temperature do snow crystals form?

3. How do the clouds appear before a snow storm?

4. What is the temperature of the air before the storm?

5. What is the direction of the wind before the storm?

6. Does the storm come from the same direction as the wind?

7. What are the conditions of the wind and temperature when the snow
crystals are most perfect in form?

8. What are these conditions when the snow crystals are matted together
in great flakes?

9. What are these conditions when the snow crystals appear sharp and

10. Are the snow crystals of the same storm similar in structure and

11. What is the difference in structure between a snowflake and a hail

12. What is sleet?

13. What is the difference between hoar frost and snow?

14. Does the temperature rise or fall during a snow storm?

15. Is it colder or warmer after a snow storm has passed than it was
before it began?

16. What are the conditions of weather which cause a blizzard?

17. Why does a covering of snow prevent the ground from freezing so
severely as it would if bare?

18. Why is snow a bad conductor of heat?

19. Pack snow in a quart cup until it is full and let it melt; then tell
how full the cup is of water. What do you infer from this?

20. Have you ever observed the grass to be green beneath snow drifts?
Tell why.

21. Does snow evaporate as well as melt?

22. How does snow benefit the farmer and the fruit grower?

23. Do the snow storms in your locality come from one general direction
all winter?




[10] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 2: Leaflet 15.


Wind drifts a seed from the parent plant until it settles to the ground,
perhaps in a field or by the roadside, or even in the schoolyard. There
it remains through the long winter; but with the return of spring,
encouraged by the warm sunlight, the seed awakens from its dormant
condition, breaks open the seed-cover and sends leaves into the air and
roots into the ground. No one planted the seed; yet the plant has made
its way in the world and it thrives until it has given to other seeds
the same opportunity to start in life.

Had the seed fallen upon a board or a stone it might have sent out
leaves and roots; but it could never have developed into a plant, for
something necessary would have been lacking. What is there in the soil
that is so necessary to the success of plant life? How has it come to be
there? What is this soil that the plants need so much? These are some of
the questions which we will try to answer.

One readily sees that the soil furnishes a place in which the plants may
fix themselves,--an anchorage, as it were. It is also easy to see that
from the soil the plants obtain a supply of water; and, moreover, that
this water is very necessary, for the vegetation in a moist country
suffers greatly in time of drought, and few plants are able to grow in a
desert region because there is so little water. You can make a desert in
the schoolroom and contrast it with moist soil by planting seeds in two
dishes of soil, watering one, but furnishing no water to the other.

That water is necessary to plants is also proved by the plant itself.
The sap and the moisture which may be pressed out of a grass stem or an
apple are principally water taken from the soil by the roots. But there
is more than water, for the juice of an apple is sweet or sour, while
the sap and juice of other plants may be sweet or bitter. There are
substances dissolved in the water.

It is these dissolved substances that the plants need for their growth,
and they find them ready for use in the soil. There is a plant-food
which the roots seek and find, so that every plant which sends roots
into the soil takes something from it to build up the plant tissue. The
sharp edges of some sedges, which will cut the hand like a dull knife,
and the wood ashes left when a wood fire is burned, represent in part
this plant-food obtained from the soil.

Let us take a handful of soil from the field, the schoolyard, or the
street and examine it. We find it to be dirt that "soils" the hands; and
when we try to brush off the dirt, we notice a gritty feeling that is
quite disagreeable. This is due to the bits of mineral in the soil; and
that these are hard, often harder than a pin, may often be proved by
rubbing soil against a piece of glass, which the hard bits will often
scratch, while a pin will not.

[Illustration: _Fig. 21. A boulder-strewn soil of glacial origin with
one of the large erratics on the right similar to those which early
attracted attention to the drift. See page 105._]

Study this soil with the eye and you may not see the tiny bits, though
in sandy soils one may easily notice that there are bits of mineral.
Even fine loamy and clay soils, when examined with a pocket lens or a
microscope, will be found to be composed of tiny fragments of mineral.
It is evident that in some way mineral has been powdered up to form the
soil; and since the minerals come from rocks, it is the rocks that have
been ground up. That powdered rock will make just such a substance as
soil may be proved by pounding a pebble to bits, or by collecting some
of the rock dust that is made when a hole is drilled in a rock. Much the
same substance is ground from a grindstone when a knife is sharpened on
it, making the water muddy like that in a mud hole.

It will be an interesting experiment to reduce a pebble to powder and
plant seeds in it to see whether they will grow as well as in soil; but
in preparing it try to avoid using a sandstone pebble, because sandy
soils are never very fertile.

[Illustration: _Fig. 22. A glacial soil, containing numerous transported
pebbles and boulders, resting on the bed rock._]

Not only is soil made up of bits of powdered rock, but it everywhere
rests upon rock (Fig. 25). Some consider soil to be only the surface
layers in which plants grow; but really this is, in most places,
essentially the same as the layers below, down even to the very rock, so
that we might call it all soil; though, since a special name, _regolith_
(meaning stone blanket), has been proposed for all the soft, soil-like
rock-cover, we may speak of it as regolith and reserve the word soil for
the surface layers only.

In some places there is no soil on the bare rocks; elsewhere the
soil-cover is a foot or two in depth; but there are places where the
regolith is several hundred feet deep. In such places, even the wells do
not reach the bed rock; nor do the streams cut down to it; but even
there, if one should dig deep enough, he would reach the solid rock

How has the hard rock been changed to loose soil? One of the ways, of
which there are several, may be easily studied whenever a rock has been
exposed to the air. Let us go to a stone wall or among the pebbles in a
field, for instance, and, chipping off the surface, notice how different
the inside is from the outside. The outer crust is rusted and possibly
quite soft, while the interior is harder and fresher. Many excellent
examples of this may be found in any stony field or stone wall.

[Illustration: _Fig. 23. The bed of a stream at low water, revealing the
rounded pebbles that have been worn and smoothed by being rolled about,
thus grinding off tiny bits which later are built into the

As hard iron rusts and crumbles to powder when exposed to the weather;
so will the minerals and the rocks decay and fall to bits; but rocks
require a very much greater time for this than does iron. It happens
that the soil of New York has not been produced by the decay of rock;
and, therefore, although the soils in many parts of the world have been
formed in this way, we will not delay longer in studying this subject
now, nor in considering the exact way in which rocks are enabled to

Another way in which rocks may be powdered may be seen in most parts of
New York. The rains wash soil from the hillsides causing the streams to
become muddy. In the streams there are also many pebbles, possibly the
larger fragments that have fallen into the stream after having been
broken from the ledges. The current carries these all along down the
stream, and, as they go, one piece striking against another, or being
dragged over the rocks in the stream bed, the pebbles are ground down
and smoothed (Fig. 23), which means, of course, that more mud is
supplied to the stream, as mud is furnished from a grindstone when a
knife or scythe is being sharpened on it. On the pebbly beaches of the
sea or lakeshore much the same thing may be seen; and here also the
constant grinding of the rocks wears off the edges until the pebbles
become smooth and round.

[Illustration: _Fig. 24. Near view of a cut in glacial soil, gullied by
the rains, and with numerous transported pebbles embedded in the rock

Supplied with bits of rock from the soil, or from the grinding up of
pebbles and rocks along its course, the stream carries its load onward,
perhaps to a lake, which it commences to fill, forming a broad delta of
level and fertile land, near where the stream enters the lake. Or,
possibly, the stream enters the sea and builds a delta there, as the
Mississippi river has done.

[Illustration: _Fig. 25. A scratched limestone pebble taken from a
glacial soil._]

But much of the mud does not reach the sea. The greatest supply comes
when the streams are so flooded by heavy rains or melting snows that the
river channel is no longer able to hold the water, which then rises
above the banks, overflowing the surrounding country. Then, since its
current is checked where it is so shallow, the water drops some of its
load of rock bits on the flood-plain, much as the muddy water in a
gutter drops sand or mud on the sidewalk when, in time of heavy rains,
it overflows the walk.

Many of the most fertile lands of the world are flood-plains of this
kind, where sediment, gathered by the streams farther up their courses,
is dropped upon the flood-plains, enriching them by new layers of
fertile soil. One does not need to go to the Nile, the Yellow, or the
Mississippi for illustrations of this; they abound on every hand, and
many thousands of illustrations, great and small, may be found in the
State of New York. Doubtless you can find one.

[Illustration: _Fig. 26. The grooved bed rock scratched by the movement
of the ice sheet over it._]

There are other ways in which soils may be formed; but only one more
will be considered, and that is the way in which most of the soils of
New York have been made. To study this let us go to a cut in the earth,
such as a well or a stream bank (Figs. 22 and 24). Scattered through the
soil numerous pebbles and boulders will doubtless be found; and if these
are compared with the bed rock of the country, which underlies the soil
(Fig. 22), some of them will be found to be quite different from it. For
instance, where the bed rock is shale or limestone, some of the pebbles
will no doubt be granite, sandstone, etc. If you could explore far
enough, you would find just such rocks to the north of you, perhaps one
or two hundred miles away in Canada; or, if your home is south of the
Adirondacks, you might trace the pebbles to those mountains.

On some of these pebbles, especially the softer ones, such as limestone,
you will find scratches, as if they had been ground forcibly together
(Fig. 25). Looking now at the bed rock in some place from which the soil
has been recently removed, you will find it also scratched and grooved
(Fig. 26); and if you take the direction of these scratches with the
compass, you will find that they extend in a general north and south
direction, pointing, in fact, in the same direction from which the
pebbles have come.

All over northeastern North America and northwestern Europe the soil is
of the same nature as that just described. In our own country this kind
of soil reaches down as far as the edge of the shaded area in the map
(Fig. 27), and it will be noticed that all of New York is within that
area excepting the extreme southwestern part near the southern end of
Chautauqua lake.

Not only is the soil peculiar within this district, but there are many
small hills of clay or sand, or sometimes of both together (Figs. 33
and 34). They rise in hummocky form and often have deep pits or
kettle-shaped basins between, sometimes, when the soil is clayey enough
to hold water, containing tiny pools. These hills extend in somewhat
irregular ranges stretching across the country from the east toward the
west. The position of some of these ranges is indicated on the map (Fig.

For a long time people wondered how this soil with its foreign pebbles
and boulders, altogether called "drift," came to be placed where it is;
they were especially puzzled to tell how the large boulders, called
erratics (Fig. 21), should have been carried from one place to another.
It was suggested that they came from the bursting of planets, from
comets, from the explosion of mountains, from floods, and in other ways
equally unlikely; but Louis Agassiz, studying the glaciers of the Alps
and the country round about, was impressed by the resemblance between
the "drift" and the materials carried by living glaciers.

Agassiz, therefore, proposed the hypothesis that glaciers had carried
the drift and left it where we now find it; but for many years his
glacial hypothesis met with a great deal of opposition because it seemed
impossible that the climate could have changed so greatly as to cover
what is now a temperate land with a great sheet of ice. Indeed, even
now, although all who have especially studied the subject are convinced,
many people have not accepted Agassiz's explanation, just as years ago,
long after it was proved that the earth rotated each day, many people
still believed that it was the sun, not the earth, that was moving.

[Illustration: _Fig. 27. Map showing the extent of the ice sheet in the
United States. Position of some of the moraines indicated by the heavily
shaded lines._ (_After Chamberlain._)]

The glacial explanation is as certain as that the earth rotates. For
some reason, which we do not know, the climate changed and allowed ice
to cover temperate lands, as before that time the climate had changed so
as to allow plants like those now growing as far south as Virginia to
live in Greenland, now ice covered. When the ice of the glacier melted
away it left many signs of its presence; and when the temperate latitude
plants grew in Greenland they left seeds, leaves and tree trunks which
have been imbedded in the rocks as fossils. One may now pick the leaves
of temperate climate trees from the rocks beneath a great icecap.

[Illustration: _Fig. 28. A view over the great ice plateau of Greenland,
with a mountain peak projecting above it._]

To one who studies them, the signs left by the glacier are as clear
proof as the leaves and seeds. From these signs we know that the climate
has changed slowly, but we have not yet learned why it changed.

There are now two places on the earth where vast glaciers, or ice
sheets, cover immense areas of land, one in the Antarctic, a region very
little known, the other in Greenland, where there is an ice sheet
covering land having an area more than ten times that of the State of
New York. Let us study this region to see what is being done there, in
order to compare it with what has been done in New York.

[Illustration: _Fig. 29. The edge of a part of the great Greenland ice
sheet (on the left) resting on the land, over which are strewn many
boulders brought by the ice and left there when it melted._]

In the interior is a vast plateau of ice, in places over 10,000 feet
high, a great icy desert (Fig. 28), where absolutely no life of any
kind, either animal or plant, can exist, and where it never rains, but
where the storms bring snow even in the middle of summer. Such must have
been the condition in northeastern America during the glacial period.

[Illustration: _Fig. 30. A scratched pebble taken from the ice of the
Greenland glacier._]

This vast ice sheet is slowly moving outward in all directions from the
elevated center, much as a pile of wax may be made to flow outward by
placing a heavy weight upon the middle. Moving toward the north, east,
south and west, this glacier must of course come to an end somewhere. In
places, usually at the heads of bays, the end is in the sea, as the end
of our glacier must have been off the shores of New England. From these
sea-ends, icebergs constantly break off; these floating away toward the
south, often reach, before they melt, as far as the path followed by the
steamers from the United States to Europe. Between the bays where the
glacier ends in the sea, the ice front rests on the land (Fig. 29), as
it did over the greater part of New York and the states further west.
There it melts in the summer, supplying streams with water and filling
many small ponds and lakes. The front stands there year after year,
sometimes moving a little ahead, again melting further back so as to
reveal the rocks on which it formerly rested.

[Illustration: _Fig. 31. A part of the edge of the Greenland glacier,
with clean white ice above, and dark discolored bands below where laden
with rock fragments. In the foreground is a boulder-strewn moraine._]

The bed rock here is found to be polished, scratched and grooved just
like the bed-rock in New York; and the scratches extend in the direction
from which the ice moves. Resting on the rock are boulders and pebbles
(Fig. 22), sometimes on the bare rock, sometimes imbedded in a clay as
they are in the drift. As we found when studying the soil in our own
region, so here the pebbles are often scratched, and many of them are
quite different from the rock on which they rest.

[Illustration: _Fig. 32. Hummocky surface of the boulder-strewn moraine
of Greenland._]

Going nearer to the ice we find the lower part loaded with pebbles,
boulders and bits of clay very like those on the rocks near by. Fig. 30
shows one of these, scratched and grooved, which I once dug from the ice
of this very glacier. The bottom of the ice is like a huge sandpaper,
being dragged over the bed rock with tremendous force. It carries a
load of rock fragments, and as it moves secures more by grinding or
prying them from the rocks beneath. These all travel on toward the edge
of the ice, being constantly ground finer and finer as wheat is ground
when it goes through the mill. Indeed the resemblance is so close that
the clay produced by this grinding action is often called _rock flour_.

Dragged to the front of the ice, the rock bits, great and small, roll
out as the ice melts, some, especially the finest, being carried away in
the water, which is always muddy with the rock flour it carries; but
much remains near the edge of the ice, forming a _moraine_ (Figs. 31 and
32). This moraine, dumped at the edge of the glacier, very closely
resembles the hummocky hills of New York (Figs. 33 and 34), mentioned
above, which are really moraines formed at the ice-edge during the
glacial period. While their form is quite alike, the New York moraines
are generally less pebbly than the Greenland moraines, because the
Greenland glacier carries less rock flour than did the glacier which
covered New York.

[Illustration: _Fig. 33. A view over the hummocky surface of a part of
the moraine of the great American ice sheet in Central New York._]

In the Greenland glacier, as you can see in Fig. 31, there is much dirt
and rock; in the glacier of the glacial period there was even more. When
it melted away the ice disappeared as water, but the rock fragments of
course fell down upon the rock beneath and formed soil. If over a
certain region, as for instance over your home, the ice carried a great
load of drift, when this gradually settled down, as the ice melted, it
formed a deep layer of soil; but if the glacier had only a small load a
shallow soil was left. Again, if the ice front remained for a long time
near a certain place, as near your home, it kept bringing and dumping
rock fragments to form moraines, which, of course, would continue to
grow higher so long as the ice dumped the rock fragments, much as a sand
pile will continue to grow higher so long as fresh loads are brought and

There are other causes for differences in the glacial soils, but most of
them cannot be considered here. One of them is so important, however,
that it must be mentioned. With the melting of so much ice, vast floods
of water were caused, and these came from the ice, perhaps in places
where there are now no streams, or at best only small ones. These rapid
currents carried off much of the rock flour and left the coarser and
heavier sand, gravel, or pebbles, the latter often well rounded, with
the scratches removed by the long-continued rolling about in the glacial
stream bed.

One often finds such beds of sand or gravel in different parts of the
State, telling not only of ice where it is now absent, but of water
currents where is now dry land. The rock flour was in some cases carried
to the sea, elsewhere to lakes, or in still other places deposited in
the flood-plains of the glacier-fed rivers. Now some of this rock flour
is dug out to make into bricks.

Enough has been said to show that the soils of New York were brought by
a glacier, and to point out that there are many differences in thickness
as well as in kind and condition of the soil. The agriculture of the
State is greatly influenced by these differences. In some cases one part
of a farm has a deep, rich soil, another part a barren, sandy, pebbly or
boulder-covered soil (Fig. 21), while in still another part the bed rock
may be so near the surface that it does not pay to clear the forest from
it. Moreover, some farms are in hummocky moraines, while others, near
by, are on level plains (Fig. 34), where a broad glacial stream built up
a flood-plain in a place where now the stream is so small that it never
rises high enough to overflow the plain.

There are even other differences than these, and one who is familiar
with a region is often puzzled to explain them; but they are all due to
the glacier or to the water furnished by its melting, and a careful
study by a student of the subject of Glacial Geology will serve to
explain them. Each place has had peculiar conditions and it would be
necessary to study each place much more carefully than has been done
here in order to explain all the differences.

Not only is agriculture influenced greatly by the differences in the
soil from place to place, but also by the very fact that they are
glacial soils. Being made up of partly ground-up rock fragments the
soils are often stony and difficult to till. Unlike the soil of rock
decay, the particles of which the glacial soil is made have been derived
by mechanical grinding, not by chemical decay and disintegration. There
has been less leaching out of the soluble compounds which make plant
foods. These are stored up in the rock fragments ready for use when
decay causes the proper changes to produce the soluble compounds which
plants require.

[Illustration: _Fig. 34. Hummocky moraine hills in the background and a
level gravel plain--an ancient glacial-stream flood-plain--in

Slowly the glacial soils are decaying, and, as they do so, are
furnishing plant-food to the water which the roots greedily draw in. So
the glacial soil is not a mere store house of plant-food, but a
manufactory of it as well, and glacial soils are therefore "strong" and
last for a long time. That decay is going on, especially near the
surface, may often be seen in a cut in the soil, where the natural blue
color of the drift is seen below, while near the surface the soil is
rusted yellow by the decay of certain minerals which contain iron.

Few materials on the earth are more important than the soil; it acts as
the intermediary between man and the earth. The rocks have some
substances locked up in them which animals need; by decay, or by being
ground up, the rocks crumble so that plants may send roots into them and
extract the substances needed by animals. Gifted with this wonderful
power the plants grow and furnish food to animals, some of which is
plant-food obtained from the rocks; and so the animals of the land, and
man himself, secure a large part of their food from the rocks. It is
then worth the while to stop for a moment and think and study about
this, one of the most marvelous of the many wonderful adjustments of
Nature, but so common that most persons live and die without even giving
it more than a passing thought.




[11] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 2: Leaflet 15, October, 1899.


The more one studies the soil, the more certainly it will be found that
the earth has locked up in her bosom many secrets, and that these
secrets will not be given up for the mere asking. As mysterious as the
soil may appear at different times, it always is governed by certain
laws. These principles once understood, the soil becomes an open book
from which one may read quickly and accurately.


The soil has certain offices to perform for which it is admirably
fitted. The most important of these offices are:

  1. To hold plants in place;
  2. To serve as a source of plant-food;
  3. To act as a reservoir for moisture;
  4. To serve as a storehouse for applied plant-food or fertilizer.

Some soils are capable of performing all these offices, while others are
fitted for only a part of them. Thus a soil which is pure sand and
almost entirely deficient in the essential elements of plant-food, may
serve, if located near a large city, merely to hold the plants in
position while the skillful gardener feeds the plants with specially
prepared fertilizers, and supplies the moisture by irrigation.

Early in the study of soils an excursion, if possible, should be made
into the woods. Great trees will be seen and under the trees will be
found various shrubs and possibly weeds and grass. It will be noticed
that the soil is well occupied with growing plants. The surface will be
found covered with a layer several inches thick of leaves and twigs.
Beneath this covering the soil is dark, moist, full of organic matter,
loose, easily spaded except as roots or stones may interfere, and has
every appearance of being fertile.


After examining the conditions in the forest, a study should be made of
the soil in some cultivated field. It will be found that in the field
the soil has lost many of the marked characteristics noticed in the
woodland. In walking over the field, the soil will be found to be hard
and compact. The surface may be covered with growing plants, for if the
seeds which have been put into the soil by the farmer have not
germinated and the plants made growth, nature has quickly come to the
rescue and filled the soil with other plants which we commonly call
weeds. It is nature's plan to keep the soil covered with growing plants,
and from nature we should learn a lesson. The field soil, instead of
being moist, is dry; instead of being loose and friable, it is hard and
compact, and it appears in texture entirely different from the woodland
soil. The cause of the difference is not hard to discover. In the woods,
nature for years has been building up the soil. The leaves from the
trees fall to the ground and form a covering which prevents washing or
erosion, and these leaves decay and add to the humus, or vegetable
mould, of the soil. Roots are constantly decaying and furnish channels
through the soil and permit the circulation of air and water.

In the field, nature's lesson has been disregarded and too often the
whole aim seems to be to remove everything from the soil and to make no
returns. Consequently the organic matter, or humus, has been used up;
the tramping of the horses' feet has closed the natural drainage canals;
after the crop is removed, the soil is left naked during the winter and
the heavy rains wash and erode the surface, and remove some of the best
plant-food. After a few years of such treatment, the farmer wonders why
the soil will not produce as liberally as it did formerly.

_Experiment No. 1._--The fact that there is humus, or vegetable mould,
in certain soils can be shown by burning. Weigh a potful of hard soil
and a potful of lowland soil, or muck, after each has been thoroughly
dried. Then put the pots on the coals in a coal stove. After the soil is
thoroughly burned, weigh again. Some of the difference in weight may be
due to loss of moisture, but if the samples were well dried in the
beginning, most of the loss will be due to the burning of the humus.


There are certain conditions which affect soil fertility and of these
the most important are:



By texture is meant the physical condition of the soil. Upon good
texture, more than upon any other one thing, depends the productivity of
the soil. When the texture is right the soil is fine, loose, and
friable; the roots are able to push through it and the feeding area is
enlarged. Each individual particle is free to give up a portion of its
plant-food, or its film of moisture. The conditions which are found in
the woods' soil are almost ideal.

_Experiment No. 2._--The importance of good texture may be well shown in
the class room. Pots should be filled with a soil which is lumpy and
cloddy, and other pots with the same kind of material after it has been
made fine and mellow. After seeds are planted in the different pots, a
careful study should be made of the length of time required for
germination and of the health and vigor of the plants.

_Experiment No. 3._--The greater part of our farming lands do not
present ideal conditions as regards texture. Clay soils are especially
likely to be in bad condition. If samples of the various soils can be
collected, as sand, loam, clay, etc., it may be clearly shown how
different soils respond to the same kind of treatment. With a common
garden trowel, the soils should be stirred and worked while wet, and
then put away to dry. After drying, the conditions presented by the
soils should be noted, also the length of time required for the soils to
become dry. Whereas the sand and the loam will remain in fairly good
condition when dry, the clay will have become "puddled," _i. e._, the
particles will have run together and made a hard, compact mass. Thus it
is found in practice that clay soils must be handled with far more care
and intelligence than is required for the sand and loams, if the texture
is to be kept perfect.

_Experiment No. 4._--If, in the experiment above suggested, the clay
soil is mixed with leaf-mould, or humus soil, from the woods, it will
be found to act very differently. The vegetable matter thus mixed with
the mineral matter prevents the running together of the particles of

Two principles, both important as relating to soil texture, now have
been illustrated. Soils must not be worked when they are so wet that
their particles will cohere, and organic matter, or humus, must be kept
mixed with the mineral matter of the soil. In practical farm operations,
if the soil can be made into a mud ball it is said to be too wet to
work. The required amount of humus is retained in the soil by
occasionally plowing under some green crop, as clover, or by applying
barn manures.

[Illustration: _Fig. 35. The glass of water at the right has received
lime and the clay has been flocculated; the other was not treated._]

Clay soils are also frequently treated with lime to cause them to remain
in good condition and be more easily tilled. Lime causes the fine
particles to flocculate, or to become granular, _i. e._, several
particles unite to form a larger particle, and these combinations are
more stable and do not so readily puddle, or run together. A mud-puddle
in clay soil will remain murky until the water has evaporated entirely.
Let a little water-slaked lime be mixed with the muddy water, and the
particles of clay will be flocculated and will settle to the bottom;
thus the water will become clear.

_Experiment No. 5._--Into two glasses of water put some fine clay soil;
thoroughly stir the mixture (Fig. 35). Into one glass thus prepared put
a spoonful of water-slaked lime; stir thoroughly, then allow both
glasses to remain quiet that the soil may settle. Notice in which glass
the water first becomes clear, and note the appearance of the sediment
in each.


In Leaflet VI has been given the history of a thunder shower. We are not
told much about the history of the water after it reaches the earth. If
we go out immediately after a heavy shower, we find little streams
running alongside the road. These little streams unite to make larger
ones, until finally the creeks and rivers are swollen, and, if the rain
was heavy enough, the streams may overflow their banks. In all these
streams, from the smallest to the largest, the water is muddy. Where did
this mud come from? It was washed largely from the cultivated fields,
and the finest and best soil is certain to be the first to start on its
voyage to the valleys or to the sea. If the farmer had only learned
better the lesson from nature and kept his fields covered with plants, a
large part of the loss might have been prevented. A rain gauge should be
kept in every school yard, so that every shower can be measured. It can
then be easily determined by the pupils how many tons of rain fall upon
the school grounds, or how much falls upon an acre of land. It will be a
matter of surprise that the amount is so great.

[Illustration: _Fig. 36. a. Soil too dry. b. Soil in good condition. c.
Soil too wet._]

Not all the water which falls during a summer shower is carried off by
surface drainage, since a considerable part sinks into the soil. As it
passes down, each soil grain takes up a portion and surrounds itself
with a little film of water, much as does a marble when dipped into
water. If the rain continues long enough, the soil will become saturated
and the water which cannot be retained, will, under the influence of
gravity, sink down to the lower layers of soil until it finally reaches
the level of the free water. From this free water, at varying depths in
the soil, wells and springs are supplied. If the soil were to remain
long saturated, seeds would not germinate, and most cultivated plants
would not grow because all the air passages of the soil would be filled
with water (Fig. 36). The water which sinks down deep into the soil and
helps to supply our wells is called free water. That part which is held
as a film by the soil particles (as on a marble) is called capillary
water. After the rain is over and the sun shines, a part of the moisture
which is held by the particles near the surface is lost by evaporation.
The moisture which is below tends to rise to restore the equilibrium;
thus there is created a current toward the surface, and finally into the
air; the moisture which thus escapes aids in forming the next thunder

_Experiment No. 6._--Humus enables the soil to take up and hold large
quantities of water. To illustrate this, two samples of soil should be
obtained, one a humus, or alluvial, soil, rich in organic matter, and
the other a sandy soil. Put the two samples where they will become
thoroughly air dry. Procure, say five pounds each of the dry soils, and
put each into a glass tube over one end of which there is tied a piece
of muslin, or fine wire gauze. From a graduated glass pour water slowly
upon each sample until the water begins to drain from the bottom of the
tube. In this way it can be shown which soil has the greater power of
holding moisture. Both samples should then be set away to dry. By
weighing the samples each day, it can be determined which soil has the
greater power of retaining moisture. This experiment may be conducted
not only with sand and humus, but with clay, loam, gravel, and all other
kinds of soil.

_Experiment No. 7._--A finely pulverized soil will hold more
film-moisture than a cloddy soil. To illustrate the importance of
texture as related to moisture, soil should be secured which is cloddy,
or lumpy. One tube should be filled, as heretofore described (Exp. No.
6), with the lumpy soil, and the other tube with the fine soil which
results from pulverizing the lumps, equal weights of soil being used in
each case. From a graduated glass pour water upon each sample until the
drainage begins from the bottom. Notice which soil possesses greater
power of absorbing moisture. Put the samples away to dry, and by careful
weighing, each day, it can be determined which soil dries out more

[Illustration: _Fig. 37. "Foot-prints on the sands of time."_]

[Illustration: _Fig. 38. A cross section through one of the

The prudent farmer will take measures to prevent the escape of this
moisture into the air. All the film-moisture (on the soil particles)
needs to be carefully conserved or saved, for the plants will need very
large amounts of moisture before they mature, and they can draw their
supply only from this film-moisture. We can again apply the lesson
learned in the woods. The soil there is always moist; the leaves form a
cover, or blanket, which prevents the evaporation of moisture.
Underneath an old plank or board, the soil will be found moist. If we
can break the connection between the soil and the air, we can check the
escape of moisture. A layer of straw over the soil will serve to prevent
the loss of moisture; yet a whole field cannot be thus covered. It has
been found that the surface soil, if kept loose, say about three inches
of the top soil can be made to act as a blanket or covering for the soil
underneath. Although this top layer may become as dry as dust, yet it
prevents the escape, by evaporation, of moisture from below. It is a
matter of common observation that if tracks are made across a freshly
cultivated field, the soil where the tracks are will become darker (Fig.
37). This darker appearance of the soil in the foot-marks is due to the
moisture which is there rising to the surface. The implement of tillage
makes the soil loose, breaking the capillary connection between the
lower layers of soil and the surface; thus the upward passage of the
water is checked. Where the foot-print is, the soil has been again
pressed down at the surface, the particles have been crowded closer
together, and capillarity is restored to the surface so that the
moisture is free to escape (Fig. 38). In caring for flower-beds, or even
in growing plants in a pot in the school-room, it is important that the
surface of the soil be kept loose and mellow. Far better in a flower
garden is a garden rake than a watering pot.

_Experiment No. 8._--To show the importance of the surface mulch, fill
several pots with a sandy loam soil, putting the same weight of soil
into each pot. In one pot, pack the soil firmly; in another pot, pack
the soil firmly and then make the surface loose. These pots of soil may
then be put away to dry; by daily weighing each it can be readily
determined what effects the various methods of treatment have upon the
moisture-holding power of soils.

_Experiment No. 9._--The above experiment may be varied by covering the
soil in some of the pots with leaves, or straw, or paper, care being
taken that the added weight of the foreign matter is properly accounted


[Illustration: _Fig. 39. The moss-grown lawn or grass plot._]

If a kernel of corn be placed in the ground in early spring before the
soil has become warm, the seed will not germinate. Abundance of moisture
and oxygen may be present, but the third requisite for germination,
proper temperature, is lacking. The soil is very slow to become warm in
the spring, and this is due to the large amount of water which must be
evaporated. During the winter and spring, the rain and melting snow have
saturated the soil. The under-drainage is deficient so there is no way
for the escape of the surplus water except by evaporation, and
evaporation is a cooling process. A well-drained soil is thus warmer
than a poorly-drained one.

The atmosphere is much quicker to respond to changes in temperature than
is the soil. In the spring, the air becomes warm while the soil
continues cold, and the rains which fall during this time are warmed by
passing through the warm air. Then in sinking through the soil the
rain-water parts with some of its heat which makes the soil warmer.
During mid-summer the soil becomes very warm, and it is not affected by
cool nights, as is the atmosphere. Consequently as a summer rain may be
several degrees cooler than the soil, the water in passing through the
soil takes up some of the heat; thus the soil conditions are made more
favorable for plant growth. Therefore, soil temperature is regulated
somewhat by the rainfall.

_Experiment No. 10._--The color of a soil also affects its temperature,
a dark soil being warmer than a light colored soil. By having
thermometers as a part of the school room equipment, interesting
experiments may be conducted in determining the effect of color and
moisture upon the temperature of soils.


Although that part of the plant which we can see is entirely surrounded
by air, it is also necessary that the soil be in such a condition that
it can be penetrated by the air. Indeed, growth cannot begin in a soil
from which the air is excluded.

[Illustration: _Fig. 40. The clover roots penetrate the soil deeply._]

_Experiment No. 11._--To prove this, put clay soil in a pot and plant
seeds; then wet the surface of the soil and puddle or pack the clay
while wet and watch for the seeds to germinate and grow. At the same
time put seeds in another pot filled with loose, mellow, moist soil.

Frequently, after the farmer has sown his grain, there comes a heavy,
beating rain, and the surface of the soil becomes so packed that the air
is excluded and the seeds cannot germinate. If plants are grown in pots
and the water is supplied at the top, the soil may become so hard and
compact as to exclude the air and the plants will make a sickly growth.
The surface soil must be kept loose so that the air can penetrate it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 41. After the clover dies the soil is in better
condition for its having lived._]

On many lawns it may be noticed that the grass is not thriving. It has a
sickly appearance, and even the application of fertilizer does not seem
to remedy the conditions. Perhaps the ground has become so hard that the
air cannot penetrate and the grass is being smothered. If the surface of
the soil can be loosened with a garden rake, and clover seed sown, much
good may be accomplished. The clover is a tap-rooted plant, sending its
main root deep into the soil.

After the death of the plant, the root decays, and the nitrogen which is
stored in it can be used as food by the other plants. Most useful of
all, however, in such cases, the decay of the tap-root of the clover
makes a passage deep into the soil and thus allows the air to enter.
Consult Figs. 39-41.





[12] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 5: Leaflet 18. June, 1900.


A brook is the best of subjects for nature-study. It is near and dear to
every child. It is a world in itself. It is an epitome of the nature in
which we live. In miniature, it illustrates the forces which have shaped
much of the earth's surface. Day by day and century by century, it
carries its burden of earth-waste which it lays down in the quiet
places. Always beginning and never ceasing, it does its work as slowly
and as quietly as the drifting of the years. It is a scene of life and
activity. It reflects the sky. It is kissed by the sun. It is caressed
by the winds. The minnows play in the pools. The soft weeds grow in the
shallows. The grass and the dandelions lie on its sunny banks. The moss
and fern are sheltered in the nooks. It comes one knows not whence; it
flows one knows not whither. It awakens the desire of exploration. It is
a realm of mysteries. It typifies the flood of life. It goes "on

In many ways can the brook be made an adjunct of the school-room. One
teacher or one grade may study its physiography; another its birds;
another may plat it. Or one teacher and one grade may devote a month or
a term to one phase of it. Thus the brook may be made the center of a

L. H. B.


On a rainy day most of us are driven indoors and thus we miss some of
nature's most instructive lessons, for in sunshine or rain the great
mother toils on, doing some of her hardest labor when her face is
overcast with clouds. Let us find our waterproofs, raise our umbrellas,
bid defiance to the pattering rain, and go forth to learn some of the
lessons of a rainy day.

[Illustration: _Fig. 42. The brook may be made the center of a

Along the roadside, the steady, down-pouring rain collects into pools
and rills, or sinks out of sight in the ground. The tiny streams search
out the easiest grade and run down the road, digging little gullies as
they go. Soon these rills meet and, joining their muddy currents, flow
on with greater speed down the hillside until they reach the bottom of
the valley and go to swell the brook which flows on, through sunshine or
rain. The water which sinks into the ground passes out of sight for a
time, but its journey is also downward toward the brook, though the
soil, acting as a great sponge, holds it back and makes it take a slower
pace than the rushing surface water. This slower-moving underground
water percolates through the soil until it comes to a layer of rock,
clay, or other impervious substance, along the slope of which it flows
until it is turned again to the surface in the form of a spring. Perhaps
this spring is one of those clear, cold pools, with the water bubbling
up through its sandy bottom, from which we love to drink on a hot
summer's day; or, again, it is a swampy spot on the hillside where the
cat-tails grow. In whatever form it issues from the ground, a tiny rill
carries away its overflow, and this sooner or later joins the brook.

The brook, we see, is simply the collected rainfall from the hillsides,
flowing away to join the river. It grows larger as other brooks join it,
and becomes a creek and finally a river. But where is the dividing line
between brook, creek, and river? So gradually does the brook increase in
volume that it would be difficult to draw any dividing line between it
and the larger streams. And so with the rills that formed the brook:
each is a part of the river, and the names rill, brook, creek, and river
are merely relative terms.

Brooks are but rivers on a small scale; and if we study the work that a
brook is doing, we shall find it engaged in cutting down or building up,
just as the river does, although, owing to the smaller size of the
brook, we can see most of these operations in a short distance. Let us
take our way through the wet grass and dripping trees to the brookside
and see what work it is doing.

The countless rain-born rills are pouring their muddy water into the
brook and to-day its volume is much greater than when it is fed, as it
is in fair weather, by the slower-moving underground water of the
springs. It roars along with its waters no longer clear but full of clay
and sand ("mud" as we call it).

If we should dip up a glassful of this muddy water, we should find that
when it had settled there remained on the bottom of the glass a thin
deposit of sediment. The amount of this sediment is small, no doubt, for
a single glassful, but when we think of the great quantity of water
constantly flowing by, we can see that considerable sediment is going
along with it. But this sediment in suspension is not all the load that
the brook is moving. If you will roll up your sleeve, plunge your hand
to the bottom of the brook and hold it there quietly, you will feel the
coarser gravel and small stones rolling along the bottom.

All this load of sand and gravel comes, as we have seen, from the valley
sides, the banks of the brook, and from its bed. It is moving downward
away from its original resting place; and what is the result? For
thousands upon thousands of years, our brook may have been carrying off
its yearly load of sediment; and though each day's labor is small, yet
the added toil of centuries has been great. The result of this labor we
can see in the great trough or valley through which the brook flows.
Tennyson speaks of the ceaseless toil of the brook in the following

  "I chatter, chatter, as I flow
    To join the brimming river,
  For men may come and men may go,
    But I go on forever."

[Illustration: _Fig. 43. A brook cutting under its bank and causing a

We have seen how the rills and torrents bring into the brook their loads
of sand, clay, and gravel; now let us walk along the bank and see what
the brook is doing to increase this load. Just here there is a sudden
turn in the channel and so sharp is the curve that the rushing stream is
not able to keep in mid-channel, but throws itself furiously against the
outer bank of the curve, eating into the clay of which it is composed,
until the bank is undermined, allowing a mass of clay to slide down into
the stream bed, where it is eaten up and carried away by the rushing
water (Fig. 43). Farther on, the brook dashes down a steep, rocky
incline, and if we listen and watch we may hear the thud of boulders
hurled along, or even see a pebble bound out of the muddy foaming water.
These moving pebbles strike against each other and grind along the
bottom, wearing out themselves as well as the large unmovable boulders
of the rocky bed of the brook. Thus the larger stones are ground down,
rounded at first but in time reduced to sand, adding in this way to the
moving burden of the brook. By this slow process of cutting and
grinding, the deep rock gorges of New York state, like those at Watkins,
Ithaca, Au Sable Chasm, and even the mighty gorge of Niagara, have been
made. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado, over a mile in depth, is one of
the greatest examples of stream cutting to be found in the world.

[Illustration: _Fig. 44. A pile of brook debris deposited by the
checking of the current._]

Now the brook leads us into a dripping woodland, and just ahead we can
hear the roar of a little waterfall, for at this point the cutting
stream flows upon the bed rock with its alternating bands of hard and
soft rock through which the busy brook is cutting a miniature gorge.
Here is a hard layer which the stream has undermined until it stands out
as a shelf, over which the water leaps and falls in one mass with a drop
of nearly ten feet. Watch how the water below boils and eddies; think
with what force it is hammering its stone-cutting tools upon the rocky
floor. Surely here is a place where the brook is cutting fast. Notice
that swirling eddy where the water is whirling about with the speed of a
spinning top; let us remember this eddy and when the water is lower we
will try to see what is happening at its bottom.

On the other side of the woods our brook emerges into a broad meadow;
let us follow it and see what becomes of its load, whether it is carried
onward, or whether the tired brook lays it down occasionally to rest.
Out of the woods, the brook dashes down a steep incline until the
foaming tide comes to rest in a deep pool. What becomes of the large
pebbles which have been swept down? Do they go on or do they stop? If
you go to the outlet of the pool you will see that the water is coming
out with nothing in its grasp but the fine clay and sand, the gravel and
pebbles having been dropped by the less rapid current of the pool. This
is one of the most important of the brook's lessons, for anything that
tends to check the current makes it drop some of the sediment that it
carries (Fig. 44). Yonder is an old tree stump with its crooked roots
caught fast on the bottom; the mid-stream current rushes against it only
to be thrown back in a boiling eddy, and the waters split in twain and
flow by on either side with their current somewhat checked. In the rear
of the stump is a region of quiet water where the brook is building up a
pile of gravel. Farther on, the banks of the brook are low and here the
waters no longer remain in the channel, but overflow the low land,
spreading out on either side in a broad sheet. The increased friction of
this larger area reduces the current, and again we see the brook laying
down some of its load. The sand and gravel deposited here is spread out
in a flat plain called a _flood plain_, because it is built up when the
stream is in flood. It is on the large flood plains of rivers that many
of our richest farm lands occur. These receive, each spring when the
stream is in flood, a fresh coating of soil mixed with fragments of
vegetable matter, and thus grow deeper and richer year by year. The
flood plains of the Mississippi and of the Nile are notable examples of
this important form of stream deposit.

[Illustration: _Fig. 45. A delta built by a tiny rill flowing from a
steep clay bank._]

And now let us make one more rainy-day observation before going back to
our warm, dry homes. Just ahead on the other side of that clump of
alders and willows lies the pond into which the brook flows and where
its current is so checked that it gives up almost all its burden of
sediment. Close to the shore it has dropped its heaviest fragments,
while the sand and clay have been carried farther out, each to be
dropped in its turn, carefully assorted as to size and weight. Here you
can see that the stream has partly filled this end of the pond, and it
is now sending its divided current out over the deposit which it has
made in a series of branching rivulets. This deposit is called a _delta_
(Fig. 45), and deltas are another important form of stream deposits. In
the lakes and ponds, deltas may grow outward until the lake is filled,
when the stream will meander across the level plain without much current
and hence without much cutting power (Fig. 46). In the sea, great deltas
are being formed in some places, like those at the mouths of the
Mississippi, the Nile, and the Ganges. Large areas of dry land have thus
been built. Deltas, like flood plains, afford rich farming lands when
they are built high enough to remain above the water.

[Illustration: _Fig. 46. A brook flowing across a pond which has been

Here let us end our study of the brook for to-day, and wait until the
rain ceases and the water runs clear again; then we can see the bottom
and can also learn by contrast how much more work the brook has been
doing to-day than it does when the volume of water is less.

On the road home, however, we can notice how the temporary streams, as
well as the everflowing brook, have been cutting and depositing. See
where this tiny rill has run down that steep clay bank until its
current was checked at the foot. Notice how it has spread out its
sediment in a fan-shaped deposit. This form of deposit is sometimes made
by larger streams, especially in a mountainous country with plains at
the foot of the slopes. They are called _alluvial fans_ or _cone deltas_
(Fig. 47), but they are not as important as flood plains and deltas.

[Illustration: _Fig. 47. A brook building a delta into a lake. Formerly
the brook flowed straight ahead, but its own delta has caused it to
change its direction._]

The first dry, sunny morning that comes we visit the brook again. It no
longer roars, but its clear waters now sing a pleasant melody as they
ripple along the stony bed. We can see at a glance that comparatively
little work is going on to-day, and yet if we look closely, we shall see
glittering particles of sand moving along the bottom. The clear water,
however, allows us to study the bottom which before was hidden by the
load of mud.

First we see the rounded boulders and pebbles of all sizes which must
have been rolled about for a long time to make them so smooth. Some of
them are so very hard that we cannot even scratch them with our knives;
others are soft and easily broken. What would be the effect of rolling
together stones of such varying hardness? We must think of these stones
as the tools with which the brook cuts and grinds, for water without
sediment can do little more than slightly to dissolve the rock.

Let us go at once to the little waterfall, for we shall be curious to
see what lies at the bottom of the whirling eddy that drew our attention
yesterday. As we look down into the sunlit pool we see that the eddy is
gone, for the volume of water is not great enough to cause it to
revolve, but there in the rock on the bottom is a deep basin-like hole.
In the bottom of this hole we shall see a number of well-rounded stones,
with perhaps some sand and gravel. These stones are the tools which,
whirled about by the eddying water, have cut the basin-like holes. Holes
of this sort are common in rocky stream beds, especially in the
neighborhood of falls or in places where falls have once been; they are
called _pot-holes_ and represent another form of stream cutting (Fig.

[Illustration: _Fig. 48. A pot-hole cut in the rock of a stream's bed._]

Next let us visit the flood plains which we saw forming when the water
was high. Now we shall find the brook flowing in its channel with the
flood plain deposits left high and dry. If we dig down into the flood
plain, we shall see that it is made up of successive layers varying in
thickness and in the size of the fragments. Each of these layers
represents a period of high water and the size of the fragments in the
layer tells us something of the strength of the current, and therefore
of the intensity of the flood. Some layers are thicker than others,
showing a longer period of flood, or perhaps several floods in which
there was little variation. This _stratification_, as it is called, is
one of the peculiarities of water deposits and it is due to the
assorting power of currents which vary in force. If we were to cut into
the delta we should find the same thing to be true,--a regular
succession of layers, though sometimes confused by changes in direction
of flow.

To-day we shall notice something which escaped our attention when it was
held by the rushing torrent--the valley bottom is much wider than the
bed of the stream; if we keep our eyes open we shall see the explanation
of this in the abandoned channels, where, owing to some temporary
obstructions, the stream has been turned from side to side of the
valley, now cutting on one bank and now on the other. In this turning
from side to side the cutting area of the stream is increased, and it
goes on widening its valley as well as cutting it downward.

And now we have learned some of the most important ways in which the
busy brook is toiling; but there are other points which we might have
seen, and in some brooks there are special features to be noted.
However, we have learned that the brook is no idler, that its main work
is to conduct to the ocean the rain that falls upon the earth's surface,
and that in doing this it is wearing down the hills, carrying them away
only to build up in other places. The cheerful song of the brook takes
on a new meaning as we lie in the shade and watch it hurry by. It is not
the song of idleness nor of pleasure, but like the song with which a
cheerful and tireless worker seeks to make its task lighter.




[13] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 5: Leaflet 18, June, 1900.


What wader, be he boy or water-fowl, has not watched the water-insects?
How they dart hither and thither, some skimming the surface, others
sturdily rowing about in the clear shallows! The sunlight fastens, for
an instant, their grotesque reflections on the smooth bottom, then
away--the shadow is lost, except for the picture it left in the memory
of the onlooker.

The splashing, dashing wader, with his shout and his all-disturbing
stick, stands but a poor chance of making intimate acquaintances among
water-folk. Your true brook-lover is a quiet individual except when
occasion demands action. The lad who, from the vantage ground of a
fallen log or overhanging bank, looks down on the housekeeping affairs
of his tiny neighbors has the right spirit. Indeed, I doubt whether
these little folk are aware of his presence or curiosity.

Time was when the enjoyment of brook-life was limited to boys. White
aprons, dainty slippers and fear of being called "Tom-boy" restrained
the natural impulses of the "little women." Happily that day is past,
and it no longer looks queer for girls to live in the open air and
sunshine, free to chase butterflies and hunt water-bugs with their

My brooks abound in swift eddies, perfect whirlpools in miniature, and
water-falls of assorted sizes. They have also their quiet reaches, where
whirligig beetles perform their marvelous gyrations, and bright-eyed
polliwogs twirl their tails in early May. On the banks are ferns and
mosses; sometimes willows and alders form a fringing border.

The heart-leaved willows along many brooksides are found to bear at the
tips of many of their branches, knob-like bodies which look like pine
cones. (Fig. 49.) Now everybody knows that willows bear their seeds in
catkins. Why, then, should so many brookside willows thrust these cones
in our faces? On cutting one of the cones open, we learn the secret. A
tiny colorless grub rolls helplessly out of a cell in the very centre of
the cone. It is the young of a small gnat, scarcely larger than a
mosquito, and known as a "gall gnat." The cone-shaped body on the willow
branch is called a "pine-cone willow-gall." The little gray gnat comes
out in the spring. Any one can collect the galls from the willows and
keep them in some kind of cage in the house until the gnats come forth.

[Illustration: _Fig. 49. Knob-like bodies resembling pine cones._]

The pine-cone gall is an enlarged and deformed bud. The twig might have
developed into a branch but for the presence of the little larva. The
scales of the cone are the parts which under more favorable conditions
would have been leaves. The brook-lover cannot afford to miss the
pine-cone willow-galls.

Wandering along the brookside in spring or early summer, one is
surprised to find so many insect visitors darting about in the air.
There are dragon-flies of many shapes, sizes and colors; dainty
damsel-flies perch airily on reeds, their gleaming wings a-flutter in
the sunshine; sometimes a nervous mud-wasp alights for a moment, and
then up and away. The dragon-flies seem intent on coming as near to the
water as possible without wetting their wings. They pay no heed to other
visitors, yet how easily they escape the net of the would be collector!
Let them alone. Their business is important if we would have a new
generation of dragon-flies to delight the eye next year. The eggs of
these creatures are left in the water and the young ones are aquatic. If
you would know more of them, dip down into the stream in some sluggish
bay. Dip deep and trail the net among the water plants. Besides
dragon-fly nymphs there will be caddice-worm cases like tiny cob-houses,
water-boatmen, back-swimmers, and giant water-bugs.[14] These are
insects characteristic of still or sluggish water, and are found in
spring and summer.

[14] These and other forms found in still or slow flowing water are
described and pictured in Leaflet No. XII, Life in an Aquarium.

[Illustration: _Fig. 50. Water-striders have long, thin legs._]

The insects which skip lightly over the surface of the water where the
current is not too strong, are water-striders. (Fig. 50.) Some are short
and stout, others slender-bodied; but all have long thin legs. Their
color is nearly black. As they scurry about in the sunshine the
delighted watcher will sometimes catch a glimpse of their reflections on
the bottom. Six oval bits of shadow, outlined by rims of light; there is
nothing else like it! Be sure you see it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 51. The dobson makes no pretensions to beauty.
(Natural size)._]

Let us leave the quiet, restful pools and the sluggish bays, and follow
the hurrying water to the rapids. Every stone changes the course of the
current and the babble makes glad the heart of the wayfarer. Let us
"leave no stone unturned," until we have routed from his favorite haunt
that genius of the rapids, the dobson. (Fig. 51.) These creatures bear
other common names. They are prized by fishermen in the black bass
season. Dirty brown in color and frankly ugly in appearance and
disposition, these larvæ, for such they are, have little to fear from
the casual visitor at the water's edge. When a stone is lifted, the
dobsons beneath it allow themselves to be hurried along for some
distance by the current. The danger over, they "catch hold" and await
their prey farther down stream. In spite of their vicious looking jaws
these insects are not venomous. At the very worst they could do no more
than pinch the finger of the unwary explorer.

[Illustration: _Fig. 52. May-fly nymph._ (_Three times natural size_).]

When the dobson is full grown, it is called a hellgrammite fly or horned
corydalis. It has lost none of its ugliness, though it has gained two
pairs of thin, brownish-gray wings, and flies about in the evening. It
has been known to create some consternation by flying in at an open
window. It is harmless and short-lived in the adult stage.

Upturned stones are likely to bring to view other strangers. Lying close
against these wet stony surfaces one usually finds young May-flies.
(Fig. 52.[15]) These, like the young dragon-flies, are called _nymphs_.

[15] Figures 52, 53 and 54 are adapted from Dr. R. Leuckart's Zoological

When they are ready to leave the water they make their way to the shore,
and, clinging to some convenient tree trunk or building, they shed their
nymph skins. I have seen trees and buildings on the banks of the St.
Lawrence river literally covered with these cast skins. In the early
morning in June and July one may watch the molting process, the
unfolding of the gauzy wings, and the unsheathing of the long filaments.
(Fig. 53.)

Do not believe that May-flies are harmful. They are sometimes too
numerous for comfort at summer resorts where myriads of them swarm about
the lights; but stories of their stinging and biting are entirely
without foundation. They are short-lived in the adult stage. The name of
the family to which they belong, _Ephemeridæ_, suggests their ephemeral
existence. It is of these that poets have sung.

Stone-fly nymphs, also, cling closely to the flat stones. The cast skins
of these are frequently found on the banks of streams. They resemble
the May-fly nymphs but can be identified by a comparison with these
illustrations. (Fig. 54.)

Sometimes on the very brink of a cataract one will see what appear like
patches of loose black moss. Strangely enough, these are the larvæ of
black-flies, related to the terrible black-fly of the north woods. The
black-fly larvæ can live only in the swiftest water. There they pass
through their transformations and succeed in emerging into their aërial
stage, in spite of the rushing current.

[Illustration: _Fig. 53. The May-fly sheds its nymph skin._ (_Twice
natural size._)]

All these things and many more are seen by those who frequent the water
brooks. Observers cannot tell all they see, for some things are too deep
for words. They can and do say to one and all, "Come, let us visit the
brook together. The water and all that dwell in it and round about,
invite us and make us welcome."

[Illustration: _Fig. 54. Stone-fly, showing one pair of wings. The
lower figure is a nymph._ (_Twice natural size._)]




[16] Teachers' Leaflet No. 11. May, 1898.


There is no more fascinating adjunct to nature-study than a well-kept
aquarium. It is a never-ending source of enjoyment, interest and
instruction to students of any age. Children in the kindergarten or at
home will watch with delight the lively occupants, which cut all sorts
of queer capers for their amusement, and older people may read some of
nature's choicest secrets through the glassy sides of the little water
world. To many, the word aquarium suggests a vision of an elaborately
constructed glass box, ornamented with impossible rock-work and strange
water plants, or a globe in which discouraged and sickly-looking
gold-fish appear and disappear, and take strange, uncanny shapes as they
dart hither and thither.

Such forms of aquaria have their place in the world, but they are not
suited to the needs of an ordinary school-room. Every school may have
some sort of an aquarium if the teacher and pupils are willing to give
it some daily thought and care. Without such attention a fine aquarium
may become an unsightly and disagreeable object, its inhabitants
unhealthy and its beauty and usefulness lost.

The great fundamental principle underlying success in making and
maintaining an aquarium is this: _imitate nature_. We all know how much
easier it is to formulate a principle, and even to write a book about
it, than to put it into practice. Most of us have not had the time and
opportunity for the close observation of nature necessary to interpret
her methods and to imitate her. It is to those teachers who are anxious
to learn what nature has to teach and who wish to lead their pupils to a
higher and wider conception of life, that these suggestions are offered.

Four things are important in making and keeping an aquarium:

1. The equilibrium between plant and animal life must be secured and
maintained. It is probable that an aquarium in an elementary school is
mainly used for the study of animal life; but animals do not thrive in
water where no plants are growing. Nature keeps plants and animals in
the same pond and we must follow her lead. The plants have three
valuable functions in the aquarium. First, they supply food for the
herbivorous creatures. Second, they give off a quantity of oxygen which
is necessary to the life of the animals. Third, they take up from the
water the harmful carbonic acid gas which passes from the bodies of the
animals. Just how the plants do this is another story.

[Illustration: _Fig. 55. A museum-jar aquarium. (More animal life would
make a better equilibrium._)]

2. The aquarium must be ventilated. Its top should be broad and open.
Every little fish, snail and insect wants air, just as every boy and
girl wants it. A certain quantity of air is mixed with the water, and
the creatures must breathe that or come to the surface for their supply.
How does Mother Nature manage the ventilation of her aquaria,--the ponds
and streams? The plants furnish part of the air, as we have said. The
open pond, whose surface is ruffled by every passing breeze, is
constantly being provided with fresh air. A tadpole or a fish can no
more live in a long-necked bottle than a boy can live in a chimney.

3. The temperature should be kept between 40° and 50° Fahr. Both nature
and experience teach us this. A shady corner is a better place for the
aquarium than a sunny window on a warm day.

4. It is well to choose such animals for the aquarium as are adapted to
life in still water. Unless one has an arrangement of water pipes to
supply a constant flow of water through the aquarium, it is better not
to try to keep creatures that we find in swift streams.

Practical experience shows that there are certain dangers to guard
against,--dangers which may result in the unnecessary suffering of the
innocent. Perhaps the most serious results come from overstocking. It is
better to have too few plants or animals than too many of either. A
great deal of light, especially bright sunlight, is not good for the
aquarium. A pond that is not shaded soon becomes green with a thick
growth of slime or algæ. This does not look well in an aquarium and is
likely to take up so much of the plant-food that the other plants are
"starved out." The plants in the school-room window may provide shade
for the aquarium, just as the trees and shrubs on its banks shade the
pond. If we find green slime forming on the light side of our miniature
pond, we should put it in a darker place, shade it heavily so that the
light comes in from the top only, and put in a few more snails. These
will make quick work of the green slime, since they are fond of it, if
we are not.

[Illustration: _Fig. 56. A rectangular glass aquarium._]

Some of the most innocent-looking "water nymphs" may be concealing
habits that we can hardly approve. There are some which feed on their
smaller and weaker neighbors, and even on the members of their own
families. We know that such things go on in nature, but if we wish to
have a happy family we must keep the cannibals by themselves.

After an aquarium has been filled with water and the inhabitants well
established, it is not necessary to change the water, except in case of
accident. The water that is lost by evaporation has to be replaced. It
should be poured in gently in order not to disturb the water and destroy
its clearness. If a piece of rubber tubing is available, a practical use
of the siphon can be shown and the aquarium replenished at the same
time. It is a good plan to use rain water, or clear water from a pond,
for this purpose.

A piece of thin board or a pane of glass may be used as a cover to keep
the dust out of the aquarium. This need not fit tightly or be left on
all the time. A wire netting or a cover of thin cotton net would keep
the flying insects from escaping, and it might be tied on permanently.
Dust may be skimmed off the top of the water or may be removed by laying
pieces of blotting paper on the surface for a moment.

If any of the inhabitants do not take kindly to the life in the
aquarium, they can be taken out and kept in a jar by themselves--a sort
of fresh air and cold water cure. If any chance to die they ought to be
removed before they make the water unfit for the others. Bits of
charcoal in the water are helpful if a deodorizer or disinfectant is

[Illustration: _Fig. 57. A home-made aquarium._]

Experience, the dear but thorough teacher, is of more value to every one
of us than many rules and precepts. Nothing can rob us of the pleasure
that comes of finding things out for ourselves. Much of the fun as well
as much of the success in life comes from overcoming its difficulties.
One must have a large store of patience and courage and hopefulness to
undertake the care of an aquarium. After it is once made it is less
trouble to take care of than a canary or a pet rabbit. But most things
that are worth doing require patience, courage and hopefulness, and if
we can add to our store of any of these by our study of life in an
aquarium we are so much the better for it.

Two kinds of aquaria will be found useful in any school. Permanent
ones--those which are expected to continue through a season or through a
whole year if the school-room is warm enough to prevent freezing; and
temporary ones--those which are for lesson hours or for the study of
special forms.

If some one phase in the life of any aquatic animal is to be studied
during a short period, it is well to have special temporary aquaria.
Also, when a talk on some of the occupants of the larger aquarium is to
be given, specimens may be placed in small vessels for the time being
and returned later. For such purposes glass tumblers can be used, or
small fruit jars, finger bowls, broken goblets set in blocks of wood,
ordinary white bowls or dishes, tubs, pails or tanks for large
fishes,--in fact any wide-mouthed vessel which is easy to get. Special
suggestions will be made in connection with the study of some of the
water insects and others.

A permanent aquarium need not be an expensive affair. The rectangular
ones are best if large fishes are to be kept, yet they are not
essential. Here, again, it is easier to write directions for the
construction of a perfect aquarium than it is for the most patient
teacher, with the help of the boys who are handy with tools, to put
together a box of wood and glass that will not spring a leak some day
and spoil everything. But failures do not discourage us; they make us
only more determined. If a rectangular water-tight box is out of the
question, what is the next best thing? One of the busiest laboratories
in New York State has plants and animals living in jars of all shapes
and sizes,--fruit jars, glass butter jars, candy jars, battery jars,
museum jars, and others of like nature. There are rectangular and round
aquaria of various sizes kept by all firms who deal in laboratory
supplies, and if some money is to be spent, one of these is a good
investment. Fig. 56 shows one of these rectangular ones, and Fig. 57
shows a round one of small size which is useful and does not cost much.


A cheap, substantial aquarium for general use may be made of glass and
"angle" or "valley" tin. Pieces of glass are always handy and the tin
can be had at any tin-shop. The tinsmith will know just how to cut,
"angle" and solder it.

The following directions for making an aquarium of this kind are
supplied us by Professor C. F. Hodge of Clark University. He has made
and used them for years with great satisfaction in the university
laboratory and in graded schools.

The illustration (Fig. 58, 59) shows various sizes. A good all-round
size has these dimensions: 12 inches high, 15 inches long and 8 inches
wide. One may use spoiled photographic plates for small desk aquaria, in
which to watch the development of "wigglers," dragon-fly nymphs or other
water insects. Lids of wire screen are shown on some of the aquaria in
the picture (1, 2 and 3).

_To make the frame._--If the aquarium is to be 10 x 8 x 5 inches, we
shall need two pieces of glass for sides 10 x 5 inches, two for ends 8 x
10, and one for bottom 8 x 5; and two strips of tin 3/4 inch wide, 28
inches long, and four strips 10-3/8 inches long. These should be angled
by the tinner, and out of them we shall make the frame. The 28-inch
strips should be cut with tinner's snips half way in two at 10-3/8,
5-3/8, 10-3/8 and 5-3/8 inches, cutting off the end at the last mark.
This keeps the top and the bottom of the frame each in one piece. Next
we bend them into shape. When the corners are well squared they should
be soldered. The four 10-3/8 pieces make the vertical corners and we
will solder them in place. An easy way to be sure that each angle is
square is to hold it in a mechanic's square while soldering it.

[Illustration: _Figs. 58, 59. Permanent aquarium made of tin and

_To set the glass._--Lay the aquarium cement (see recipe) on evenly all
around the bottom of the frame and press the bottom glass into place.
Put in the sides and ends in the same way. Next carefully put a few very
limber twigs into the aquarium to hold the glass against the frame till
the cement takes hold. Cut off the extra cement with a knife and smooth
it nicely. Cover the frame with asphaltum varnish or black lacquer. In
a week it will be ready to use.

Double thick glass must be used for large aquaria.

_Cement._--Shun all resinous cements that require to be put on hot. The
following is a recipe for cement used in successful angle tin aquaria,
for both salt and fresh water:

  10 parts, by measure, fine, dry, white sand,
  10 parts plaster of Paris,
  10 parts litharge,
  1 part powdered resin.

Stir well together and, as wanted, mix to consistency of _stiff_ putty
with _pure_ boiled linseed oil.

The formula given by the U. S. Fish Commission is recommended:

  8 parts putty,
  1 part red lead,
  1 part litharge.

Mix, when wanted, to consistency of _stiff_ putty, with raw linseed oil.

After reading all these directions and getting the idea of an aquarium,
one should think the whole matter out for himself and make it just as he
wants it. Directions are useful as suggestions only. The shallow form is
better for raising toads, frogs and insect larvæ; the deeper aquaria
show water plants and fishes to better advantage.


[Illustration: _Fig. 60. Eel-grass._]

It is now time to begin to think about what shall be kept in the
aquarium. At the bottom a layer of sand, the cleaner the better, two or
three inches deep will be needed. A few stones, not too large, may be
dropped in on top of this first layer, to make it more natural. The
water plants come next and will thrive best if planted securely in the
sand. The most difficult thing is to get the water in without stirring
things up. A good way is to pour the water in a slow stream against the
inside of the aquarium. The best way is to use a rubber tube siphon, but
even then the water ought not to flow from a very great height. If the
aquarium is large, it had better be put in its permanent place before

The aquarium will soon be ready for snails, polliwogs, and what ever
else we may wish to put into it. In the course of a few days the plants
will be giving up oxygen and asking for carbon dioxid.

[Illustration: _Fig. 61. Duck-weed._]

_Plants that thrive and are useful in aquaria._--Many of the common
marsh or pond plants are suitable. The accompanying illustrations show a
few of these. Nothing can be prettier than some of these soft, delicate
plants in the water. The eel-grass, or tape grass (Fig. 60), is an
interesting study in itself, especially at blossoming time when the
spiral stems, bearing flowers, appear.

Any who are especially interested in the life-history of this plant may
read in reference books a great deal about what other observers have
learned from the plant concerning its methods of growth and development.
The best that we learn will be what the plant itself tells us day by

Some of the best reference books on both plant and animal life are found
in the New York State Teachers' Library and can be obtained by teachers
through the school commissioners.

[Illustration: _Fig. 62. Water plants._]

Every boy and girl who likes to taste the fresh, peppery plants which
they find growing in cold springs, knows watercress. If the aquarium is
not too deep, this plant will grow above the surface and furnish a
resting place for some snail which, tired perhaps by its constant
activity, enjoys a few minutes in the open air.

Duck-weed or duck's-meat (Fig. 61) grows on the surface, dangling its
long thread-like roots in the water. A little of it is enough. Too much
would keep us from looking down upon our little friends in the water.

The parrot's feather (Fig. 62, A) is an ornamental water plant that can
be obtained from a florist; a plant that looks very like it grows in our
ponds. It is called water-milfoil.

The water purslane, B, or the common stoneworts, _Nitella_ and _Chara_,
D, E, the waterweed, F, and the horn-wort, C, appear graceful and pretty
in the water. If you do not find any of these, you are sure to find
others growing in the ponds in your neighborhood which will answer the
purpose just as well.

[Illustration: _Fig. 63. Snail._]

_Animals that may be kept in aquaria._--_The snail._ The common pond
snail with the spiral shell, either flat or conical, can be found
clinging to the stems of the cat-tails or flags and to floating rubbish
in ponds or swamps. If these are picked off carefully and taken home in
a pail of water they will be valuable inhabitants for the aquarium. They
are vegetable feeders and unless there is some green slime in the water,
cabbage or lettuce leaves may be put where the snails can get them. The
eggs of the snail are excellent food for fishes, and if a few could be
secured for special study, their form, habits and development may be
made delightful observation and drawing lessons. Snails can be kept out
of the water for some time on moist earth. Land snails and slugs should
be kept on wet sand and fed with lettuce and cabbage leaves. The common
slug of the garden is often injurious to vegetation. It may always be
tracked by the trail of slime it leaves behind it. Gardeners often
protect plants from those creatures by sprinkling wood-ashes about them.

_Minnows._ Every boy knows where to find these spry little fellows. They
can be collected with a dipper or net and will thrive in an aquarium if
fed with earth worms or flies or other insects. If kept in small
quarters where food is scarce, they will soon dispatch the other
occupants of the jar. They will, however, eat bits of fresh meat. If the
aquarium is large enough, it would hardly be complete without minnows.

[Illustration: _Fig. 64. Snail with conical shell._]

_Cat fish._--It will not be practicable to keep a cat fish in the
permanent aquarium. If one is to be studied it can be obtained at any
fish market or by angling, the latter a slow method, but one which will
appeal to every boy in the class. The cat fish should be kept in a tub,
tank, or large pan of water, and if not wanted for laboratory work, they
might be fried for lunch, as cat fish are very good eating.

_Gold fish_ are a special delight if kept in large aquaria. These may
often be obtained from dealers in the larger cities. Those who wish
other fish for study should be able to get information from the New York
State Fish Culturist, concerning the species that are suited to life in
still water, and how to get and take care of them.

[Illustration: _Fig. 65. "Frog spawn."_]

_The clam._--If empty clam shells are plenty on the bank of some stream
after a freshet, a supply of clams may be obtained by raking the mud or
sand at the bottom of the stream. They can be kept in a shallow pan, and
if the water is warmish and they are left undisturbed for a time, they
will move about. If kept in a jar of damp sand they will probably bury
themselves. They feed on microscopic plants and might not thrive in the
permanent aquarium.

_Crawfish or crayfish._--These can be collected with nets from under
stones in creeks or ponds. They can live very comfortably out of the
water part of the time. There is small chance for the unsuspecting snail
or water insect which comes within reach of the hungry jaws of the
crawfish, and the temporary aquarium is the safest place for him. Many
who live near the ocean can obtain and keep in sea water the lobster, a
cousin of the crawfish, and will find that the habits of either will
afford much amusement as well as instruction. The school boy generally
knows the crawfish as a "crab."

[Illustration: _Fig. 66. A useful net for general collecting._]

_The frog._--The study of the development of the common frog is
accompanied with little or no difficulty. To be sure there are some
species which require two or three years to complete their growth and
changes, from the egg to the adult, yet most of the changes can be seen
in one year. Frogs are not at all shy in the spring, proclaiming their
whereabouts in no uncertain tones from every pond in the neighborhood.
The "frog spawn" can be found clinging to plants or rubbish in masses
varying in size from a cluster of two or three eggs to great lumps as
large as the two fists. The "spawn" is a transparent jelly in which the
eggs are imbedded. Each egg is dark colored, spherical in shape, and
about as large as a small pea. The eggs of the small spotted salamander
are found in similar masses of jelly and look very much like the frog's
eggs. If a small quantity of this jelly-like mass be secured by means of
a collecting net or by wading in for it, it may be kept in a flat white
dish with just enough clean, cool water to cover it, until the young
tadpoles have hatched. As they grow larger a few may be transferred to a
permanent aquarium prepared especially for them in a dish with sloping
sides, and their changes watched from week to week through the season.
The growing polliwog feeds on vegetable diet; what does the full grown
frog eat?

[Illustration: _Fig. 67. The predaceous diving-beetle._]

_Insects that can be kept in aquaria._--Insects are to many the most
satisfactory creatures that can be keep in aquaria. They are plentiful,
easy to get, each one of the many kinds seems to have habits peculiar to
itself, and each more curious and interesting than the last.

Some insects spend their entire life in the water; others are aquatic
during one stage of their existence only. Those described here are a few
of the common ones in ponds and sluggish streams, of the central part of
the state of New York. If these cannot be found, others just as
interesting may be kept instead. One can hardly make a single dip with a
net without bringing out of their hiding places many of these "little

The predaceous diving-beetle (Fig. 67) is well named. He is a diver by
profession and is a skilled one. The young of this beetle are known as
"water-tigers" (Fig. 68), and their habits justify the name. Their food
consists of the young of other insects; in fact it is better to keep
them by themselves unless we wish to have the aquarium depopulated. When
the tiger has reached his full size, his form changes and he rests for a
time as a pupa; then comes forth as a hard, shiny beetle like Fig. 67.

[Illustration: _Fig. 68. A water-tiger._]

The water-scavenger beetle (Fig. 69), so called because of its appetite
for decayed matter, is common in many ponds. It has, like the diving
beetle, a hard, shiny back, with a straight line down the middle, but
the two can be distinguished when seen together. The young of this
beetle look and act something like the water-tigers, but have not such
great ugly jaws.

[Illustration: _Fig. 69. A water-scavenger beetle._]

There are three other swimmers even more delightful to watch than those
already mentioned. The water-boatmen (Fig. 70), with their sturdy
oar-like legs and business-like way of using them, are droll little
fellows. They are not so large as the back-swimmers. Fig. 71 shows a
back-swimmer just in the act of pulling a stroke. These creatures swim
with their boat-shaped backs down and their six legs up. We must be
careful how we handle the back-swimmers, for each one of them carries a
sharp bill and may give us a thrust with it which would be painful,
perhaps poisonous.

[Illustration: _Fig. 70. Water-boatman._]

The water-scorpion (Fig. 72) is a queer creature living in a neighborly
way with the boatmen and back-swimmers, though not so easy to find. Do
not throw away any dirty little twig which you find in the net after a
dip among water plants near the bottom of a stream or pond. It may begin
to squirm and reveal the fact that it is no twig but a slender-legged
insect with a spindle-shaped body. We may handle it without danger, as
it is harmless. This is a water-scorpion, and his way of catching his
prey and getting his air supply will be interesting to watch. He is not
shy and will answer questions about himself promptly and cheerfully.
Fig. 72 will give an idea of the size and appearance of this insect.

[Illustration: _Fig. 71. A back-swimmer._]

No water insect except the big scavenger beetle can begin to compare in
size with the giant water-bug (Fig. 73). We may think at first that he
is a beetle, yet the way he crosses his wings on his back proves him a
true bug. In quiet ponds these giants are common enough, but the boy or
girl who "bags" a full-grown one at the first dip of the net may be
considered lucky.

The boatmen, back-swimmers and giants all have oars, yet are not
entirely dependent on them. They have strong wings, too, and if their
old home gets too thickly settled, and the other insects on which they
feed are scarce, they fly away to other places. The giant water-bug
often migrates at night, and is attracted to any bright light he sees in
his journey. This habit has given him the popular name of
"electric-light bug."

[Illustration: _Fig. 72. Water-scorpion._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 73. Giant water-bug._]

Among the insects which spend but part of their life in the water, we
shall find many surprises. It made us feel queer when we learned that
the restless but innocent-looking wiggler of the rain-water barrel was
really the young of the too familiar mosquito. The adult mosquito
leaves its eggs in tiny boat-shaped masses on the surface of stagnant
water, where food will be abundant for the young which soon appear. Some
time is spent by the wigglers in eating and growing before they curl up
into pupæ. Insects are rarely active in the pupa stage. The mosquito is
one of the very few exceptions. From these lively pupæ the full-grown
mosquitoes emerge. Fig. 74 shows a small glass tumbler in which are seen
the three aquatic stages of the mosquito's life and an adult just
leaving the pupa skin. Nothing is easier than to watch the entire
development of the mosquito, and the changes must be seen to be fully
enjoyed and appreciated. It would be interesting to note the differences
between the mosquitoes that come out of the small aquaria. A supply of
wigglers may be kept in the permanent aquarium where they serve as food
for the other insects.

[Illustration: _Fig. 74. Temporary aquarium, containing eggs, larvæ and
pupæ of mosquito._]

Every child knows the dragon-fly or darning-needle, and none but the
bravest of them dare venture near one without covering ears or eyes or
mouth, for fear of being sewed. Many and wide-spread are the
superstitions concerning this insect, and it is often difficult to bring
children to believe that this creature, besides being a thing of beauty,
is not only harmless but actually beneficial. If they knew how many
mosquitos the darning-needle eats in a day they would welcome instead of
fearing the gay creature.

The young of the dragon-fly live a groveling existence, as different as
can be from that of their sun-loving parents. Their food consists of
mosquito larvæ, water-fleas and the like, and their method of catching
their prey is as novel as it is effective. Pupils and teacher can get
plenty of good healthy entertainment out of the behavior of these
awkward and voracious little mask-wearers. The first dip of the net
usually brings up a supply of dragon-fly nymphs and of their more
slender cousins, the damsel-fly nymphs. The latter have expanded
plate-like appendages at the hind end of the body which distinguish them
from the dragon-fly nymphs.

[Illustration: _Fig. 75. The life history of a dragon-fly as seen in an

The transformation of one of these young insects into an adult is one of
the most interesting observation lessons that can be imagined for a warm
spring morning. If a dragon-fly nymph should signify its intention of
changing its form in my school-room, I should certainly suspend all
ordinary work and attend to him alone. Each child should see if possible
this wonderful transfiguration.

Floating in the water of a pond or stream one may find a little bundle
of grass or weed stems, with perhaps a tiny pebble clinging to the mass.
Close examination will prove this to be the "house-boat" of one of our
insect neighbors, the caddice-worm. Contrasting strangely with the
untidy exterior is the neat interior, with its lining of delicate silk,
so smooth that the soft-bodied creature which lives inside is safe from
injury. The commonest of the many forms of houses found here are those
illustrated in Figs. 76 and 77. These will find all they wish to eat in
a well-stocked aquarium. When full grown they will leave the water as
winged creatures, like Fig. 78, and return to its depths no more.

[Illustration: _Fig. 76. Case of caddice-worm._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 77. Another caddice-worm case._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 78. Caddice-fly._]

There is surely no lack of material furnished by Mother Nature
for the study of aquatic life. Every one who really believes in its
usefulness can have an aquarium, and will feel well repaid for the
time and effort required when the renewed interest in nature is
witnessed which this close contact with living beings brings
to every student. Let us take hold with a will, overcome the
difficulties in the way, and teacher and pupils become students




[17] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 8: Leaflet 21. January, 1901.


The first forms of animal life which attract the young naturalist's
attention are doubtless the birds. These are most interesting to him
because of their beautiful colors, their sweet songs, and the grace with
which they fly. But who has watched the fishes in a brook or an aquarium
and is not able to grant them a place, in beauty, grace and delicate
coloration, equal to the birds? To be sure, fishes cannot sing, yet
there are so many other interesting facts in connection with their
habits and life-histories that it fully makes up for their lack of


While observing a living fish and admiring its beauty, it will probably
occur to some of us that a fish consists only of a head and tail. Yet
this is not all. Between the head and tail is a part that we may call
the trunk. It contains the digestive and other organs. There is no
indication of a neck in a fish. Any such constriction would destroy the
regular outline of the animal's body and thus retard the speed with
which it moves through the water. But head, trunk and tail are not all.
There are attached to the outer side of the fish's body certain
appendages that are called fins.

Before discussing some of the different kinds of fishes and their
habits, it will be necessary to learn something about fins, for the fins
of all fishes are not alike. When a fish moves through the water, it
bends its tail first to one side and then to the other. This undulatory
movement, as it is called, pushes the fish's body ahead. One can observe
the movements easily upon a specimen kept alive in an aquarium jar. At
the extreme end of the tail there is a broad, notched fin which aids
the tail in propelling and steering the body. We will call this the
_tail_ or _caudal_ fin (Fig. 79 B). In most of our common fishes there
are seven fins--six without the caudal. The first of these six is a
large fin situated near the middle of the back. This is the _back_ or
_dorsal_ fin (Fig. 79 A). Sometimes we may find a fish that has two
dorsal fins. In this case the one nearest the head is called first
dorsal and the next one behind it the second dorsal. Near the head, in a
position corresponding to our arms, is a pair of fins which are called
the _arm_ or _pectoral_ fins (Fig. 79 E). Farther back towards the tail,
on the under side of the fish, is another pair, corresponding in
position to the hind legs of a quadruped. This pair is called the _leg_
or _pelvic_ fins (Fig. 79 D). Just behind the pelvic fins is a single
fin, situated on the middle line of the body. This is the _anal_ fin
(Fig. 79 C). The pectoral and pelvic fins are called paired fins because
they are in pairs. The others which are not in pairs are called median
fins, because they are situated on the middle line of the body. The
paired fins serve as delicate balancers to keep the body right side up
and to regulate speed. They are also used to propel the body backwards.
After naming the different fins of the fish in the schoolroom aquarium,
it will be interesting to observe the uses of each.

[Illustration: _Fig. 79. Diagram of a fish to show: A, dorsal fin; B,
caudal fin; C, anal fin; D, pelvic fins; E, pectoral fins; L, lateral

On the side of the body, extending from the head to the caudal fin, is,
in most fishes, a line made up of a series of small tubes which open
upon the surface. This is called the _lateral line_, and acts in the
capacity of a sense organ (Fig. 79 L). Is the lateral line straight or
curved? Does it curve upwards or downwards? Does the curvature differ in
different kinds of fishes? Do all the fishes you find possess a lateral
line? Is the lateral line complete in all fishes, _i. e._, does it
extend from the head to the caudal fin without a single break?


[Illustration: _Fig. 80. 1, Shiner; 2, Barred Killifish; 3, Black-nosed
Dace; 4, Creek Chub; 5, Young of Large-mouthed Black Bass; 6,
Varying-toothed Minnow._]

As winter approaches and the leaves fall and the ground becomes frozen,
the birds leave us and go farther south into warmer climates where food
is more abundant. We are all familiar with this habit of the birds, but
how many of us know or have even wondered what the fishes have been
doing through the cold winter months while the streams and ponds have
been covered with ice? Before the warmth of spring comes to raise the
temperature of the streams, let us go to some familiar place in a brook
where, during the summer, are to be found scores of minnows. None are to
be found now. The brook shows no signs of ever having contained any
living creatures. Suppose we go farther up or down the stream until we
find a protected pool the bottom of which is covered with sediment and
water-soaked leaves. With our net we will dip up some of the leaves and
sediment, being sure that we dip from the very bottom. On looking over
this mass of muddy material we may find a fish two or three inches long,
with very fine scales, a black back, a silvery belly and a blackish or
brown band on the side of the body extending from the tip of the nose to
the tail. This is the _Black-nosed Dace_ (Fig. 80). If specimens of this
fish are caught very early in the spring, one will be able to watch
some interesting color changes. As the spawning time approaches, the
dark band on the sides and the fins change to a bright crimson.
Sometimes the whole body may be of this gaudy color. During the summer
the lateral band becomes orange. As the season goes, the bright colors
gradually fade until finally, in the fall and winter, the little
black-nose is again clothed in his more modest attire. A great many of
the fishes, and especially the larger ones, seek some deep pond or pool
in the stream at the approach of winter, and remain near the bottom. If
the pond or stream is so deep that they do not become chilled they will
remain active, swimming about and taking food all winter. But when the
stream is very shallow and the fishes feel the cold, they settle down to
the bottom, moving about very little and taking little or no food. The
carp collect in small numbers and pass the winter in excavations that
they make in the muddy bottom. If the débris thrown up by the water
across the marshy end of a lake be raked over during the winter, one
will probably find some of the smaller catfishes spending the season in
a semi-dormant state.

[Illustration: _Fig. 81. The Common Catfish or Bullhead._]

Some interesting experiments may be tried with the fishes in the
aquarium jar. Keep them for a few days where it is cold and then bring
them into a warmer room and note the difference in their activity.


This sleepy old fellow differs in many respects from most of our common
fishes. He has no scales. About the mouth are eight long whisker-like
appendages, called barbels (Fig. 81). Perhaps he is called catfish
because he has whiskers about his mouth like a cat. Any one who has ever
taken a catfish from the hook probably knows that care is needed in
order not to receive a painful prick from the sharp spines in his
pectoral and dorsal fins.

There is nothing aristocratic about the catfish. In warm pools and
streams where the water is sluggish and the muddy bottom is covered with
weeds, he may be found moving lazily about in search of food. His taste
is not delicate. Animal substance, whether living or dead, satisfies
him. When in search of food he makes good use of his barbels, especially
those at the corners of his mouth, which he uses as feelers. The catfish
will live longer out of water than most of our other food fishes. They
will live and thrive in water which is far too impure for "pumpkin
seeds" or bass. They spawn late in the spring. The mother fish cares for
her young much as a hen cares for her chickens. When they are old enough
to take care of themselves, she weans them.


[Illustration: _Fig. 82. The common Sunfish or Pumpkin Seed._]

Some evening just at sunset visit a quiet pool in a nearby stream. Drop
in your hook baited with an "angle worm" and presently the dancing cork
shows that you have a "bite." On "pulling up" you find that you really
have a fish. It is a beautiful creature, too--thin flat body shaped
something like the seed of a pumpkin. His back is an olive green
delicately shaded with blue. His sides are spotted with orange, while
his belly is a bright yellow. His cheeks are orange-color streaked with
wavy lines of blue. Just behind his eye on his "ear-flap" is a bright
scarlet spot. This is the common _Sunfish_ or _Pumpkin Seed_ (Fig. 82).
He is a very beautiful, aristocratic little fellow, "looking like a
brilliant coin fresh from the mint."

Keep him alive in an aquarium jar with a shiner. Compare the two fishes,
as to the size and shape of their bodies and fins. Feed them different
kinds of food, such as worms, insects and crackers, and try to discover
which they like best and how they eat.

The sunfishes prefer quiet waters. They lay their eggs in the spring of
the year. The male selects a spot near the banks of the stream or pond
where the water is very shallow. Here he clears a circular area about a
foot in diameter. After making a slight excavation in the gravel or
sand, the nest is completed. The eggs are then deposited by the female
in the basin-like excavation. He watches his nest and eggs with great
diligence, driving away other fishes that chance to come near.


[Illustration: _Fig. 83. Adult Small-mouthed Black Bass._]

The black basses are not usually found in small streams where it is most
pleasant for teachers and pupils to fish. They are fishes that seek the
rivers and lakes. There are two kinds of black bass, the _Large-mouthed_
and the _Small-mouthed_. As the name indicates, the two may be
distinguished by the size of the mouth. In the large-mouthed black bass
the upper jaw extends to a point behind the eye, while in the
small-mouthed species it extends to a point just below the middle of the
eye (Fig. 83).

Both kinds of black bass may be found in the same body of water. The
character of the bottoms over which they are found, however, differs.
The small-mouthed prefers the stony bars or shoals. The large-mouthed,
on the contrary, selects a muddy bottom grown over with reeds. They feed
upon crayfish ("crabs"), minnows, frogs, worms, tadpoles and insects.
Our black basses are very queer parents. They prepare a nest in which
the eggs are deposited. Both male and female are very courageous in the
defense of their eggs and young. As soon as the young fishes are able to
take care of themselves the parent fishes leave them, and after that
time may even feed upon their own children.


[Illustration: _Fig. 84. A Stickleback._]

The sticklebacks are queer little fellows indeed (Fig. 84). The slender
body, extremely narrow tail, and the sharp, free spines in front of the
dorsal fin, give them at once the appearance of being both active and
pugnacious little creatures. The sticklebacks are detrimental to the
increase of other fishes since they greedily destroy the spawn and young
of all fishes that come within their reach. They build nests about two
inches in diameter, with a hole in the top. After the eggs are laid the
male defends the nest with great bravery. The little five-spined brook
stickleback in the Cayuga Lake basin, N. Y., is most commonly found in
stagnant pools, shaded by trees, where the water is filled with decaying
vegetable matter,--the so-called "green frog-spawn" (spirogyra), and
duck weed. If you supply the sticklebacks with plenty of fine vegetable
material, you may induce them to built a nest in the aquarium jar, but
they must be caught and placed in the jar early in the season before
they spawn.


In New York State, every swift stream which has a bed of gravel and flat
stones ought to contain some one of the Johnny darters, for there are a
great many different kinds (Fig. 85). They are little creatures,
delighting in clear water and swift currents where they dart about,
hiding under stones and leaves, or resting on the bottom with their
heads up-stream. The body of a darter is compact and spindle-shaped,
gradually tapering from the short head to a narrow tail. The eyes are
situated nearly on top of the head. The color of the darters varies
greatly with the different kinds. Some are very plain, the light ground
color being broken only by a few brown markings. Others are gorgeous in
their colorings, it seeming as if they had attempted to reproduce the
rainbow on their sides. Such kinds are indeed very attractive and are
ranked with the most beautifully colored of all our common fishes. When
a darter swims, he appears bird-like, for he flies through the water
much as a bird flies through the air. He does not use his tail alone in
swimming, as the catfish, the sunfish, the stickleback, and most of the
other fishes do, but flies with his pectoral fins.

[Illustration: _Fig. 85. A Johnny Darter._]

You surely must have a Johnny darter in your aquarium jar. The Johnnies
are true American fishes. Though small, they face the strong currents
and eke out a living where their larger cousin, the yellow perch, would
perish. There are many interesting facts which may be learned from the
Johnny darters when kept alive in an aquarium. When not actually moving
in the water, do the Johnnies rest on the bottom of the jar or remain
suspended in the middle apparently resting on nothing, as the other
aquarium fishes do? When a fish remains still in the middle of the jar
he does so because he has a well-developed air-bladder to help buoy him
up, and when a fish dies it is the air-bladder which causes him to turn
over and rise to the top. Now if the Johnnies always rest on the bottom
of the jar when not swimming and if one happens to die and does not rise
to the top we may know that, if he has an air-bladder at all, it is only
a vestigial one. It would be interesting also to find out for ourselves
whether a Johnny darter can really "climb trees" (I mean by trees, of
course, the water plants in the aquarium jar), or if he can perch upon
the branches like a bird.


[Illustration: _Fig. 86. A convenient form of aquarium jar supplied with
water plants. The bottom is covered with clean sand and flat stones._]

All the small fishes of the brooks are called minnows, or more often
"minnies," by the boy fisherman. The boy believes that they grow into
larger fishes. This is not true. The minnows are a distinct group of
fishes and, for the most part, small ones. They do not grow to be bass
or pike or sunfishes or anything else but minnows. Some of the minnows,
however, are comparatively large. Two of these are the _Creek Chub_
(Fig. 80), and the _Shiner_ (Fig. 80). The chub is the king of the small
brooks, being often the largest and most voracious fish found in such
streams. His common diet probably consists of insects and worms, but if
very hungry he does not object to eating a smaller fish. During the
spawning season, which is springtime, the male chub has sharp, horny
tubercles or spines developed upon the snout. We are able to recognize
the creek chub by means of a black spot at the front of the base of the
dorsal fin.

The shiner or red-fin has much larger scales than the chub. The back is
elevated in front of the dorsal fin, giving him the appearance of a
hump-back. His sides are a steel-blue with silvery reflections. While
the shiner is not the largest, it is almost everywhere one of the most
abundant brook fishes. In spring the lower fins of the male become
reddish. Like the chub, he has small horny tubercles developed on the


Did you ever see a fish yawn? Watch a shiner in your aquarium. Sometimes
you may see him open his mouth widely as though he was very sleepy.
Again you may find him resting on the bottom of the jar taking a nap.
Fishes cannot close their eyes when they sleep for they have no eyelids.

A convenient way to collect fishes for the schoolroom aquarium is to use
a dip net. The ordinary insect net will do, but it is better to replace
the cheese-cloth bag by a double thickness of mosquito-bar, thus
enabling one to move the net through the water more rapidly. By dipping
in the deep pools, among grasses and under the banks with such a net one
can soon obtain fishes enough to stock an aquarium (Fig. 86). The
aquarium jar should never be placed in the sun. It is better to have
only three or four fishes in an aquarium at one time. Some flat stones
on the bottom of the jar will afford them convenient hiding places.

For further notes on aquaria, consult Leaflet No. XII.





[18] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 4: Leaflet 17. March, 1900.


Among the commonest treasures brought into the schools by children in
the fall or winter are the cocoons of our giant silk-worms. If one has a
place to put them where the air is not too warm or dry, no special care
will be necessary to keep them through the winter. Out-door conditions
must be imitated as nearly as possible. If early in the fall one is
fortunate enough to meet one of these giants out for a walk, it is the
simplest thing in the world to capture him and watch him spin his
marvelous winter blanket. Two members of this family of giant insects
are quite common in this state, the largest the Cecropia, called
sometimes the Emperor, and the Promethea.

[Illustration: _Fig. 87. Cocoon of the Cecropia moth. It sometimes hangs
from a twig of a fruit tree._]

The Cecropia moth often measures five or six inches across--a veritable
giant. Its main color is dusty brown, with spots and bands of cinnamon
brown and white. On each wing is a white crescent bordered with red and
outlined with a black line. The body is heavy and covered with thick,
reddish-brown hairs, crossed near the end with black and white lines. On
its small head are two large feathery feelers or antennæ. The Cecropia
moth emerges from the cocoon, full grown, in early summer, when out of
doors. Those kept in the house often come out as early as March. The
eggs are deposited by the adults upon apple, pear, cherry, maple and
other shade and fruit trees. Professor Comstock says that the spiny
caterpillars which hatch from the eggs in about two weeks, are known to
feed upon the leaves of some fifty species of plants. One could
therefore hardly make a mistake in offering refreshment to these
creatures, since they are anything but epicures. The full-grown
caterpillar, having spent the summer eating and growing, with now and
then a change of clothes, is often three inches long and an inch in
diameter. It is a dull bluish green in color. On its back are two rows
of wart-like protuberances (tubercles), some yellow, some red, some
blue. As there is nothing else in nature which is just like it, one need
have no difficulty in recognizing the Cecropia in its different phases.

[Illustration: _Fig. 88. End of cocoon of Cecropia, inside view, showing
where the moth gets out._]

The cocoon which this giant silk-worm weaves is shown in Fig. 87. It may
be found on a twig of some tree in the dooryard, but sometimes on a
fence-post or equally unexpected place. Inside the cocoon the brown
pupa, alive but helpless, waits for spring.

After the moth comes out it is interesting to examine the structure of
the cocoon, and to discover how the moth managed to free itself without
destroying the silken blanket (Fig. 88).

Swinging loosely from last summer's twigs in lilac bushes, and on such
trees as wild cherry and ash, one often finds the slender cocoons of the
Promethea moth (Fig. 89). We cannot help admiring the skill and care
displayed by the spinner of this tidy winter overcoat. The giant
silk-worm which spun it chose a leaf as a foundation. He took care to
secure himself against the danger of falling by fastening the leaf to
the twig which bore it by means of shining strands of silk. It is easy
to test the strength of this fastening by attempting to pull it loose
from the twig.

[Illustration: _Fig. 89. Cocoon of Promethea moth fastened to a twig
with silk._]

The moths which come from these cocoons do not always look alike, yet
they are all brothers and sisters. The brothers are almost black, while
the wings of the sisters are light reddish brown, with a light gray wavy
line crossing the middle of both wings. The margins of the wings are
clay-colored. On each wing is a dark velvety spot. The adults emerge in
spring and are most often seen in the late afternoon. Their flight is
more spirited than that of the Cecropia, which moves very sedately, as
becomes a giant.

[Illustration: _Fig. 90. Cocoon of Promethea, cut open lengthwise to
show the valve-like device at upper end through which the adult moth
pushes its way out._]

The caterpillars of this species, the young Prometheas, feed during the
summer on leaves of wild cherry, ash and other trees. They grow to be
about two inches long, and are distinguished from others by their pale
bluish green color and yellow legs. They also have rows of wart-like
elevations on their backs, some black and shining, four of a bright red
and one large and yellow near the hindmost end.

       *       *       *       *       *

The life of these giant insects is divided into four distinct stages:
the egg, deposited by the adult moth usually on or near the food plant;
the larva, or caterpillar stage, when most of the eating and all the
growing is done; the pupa, passed inside the cocoon woven by the larva;
and the adult, a winged moth.

The life-cycle or generation is one year, the winter being passed in the
pupa stage. The insect lives but a short time in the adult stage and the
egg stage is but two or three weeks. Most of the summer is devoted to
the caterpillar phase of its life.

These creatures are entirely harmless. They seldom appear in numbers
sufficient to make them of economic importance.




[19] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 9: Leaflet 22. May, 1901.


Of all our little neighbors of the fields there are none that are more
universally shunned and feared than spiders, and few that deserve it
less. There is a wide-spread belief that spiders are dangerous, that
they are liable to bite, and that their bites are very venomous. Now
this may be true of certain large species that live in hot countries;
but the spiders of the Northern United States are practically harmless.

It is true, spiders bite and inject venom sufficient to kill a fly into
the wound made by their jaws. But they are exceedingly shy creatures,
fearing man more than they are to be feared. If an observer will refrain
from picking up a spider there is not the slightest danger of being
bitten by one; and excepting a single uncommon species no spider is
known in this part of the country whose bite would seriously affect a
human being.

On the other hand, spiders do much to keep in check various insect
pests, and hence must be regarded as our friends. It is, however, from a
different point of view that we wish to look upon them at this time. It
is as illustrations of remarkable development of instinctive powers, and
of wonderful correlation of structure and habit, that we would have the
reader study these creatures. The teacher of nature-study can find no
more available or more fertile field from which to take subjects for
interesting children in the world about us. Let us then put aside our
fears and go into the fields and see whether we can learn something of
the ways of these spinners.


Often on summer mornings the grass of the roadsides and fields is seen
to be carpeted with little sheets of glistening silk, the webs of the
grass-spider. None were observed the day before; and we wonder at the
sudden appearance of this host of weavers. Later in the day the webs
have vanished! Have the weavers rolled them up and carried them off? We
remember that there was an especially fine one near the end of the
veranda steps; we examine the place carefully and find that it is still
there, but not so conspicuous as it was. The warm sun has dissipated the
dew which rendered visible to our dull eyes the tapestry of the fields.
Now that our eyes are opened we can find the webs everywhere and are
impressed with a suspicion that perhaps ordinarily we see very little of
what is around us.

We examine one of the webs carefully and find that it is a closely woven
sheet made of threads running in all directions; that it is attached to
spears of grass, and supported by numerous guy lines, and that from one
side a funnel-like tube extends downwards. If, while we are watching, an
insect alights on the sheet, there darts from the tunnel, where she was
concealed, the owner of the web, a dark-colored spider; and the insect
must be agile if it escapes.

If you attempt to catch the spider it retreats to its tunnel; and when
you examine the tunnel the spider is not there. You find that the tube
is open below, that there is a back door by which the spider can escape
when hard pressed.

We call those spiders that makes webs of this kind _The Funnel-web
Weavers_. They are long-legged, brown spiders, which run on the upper
surface of their webs; these are usually made on grass, but sometimes
they are found in the angles of buildings, and in quite high places.


The webs that we most often find in the corners of rooms are of a
different kind and are made by the members of a family known as _The
Cobweb Weavers_. In these webs there is not such a definite sheet of
silk as in those of the funnel-web weavers, but instead a shapeless maze
of threads extending in all directions. Many of the cobweb weavers,
however, make their webs in the fields on bushes, and weave in them a
flat or curved sheet, under which the spider hangs back downward. The
funnel-web weavers run right side up; the cobweb weavers hang inverted.
Some of the cobweb weavers do not remain in their webs, but have a nest
in a neighboring crack or corner, from which they rush to seize their
prey, and sometimes there is a funnel-shaped tube leading to their nest.
But these spiders differ from the true funnel-web weavers in running
back downwards on the lower side of their webs.


The spider webs that most often excite admiration are those in which the
supporting threads radiate from a center like the spokes of a wheel, and
bear a spiral thread. Such webs are known as orb-webs; and the family of
spiders that make them, _The Orb Weavers_.

[Illustration: _Fig. 91. Nearly completed orb-web._]

Few if any of the structures built by lower animals are more wonderful
than these webs; but they are so common that they are often considered
hardly worthy of notice. If they occurred only in some remote corner of
the earth, every one would read of them with interest.

The webs or nets of the different species of orb weavers differ in the
details of their structure; but the general plan is quite similar. There
is first a framework of supporting lines. The outer part of this
framework is irregular, depending upon the position of the objects to
which the net is attached; but the central part is very regular, and
consists of a number of lines radiating from the center of the net (Fig.
91). All of these supporting lines are dry and inelastic. Touch them
with your pencil and you find that they neither stretch nor adhere to
it. Upon these radiating lines there is fastened in a very regular
manner a thread which is sticky and elastic. This will adhere to your
pencil, and will stretch several times its normal length before
breaking. Usually this sticky thread is fastened to the radiating lines
so as to form a spiral; but a few species make nets in which it is
looped back and forth. And even in the nets where the greater part of
the thread is in a spiral there are in most cases a few loops near the
lower margin (Fig. 91). Examine the next orb-web you find and see
whether it is true in that case.

Many of the orb weavers strengthen their nets by spinning a zigzag
ribbon across the center. This ribbon is made by spreading apart the
spinnerets, the organs from which the silk is spun, and which will be
described later. Ordinarily the tips of the spinnerets are held close
together so that they form a single thread, but by spreading them apart
many threads can be spun at once, thus forming a ribbon.

Some orb weavers are not content with making a simple zigzag band across
the center of the net, but weave an elaborate bit of lace in this
position. Fig. 92 is from a photograph of the center of the net of one
of these spiders, which was found near Ithaca.

[Illustration: _Fig. 92. Lace-like hub of an orb-web._]

In studying the various kinds of orb-webs one should pay particular
attention to the center of the web; for this part differs greatly in the
webs of the different species. There is usually a _hub_ composed
entirely of dry and inelastic silk woven in an irregular manner; outside
of this there are several turns of a spiral thread which is also dry;
this constitutes the _notched zone_, a name suggested by the fact that
the spiral line is attached for a short space to each radius it crosses,
thus giving the line a notched course. In many cases it is here, on the
hub and the notched zone, that the spider waits for its prey; and it is
obvious that sticky silk in this place would be objectionable. Between
the notched zone and the _spiral zone_, the part furnished with the
sticky spiral thread, there is a clear space, the _free zone_, crossed
only by the radii. This gives the spider an opportunity to pass from one
side of the web to the other without going around the entire web.

Some orb weavers do not wait upon the hub but have a retreat near one
edge of the net, in which they hang back downwards. While resting in
these retreats they keep hold of some of the lines leading from the net,
so that they can instantly detect any jar caused by an entrapped insect.

When an insect in its flight touches one of the turns of the sticky line
the line adheres to it, but it stretches so as to allow the insect to
become entangled in other turns of the line. If it were not for this
elasticity of the sticky line, most insects could readily tear
themselves away before the spider had time to reach them.

In running over its net the spider steps upon the radii, carefully
avoiding the sticky line; otherwise it would destroy its own net. The
rapidity with which a spider can cross its net without touching the
sticky line is remarkable.

In making its web an orb weaver first spins a number of lines extending
irregularly in various directions about the place where its orb is to
be; this is the outer supporting framework. Often the first line spun is
a bridge between two quite distant points, as the branches of two
separate bushes. How did the spider cross the gulf? It has no wings.

[Illustration: _Fig. 93. Nearly completed orb-web._]

The bridge building can be easily seen on a warm summer evening, the
time at which the spiders are most active repairing their old nets and
building new ones. The spider lifts the hind end of its body and spins
forth a thread; this is carried off by the wind, until, finally striking
some object, it becomes fast to it. The spider then pulls in the slack
line, like a sailor, and when the line is taut fastens it to the object
on which it is standing, and the bridge is formed.

After making the outward framework, the radiating lines are formed. A
line is stretched across the space so as to pass through the point which
is to be the center of the orb. In doing this the spider may start on
one side, and be forced to walk in a very roundabout way on the outer
framework to the opposite side. It carefully holds the new line up
behind it as it goes along, so that it shall not become entangled with
the lines on which it walks; one or both hind feet serve as hands in
these spinning operations; for, as the spider has eight feet, it can
spare one or two for other purposes than locomotion. When the desired
point is reached the slack is pulled in and the line fastened. The
spider then goes to the point where the center of the orb is to be, and,
fastening another line, it walks back to the outer framework, and
attaches this line an inch or two from the first. In this way all of the
radiating lines are drawn. The next step is to stay these radii by a
spiral line, which is begun near the center, and attached to each radius
as it crosses it. The turns of this spiral are as far apart as the
spider can conveniently reach.

All of the threads spun up to this stage in the construction of the web
are dry and inelastic. The spider now proceeds to stretch upon this
framework a sticky and elastic line, which is the most important part of
the web, the other lines being merely a framework to support it. In
spinning the sticky line, the spider begins at the outer edge of the
orb, and passing around it, fastens this line to each radius as it goes.
Thus a second spiral is made. The turns of this spiral are placed quite
close together, and the first spiral, which is merely a temporary
support, is destroyed as the second spiral progresses. Fig. 93
represents a web in which the second spiral is made over the outer half
of the radii. In this figure, _aa_ represents the temporary stayline;
_bb_, the sticky spiral; and _cc_, the fragments of the first spiral
hanging from the radii.

[Illustration: _Fig. 94. Wasp, with head, thorax and abdomen

[Illustration: _Fig. 95. Spider, showing division of the body into
cephalothorax and abdomen._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 96. Lower side of cephalothorax of a spider;_ md_,
mandible;_ mx_, maxilla;_ p_, palpus;_ l_, lower lip;_ s_, sternum._]


Spiders differ much in appearance from the true insects. In the insects
the body is composed of three regions: the head; the thorax, to which
the legs are attached; and the abdomen or hind part of the body (Fig.
94). In the spiders the head and thorax are grown together, forming a
region which is known as the _cephalothorax_; to this the _abdomen_ is
joined by a short, narrow stalk (Fig. 95). Spiders differ also from
insects in the number of their legs, spiders having eight legs and
insects only six.

Spiders have two pairs of jaws, which, except in the Tarantula family,
move sidewise like the jaws of insects. The first pair of jaws are
called the _mandibles_. Each mandible consists of two segments, a strong
basal one and a claw-shaped terminal one, at the tip of which the poison
gland opens (Fig. 96). The second pair of jaws is known as the
_maxillæ_. These jaws are situated just behind the mandibles, one on
each side of the mouth. Each maxilla bears a large feeler or _palpus_.
These palpi vary greatly in form; frequently, especially in females,
they resemble legs; hence many spiders appear to have five pairs of
legs. In the male spiders the last segment of the palpus is more or less
enlarged, ending in a complicated, knob-like structure (Fig. 97). It is
thus easy to determine the sex of a spider by merely examining the

[Illustration: _Fig. 97. Maxilla and palpus of male house-spider._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 98. Head of spider, showing eyes and mandibles._]

The greater number of spiders have four pairs of eyes (Fig. 98), but
there may be only one, two, or three pairs; and certain cave spiders are
blind. The eyes appear like little gems set in the front of the
cephalothorax. They are most prominent in the jumping spiders, which
stalk their prey on plants, logs, fences, and the sides of buildings.

[Illustration: _Fig. 99. Spinnerets of a spider._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 100. A group of spinning tubes._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 101. Viscid silk from an orb-web._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 102. Spinnerets and cribellum of a curled-thread

The most characteristic feature of spiders is their spinning organs. The
silk is secreted in glands within the abdomen, and while in the body it
is a fluid. It passes out through the _spinnerets_, which are situated
near the hind end of the abdomen. There are two or three pairs of
spinnerets. These are more or less finger-like in form, and sometimes
jointed (Fig. 99). Upon the end of each spinneret there are many small
tubes, the _spinning tubes_ (Fig. 100), from which the silk is spun.
Some spiders have as many as one hundred and fifty or two hundred of
these spinning tubes on each spinneret.

Ordinarily the tips of the spinnerets are brought close together, so
that all of the minute threads that emerge from the numerous spinning
tubes unite to form a single thread. Hence this tiny thread, which is so
delicate that we can see it only when the light falls on it in a
favorable way, is composed of hundreds of threads. It is not like a
rope, composed of separate strands; for all the minute threads fuse
together into a single thread. The change in the silk from a fluid to a
solid cord, strong enough to support the weight of the spider, must take
place quickly after the silk comes in contact with the air on leaving
the spinning tubes; the minute size of the threads coming from the
spinning tubes doubtless facilitates this change.

Sometimes a spider will spread its spinnerets apart, and thus spin a
broad ribbon-like band. We have seen a spider seize a large grasshopper
which was entangled in its web, and rolling it over two or three times,
completely envelop it in a sheet of silk spun from its spread-apart
spinnerets. We have already described bands spun by orb weavers across
the hub of the net in this way.

It is supposed that the two kinds of silk spun by the orb weavers are
spun from different spinnerets, and that the viscid silk comes from the
front pair. When this silk is first spun, the viscid matter forms a
continuous layer of liquid on the outside of it. But very soon this
layer breaks up into bead-like masses--in a way similar to that in which
the moisture on a clothes line on a foggy day collects into drops (Fig.

There are two families of spiders that have spinning organs differing
from those of all other spiders. They have in front of the usual
spinnerets an additional organ, which is named the _cribellum_ (Fig.
102, c). This bears spinning tubes like the other spinnerets,
but these tubes are much finer. These spiders have also on the
next-to-the-last segment of the hind legs one or two rows of curved
spines; this organ is the _calamistrum_ (Fig. 103). By means of the
calamistrum these spiders comb from the cribellum a band of loose
threads which form a part of their webs.

[Illustration: _Fig. 103. Last two segments of hind leg of spider,
showing calamistrum._]


The spiders possessing a cribellum and a calamistrum represent two
families, one of which makes irregular webs; the other, those which are
of definite form.

[Illustration: _Fig. 104. Web of a curled-thread weaver._]

An irregular web of a curled-thread weaver is shown in Fig. 104, from a
photograph. In this web the framework is of ordinary silk; and upon this
framework is placed a band of curled or tangled threads (Fig. 105). An
insect alighting on a net of this kind is likely to get its feet caught
in the tangled silk, and to be held fast till the spider can pounce upon
it. Nets of this kind are found on bushes and on the sides of buildings.

[Illustration: _Fig. 105. Fragment of a curled-thread weaver's web,

There are two quite distinct types of regular webs made by spiders
possessing a cribellum and a calamistrum. One is a round web which
resembles at first sight those of the orb weavers; but it differs from
the ordinary orb-web in that the spiral thread is made of curled or
hackled silk. These webs are nearly horizontal, and are usually made
between stones or in low bushes; they are not common.

[Illustration: _Fig. 106. Web of the triangle spider._]

The other type is represented by the web of the triangle spider. This
web is most often found stretched between the twigs of a dead branch of
pine or hemlock. At first sight it appears like a fragment of an orb-web
(Fig. 106); but a little study will show that it is complete. The
accompanying figure, by Dr. B. G. Wilder, who first described the habits
of this spider ("Popular Science Monthly," 1875) illustrates the form of
the web. It consists of four plain lines corresponding to the radiating
lines of an orb-web, and a series of cross lines, which are spun by the
cribellum and calamistrum. Each cross line is composed of two lines,
about 1/500 of an inch apart. These double lines take the place of the
curled threads woven by other members of the family to which the
triangle spider belongs. From the point where the radiating lines meet,
a strong line extends to one of the supporting twigs. Near this twig the
spider rests, pulling the web tight so that there is some loose line
between its legs, as shown in the enlarged figure. When an insect
becomes entangled in one of the cross lines, the spider suddenly lets go
the loose line so that the whole web springs forward, and the insect is
entangled in other cross lines. The spider then draws the web tight and
snaps it again. This may be repeated several times before the spider
goes out upon the web after its prey.

The triangle spider is a tiny fellow, and so closely resembles the color
of the dead branch near which it rests that it is very difficult to
find; its web is more easily seen, though it usually requires careful
searching to discover it.


[Illustration: _Fig. 107. Egg-sac of a spider._]

As a rule young spiders are forced to shift for themselves, and a very
hard time they have; but of this we have not space to write. With
spiders, the mother's care is devoted chiefly to furnishing protection
to her helpless eggs. These are placed in silken sacs, which are often
very elaborate in construction and protected with great care.

The most common egg-sacs are those found in the fields attached to
stones and pieces of wood (Fig. 107). They are disk-shaped objects,
silvery in color, and about the size of an old-fashioned three-cent

The egg-sacs of the cobweb weavers can be found suspended in their webs;
and those of the orb weavers, in various situations. Fig. 108 represents
the large egg-sac of one of the orb weavers. This is made in the autumn,
and contains at that season a large number of eggs--five hundred or
more. These eggs hatch early in the winter; but no spiders emerge from
the egg-sac until the following spring. If egg-sacs of this kind be
opened at different times during the winter, the spiders will be found
to increase in size but diminish in numbers as the season advances. In
fact, a strange tragedy goes on within these egg-sacs: the stronger
spiders calmly devour their weaker brothers, and in the spring those
that survive emerge sufficiently nourished to fight their battles in the
outside world.

[Illustration: _Fig. 108. Egg-sac of an orb weaver._]

The females of the _Running Spiders_ not only make a carefully
constructed egg-sac, but also care for the young spiders for a time. The
running spiders are the large dark-colored, hairy spiders, often found
under stones and rubbish; they are so-called because they capture their
prey by running. The females of most of the species (those of the genus
_Lycosa_) drag after them their egg-sac, which is attached to the
spinnerets (Fig. 109); and when the young hatch, they climb on their
mother's back, and are carried about for a time.

[Illustration: _Fig. 109. Lycosa and egg-sac._]

One of the running spiders (_Dolomedes_) carries her egg-sac with her
mandibles until the young are ready to emerge. At this time the mother
fastens the egg-sac in a bush, and spins irregular threads about it,
among which the young spiders remain for a time (Fig. 110). In the
specimen figured, the egg-sac was concealed in the upper part of the


In warm autumn days, innumerable threads can be seen streaming from
fences, bushes, and the tips of stalks of grass, or floating through the
air. These are made by the _Ballooning Spiders_, which are able to
travel long distances, hundreds of miles, through the air by means of
these silken threads.

The ballooning spider climbs to some elevated point, and then, standing
on the tips of its feet, lifts its body as high as it can, and spins out
a thread of silk. This thread is carried up and away by a current of
air. When the thread is long enough the force of the air current on it
is sufficient to bear the spider up. It then lets go its hold with its
feet and sails away. That these spiders travel long distances in this
manner has been shown by the fact that they have been seen floating
through the air at sea far from land.

[Illustration: _Fig. 110. Nursery of Dolomedes. _]



BY S. H. GAGE.[21]

[20] Teachers' Leaflet, No. 9, May, 1897.

[21] It was the desire of the author to tell the story of this leaflet
in pictures as well as in words, and he wishes to express his
appreciation of the enthusiasm and ability with which the illustrations
were executed by Mr. C. W. Furlong.

In this edition are added half-tone reproductions of photographs to
bring out more completely the life story.

On account of its economic importance, and because the marvelous changes
passed through in growing from an egg to a toad are so rapid that they
may all be seen during a single spring term of school, the common
or warty toad has been selected as the subject of a leaflet in
nature-study. Toads are found everywhere in New York, and nearly
everywhere in the world; it is easy, therefore, to get abundant material
for study. This animal is such a good friend to the farmer, the
gardener, the fruit-grower, the florist and the stock-raiser that every
man and woman, every boy and girl, ought to know something about it.

Furthermore, it is hoped and sincerely believed that the feeling of
repugnance and dislike, and the consequent cruelty to toads, will
disappear when teachers and children learn something about their
wonderful changes in form, structure and habits, and how harmless and
helpful they are. Then, who that knows of the chances, the dangers and
struggles in the life of the toad, can help a feeling of sympathy; for
after all, how like our human life it is. Where sympathy is, cruelty is
impossible, and one comes to feel the spirit of these beautiful lines
from Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner:"

  "_He prayeth best who loveth best
    All things both great and small;
  For the dear God who loveth us
    He made and loveth all._"

It was William Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood,
who first clearly stated the fact that every animal comes from an egg.
This is as true of a toad as of a chicken.

The toad lives on the land and often a long way from any pond or stream,
but the first part of its life is spent in the water; and so it is in
the water that the eggs must be looked for. To find the eggs one should
visit the natural or artificial ponds so common along streams. Ponds
from springs or even artificial reservoirs or the basins around
fountains, also may contain the eggs. The time for finding the eggs
depends on the season. The toad observes the season, not the almanac. In
ordinary years, the best time is from the middle of April to the first
of May.

One is often guided to the right place by noticing the direction from
which the song or call of the toad comes. The call of the toad is more
or less like that of the tree toads. In general it sounds like
whistling, and at the same time pronouncing deep in the throat,
bu-rr-r-r-r-. If one watches a toad while it makes its call, one can
soon learn to distinguish the sound from others somewhat similar. It
will be found that different toads have slightly different voices, and
the same one can vary the tone considerably, so that it is not so easy
after all to distinguish the many batrachian solos and choruses on a
spring or summer evening. It will be noticed that the toad does not open
its mouth when it sings, but, instead, the resonator or vocal sac under
its mouth and throat is greatly expanded. One must be careful to
distinguish the expansion of the mouth in breathing from the expansion
of the vocal sac. See the left hand toad in the drawing (Fig. 111) for
the vocal sac, and the toad in hibernation (Fig. 121) for the expansion
of the mouth in breathing. It is only the males that possess the vocal
sac, so that the toad chorus is composed solely of male voices.

The eggs are laid in long strings or ropes which are nearly always
tangled and wound round the water plants or sticks on the bottom of the
pond. If the pond is large and deep, the eggs are laid near the shore
where the water is shallow. If the eggs have been freshly laid in clear
water the egg ropes will look like glass tubes containing a string of
jet black beads. After a rain the eggs are obscured by the fine mud that
settles on the transparent jelly surrounding them, but the jelly is much
more evident than in the freshly laid egg strings.

Secure enough of the egg string to include 50 or 100 eggs and place it
in a glass fruit dish or a basin with clean water from the pond where
the eggs were found. Let the children look at the eggs very carefully
and note the color and the exact shape. Let them see whether the color
is the same on all sides. If the eggs are newly laid they will be nearly
perfect spheres.

[Illustration: _Fig. 111. The toad in various stages of development from
the egg to the adult_]

Frogs, salamanders and tree toads lay their eggs in the same places and
at about the same time as the toad we are to study. Only the toad lays
its eggs in strings, so one can be sure he has the right kind. The
others lay their eggs in bunches or singly on the plants, so they never
need be mistaken for the ones sought.

[Illustration: _Fig. 112. Just hatched toad tadpoles climbing up where
the water is better aerated._]

The eggs which are taken to the school house for study should be kept
in a light place; an east, south or west window is best.

It requires only a short time for the eggs to hatch. In warm weather two
to four days are usually sufficient, but in the cool days of April it
may require ten days. As the changes are so very rapid, the eggs ought
to be carefully looked at two or three times a day to make sure that all
the principal changes are seen. If a pocket lens or a reading glass is
to be had it will add to the interest, as more of the details can be
observed. But good sharp eyes are sufficient if no lens is available.

_Hatching._--Watch and see how long it is before the developing embryos
commence to move. Note their change in form. As they elongate they move
more vigorously till on the second or third day they wriggle out of the
jelly surrounding them. This is hatching, and they are now free in the
water and can swim about. It is curious to see them hang themselves up
on the old egg string or on the edge of the dish (Fig. 112). They do
this by means of a peculiar v-shaped organ on their heads.

[Illustration: _Fig. 113. Older toad tadpoles with their heads up._]

How different the little creatures are, which have just hatched, from
the grown up toad which laid the eggs! The difference is about as great
as that between a caterpillar and a butterfly.

_Tadpoles, polliwogs._--We call the young of the frog, the toad and the
tree toad, tadpoles or polliwogs. The toad tadpoles are black. As they
increase in size they may become greyish. Those raised in the house are
usually darker than those growing in nature.

The tadpoles will live for some time in clear water with apparently
nothing to eat. This is because in each egg is some food, just as there
is a large supply of food within the egg shell to give the chicken a
good start in life. But when the food that the mother supplied in the
egg is used up, the little tadpoles would die if they could not find
some food for themselves. They must grow a great deal before they can
turn into toads; and just like children and other young animals, to grow
they must have plenty of food.

_Feeding the tadpoles._--To feed the tadpoles it is necessary to imitate
nature as closely as possible. To do this, a visit to the pond where the
eggs were found will give the clue. Many plants are present, and the
bottom will be seen to slope gradually from the shore. The food of the
tadpole is the minute plant life on the stones, the surface of the mud,
or on the outside of the larger plants.

One must not attempt to raise too many tadpoles in the artificial pond
in the laboratory or school-room or there will not be enough food, and
all will be half starved, or some will get the food and the rest will
starve to death. While there may be thousands of tadpoles in the natural
pond, it will be readily seen that, compared with the amount of water
present, there are really rather few.

Probably many more were hatched in the school-house than can be raised
in the artificial pond. Return the ones not put in the artificial pond
to the natural pond. It would be too bad to throw them out on the ground
to die.

_Comparing the growth of the tadpoles._--Even when one does his best it
is hard to make an artificial pond so good as the natural one for the
tadpoles, and the teacher will find it very interesting and stimulating
to compare the growth and change in the tadpoles at the school-house
with those in the natural pond.

As growth depends on the supply of food and the suitability of the
environment, it is easy to judge how nearly the artificial pond equals
the natural pond for raising tadpoles. It will be worth while to take a
tadpole from the natural pond occasionally and put it in with those at
the school-house, so that the differences may be more strikingly shown.
There is some danger in making a mistake here, however, for there may be
three or four kinds of tadpoles in the natural pond. Those of the toad
are almost jet black when young, while the others are more or less
brownish. If one selects only the very black ones they will probably be
toad tadpoles.

Every week or oftener, some water plants, and perhaps a small stone
covered with the growth of microscopic plants, and some water, should be
taken from the pond to the artificial pond. The water will supply the
place of that which has evaporated, and the water plants will carry a
new supply of food. If the water in the artificial pond in the
school-room does not remain clear, it should be carefully dipped out and
fresh clear water added. It is better to get the water from the pond
where the eggs were laid, although any clear water will answer; but do
not use distilled water.

The growth and changes in form should be looked for every day. Then it
is very interesting to see what the tadpoles do, how they eat, and any
signs of breathing.

All the changes from an egg to a little toad (Fig. 111), are passed
through in one or two months, so that by the first of June the tadpoles
will be found to have made great progress. The progress will be not only
in size, but in form and action.

One of these actions should be watched with especial care, for it means
a great deal. At first the little tadpoles remain under water all the
time, and do not seem to know or care that there is a great world above
the water. But as they grow larger and larger, they rush up to the
surface once in awhile and then dive down again, as if their lives
depended on it. The older they grow the oftener do they come to the
surface. This is even more marked in the large tadpole of the bullfrog.
What is the meaning of this? Probably most of the pupils can guess
correctly; but it took scientific men a long time to find out just why
this was done. The real reason is that the tadpole is getting ready to
breathe the free air above the water when it turns into a toad and lives
on the land. At first the little tadpoles breathe the air dissolved in
the water, just as a fish does. This makes it plain why an artificial
pond should have a broad surface exposed to the air. If one should use a
narrow and deep vessel, like a fruit jar, only a small amount of air
could be taken up by the water and the tadpoles would be half

As the tadpoles grow older they go oftener to the surface to get the air
directly from the limitless supply above the water, as they will have to
do when they live wholly in the air.

_Disappearance of the tail._--From the first to the middle of June the
tadpoles should be watched with especial care, for wonderful things are
happening. Both the fore and hind legs will appear, if they have not
already. The head will change in form and so will the body; the color
will become much lighter, and, but for the tail, the tadpole will begin
to look something like its mother.

If you keep an especially sharp lookout, do you think you will see the
tail drop off? No, toad nature is too economical for that. The tail
will not drop off, but it will be seen to get shorter and shorter every
day; it is not dropping off, but is being carried into the tadpole. The
tail is perfect at every stage; it simply disappears. How does this
happen? This is another thing that it took scientific men a long time to
find out.

It is now known that there are two great methods for removing parts of
the body no longer needed. In the first method the living particles in
the body which are able to wander all around, as if they were inspectors
to see that everything is in order, may go to the part to be removed and
take it up piece by piece. These living particles are known as white
blood corpuscles, wandering cells, phagocytes, leucocytes and several
other names. In the other method, the blood and the lymph going to the
part to be removed dissolve it particle by particle. Apparently the toad
tadpole's tail is dissolved by the blood and lymph rather than being
eaten up by the phagocytes, although the phagocytes do a part of the

[Illustration: _Fig. 114. Transforming tadpole of the green tree toad to
show the rapidity of tail absorption._ (_Change in 24 hours. Natural

_HVLA--Natural size. Change in 24 hours; 28 mm. of tail absorbed in 24
hours; 1-1/6 mm. per hour. Common toad shortens the tail about 1/5 mm.
per hour._]

Now, when the tadpole is ready to dispense with its tail, the blood and
lymph and the phagocytes take it up particle by particle and carry it
back into the body where it can be used just as any other good food
would be. This taking in of the tail is done so carefully that the skin
epithelium or epidermis is never broken, but covers up the outside
perfectly all the time. Is not this a better way to get rid of a tail
than to cut it off?

If you look at the picture of the disappearance of the tail in the toad
tadpole (Fig. 115) and in the tree-toad tadpole (Fig. 114), you will get
an idea how rapidly this takes place. It is easier to see the actual
shortening if the tadpoles are put in a white dish of clear water
without any water plants. The tadpoles do not eat anything while they
are changing to toads, so they will not need to be fed.

_Beginning of the life on the land._--Now, when the legs are grown out,
and the tail is getting shorter, the little tadpole likes to put its
nose out of the water into the air; and sometimes it crawls half way
out. When the tail gets quite short, often a mere stub, it will crawl
out entirely and stay for some time in the air. It now looks really like
a toad except that it is nearly smooth instead of being warty, and is
only about as large as the end of a child's little finger (Fig. 115).

Finally, the time comes when the tadpole, now transformed into a toad,
must leave the water for the land.

What queer feelings the little toad must have when the soft, smooth
bottom of the pond and the pretty plants, and the water that supported
it so nicely are all to be left behind for the hard, rough, dry land!
But the little toad must take the step. It is no longer a tadpole, or
half tadpole and half toad. It cannot again dive into the cool, soft
water when the air and the sunshine dry and scorch it. As countless
generations of little toads have done before, it pushes boldly out over
the land and away from the water.

If one visits the natural pond at about this season (last half of June,
first of July), he is likely to see many of the little fellows hopping
away from the water. And so vigorously do they hop along that in a few
days they may be as far as a mile from the pond where they were hatched.
After a warm shower they are particularly active, and are then most
commonly seen. Many think they rained down. "They were not seen before
the rain, so they must have rained down." Is that good reasoning?

The little toad is careful and during the hot and sunny part of the day
stays in the shade of the grass or leaves or in some other moist and
shady place. If it staid out in the sun too long it would be liable to
dry up.

[Illustration: _Fig. 115. Toad development in a single season_ (_1903_).

_1-18. Changes and growth, April to November. 1-13. Development in 25 to
60 days._

_15-18. Different sizes, October 21, 1903. 9, 14. Different sizes, July
30, 1903._

_10, 11. The same tadpole,--11, 47 hours older than 10._

_12, 13. The same tadpole,--13, 47 hours older than 12._]


[Illustration: _Fig. 116. Toad catching a winged insect, and
illustrating how the tongue is extended and brought in contact with the
insect. Several other creatures that the toad might eat are shown in
various parts of the picture._]

In the water the tadpole eats vegetable matter; but when it becomes a
toad and gets on the land it will touch nothing but animal food, and
that must be so fresh that it is alive and moving. This food consists of
every creeping, crawling or flying thing that is small enough to be
swallowed. While it will not touch a piece of fresh meat lying on the
ground, woe to moving snail, insect or worm that comes within its reach!

It is by the destruction of insects and worms that the toad helps men so
greatly. The insects and worms eat the grain, the fruits and the
flowers. They bite and sting the animals and give men no end of trouble.
The toad is not partial, but takes any live thing that gets near it,
whether it is caterpillar, fly, spider, centipede or thousand-legged
worm; and it does not stop even there, but will gobble up a hornet or a
yellow jacket without the least hesitation.

It is astonishing to see the certainty with which a toad can catch these
flying or crawling things. The way the toad does this may be observed by
watching one out of doors some summer evening or after a shower; but it
is more satisfactory to have a nearer view. Put a large toad into a box,
or better, into a glass dish with some moist sand on the bottom. In a
little while, if one is gentle, the toad will become tame, and then if
flies and other insects are caught with a sweep net and put into the
dish and the top covered with mosquito netting one can watch the process
of capture. It is very quickly accomplished, and one must look sharply.
As shown in the little picture (Fig. 116), the toad's tongue is
fastened at the front part of its mouth, not back in the throat as with
men, dogs, cats and most animals. It is so nicely arranged that it can
be extended for quite a distance. On it is a sticky secretion, and when,
quick as a flash, the tongue is thrown out or extended, if it touches
the insect, the insect is caught as if by sticky fly paper, and is taken
into the mouth.

[Illustration: _Fig. 117. Toad making a meal of an angle worm._]

Think how many insects and worms a toad could destroy in a single
summer. Practically every insect and worm destroyed adds to the produce
of the garden and the farm, or takes away one cause of discomfort to men
and animals. One observer reports that a single toad disposed of
twenty-four caterpillars in ten minutes, and another ate thirty-five
celery worms within three hours. He estimates that a good-sized toad
will destroy nearly 10,000 insects and worms in a single summer.

[Illustration: _Fig. 118. Two newts feasting on tadpoles._]


[Illustration: _Fig. 119. In danger from a crow._]

So far nothing has been said about the troubles and dangers of the
toad's life. Fig. 111 is meant to show the main phases in the
life-history. If one looks at it perhaps he may wonder what becomes of
all the tadpoles that first hatch, as only two toads are shown at the
top. Is not this something like the other life-histories? How many
little robins or chickens die and never become full-grown birds! Well,
the dangers to the toad begin at once. Suppose the eggs are laid in a
pond that dries up before the little toads can get ready to live on the
land; in that case they all die. The mother toads sometimes do make the
mistake of laying the eggs in ponds that dry up in a little while. You
will not let the artificial pond at the school-house dry up, will you?
Then sometimes there is an especially dry summer, and only those that
transform very early from tadpoles to toads are saved.

In the little picture (Fig. 118) is shown another source of danger and
cause for the diminution in numbers. The newts and salamanders find
young tadpoles very good eating and they make way with hundreds of them.
Some die from what are called natural causes, that is, diseases, or
possibly they eat something that does not agree with them. So that while
there were multitudes of eggs (1,000 or more from each toad), and of
just hatched tadpoles, the number has become sadly lessened by the time
the brood is ready to leave the water.

Then when they set foot on land, their dangers are not passed. They may
be parched by summer's heat or crushed under the feet of men or cattle.
Birds and snakes like them for food. Figs. 119 and 120 show some of
these dangers. Is it a wonder, then, that of all the multitudes of
tadpoles so few grow up to be large toads?

We have so few helpers to keep the noxious insects in check, it is not
believed that any boy or girl who knows this wonderful story of a toad's
life will join the crows, the snakes and the salamanders in worrying or
destroying their good friends.


There are two very interesting things that happen in the life of many of
the lower animals; they happen to the toad also. These are moulting, or
change of skin, and hibernation, or winter sleep. Every boy and girl
ought to know about these, and then, if on the lookout, some or all of
the things will be seen.

_Moulting._--Probably everybody who lives in the country has seen a
snake's skin without any snake in it. It is often very perfect. When the
outside skin or cuticle of a snake or a toad gets old and dry or too
tight for it, a new covering grows underneath, and the old one is shed.
This is a very interesting performance, but the toad usually sheds it in
a retired place, so the process is not often seen. Those who have seen
it say that a long crack or tear appears along the back and in front.
The toad keeps moving and wriggling to loosen the old cuticle. This
peels the cuticle off the sides. Now, to get it off the legs and feet,
the toad puts its leg under its arm, or front leg, and in that way pulls
off the old skin as if it were a stocking. But when the front legs are
to be stripped the mouth is used as is sometimes done by people in
pulling off their gloves. Do you think it uses its teeth for this
purpose? You might look in a toad's mouth sometime, and then you would

[Illustration: _Fig. 120. Snakes frequently swallow toads hind legs
foremost, as shown in the picture. This is especially true of the garter
snake, which is a great enemy of the toad._]

It is said that when the skin is finally pulled off the toad swallows
it. This is true in some cases; at least it is worth while keeping watch
for. It is certain that the toad sometimes swallows the cast skin; it is
also certain that in some cases the cast skin is not swallowed. After a
toad has shed his old skin, he looks a great deal brighter and cleaner
than before, as if he had just got a new suit of clothes. If you see
one with a particularly bright skin, you will now know what it means.

_Hibernation._--The toad is a cold-blooded animal. This means that the
temperature of its blood is nearly like that of the surrounding air.
Men, horses, cows, dogs, are said to be warm-blooded, for their blood is
warm and of about the some temperature whether the surrounding air is
cold or hot.

When the air is too cool, the toad becomes stupid and inactive. In
September or October a few toads may be seen on warm days or evenings,
but the number seen becomes smaller and smaller; and finally, as the
cold November weather comes on, none are seen. Where are they? The toad
seems to know that winter is coming, that the insects and worms will
disappear, so that no food can be found. It must go into a kind of
death-like sleep, in which it hardly moves or breathes. This winter
sleep or hibernation must be passed in some safe and protected place. If
the toad were to freeze and thaw with every change in the weather it
would not wake up in the spring.

[Illustration: _Fig. 121. Toad in the winter sleep._ (_Natural size_).]

The wonderful foresight which instinct gives it, makes the toad select
some comparatively soft earth in a protected place where it can bury
itself. The earth chosen is moist, but not wet. If it were dry the toad
would dry up before spring. It is not uncommon for farmers and gardeners
to plough them up late in the fall or early in the spring. Also in
digging cellars at about these times they are found occasionally.

In burying itself the toad digs with its hind legs and body, and pushes
itself backward into the hole with the front legs. The earth caves in as
the animal backs into the ground, so that no sign is left on the
outside. Once in far enough to escape the freezing and thawing of
winter, the toad moves around till there is a little chamber slightly
larger than its body; then it draws its legs up close, shuts its eyes,
puts its head down between or on its hands, and goes to sleep and sleeps
for five months or more.

When the warm days of spring come it wakes up, crawls out of bed and
begins to take interest in life again. It looks around for insects and
worms, and acts as if it had had only a comfortable nap.

[Illustration: _Fig. 122. The same toad awake in the spring._ (_Natural

The little toad that you saw hatch from an egg into a tadpole and then
turn to a toad, would hibernate for two or three winters, and by that
time it would be quite a large toad. After it had grown up and had
awakened from its winter sleep some spring, it would have a strong
impulse to get back to the pond where it began life as an egg years
before. Once there it would lay a great number of eggs, perhaps as many
as a thousand or two, for a new generation of toads. And this would
complete its life cycle.

While the toad completes its life cycle when it returns to the water and
lays eggs for a new generation, it may live many years afterward and lay
eggs many times, perhaps every year.

Many insects, some fish and other animals, die after laying their eggs.
For such animals the completion of the life cycle ends the life-history
also. But unless the toad meets with some accident it goes back to its
land home after laying the eggs, and may live in the same garden or
dooryard for many years, as many as eight years, and perhaps longer.
(See Bulletin No. 46, Hatch Experiment Station of the Massachusetts
Agricultural College, Amherst, Mass.)


If one reads in old books and listens to the fairy tales and other
stories common everywhere, he will hear many wonderful things about the
toad, but most of the things are wholly untrue.

One of the erroneous notions is that the toad is deadly poison. Another
is that it is possessed of marvelous healing virtues, and still another,
that hidden away in the heads of some of the oldest ones are the
priceless toad-stones, jewels of inestimable value.

_Giving warts._--Probably every boy and girl living in the country has
heard that if one takes a toad in his hands, or if a toad touches him
anywhere he will "catch the warts." This is not so at all, as has been
proved over and over again. If a toad is handled gently and petted a
little it soon learns not to be afraid, and seems to enjoy the kindness
and attention. If a toad is hurt or roughly handled a whitish, acrid
substance is poured out of the largest warts. This might smart a little
if it got into the mouth, as dogs find out when they try biting a toad.
It cannot be very bad, however, or the hawks, owls, crows and snakes
that eat the toad would give up the practice. The toad is really one of
the most harmless creatures in the world, and has never been known to
hurt a man or a child.

A boy might possibly have some warts on his hands after handling a toad;
so might he after handling a jack-knife or looking at a steam engine;
but the toad does not give the warts any more than the knife or the

_Cows giving bloody milk._--It is a common belief in the country that if
one kills a toad his cows will give bloody milk. Cows will give bloody
milk if the udder is injured in any way, whether a toad is killed or
not. There is no connection whatever between the bloody milk and a
killed toad.

_Living without air and food._--Occasionally one reads or hears a story
about a toad found in a cavity in a solid rock. When the rock is broken
open it is said that the toad wakes up and hops around as if it had
been asleep only half an hour. Just think for a moment what it would
mean to find a live toad within a cavity in a solid rock. It must have
been there for thousands, if not for millions of years, without food or
air. The toad does not like a long fast, but can stand it for a year or
so without food if it is in a moist place and supplied with air. It
regularly sleeps four or five months every winter, but never in a place
devoid of air. If the air were cut off the toad would soon die. Some
careful experiments were made by French scientific men, and the stories
told about toads living indefinitely without air or food were utterly

It is not difficult to see that one working in a quarry might honestly
think that he had found a toad in a rock. Toads are not very uncommon in
quarries. If a stone were broken open and a cavity found in it, and then
a toad were seen hopping away, one might jump at the conclusion that the
toad came out of the cavity in the rock. Is not this something like the
belief that the little toads rain down from the clouds because they are
most commonly seen after a shower?


In considering the suggestions made in this leaflet, we thought of the
hundreds of schools throughout the state and wondered whether there
might not be some difficulty in finding the ponds where the toads lay
their eggs, and in finding some of the things described in the other

The teachers and students in Cornell University found this difficulty in
1868 when the University opened. The great Louis Agassiz came to the
University at the beginning to give a course of lectures on natural
history. The inspiration of his presence and advice, and of those
lectures, lasts to this day.

Agassiz, and the University teachers, who had many of them been his
pupils, saw at once that the region around Ithaca must be full of
interesting things; but they did not know exactly where to find them.
Agassiz himself made some explorations, and the professors and students
took hold of the work with the greatest enthusiasm. They explored the
beautiful lake, the streams, hills, valleys, gorges, ponds and marshes.
Careful notes were kept of the exact locality where every interesting
thing was found and simple maps were made to aid in finding the places
again. Finally, after several years, knowledge enough was gained to
construct an accurate map for the use of all. A part of this map,
showing only the most important features, is put into this leaflet to
serve as a guide (Fig. 123).

It will be seen that the University is made the starting point. With a
few hints it is believed that every school can make a good beginning
this year on a natural history survey of the region near its
school-house, and in the preparation of a map to go with the survey.

[Illustration: _Fig. 123. Simple map showing the position of Cornell
University, the city of Ithaca, Cayuga Lake, and the roads and streams
and ponds near the University. From W. R. Dudley's map in "The Cayuga
Flora." Scale, 1 centimeter to the kilometer._

_U. Cornell University._

_U. L. University Lake in Fall Creek._

_R. Reservoir supplied from University Lake, and supplying the campus._

_E. P. East Pond where the eggs of the toad, tree toad, frogs and
salamanders are found._

_F. P. Forest Home Pond. A very favorable place for eggs, tadpoles,

_Inlet. The inlet of the lake. The lampreys are abundant near Fleming's

_Preparation of the map._--It is well to have the map of good size. A
half sheet of bristol board will answer, but a whole sheet is better.
About the first thing to decide is the scale to which the map is to be
drawn. It is better to have the scale large. Twelve inches to the mile
would be convenient. Divide the map into squares, making the lines quite
heavy. If so large a scale were used it would be advantageous for
locating places to have the large squares divided into square inches,
but much lighter lines should be used so that there will be no confusion
with the lines representing the miles.

_Locating objects on the map._--The corner of the school-house
containing the corner stone should be taken as the starting point. If
there is no corner stone, select the most convenient corner. Put the
school-house on the map anywhere you wish; probably the center of the
map would be the best place. In the sample map the University is not in
the center, as it was desired to show more of the country to the south
and west than to the north and east.

The map should of course be made like other maps, so it will be
necessary to know the four cardinal points of the compass before
locating anything on it. Perhaps the school-house has been placed facing
exactly north and south or east and west, that is, arranged with the
cardinal points of the compass; if so, it will be the best guide. If you
are not sure, determine with a compass. With it the points can be
determined very accurately. Having determined the points of compass,
commence to locate objects in the landscape on the map as follows: Get
their direction from the starting point at the corner of the
school-house, then measure the distance accurately by running a bicycle
on which is a cyclometer, straight between the starting point and the
object. The cyclometer will record the distance accurately and it can be
read off easily. If no bicycle with a cyclometer is available, one can
use a long measuring stick, a tape measure or even a measured string;
but the bicycle and cyclometer are more convenient and accurate,
especially when the distances are considerable.

Suppose the distance is found to be one-sixth of a mile due west. It
should be located two inches west of the corner taken as the starting
point. If the direction were south-west, then the two inches would be
measured on the map in that direction and located accordingly. Proceed
in this way for locating any pond or marsh, forest or glen. Now, when
the places are located on the map, you can see how easy it would be for
any one to find the places themselves. While the exact position should
be determined if possible and located, one does not often take a
bee-line in visiting them, but goes in roads, often a long distance
around. In locating the objects on the map, every effort should be made
to get them accurately placed, and this can be done most easily by
knowing the distances in a straight line.

It is hoped that every school in the state will begin this year making a
natural history survey and a map of the region around its school-house.
The map will show but few locations, perhaps, but it can be added to
from year to year, just as the University map has been added to; and
finally each school will have a map and notes showing exactly where the
toads lay their eggs, where fish and birds are; and where the newts and
salamanders, the different trees and flowers, rocks and fossils may be

If the dates are kept accurately for the different years, one can also
see how much variation there is. Indeed, such nature-study will give a
sure foundation for appreciating and comprehending the larger questions
in natural science, and it will make an almost perfect preparation for
taking part in or for appreciating the great surveys of a state or a
country. It is believed that if accurate information were collected and
careful maps made by the different schools, the Empire State could soon
have a natural history survey and map better than any now in existence
in any state or country.

_To the Teacher:_

_It is the firm belief of those who advocate nature-study that it is not
only valuable in itself, but that it will help to give enjoyment in
other studies and meaning to them. Every pupil who follows out the work
of this leaflet will see the need of a map of the region around the
school-house. This will help in the appreciation of map work generally._

_So many of the beautiful and inspiring things in literature are
concerning some phase of nature, that nature-study must increase the
appreciation of the literature; and the noble thoughts in the literature
will help the pupils to look for and appreciate the finer things in

_It is suggested that as many of the following selections as possible be
read in connection with the leaflet:_

_"The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz," by Longfellow._

_The "Prayer of Agassiz," by Whittier. Professor Wilder, who was
present, assures the author that this describes an actual occurrence._

_This "Silent Prayer" is also mentioned in an inspiring paragraph by
Henry Ward Beecher in the Christian Union, 1873._

_The first part of Bryant's "Thanatopsis," Coleridge's "Ancient_
_Mariner," Burns' "On Scaring Some Water Fowl in Loch-Turit," and "To a

_Cowpers "The Task," a selection from book vi., beginning with line 560.
This gives a very just view of the rights of the lower animals._

_In connection with the disappearance of the tail, read Lowell's
"Festina Lente," in the Biglow Papers. For older pupils, Shakespeare's
picture of the seven ages in the human life cycle might be read. "As You
Like It," Act II, Scene II, near the end, commencing, "All the world's a
stage," etc._

_Kipling's Jungle Books, and the works of Ernest Thompson-Seton and
William J. Long will help one to see how the world might look from the
standpoint of the animals._

_One of the most satisfactory books to use in connection with
nature-study is Animal Life, by President David Starr Jordan and
Professor Kellogg. This gives the facts that every teacher ought to know
in connection with the processes of reproduction._

_Attention is also called to A. H. Kirkland's Bulletin No. 46 of the
Hatch Experiment Station of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, and
to the Nature-Study Leaflet on the Toad, by Dr. C. F. Hodge, of Clark
University, Worcester, Mass._

[Illustration: _Fig. 124. From egg back to toad._]




  And Nature, the old nurse, took
    The child upon her knee,
  Saying: "Here is a story-book
    Thy Father has written for thee."

  --_Longfellow to Agassiz._

[22] Nature-Study Quarterly No. 8: Leaflet 21, January, 1901.


[Illustration: _Fig. 125. Life in the terrarium._]

Fortunate are the children and the teachers who are so placed that
Nature's story book is close at hand. But city children and their
teachers need not despair, for Nature, the old nurse, is loving and
bountiful and will rewrite, in living characters, many a page from the
wondrous book, for those who care to read. One such a page may be a
terrarium--a confined plot of earth on which things may live and grow
(from _terra_, "earth," as aquarium is from _aqua_, "water"). Within its
narrow confines, the whole drama of the beautiful life of many a tiny
creature may be rewritten.

Here is a fragment of the drama, as written in one terrarium.

This terrarium was made from an old berry crate (Figs. 125, 126). When
the children saw it first, last fall, this is what it looked like: a
large rectangular box, grass-green in color, thirty-nine inches long,
eighteen inches wide, and fifteen inches high. The long sides were of
glass, the short sides and top of green wire netting. The top could be
removed like the lid of a box. It stood upon a pedestal-table provided
with castors. In the bottom of the terrarium were three inches of rich
soil, covered with the delicate green of sprouting grass-seed. In one
corner was a mossy nook, and in another a mass of thistles and clover.
At one end, a small cabbage was planted and at the other lay several
sprays of glossy pin-oak. Suspended from the top, was a large spray of
purple thistles.

[Illustration: _Fig. 126. Butterfly-time in the terrarium world._]

Among the thistles in the corner, ten pendants of vivid green, bright
with golden points, could be seen. They were the chrysalids of the
monarch, or milkweed, butterfly. Among the cabbage leaves, were many of
the pale green eggs and several of the caterpillars of the cabbage
butterfly. Among the sprays of oak in the corner, several oak
caterpillars were feeding.

Before many days had passed, the drama of life began. One by one, the
chrysalids of the milkweed butterfly paled in color and, becoming
transparent, showed through their whitened walls the orange-colored
wings of the developing butterflies within. They then burst, freeing
their gorgeous tenants. This happened until there were seven butterflies
in the terrarium. As two of these proved discontented with their new
home, they were set free. The five others spent the little round of
their aërial life seemingly happy and satisfied. They lived from three
to six weeks and showed some individuality in their tastes and habits.
Sometimes they chose the mossy corner for their resting place. On other
occasions they preferred the netting at the ends and top of the
terrarium. In fact, the netting at the ends of the terrarium was a
source of pleasure to these butterflies, as it served as a secure
resting place and an agreeable and convenient pathway to the top. One of
them spent nearly all its life on the thistles suspended from the top.
These thistles were kept fresh a long time by placing their stems in a
large sponge which was frequently drenched with water.

The butterflies showed some individuality in their eating also. Thistle,
clover, golden-rod, nasturtiums, and honey-suckle were offered to them.
The thistle and the golden-rod were most frequently visited, and next to
these the nasturtiums were most favored. Another fact noted was that
most of the butterflies continued to visit the flower first chosen.
When, however, a thick syrup of sugar and water was offered to them, the
flowers were much neglected, only one butterfly persisting in
flower-visiting. Golden-rod was its choice. If the syrup was fresh-made
every morning and was placed in a convenient spot, the butterflies never
failed to sip it. They generally slept clinging to the wire-netting at
the ends or top of the terrarium.

In the meantime, the cabbage began to attract the watchful eyes of the
wondering children. As it had industriously sent out many tiny roots, it
proved a safe and satisfactory home for its hidden occupants. Soon, one
by one, the caterpillars began to appear at the edges of the uppermost
leaves. They began small tours in the vicinage of the cabbage, and,
finally, as with the butterflies, the end wire nettings proved to be an
easy pathway to the top of the terrarium. Here several found good
resting places, and slowly changed to chrysalids.

One day a cabbage butterfly obligingly flew in at the open window. It
was caught and placed in the terrarium. It, too, proved to be very fond
of sugar syrup. One morning the syrup was accidentally spilled on the
wooden ridge at the bottom of the terrarium outside of the netting. The
butterfly was so hungry that it could not wait for food more
conveniently placed; so it stretched its tongue out, full length,
through the netting, and in that way obtained it. The children were
surprised to find its tongue somewhat longer than its body.

At this time, the cabbage was removed so that the eggs and the remaining
young caterpillars could be observed. The protecting coloring of the
eggs and caterpillars was first noticed. One little boy at first
announced that the caterpillars were green because they were not ripe, a
good example surely of the danger of reasoning from analogy!

Very soon the inhabitants of this terrarium world began to increase. A
father and two mother grasshoppers and a young one, with his "armor on,"
came to live there; also a "woolly bear," several other species of
caterpillars, several species of beetles, a big horse-fly, some
lady-bugs, and a cicada. About this time too, some very unwelcome
immigrants appeared. These were the ichneumon flies. So numerous did
they become in a very short time, that they threatened desolation to
this prosperous community. Nature's methods were then scrutinized and
the services of two tree-toads were sought. Their response was immediate
and cordial. Soon not an ichneumon fly could be found.

[Illustration: _Fig. 127. Hand over hand._]

The grasshoppers were partial to celery, over-ripe bananas, and
moisture. Three days after they became inhabitants of this miniature
world, the mother grasshopper dug a hole in the ground and laid eggs.
The observing children then had before them living illustrations of the
three stages of grasshopper life.

The tree-toads were both amusing and accommodating. They, too, liked the
wire netting at the ends of the terrarium, and delighted the children by
climbing up foot over foot, or hand over hand, like odd four-handed
sailor boys (Fig. 127.) This brought into plain view the tiny suckers on
their feet.

After the ichneumon flies had disappeared, a new difficulty arose. The
ground became mouldy, and the grass died down. The terrarium was then
placed by an open window and left there several hours for a number of
days until it was thoroughly dried out. Then bird-seed was planted and
the ground was watered thereafter with a small plant syringe. This gave
sufficient, but not excessive moisture, and it was one of the pleasures
of the children to imitate a rainy day in the terrarium world. And it
was a pleasing experience, for there were splashes of water on the glass
sides and many shining drops on the netting and verdure, which soon grew
several inches tall; there was the same delightful odor of rich fresh
earth that one enjoys during summer rains, and the sunshine touched with
brilliancy the gay fall flowers and the gorgeous outspread wings of the

At this time the terrarium had an annex in the shape of a wooden box, a
foot square, with a gauze top. Here lived two mother spiders with their
egg-balls carefully hung on the cobweb beams of their homes. One day a
beautiful yellow silk egg-ball was found out of doors, and when it was
carefully opened to show the eggs with which it was filled, the
gratifying discovery was made that these eggs were hatching. They were
very tiny and very numerous. They were inclosed in a silken pouch and
were the exact color of its lining. When resting the little spiders
seemed to hold their legs under the body, and they were so small and so
like the egg in general appearance that if they had not run about when
disturbed they would never have been discovered. As soon as the egg ball
was opened they exploited their one talent, for they ran out on the
fingers of the person who held the ball and then suspended themselves by
almost invisible threads from all parts of the fingers. When they were
to be returned to the egg-ball they were gently pushed up. They then
obligingly ran back into their silken home, which was carefully closed
as before. These little ones were kept a week or ten days and were then
allowed to escape and establish homes for themselves. The life history
of the spider was thus seen, although, unfortunately, our adult spiders
did not belong to the same species as the young ones.

To return to the terrarium: It was now early in November and each day
found one or more of the terrarium inhabitants missing. One of the
caterpillars disappeared and a cocoon made of its own hair was found in
its place; several chrysalids were found on the top of the terrarium;
the butterflies and the grasshoppers, one by one, went into that sleep
from which there is no awakening; and a number of the other creatures
disappeared. The children finally concluded that the latter had gone to
sleep in the ground. The grasshoppers and the tree-toads were the last
to take their rest, but just before they answered Mother Nature's call
to slumber, a large garden toad came to bear them company.

He was a very interesting toad for he bore signs of having lived through
what must have been almost a tragedy. He had lost the lower half of one
front leg and had the scar of a long gash on his throat. These
disfigurements seemed not to cause him the least unhappiness, for he had
a very bright wide-awake expression and was as plump and complacent as a
toad should be. The loss of his leg caused him a little inconvenience,
for he sometimes lost his balance when hopping and fell on his back. He
occasionally found it difficult to right himself at once, but a few
vigorous kicks and jumps generally placed him right side up. Three days
after he became a member of the terrarium community, he, too, heard
Mother Nature's call to bed, and partially buried himself. Each day he
covered himself more completely, until finally only the top of his head
and two sleepy eyes were to be seen. One day, about a week afterward, he
disappeared entirely. He proved to be a very restless sleeper, and
frequently showed himself during the sunniest parts of nearly every day
all winter, occasionally coming entirely out of his earthy covering. He
served as a sort of barometer all winter, appearing in bright and
disappearing in gloomy weather. He never, however, left the spot he had
chosen for his bed.

"Winter is the night of the year," and the little terrarium world
indoors exemplifies it as truly as the great fields of Nature's domain
out of doors. The soil is dry and hard in this miniature world and the
verdure has dried down to palest green and brown. In its earthy bed, the
caterpillars, beetles, and other creatures lie cosily asleep, and with
the masses of tiny eggs, await the vivifying touch of spring.




[23] Teachers' Leaflet No. 7, June, 1897.


It is the purpose of this leaflet to give a few suggestions to aid those
pupils of the secondary schools who desire to make collections of

There are several good reasons why children should be encouraged to make
collections of flowers, birds and insects; and the least of these
reasons is the possession of such a collection on the part of the child.
Making a collection of natural history specimens should only be the
means to an end, _i. e._, training the child to observe. When eyes are
opened to the wonders of nature, every roadside, brook and woodland is
fraught with interest which is undreamed of by those who are
nature-blind. It is sad to think of the hosts of people who go through
this beautiful world having eyes but seeing not, having ears but hearing
not. The eyes must be unsealed in youth, when the mind is alert and
receptive if the man or woman is to find in later life that Nature is
not only a resource and recreation but an ever faithful friend holding
out comforting arms to those who are weary in soul and body.

Not only does the study of nature open the child's eyes, but it also
teaches him the value of accuracy. The young naturalist soon understands
that an observation is worth nothing unless it is truthful. On the other
hand, nature-study cultivates the imagination. The wonders in the lives
of insects, plants, and birds are so illimitable that almost anything
_seems_ possible. Few indeed are the studies wherein the fire kindled by
imaginative _seeming_ is guarded and checked by the facts of actual

There are a few points in favor of beginning with insects when the child
first attempts making a collection of natural objects. Insects are to be
found everywhere and are easily caught; it requires no technical skill
to preserve them, as is the case with birds; they retain their natural
forms and colors better than do flowers. To secure the desired results
for the pupil when he is making his collection of insects, the teacher
should take care that he makes his observations incidentally, thus
subserving the true methods of nature-study, which is to teach the child
while he remains unconscious of the fact that he is being taught. The
teacher, therefore, should ask the young collector, "Where did you catch
this butterfly?" "Where did you find this beetle?" "Upon what plant or
flower did you find this bug?" "Did you hear this cricket chirp? If so,
how did he do it?" etc., etc.; thus making him tell orally or in a
written language lesson the things he has seen while collecting. The
differences in the appearance and structure of the insects caught should
also be brought out by questions. These questions may be adapted to
pupils of any age, and the success of this part of the work must ever
depend upon the interest and genius of the teacher.

The objection is sometimes raised that collecting and killing insects
and birds incite the child to cruelty and wanton destruction of life.
This seems good _a priori_ reasoning, but experience does not confirm
it. We have always found that those who collect and take an interest in
insect life are much more careful about killing or hurting insects than
are other people; the entomologist of all men takes the greatest pains
to avoid stepping upon the caterpillar or cricket in his path; also the
young ornithologists who have come under our observation show the
greatest devotion to the rights and interests of birds. Our experience
is that as soon as the child begins to take an interest in insects he
begins to see matters from their point of view, and this insures a
proper regard for their right to life. It will be well, however, for the
teacher to impress upon the pupil that he should kill no insect that is
not desired for his collection.

The articles necessary for collecting insects are few and inexpensive.
One net and one killing bottle may do service for a grade or an entire
country school, thus reducing the expense to a minimum.


_Materials required._

1. A handle about three feet long; an old broom handle will do.

2. A piece of tin three inches wide, long enough to reach around the

3. A piece of No. 3 galvanized wire 3 feet 6 inches long.

4. One-sixth of a yard of heavy sheeting.

5. Three-quarters of a yard of cheese cloth.

[Illustration: _Fig. 128. Insect net._]

Bend the wire into a ring about a foot in diameter and bend back about 3
inches of each end of the wire so they may be inserted into a hole
drilled into the end of the handle. The piece of tin should be fastened
around the end of the handle where the wire is inserted to hold it
securely in place. If practicable, a tinsmith should be called upon to
help in bending the wire and fastening it to the handle. After this is
done, take the sheeting and fold it over the wire double, using only
enough to fit around the wire without gathering; the object of this
heavy cloth is to prevent the net from wearing out quickly. Make the
cheese cloth into a bag with rounded bottom and just wide enough to fit
the facing of sheeting, to which it should be sewed securely, and the
net is finished.


To be successful, the net must be swung swiftly. Insects have many eyes
and are very wide awake and have no desire to be caught; therefore, the
collector must be very active if he gets anything. One method of using
the net is called "sweeping;" to do this take the handle about a foot
and a half above the ring and pass the net quickly back and forth
striking it against the grass in front of you as you walk through open
fields; the net must be turned at each stroke and kept in rapid motion
or the insects will escape. After a time the net should be examined and
the insects put in the killing bottle.

Another method of using the net is called "beating." This method is used
in collecting insects from bushes, and consists of lifting the net,
mouth upward, and striking it sharply against the branches or leaves,
thus jarring the insects into it.

To use the net in water, sweep the water plants as quickly as possible.
In running streams, overturn stones, holding the net just below them
with the mouth up stream. An old dipper made into a sieve by perforating
the bottom with an awl is a good utensil for collecting water insects.


It is desirable to kill the insects in a humane way, so that they will
not suffer by the process; it is also desirable that they should not
revive after they are pinned, both for their own sakes as well as for
the sake of the feelings of the collector. The best way to secure
painless and sure death for the insects is by the means of a "cyanide

[Illustration: _Fig. 129. Killing bottle._]

_Materials needed for a killing bottle._

1. A bottle with a wide mouth; a morphine bottle or a small olive or
pickle bottle will do. Even a glass fruit-can holding a pint will answer
very well, although taking off and putting on the cover consumes more
time than is desirable.

2. A cork that will fit the bottle tightly and is long enough to handle

3. Two cents' worth of cyanide of potassium.

4. One cent's worth of plaster of Paris.

These latter materials may be procured from any drug store.

Place the lump of cyanide of potassium in the bottle and pour in enough
water to cover it. Add immediately enough plaster of Paris to soak up
all the water; leave the bottle open in a shady place for an hour and
then wipe the dry plaster of Paris from its sides, put in the cork, and
it is ready for use. The plaster of Paris forms a porous cement, which,
while it holds the cyanide fast in the bottom, also allows the fumes of
the poison to escape and fill the bottle. It should be labelled
"poison," for cyanide of potassium is very poisonous. If kept corked
when not in use, a killing bottle made like this will last a whole

The first rule in using the killing bottle is this: do not kill any more
insects than you need for your collection. The second rule is: do not
breathe the fumes of the bottle, for they smell badly and are not good
for you. When you uncork the bottle to put an insect in it, hold it away
from your face and cork it up again as quickly as possible.

Some insects may be caught from flowers, etc., directly into the bottle
by holding it uncorked beneath them for a moment; the fumes of the
poison soon overcome them and they drop into the bottle. In taking
insects from the net, hold the bottle in the right hand and the cork in
the left; insert the bottle into the net and place the mouth of it over
an insect crawling on the inside of the net, then put the cork on the
outside of the net into the mouth of the bottle, net and all, for a
moment until the insect falls into the bottom of the bottle; then remove
the cork and take the rest of the imprisoned insects in the same way.
Insects should be left in the bottle at least an hour, and may be left
in there over night without injury to the specimens.


[Illustration: _Fig. 130. Insect pins, 1, 3, 5, are German insect pins.
2 is a steel mourning pin._]

After the insects are caught they should be pinned so that they may be
arranged in the collection in an orderly manner. Common pins are not
good for pinning insects; they are too thick and they corrode very soon,
covering the specimens with verdigris. Regular insect pins are desirable
as they are very slender and do not corrode so quickly. These may be
obtained of any dealer in entomological supplies at a cost of fifteen
cents per hundred.

Ask for the German insect pins Nos. 1, 3 and 5. If these pins are too
expensive you can use the black steel mourning pins. These come in
shallow boxes one by two inches square and have round glass heads and
the boxes are labelled "Germany;" these may be procured from any dry
goods store. However, insects pinned with any beside regular insect pins
cannot be sold or exchanged.

All insects except beetles should be pinned through that part of the
body just back of the head, as shown in Figs. 137, 139, 140, 141.
Beetles should be pinned through the right wing-cover, as shown in Fig.
138. About one-fourth of the pin should project above the back of the
insect. Very small insects may be gummed to a narrow strip of card board
and the pin put through the card board.


Specimens should be labelled with the date of capture and the locality.
Thus the butterfly, Fig. 141, would be labelled thus:

  Ithaca, N. Y.
  Aug. 12, 1896.

The paper on which this label is written should be slipped upon the pin
with which the butterfly is pinned and placed just below the insect.
Labels should be as small as possible and be neatly cut.


For the beginner nothing is more convenient than an empty cigar box,
which may be obtained at any store where cigars are sold. (Fig. 131.)
The bottom of the box should be covered with some soft, firm material
into which pins may be pushed without bending them. There are many such
materials. Sheet cork or pressed peat may be obtained of dealers in
entomological supplies. Some ingenious boys use regular bottle corks,
cut into cross sections about 1/4 inch thick. Others take the pith of
dried corn-stalks divided in half lengthwise. The cheapest and most
easily procurable of the purchasable materials is cork linoleum. This is
for sale in most carpet stores. Get the quality that is about 1/4 inch
thick, which costs about $1 per yard; put it into the box cork-side up.
Any of these materials can be fastened to the bottom of the box with
glue or with tacks. In all cases they should be covered neatly with
white paper, for the insects appear better against a white background.

[Illustration: _Fig. 131. A convenient box for the use of the young

For permanent collections, wooden boxes with glass tops are much safer;
and as the insects may be seen through the glass these boxes are more
practical for school collections. This kind of a box is shown in Fig.
132. Its sides are 18 by 16 inches and its height is three inches
outside measure. The upper edge of the sides of the bottom part of the
box is made with a tongue which fits into a groove made in the lower
edge of the sides of the cover. This is done so that the top and bottom
parts of the box shall fit very closely together in order that museum
pests cannot get in and destroy the specimens.

[Illustration: _Fig. 132. Insect box made of wood, with glass top._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 133. A cross-section of the side of insect box Fig.
132, showing method of construction and giving measurements._]

In Fig. 133 is a cross section through one side of the box, showing how
it should be made and giving measurements. In the drawing the glass is
fitted into a groove in the inner side of the cover. This glass might be
puttied in like a window pane if it is found difficult to make the
groove. The corners of the box may be mitred and dove-tailed, or mitred
and nailed; the latter is more easily done. Any carpenter or cabinet
maker can make this box. Great care must be taken to use only thoroughly
seasoned wood in its construction; otherwise the bottom will be sure to
warp and shrink and leave cracks through which the museum pests will

The cost of such a box will vary from $0.75 to $1. Basswood should be
used for its construction; pine is not at all suitable on account of the
resin in it. Screw eyes may be put into these boxes and they may be hung
on the walls of the schoolroom like pictures.


These are small beetles which find their way through the narrowest
crevice into the insect boxes and lay their eggs on the pinned insects.

The larvæ when they hatch work within the specimens at first but after a
time destroy the bodies entirely. The presence of these little rascals
may be detected by dust on the bottom of the box just below the
infested insect. As soon as this dust is observed, pour into one corner
of the box a tablespoonful of carbon bisulfide, or benzine, and close
the box quickly. The teacher or parent should put the substances into
the boxes, as the first is a poison and both are very inflammable. As a
method of preventing the beetles from attacking the collection it is
well to fasten a "moth ball" into one corner of the box. These may be
obtained at a drug store.


Butterflies and moths look much better in a collection when their wings
are extended at right angles to the length of the body. To arrange them
thus we have to use what is termed a spreading-board.

[Illustration: _Fig. 134. A spreading-board._]

_Materials needed for a medium sized spreading-board._

1. Two strips of pine or other soft wood 18 inches long, 1-1/2 inches
wide and 1/2 inch thick.

2. One strip of wood 18 inches long, 3-1/4 inches wide and 1/2 inch

3. Two cleats 3-1/4 inches wide, 3/4 inch high and 1/2 inch thick; and
two cleats 1 inch wide and as high and thick as the others.

4. A strip of cork or linoleum 17 inches long and a little less than an
inch wide.

To construct the spreading-board, take the two narrow strips of wood,
place them one-fourth inch apart and on the under side fasten them
across the ends of the longer cleats. Then on the same side as the
cleats tack the piece of cork or linoleum over the space between the
strips of board, and as the cleats are one-half inch wide the linoleum
should cover all the space left. Then midway the boards fasten the two
smaller cleats. Fig. 135 shows a cross-section of the spreading-board
just in front of these two middle cleats. Now it is ready for the
bottom board which will fit exactly if directions are followed, and this
completes it. The space between the two upper boards is wide enough to
take in the body of the moth or butterfly. The cork or linoleum below
the space will hold firmly the pin on which the butterfly is impaled.
The cleats hold the top and bottom boards apart and so protect the
points of the pins. Spreading-boards may be made much smaller or much
larger to suit moths of different sizes; the space between the top
boards must always be large enough to admit the body of the insect.

[Illustration: _Fig. 135. A cross-section of spreading-board in front of
the cleat "d" in Fig. 134._]

To use the spreading-board: Insert the pin with the butterfly on it into
the linoleum just far enough so that the body of the insect will be in
the space between the boards up to the wings, Fig. 135. Place the wings
out flat on the board and fasten them there with narrow strips of paper
pinned across them, Fig. 134, _a_. While held down by these strips of
paper arrange them so that the hind margins of the front wings shall
cover the front margins of the hind wings and shall be in a line at
right angles to the body; then pin larger pieces of paper over the rest
of the wings, Fig. 134, _b_. Sometimes isinglass is used instead of
paper to hold the wings down, Fig. 134, _c_. The insects should be left
on the spreading-board at least three days; and when the board has
insects on it, it should be kept in a box where the museum pests and
mice cannot get at it.

Sometimes when the moths are not spread soon after being killed, they
become so stiff that the wings cannot be moved without breaking them. In
such cases the insects should be put on paper in a jar which has some
wet sand in the bottom and which can be covered tightly. The air in such
a can is so moist that in two or three days the insect will become
limber and may be spread with ease.


The border of a piece of woods where many shrubs and weeds are growing
is an especially good place for collecting many kinds of insects. Any
place where there is a great variety of plants and flowers will give a
variety of insects. Banks of streams and underneath stones in the fields
are good places for collecting.


The best time of the year is during the summer months. The best time of
day is in the forenoon after eight o'clock, and in the twilight at

At night many moths may be caught by making a paste of sugar and water
(unrefined sugar is best) and painting it upon tree trunks with a brush
after sunset. The paste should cover a space two inches wide and several
inches long. After dark seek these places cautiously with a lantern and
moths will be found sucking the paste; these may be caught with the
killing bottle if you move carefully so as not to frighten them; they do
not seem to mind the light of the lantern.

Electric street-lights attract many insects which may be caught
in the net. A lamp set in an open window is also a very good lure
on warm nights in the spring and summer.


[Illustration: _Fig. 136. a, Cricket. b, Grasshopper._]

After collecting insects comes the desire to arrange them properly,
putting together in neat rows those that resemble each other. To
classify insects correctly requires much study. The scope of this
leaflet admits of only a few suggestions about the most common insects.

_Dragon Flies._--There are many kinds of these, but they all have four
wings, finely netted and transparent, the hind wings being as large or
larger than the front wings. These are perfectly harmless insects.

_Grasshoppers, Crickets and Katydids._--These are known to all, Fig.
136. There are two families of grasshoppers: those with long horns or
antennæ and those with short antennæ. Katydids, crickets, cockroaches
and walking-sticks are near relatives to the grasshoppers.

_Bugs._--These insects have the front pair of wings thick and heavy at
the base and thin and transparent at the tips, Fig. 137, _b_. The
squash-bug, the chinch-bug, and the electric-light bug are examples of
these. Some bugs have the front wings entirely thin and transparent and
sloping like a steep roof over the back of the insect, like the cicada,
Fig. 137, _a_; and the Brownie bug, Fig. 137, _c_, _d_.

[Illustration: _Fig. 137. a, Cicada. b, Stink-bug. c, Leaf-hopper. d,
Leaf-hopper--front view._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 138. Beetles--showing the pin through the right
wing cover. a, Snapping beetle. b, Wood-boring beetle. c, Water

[Illustration: _Fig. 139. Flies--showing the knobs just below the wings.
Note that flies have only two wings. a, Crane fly. b, Pomace

_Beetles._--These have hard wing-covers which meet in a straight line
down the back and have a pair of thin wings folded under them, Fig.
138. The "June bug" or "May beetle" and the potato beetle are good
examples of beetles.

[Illustration: _Fig. 140. a, Wasp. b, Bee. Note these have four wings._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 141. The Red Admiral butterfly. Note the knobbed

_Flies._--These have only two wings, usually transparent. Behind each of
these wings a short thread with a knob on it extends out on each side of
the body instead of hind wings, Fig. 139. House-flies, horse-flies and
mosquitoes are examples of flies.

_Bees, Wasps and Ants._--Bees, wasps and the winged form of ants have
four transparent wings, Fig. 140. Some flies resemble bees and wasps,
but if examined it will be found that they have only two wings instead
of four.

[Illustration: _Fig. 142. The Cabbage butterfly._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 143. The Bass-wood leaf-roller moth._]

_Butterflies and Moths._--Butterflies and moths may be told apart by
the following character: The antennæ or horns of the butterflies are
always threadlike and knobbed at the tip, Figs. 141, 142, while the
antennæ of moths are in various shapes, but never bear knobs at the
tips, Figs. 143, 144, 145, 146.

[Illustration: _Fig. 144. The Imperial moth. A common night-flying

[Illustration: _Fig. 145. An under-wing moth._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 146. The Luna moth. A common night-flying


The following is a list of the dealers in entomological supplies that
have advertisements in the current American entomological journals:

A. Smith & Sons, 269 Pearl Street, New York, N. Y.

John Akhurst, 78 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, N. Y.

M. Abbott Frazar, 93 Sudbury Street, Boston, Mass.

Entomological Society of Ontario, Victoria Hall, London, Ont.

Queen & Co., 1010 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

The Bausch & Lomb Optical Company, 515-543 N. St. Paul Street,
Rochester, N. Y.




[24] Teachers' Leaflet No. 5, June, 1897.

It is unfortunate that there is, throughout the country, a prevailing
dislike for the small creatures called "worms." This dislike is, in most
instances, the result of wrong training, and is by no means a natural
instinct. As evidence of this, witness the joy with which the small boy
or even the small girl, handles "bait" when preparing to go fishing;
although of all common "worms" surely the angle-worm is least attractive
from any point of view. A still more striking example is the hardihood
with which young fishermen catch the dobson to use as a lure for
bass--for the dobson is not only very ugly in appearance but is also
vicious, often pinching severely the careless fingers of its captors.
Thus the dislike for insects being the result of the point of view, it
should be the first duty of the teacher to remove this repulsion. In the
lesson which follows there is no occasion for teacher or pupils to touch
the insects unless they choose to do so; but an attempt is made to
arouse an interest in the habits and ways of insect life. If we can
succeed in arousing the child's interest in the actions of a
caterpillar, he will soon forget his dislike for the "little brothers"
which live upon foliage and which experience miraculous changes of form
during their short lives.

In selecting the Apple-tree Tent Caterpillar for this lesson we have
been guided by the following facts: First, it is to be found in early
spring; second, its life-history from egg to cocoon is accomplished
within the limits of the spring term of our schools; third, it is common
everywhere; fourth, it is an important insect from an economic point of
view, and the children may be taught how to keep it out of the orchards,
thus making the lesson of practical use.

In this lesson the teacher is encouraged to use her own methods and
originate new ones to make the work interesting. The Leaflet is meant
for the exclusive use of the teacher and the text should not be shown to
the pupils. The pictures on page 235 are to be shown to the pupils at
the teacher's discretion. When answers are herein given to the questions
asked, they are meant to aid the teacher in drawing out the correct
replies from the children.


1. A pocket lens or a tripod lens is desirable, but not a necessity.
These lenses may be bought from or ordered through any jeweler or
bookseller. They cost from twenty-five cents to one dollar each. It is
worth while for any teacher to possess one of these magnifiers as a
means of interesting her pupils in many things.

2. A bottle, a broad-bottomed one being preferable so that it will not
tip over easily. This bottle is to be filled with water in which a small
branch of the apple tree may be placed to keep it fresh. A common ink
bottle will do to begin with. Fig. 147.

3. A wooden or pasteboard box, twelve or fourteen inches square,--a soap
box or hat box will do. In place of a cover, nail or paste mosquito
netting or cheese cloth over the top; remove the bottom so that the box
may be placed over the bottle and the branch of apple in it. This is
called a "breeding-cage," and its use is to keep the insects from
straying about the schoolroom.

4. A twig bearing the egg-mass of the tent caterpillar. These are easily
found before the leaves appear on the apple tree or the wild cherry

[Illustration: _Fig. 147. The bottle with the twigs bearing the
egg-masses. The tent is being woven below._]


The teacher should give the pupils a preliminary talk on tents. Speak of
the tents used by Indians, by armies, by circuses, by campers, and
describe them each in turn. The teacher should use all the facts at her
disposal, and all her ingenuity to get the children interested in this
subject. Spend a little time for two or three days in discussing tents,
and get the pupils to tell orally or in essays all they know about
tents. When sufficient interest is thus aroused, tell them this: "The
reason we have talked about tents is that we are going to study some
little folks who make tents and live in them. Their tents are not made
of bark like the Indian's or of canvas like the soldier's, but are made
of the finest silk, which is spun and woven by the tenters themselves.
These silken tents are not pitched upon the ground and fastened down by
ropes and pegs, for these folk, like the Swiss Family Robinson, live in
trees. Many people live in one of these tree tents, and they are all
brothers and sisters. Now, just where these tents are made, and how they
are made, and what sort of little people make them are things which we
shall find out if we watch carefully and patiently."

LESSON I.--THE EGGS. FIG. 149, _a_.

The teacher, having found the egg-mass, should show it to the pupils and
let them, during play hours, collect some for themselves. Say that they
are eggs, but explain no further. Get the children to examine the
egg-masses; ask the following questions:

On what part of the trees are these egg-masses found?

What is the shape of the egg-mass? (Bring out the fact that they look
like a portion of the twig swollen or budded.)

What is the color of the egg-mass?

Is there much difference in color between the egg-mass and the branch?

Has this similarity in color any use? (Develop the idea that the shape
and the color of the egg-mass make it resemble the twig so closely as to
hide it from birds or any animal that would be likely to eat the eggs.)

Does the egg-mass shine?

Why does it shine? _Answer._ Because there is a coat of varnish around
the eggs.

Why was varnish put around the eggs? (Get the answer by asking why
varnish is put on wood. Varnish is put around the eggs to preserve them
and to keep them dry during the rains and snows of autumn and winter.)

If the eggs are near the hatching period the varnish will have scaled
off, revealing the tiny white eggs; if not, let the teacher remove the
varnish with a knife or pin, thus exposing the eggs. If the teacher has
a lens the children should view the eggs through it. Exhibit the picture
Fig. 149, b, which represents the eggs greatly enlarged showing the
net-work of cement which holds them in place. Ask the children to
compare the shape of these eggs with that of bird's eggs, and bring out
the fact that these are thimble-shaped. Then ask the pupils to guess
what sort of mother laid these eggs, cemented them fast with a network,
and then covered them with a coat of waterproof varnish. After
sufficient interest is aroused on this point, explain to them: "One day
last July a little moth or miller was flitting about the tree from which
these twigs were taken. If we could have been there and caught her we
should have found her a pretty little creature with four wings covered
with down and a soft fuzzy body. In color she was a pale rosy-brown, and
had two bands of pale yellow across each front wing." (Call attention to
the picture of the moth, Fig. 149, e.[25])

[25] If a specimen of the moth could be obtained, it would be much more
interesting to the children than the picture. The teacher can collect or
breed the moths in July to use the next spring to illustrate the lesson.

"This is the little mother which laid her eggs in a ring around the twig
and covered them with a waterproof coat to keep them safe and sound
until this spring, when they will hatch."

What will come out of these eggs when they hatch? The teacher should not
answer this question, but let the pupils watch the eggs and discover the
answer for themselves.

Place the twig with the egg-mass upon it in the bottle of water (Fig.
147). It will be best if this twig is a part of a forked branch, so that
the caterpillars may make their web upon it (Fig. 148). As soon as the
eggs hatch ask the following questions:

What sort of young ones hatch out of the eggs?

Are they like their mother?

What color are they?

Why are their heads so large? _Answer._ So that they can gnaw the lid
off the egg and thus get out.

Why should the young ones of a pretty moth be little black caterpillars?

(Leave this answer for future investigation.)

After the caterpillars hatch it will be necessary to bring in each day
fresh apple twigs with buds and leaves on them so as to feed the little
prisoners. It is very desirable that they be kept alive until they have
begun their web and have molted at least twice. If they show a
disposition to wander off, put the breeding cage over the bottle and
branch and so keep them confined with their food.

To supplement the study of the imprisoned caterpillars, study should be
made at the same time of the insects out of doors and under natural
conditions. If none appear upon an apple or wild cherry tree near the
school-house, the teacher should transfer a colony to such a tree (Fig.
148). This may be done by fastening a twig with an egg-mass upon it to a
branch of the tree. If too late to get the unhatched eggs, get a nest
with the small worms in it and tie that to the convenient branch
instead. This study of the insects out of doors is very necessary in
discovering their normal habits.


If the eggs hatch before the leaves appear, upon what do the
caterpillars feed?

How long is it after hatching before the caterpillars commence to make
their tent?

Where is the tent always formed?

_Answer._ In the fork of the branches.

Why is this so?

_Answer._ The forking branches offer a convenient support upon which to
stretch the tent: and when, as in the case out of doors, the tent is
spread in a fork of the larger limbs, these limbs afford two branching
roads for the caterpillars to follow in searching for food.

Let the pupils make drawings of the tent as soon as it is large enough
to be seen well.

What is the color of the caterpillars when they are a week old?

Upon what do they feed?

At what time of day do they feed?

When on a tree, how far from their tent do they go for food?

Are the paths over which the caterpillars travel when searching for food
marked in any way?

[Illustration: _Fig. 148. A young colony of tent-makers on a cherry

_Answer._ This caterpillar spins a silken thread wherever it goes and
therefore leaves a trail of silk behind it.

Of what is the tent made?

Compare the tent with a spider's web and note the differences.

Where does the silk come from, of which the tent is made?

_Answer._ The silk glands of the caterpillar are situated near the
mouth, while those of the spider are on the rear end of the body.


The caterpillars shed their skins about five times. The first molt
occurs about three days after they hatch; the second molt about four
days later; and the third molt about six days after the second. After
each molt, the color and markings of the caterpillars are somewhat
changed. During some of the molts the pupils should watch a caterpillar
change his skin. After the class has seen this operation the teacher may
give the following lesson:

Where is your skeleton?

What is it made of?

What is it for? Bring out the fact that the skeleton is a support for
the muscles and organs of the body.

Where is an insect's skeleton? Get as many answers to this question as
possible, then explain:

The insect's skeleton is on the outside of its body instead of a skin,
and the flesh and muscles are supported by it on the inside instead of
on the outside like our own. As this skeleton is hard it cannot stretch;
as the insect grows and gets too large the shell bursts open and the
insect walks out of it. Now underneath this old hard skeleton a new one
is formed, which is soft and flexible at first, and so stretches to
accommodate the growing insect. After a little time this new skeleton
also hardens and has to be shed when it is too small to suit its owner.

Notes should be made by the pupil upon the change of color and markings
after the different molts, and the process of molting should be


In ordinary seasons, about the middle of May, the caterpillars get their
growth. If those in the breeding cage have died or have not thrived,
bring in a few full-grown caterpillars from the orchard and put them on
some branches in the breeding cage. Give them fresh food each day as
long as they will eat; also place some sticks and chips on the bottom
of the breeding cage for the worms to "spin up" on. Then have the
children observe the following things:

How do the caterpillars begin their cocoons?

Where are the cocoons made?

How are they made?

Draw a picture of a cocoon.

About a week after a cocoon is made, open it carefully with a pair of
scissors so as not to hurt the inmate, and let the pupil see the change
that has come over the caterpillar.

Have the pupils describe the pupa.

Let the pupils make drawings of the pupa.

The moths will hardly emerge from the cocoons until after the close of
the school term. The children should be encouraged to gather the cocoons
from the fences around the orchards and from the sticks and the branches
on the ground and to carry them home. The cocoons may be placed in
pasteboard boxes and kept until the moths emerge, about the middle of


After the caterpillars are fully grown and all the processes of growth
have been observed by the pupils, the teacher should give a lesson upon
the injury which they do to trees and the necessity of keeping the
orchards free from these pests. This lesson should be given guardedly so
as not to encourage the children to cruelty in killing insects. The
teacher should always try to inculcate in the child reverence for life,
that wonderful force, which we can so easily take from a creature but
which we can never give back. It is better to appeal to the child's
sense of justice in giving this lesson. The teacher may vary it to suit
her own ideas, but in substance it might be given somewhat as follows:

"All life is sacred; the smallest worm has as good a right to live in
the sight of God as you or any child has. Life should never be taken
except when necessary. However, no one has the right to interfere with
the rights of another. Neither the child nor the worm has any right to
trespass upon the property of any one else."

"Let us see whether these caterpillars are trespassers or not. The
farmer works hard to earn the money to buy the land upon which the
orchard is planted; he works hard to earn the money with which to buy
the young trees; he works hard to set out the trees and cultivate the
orchard; therefore the orchard and the fruit of it are his property, and
he has a right to drive away all thieves. If men or children steal the
fruit, he has a right to appeal to the law and have them fined or
imprisoned. If worms come and injure the tree by eating up the foliage,
he has a right to keep them out if he can. The leaves are necessary to
the tree, for if they are destroyed the tree cannot get the air it needs
to keep it vigorous and enable it to mature its fruit. We have seen that
these caterpillars destroy the leaves, and thus do great injury to the
apple crop. We therefore have a right to destroy these little robbers,
as that is the only way we can keep them out of our orchards."

How can the caterpillars be destroyed?

The egg-masses can be collected in winter and early spring from young
orchards, and burned.

Tie bits of suet or fresh fat pork to the branches of the trees and thus
induce chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers to visit the orchard in
winter. These birds will destroy eggs and cocoons of the tent
caterpillar, and of other insect pests also.

In large, old trees, we must wait until later. Ask the pupils the
following questions:

At what times did we find the worms in their tents? _Answer._ Early
morning; late afternoons; and during cold, dark days.

If we should destroy the tents in the middle of a warm, sunny day, what
would happen? _Answer._ The caterpillars, being out feeding on the
leaves, would not be hurt, and as soon as they came back would make
another tent.

If the tent is destroyed in the early morning or late afternoon or on a
cold, dark day, what would happen? _Answer._ The caterpillars, all being
in the tent, would be destroyed.

How may the tents be destroyed? _Answer._ By wiping them out with a long
pole on one end of which is wound a rag saturated with kerosene. Or by
burning them out with a torch.

Is it best to destroy the caterpillars early in the season, while they
are still small, or to wait until they are large and are about ready to

If the trees were sprayed with Paris green in the early spring, what
would happen? _Answer._ The caterpillars would be killed as soon as they
began to eat, when they were first hatched.

When these caterpillars feed on the leaves of wild cherry they are doing
no damage to an orchard. Therefore, when the tents appear on wild cherry
trees have we any right to destroy them? _Answer._ The wise and careful
farmer does not allow wild cherry trees to grow along his fences if
they will become breeding places for insect enemies which will next year
attack his orchards.

[Illustration: _Fig. 149. The Curious History of a Tent Caterpillar. a,
The masses of eggs on the twigs of an apple tree. b, The eggs enlarged.
c, A full grown caterpillar. d, Cocoons. e, The moth, or adult insect._]




    "Nature-Study is learning those things in nature that are best
    worth knowing, to the end of doing those things that make life
    most worth living."

    --PROFESSOR HODGE in _Nature-Study and Life_.

[26] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 23, May, 1902.


Spite of all the efforts of scientists and nature-students to popularize
the mosquito, its reputation as a public nuisance is as well sustained
as ever, and it seems destined to remain as unpopular as were its
ancestors. There is no doubt that these creatures "abound" and that
"they are great annoyances to both man and animals," as Dr. Howard tells
us in "The Insect Book;" but he has laid a new and even more deadly sin
at their door in stating, as he does in no uncertain terms, that "they
are active agents in the transfer of disease."

There seems to be no escape from the attention of these persistent "imps
o' evil." Though we travel to far Alaska or to icy Greenland we cannot
be free. Since we are doomed to existence in the same world with the
mosquito it behooves us to discover, if possible, some way to turn the
creature to account for our entertainment or instruction. Forget for the
moment that you despise mosquitoes, and let us study their ways. By
making its life history the subject of some of our lessons we may at
least learn how the mosquito lives and develops; and later we can turn
this knowledge to practical account. Since for many generations these
creatures have made the human race the subject of insistent study, it is
no more than fair that the tables should be turned!

You are not good nature-students until you have recognized and overcome
your prejudices. You read the life history of the rabbit and you think
you hate its enemies. You watch a family of foxes with their cunning
ways, and the mother's care for her young and you cannot help
sympathizing with them in their struggle for existence. Every creature
in its turn becomes interesting to you when you find yourself wondering
about how it makes its home, rears its young, and gets its food. As you
get nearer to nature you will cease to feel any pride in the fact that
you "hate" snakes, mosquitoes, and all such "varmints." Indeed that
hatred, born of ignorance, will have given place to sympathy and
interest. You have a new point of view.

One of the first questions asked of the returning animals in early
spring is, "How have you spent the winter?" The bluebird and the robin
show no signs of weariness after their long flight from the South. The
"woolly bear" caterpillars look just as they did in October. The early
butterflies are a trifle worn and shabby after their hibernation. But
who has thought to inquire where and how the mosquito has spent the cold
season? "Who cares," one may say, "so long as they don't stay around
where we are as they did last summer?"

[Illustration: _Fig. 150. Mosquito's wing._]

Suppose we make it our business from now on to care about such things,
and to inquire into the ways our plant and animal neighbors have of
living and of getting a living. Are you quite sure that the mosquitoes
have not spent their winter under your protection? If in April you had
had occasion to frequent either garret or cellar there you might have
found them. By dozens and scores they were waiting for the return of
warm weather to free them. Many of them winter not as eggs, larvæ, or
pupæ, but as winged adults, as _mosquitoes_. This rather interferes with
the prevalent notion that mosquitoes live but for a day. Would that this
were true, and might that day be short!

[Illustration: _Fig. 151. Raft of eggs, greatly enlarged._]


The life history of a mosquito is in four chapters, some of which are
exceedingly short, others long. The length of each may be varied by the
weather and the season. Moisture and warmth are particularly
advantageous to the rapid development of these creatures. Ten days in
hot weather may be sufficient time for the growth of a generation of
them, from egg to adult. There are many generations in a year.

[Illustration: _Fig. 152. The larva or wiggler._]

The larvæ of mosquitoes are aquatic. They live in stagnant water
everywhere, in ponds, swamps, ditches, puddles, rain-water barrels, and
horse-troughs. In early spring the female mosquito that has wintered in
your garret will probably go to the nearest rain-water barrel or
water-tank. She finds her way by instinct, before the sun is up. When
you go to replenish your pitcher you will find a little flat cluster of
eggs like a tiny raft floating on the surface (Fig. 151). It is
dark-colored and the chances are you will not see it unless it gets into
your pitcher. By two o'clock in the afternoon there may be from two to
four hundred lively little wigglers in the water. Possibly they will
wait until the following day. They all hatched from the eggs of one
mosquito. They hitch and twitch about in the water, coming often to the
surface and hanging there for a moment (Fig. 152). You call them
"wigglers." But did you ever wonder why they wiggle, why they come so
often to the surface, and why they thrust up the little tube which
projects from near the end of the body? Did you ever ask what they find
to eat in the water, and how they eat it?

[Illustration: _Fig. 153. The active pupa._]

The larval stage lasts about ten days in hot summer weather, but longer
when the days are cool. Then comes a change in form into the pupa (Fig.
153). The creature is still active and aquatic, though no food is taken.
It does not stay long away from the surface while in this stage.
Finally, after two or more days as a pupa, the full-grown mosquito
emerges and takes wing, leaving its pupa case floating on the top of the
water like a forlorn little derelict.


Besides man, the mosquito has many natural enemies. In the water
especially they fall easy victims to the thousand-and-one insect ogres.
The nymphs of dragon-flies are especially fond of wigglers, and there
has been much said and written about raising dragon-flies as a safeguard
against mosquitoes. Most of the predaceous insects which live in still
water feed on young mosquitoes, while the adults often fall prey to
their more swiftly flying insect neighbors.


Over and around the tumbler place a piece of close-woven mosquito
netting to confine the adult insects. A glass tumbler two-thirds full of
rain-water, a little cluster of eggs, or a half dozen wigglers, a keen
observer, and you have a nature-study opportunity not to be surpassed in
the finest laboratory. If you have already seen a part of the life
history, do not be satisfied until you have completed your chain of
observations. Get the eggs; watch the hatching, the molting, the
transformations. See every stage. Learn something new every time you
look at the wiggler or the mature mosquito. It is not at all necessary
that you let these insects escape into the school-room and cause

Those who wish more minute description, with many illustrations of
mosquitoes of different kinds, should obtain from the Division of
Publications, Department of Agriculture, the published results of Dr. L.
O. Howard's studies of mosquitoes. In this pamphlet, from which the
drawings in this lesson are copied, the subject of the transfer of
disease germs by mosquitoes is very thoroughly discussed, with pictures
which distinguish between the common mosquito and those which transfer
malaria and other diseases.

Those scientists who had to do with the naming of the many species of
mosquitoes had certainly a sense of humor. One would think they named
the creatures according to the mildness or malignity of their bite. A
few of the names are as follows:

  Culex excitans
  Culex pungens
  Culex irritans
  Culex stimulans
  Culex perturbans
  Culex excrucians



There is now a world-wide crusade against mosquitoes, extending from the
wilds of Africa through the noted malarial districts of Italy to
America. In America a National Mosquito Extermination Society has been
formed. This extensive crusade is due to the practical demonstration
that some kinds of mosquitoes may transmit malaria, yellow fever and
probably other diseases of human beings.

All mosquitoes must have water in which to develop, and the warfare
against them consists largely in destroying their watery breeding
grounds. This is being done on a large scale, either by draining or by
filling in marshes, pools, and similar places which often swarm with the
"wigglers." Large areas of such mosquito-breeding waste lands in New
Jersey and on Long Island are thus being reclaimed and the mosquito
nuisance largely abated.

Aquaria, rain barrels, tanks, small ponds and similar places can be kept
free from the "wigglers" by introducing small fish, as gold fish or
silver fish, sunfish, "killies," roaches or minnows. An interesting and
instructive object lesson could be given by putting a few minnows from a
near-by brook into the school aquarium or into a specially prepared
glass dish well stocked with the "wigglers."

One can easily prevent mosquitoes from breeding in rain barrels or tanks
by covering them with mosquito netting.

Another practicable and successful method is to pour or sprinkle
kerosene oil every two or three weeks in a thin film over the surface of
cesspools, rain barrels, tanks, ponds or any other body of sluggish
water where the "wigglers" are found. This oil film kills the "wigglers"
(both larvæ and pupæ) by preventing them from getting to the surface to
breathe, and it also prevents the mother mosquito from laying her eggs
on the water. There are patent preparations or oils which penetrate all
through the water, killing the "wigglers" but spoiling the water for
general use, so that such oils are usually applied only to infested
cesspools, sewer basins, or manure pits.

By a little concerted effort of local officials, individuals, or by the
school children in applying whichever of the above methods is most
practicable, much interesting and valuable work could be accomplished
and the pestiferous mosquito largely eliminated in many localities.




[27] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 1. October, 1903.


For many years ants have been recognized as among the most interesting
of the little animals that people our fields. However, not until
recently have we begun to understand, even in a small measure, their
economic importance and the part they play in maintaining the balance in
insect life. Therefore, we shall give a few studies of ants and their
ways, and as a knowledge of their habits is necessary to begin with, we
will take up the ant-nest first.


Two panes of glass laid flat one on the other with a space between of
one-eighth of an inch or less, these panes covered with a piece of dark
paper or wood to keep out the light and then placed on something that
will allow them to be surrounded by water; a bit of blotting paper
two inches square, dampened and placed at one end of the glass
chamber--these are all the materials and the art necessary for the
construction of a perfectly equipped ant-nest.

Once we wished to make an ant-nest hurriedly, and this is the way we did
it: we chose an agate wash basin (Fig. 154), as this would not rust, and
filled it half-full of water; in this we made an island, by placing in
it a three-pint agate basin turned bottom side up. We took two discarded
negatives, size 4x5 inches, and cleaned off the films; then we placed
one of the pieces of glass on the basin-island, took the stumps of four
burnt matches and placed one on each side of this glass near its edge;
then we placed the other piece of glass on top, letting it rest on the
matches to make a chamber just high enough for the ants to live in
comfortably. This done, we took the cover of a cigar-box and cut it
down to the size of the negatives, put a screw-eye in the center to lift
it by and placed it on top of the upper glass to make the chamber below
quite dark. Then we took a trowel and fruit-can and went after some
inhabitants for our island. We went to an open pasture and turned over
stones until we found beneath one a heap of yellowish grain-like pupæ
and little translucent whitish bodies, which we knew were larvæ, all
being cared for by swarms of worker-ants. One of us pushed the trowel
beneath, taking up dirt and all, while the other held the can open, into
which the trowel was emptied. We hastened back and as gently as
possible, taking care to hurt none of our little captives, placed the
contents of the can on the top of the nest.

[Illustration: _Fig. 154. An improvised ant-nest._]

As the first thought of an ant is never for its own safety, but for the
safety of its infant sisters, the little workers began to hunt for a
safe and dark place in which to stow away their charges. In running
about they soon discovered the space between the two pieces of glass and
in a few hours the young ones were moved into the new quarters. Then we
cleaned away the earth on top of the nest, and by lifting the cover we
were able to see all that was going on within. The water in the
wash-basin prevented any of our uneasy captives from escaping, as these
little people, so clever in most things, have never yet mastered the art
of swimming.

I have an ant-nest on my table as I write, shown in Fig. 156. Instead of
matches to keep the two pieces of glass apart I have a narrow strip of
canton flannel glued around the edge of the glass floor except for two
little doors at the opposite corners; there is also a narrow strip of
cloth partitioning the chamber into two rooms with a door at one end.
One room I left empty and in the other I placed a bit of blotting paper
which I keep damp by occasionally adding a few drops of water. The nest
is placed upon a piece of plank 18 inches square. Around the plank near
the edge is a groove about an inch deep made with a chisel and kept full
of water, so that my ants have a castle with a moat. It was necessary to
paint this bit of plank thoroughly, above and below, to keep it from

[Illustration: _Fig. 155. Ant-nest, on a piece of plank, which has a
moat near its edge to confine the insects._]

The ants in my nest I found on a hillside beneath a stone; they are
brownish with yellow legs and a little less than a quarter of an inch in
length. They were stupid at first and would not discover the chamber
prepared for them, but persisted in hiding their young under bits of
earth which were brought in with them. So I made a scoop of a sheet of
writing paper and with it placed a heap of the young, with a few of the
nurses, in the empty chamber, then put on the glass ceiling and cover
and left them. In a few hours the whole colony had moved into this
chamber, but evidently it was not humid enough for the health of the
young, and by the next morning the pupæ and larvæ and eggs were all in
the other chamber arranged around the edges of the blotting paper.

What I have seen of interest in this nest on my table would fill a small
volume, if written out in detail. Just now a worker approached a pupa,
that appears through the lens like a little bag of meal tied at one end
with a black string; she examined it carefully with her antennæ and
concluded it needed to be moved, and, though it is as large as she,
picked it up in her jaws and carried it to a position which she regarded
as more favorable. Then she approached a larva which looks like a little
crook-neck squash, inquired as to its needs with her antennæ and then
cleaned it with her tongue, as a cat licks a kitten, and fed it. Her
next duty was to pick up a whole bunch of little white oblong eggs and
scurry off with them to get them out of the light. Then she stopped to
help another worker to straighten out the soft legs and antennæ of a
pale, new sister that was just emerging from the pupa skin. By the time
I had seen as much as this I felt it my duty to replace the cover, as
the light greatly disturbs the little captives. It is said that if a
yellow glass be used for the upper piece, the ants feel that they are in
darkness, and their actions may be watched constantly without disturbing

For a permanent nest, it is necessary to secure a queen, which lays all
the eggs for the colony. She may be recognized by her larger size and
may sometimes be found in a nest under the stones. However, it is so
difficult to obtain a queen that I more often bring in the young and the
workers; the latter will be content as long as they have the babies to
feed and bring up; when finally this is accomplished, I usually take my
colony back to its nest in the field, where it is made most welcome.
This may seem sentimental, but after you have watched these little
people working so hard and taking such devoted care of their baby
sisters and doing so many wise things in their home, you will be loth to
let the tiny creatures die of discouragement because they have nothing
else to do, and you will be still more loth to let them loose to
scatter, bewildered and helpless, over a strange earth. However, I have
to be very careful and mark the nest to which they belong, for if I
should put them near another colony, my poor captives would soon die
inglorious deaths.

Food which we provide for the ants in captivity should be varied and
should be put on the island, rather than in the nest as we may thus be
able to better clean away the refuse. Crackers or bread soaked in
sweetened water, sponge cake, berry-jam, sugar, bits of raw meat, yolks
of hard boiled eggs crushed, freshly killed insects or earth-worms, all
may prove acceptable to our little friends. Their food may be soft but
should not be in a fluid state.


_If you have not made an ant-nest and observed the ant as indicated,
make some field observations. These may be made with the naked eye, or
with a tripod lens. Such a lens costs about thirty-five cents._

1. Have you ever seen an ant-hill? If so, describe it.

2. Do all ants build mound nests?

3. In what situations have you found ant-nests?

4. How many kinds of ants do you know?

5. Have you ever seen winged ants? If so, describe the experience.

6. What is the reason for a winged form of ants?

7. Have you observed ants meet and "converse" with each other? If so,
how did they do it?

8. Have you seen the ants carrying their young? If so, how do they do

9. If you have made an ant-nest, tell what you have seen going on within

10. Tell any experiences you have had with ants, that show their
courage, energy or cleverness.

[Illustration: _Fig. 156. Uncovered ant-nest, viewed from above, looking
through the glass ceiling._

_The white pieces around the edges and at the center are strips of
canton flannel, forming walls and partition to the nest. Note the doors
at the lower left and upper right hand corners and at lower end of the
partition. The piece of blotting paper in the chamber at the left
chanced to have a picture of an eagle upon it. The small white objects
are pupæ, assorted in heaps._]


[28] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 8, May, 1904.

[Illustration: _Fig. 157. Rose infested with aphids or plant-lice._]

Very soon after the green leaves come, one may notice that the ants seem
to be greatly interested in getting to the tops of trees, bushes and
vines. If one watches for only a short time, he may see them hastening
up and down with that important ant-air which says plainly, "There now,
don't hinder me, I haven't a moment to waste." If we should follow with
our eyes one of these hurried six-footed Marthas on her way up a tree,
we would find that her business was that of milk-maid. Her cows are
there pasturing on the leaves overhead, and she hastens to them coaxing
for the milk, which is a clear drop of sweet honeydew. For many years
entomologists repeated the statement that the honeydew secreted by
aphids or plant-lice for the use of the ants came from the two little
tubes on the back of the insect. It is easy to see how this mistake came
about; the tubes were there, and so was the honeydew; the tubes
suggested a cow's udder, and as the ants use the honeydew the natural
inference was that it came from the tubes. This interesting error has
been printed in so many honorable books, that it has become a classic.
As a matter of fact, the caterpillars of our little, blue butterflies do
have glands on the abdomen which secrete honeydew for the use of the
ants; but the honeydew of the plant-lice, like honey itself, is
manufactured in the alimentary canal, and issues from it. Observations
have shown that each individual plant-louse may produce from five to
seven drops of honeydew in twenty-four hours. If our cows could produce
as much in proportion, then a good Holstein would give something like
six thousand pounds of milk per day, and would be a highly profitable
animal to have in the dairy. Although the honeydew does not come from
the little tubes on the back of the plant-louse, yet those tubes have
their uses. I once observed a young spider approaching an aphid, which
was facing its enemy. As the spider approached, the aphid lifted its
abdomen, and thrust one of these tubes over directly in the spider's
face, and on this tube there suddenly appeared a little ball of yellow
wax. The whole act was so like a pugilist thrusting his fist in his
enemy's face that I laughed. The spider retreated and the aphid let its
abdomen fall back in its natural position, but the little wax ball
remained for some time on the tip of the tube. A German scientist, Mr.
Busgen, of the University of Jena, discovered that a plant-louse smeared
the eyes and jaws of his enemy, the aphis-lion, with this wax which
dried as soon as applied. In action it was something like throwing a
basin of paste at the head of an attacking party. Mr. Busgen discovered
that the aphis-lion thus treated was obliged to stop and clean himself
before he could go on with his hunt, and meantime the aphid walked off
in safety.

[Illustration: _Fig. 158. A stable made by ants for plant-lice._]

The honeydew is excreted in such quantities that often the pavement
beneath trees may be seen to be spattered by the drops of this sweet
rain. It seems to be excreted solely for attracting the ants. In return
for this, the ants give care and protection to their herds. They
sometimes take them into their nests and care for them. In one case, at
least, one species of ant builds for one species of aphid (which lives
upon dogwood) a little mud stable which protects the aphids from all
enemies. This stable is neatly placed at the fork of the twigs and has a
little circular door by which the ants may enter (Fig. 158). The
lady-bug larvæ and the ant-lions both feed voraciously on the aphids; an
ant will attack single-handed one of these depredators, although it be
much larger than herself, and will drive it away or perish in the

Some so-called practical people say, "Let us study only those things in
Nature that affect our pocketbook, and not waste our time studying
irrelevant things." If this spirit had animated scientists from the
first, many of the most important economic discoveries would never have
been made. This relation of ants to aphids is an example to the point.
For a hundred years has the fact been known that ants use the aphids for
their cows, and the practical men said, "This is a very pretty story,
but what we want is some method of killing the aphids." It remained for
Professor Forbes, of Illinois, to show the practical application of this
"pretty story" in the life history of the corn-root plant-louse, which
did great damage to the corn crop of the West. These plant-lice winter
in the ground wherever they chance to be left by the dying roots of the
last year's crop, and with their soft bodies could never work their way
in the hard earth and to the roots of the newly-planted corn in the
spring. Professor Forbes discovered that the ants in these infested
fields make mines along the principal roots of the new corn; and that
they then go out and collect the plant-lice, and place them in these
burrows, and there watch over them and protect them.


_A reading-glass or lens may be used to advantage in making these

_Find some plant near at hand that is infested by aphids in order to
note from time to time the relation of ants to these little creatures.
Some aphids on the petiole and leaves of the Virginia Creeper on our
piazza once afforded me a convenient field for daily observation._

1. How does the ant approach the aphid and ask for honeydew?

2. Does she wait long if there is no response?

3. Does the ant step on the aphids as she runs about among them?

4. What are the colors of the aphids you have observed?

5. On what plants were they feeding?

6. What sort of mouth parts have the aphids?

7. What part of the plant is their food, and how do they get it?

8. Why does not Paris green applied to the leaves on which aphids are
feeding kill them?

9. Have you seen the lady-bird larvæ or the ant-lions destroying aphids?

10. Have you ever seen the little wax balls on the tubes of the
plant-lice? If so, did you note when and why they were produced?

11. Have you ever seen an ant attacking the enemies of plant-lice?

12. How do you think this relation of ants to aphids affects

13. Study what the ants do for the aphids which infest your rose bushes.
Do you infer from this that it is well to exterminate the ant colonies
in your flower garden?

14. Do you know how to clear your plants of plant-lice? If so, how? If
not send to Cornell or some other experiment station for a spray




[29] Teachers' Leaflet No. 10, May, 1898.


The springtime belongs to the birds and me. We own it. We know when the
Mayflowers and the buttercups bloom. We know when the first frogs peep.
We watch the awakening of the woods. We are wet by the warm April
showers. We go where we will, and we are companions. Every tree and
brook and blade of grass is ours; and our hearts are full of song.

There are boys who kill the birds, and girls who want to catch them and
put them in cages; and there are others who steal their eggs. The birds
are not partners with them; they are only servants. Birds, like people,
sing for their friends, not for their masters. I am sure that one cannot
think much of the springtime and the flowers if his heart is always set
upon killing or catching something. We are happy when we are free; and
so are the birds.

The birds and I get acquainted all over again every spring. They have
seen strange lands in the winter, and all the brooks and woods have been
covered with snow. So we run and romp together, and find all the nooks
and crannies which we had half forgotten since October. The birds
remember the old places. The wrens pull the sticks from the old hollow
rail and seem to be wild with joy to see the place again. They must be
the same wrens that were here last year and the year before, for
strangers could not make so much fuss over an old rail. The bluebirds
and wrens look into every crack and corner for a place in which to
build, and the robins and chipping-sparrows explore every tree in the
old orchard.

If the birds want to live with us, we should encourage them. The first
thing to do is to let them alone. Let them be as free from danger and
fear as you or I. Take the hammer off the old gun, give pussy so much to
eat that she will not care to hunt for birds, and keep away the boys who
steal eggs and who carry sling-shots and throw stones. Plant trees and
bushes about the borders of the place, and let some of them, at least,
grow into tangles; then, even in the back yard, the wary cat-bird may
make its home.

For some kinds of birds we can build houses. Some of the many forms
which can be used are shown in the pictures at the end of this Leaflet.
Any ingenious boy can suggest a dozen other patterns. Although birds may
not appreciate architecture, it is well to make the houses neat and
tasty by taking pains to have the proportions correct. The floor space
in each compartment should be not less than five by six inches, and six
by six or six by eight may be better. By cutting the boards in multiples
of these numbers, one can easily make a house with several compartments;
for there are some birds, as martins, tree swallows, and pigeons that
like to live in families or colonies. The size of the doorway is
important. It should be just large enough to admit the bird. A larger
opening not only looks bad, but it exposes the inhabitants to dangers of
cats and other enemies. Birds which build in houses, aside from doves
and pigeons, are bluebirds, wrens, tree-swallows, martins, and sometimes
the chickadees. For the wren and the chickadee the opening should be an
inch augur hole, and for the others it should be about one-and-a-half
inches. Only one opening should be provided for each house or
compartment. A perch or door-step should be provided just below each
door. It is here that the birds often stop to arrange their toilets; and
when the mistress is busy with domestic affairs indoors the male-bird
often sits outside and entertains her with the latest neighborhood
gossip. These houses should be placed on poles or on buildings in
somewhat secluded places. Martins and tree-swallows like to build their
nests twenty-five feet or more above the ground, but the other birds
usually prefer an elevation less than twelve feet. Newly made houses,
and particularly newly painted ones, do not often attract the birds.

But if the birds and I are companions I must know them more intimately.
Merely building houses for them is not enough. I want to know live and
happy birds, not dead ones. We are not to know them, then, by catching
them, or stuffing them, or collecting their eggs. Persons who make a
business of studying birds may shoot birds now and then, and collect
their eggs. But these persons are scientists and they are grown-up
people. They are trying to add to the sum of human knowledge, while we
want to know birds just because we want to. But even scientists do not
take specimens recklessly. They do not rob nests. They do not kill
brooding birds. They do not make collections merely for the sake of
making them; and even their collections are less valuable than a
knowledge of the bird as it lives and flies and sings.

Boys and girls should not make collections of eggs, for these
collections are mere curiosities, as collections of spools and marbles
are. They may afford some entertainment, to be sure, but one can find
amusement in harmless ways. Some persons think that the securing of
collections makes one a naturalist, but it does not. The naturalist
cares more for things as they really are in their own homes than for
museum specimens. One does not love the birds when he steals their eggs
and breaks up their homes; and he is depriving the farmer of one of his
best friends, for birds keep insects in check.

Stuffed birds do not sing and empty eggs do not hatch. Then let us go to
the fields and watch the birds. Sit down on the soft grass and try to
make out what the robin is doing on yonder fence or why the wren is
bursting with song in the thicket. An opera-glass or spy-glass will
bring them close to you. Try to find out not only what the colors and
shapes and sizes are, but what their habits are. What does the bird eat?
How much does it eat? Where is its nest? How many eggs does it lay? What
color are they? How long does the mother bird sit? Does the father bird
care for her when she is sitting? How long do the young birds remain in
the nest? Who feeds them? What are they fed? Is there more than one
brood in a season? Where do the birds go after breeding? Do they change
their plumage? Are the mother birds and father birds unlike in size or
color? How many kinds of birds do you know?

These are some of the things that every boy or girl wants to know; and
we can find out by watching the birds! There is no harm in visiting the
nests, if one does it in the right way. I have visited hundreds of them
and have kept many records of the number of eggs and the dates when they
were laid, how long before they hatched, and when the birds flew away;
and the birds took no offense at my inquisitiveness. These are some of
the cautions to be observed: Watch only those nests which can be seen
without climbing, for if you have to climb the tree the birds will
resent it. Make the visit when the birds are absent, if possible; at
least, never scare the bird from the nest. Do not touch the eggs or the
nest. Make your visit very short. Make up your mind just what you want
to see, then look in quickly and pass on. Do not go too often; once or
twice a day will be sufficient. Do not take the other children with you,
for you are then likely to stay too long and to offend the birds.

Now let us see how intimately you can become acquainted with some bird
this summer.

[Illustration: _Fig. 159._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 162._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 160._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 163._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 161._]

[Illustration: _Suggestions for home-made bird houses._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 164._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 165._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 166._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 167._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 168._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 169._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 170._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 171._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 172._]

[Illustration: _Improvised bird houses._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 173._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 176._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 174._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 175._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 177._]

[Illustration: _Suggestions for home-made bird houses._]




[30] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 4: Leaflet 17, March, 1900.


After a long winter, many of us are too impatient for spring to wait for
the swelling of the buds, the opening of the early flowers, and the
springing of the grass. Several weeks lie between the end of winter and
the truly genial spring days, and during this interval we look for
something to herald the settled spring season. And the thing which gives
us that for which we are unconsciously looking, more than all other
signs, is the arrival of the birds. Who has not warmed to the quavering
call of the first blue-bird, or been suddenly thrilled some early spring
day with the sunny notes of the song-sparrow!

In the southern part of this State, notably in the lower Hudson Valley,
the winter is spent by several birds which elsewhere we are accustomed
to see only after the winter has passed. Among these are the blue-bird,
robin, song-sparrow, white-throated-sparrow, meadow-lark, and possibly
the purple-finch. But in most of the State we must wait until the first
or second week in March before we can be sure of seeing any of them. It
is a question which of the earlier birds will first make its appearance,
as these early migrants are much less regular in their movements than
those that come late in April and in May, after the weather has become
settled. Many a robin and blue-bird arrives during some early warm
"spell," to find himself suddenly surrounded by flying snow and blown
about by cold winds. But these and a few other hardy ones seem able to
stand such rebuffs with great equanimity, and the momentary shining of a
fickle March sun will often evoke some pent-up song-sparrow's notes from
the shelter of a hedge or thicket. Robins, blue-birds, song-sparrows,
cowbirds, meadow-larks, phoebes, bronzed grackles, kingfishers, and
doves may be looked upon as the vanguards of the hosts of migrating
birds that come to us each year, and the first four or five may be
expected almost any time after the first week in March. If the winter
has been late, these may not appear until the middle or even the latter
part of the month, in which case one is busy keeping track of the
arrivals, as the other birds have caught up then, and all come nearly at
the same time.

It is unnecessary to give detailed descriptions of robins, bluebirds,
and song-sparrows, as nearly everyone is familiar with them; but some of
the other early comers may be more easily recognized if some field
impressions of them be given.

       *       *       *       *       *

Almost any warm day in early March we may hear a thin, clear "tsssss" in
a high piping key, and on looking up see from one to five black birds,
about the size of orioles, flying in a strange undulating manner--some
up and some down, with the wings held close to their sides during the
"drop" in their flight. They are cowbirds. The flock may swirl into the
top of a tree and sit close together. (Fig. 178.) If this happens within
eyeshot, stop and watch them for a moment. One or two of the males are
almost certain to utter the ridiculous song of the species, which, like
that of their relatives, the grackles, is accompanied by the most
grotesque of actions. The bird spreads its wings to their utmost,
spreads and elevates the tail, stretches its neck upwards and forwards,
and then, quivering and tottering, nearly falls forward off the perch.
The only sound which accompanies this absurd action is a faint chuckling
"clk-sfs'k," which is scarcely to be heard a hundred feet away.

[Illustration: _Fig. 178. Cowbirds._]

       *       *       *       *       *

With the cowbirds we may expect the arrival of the bronzed grackles,
which resemble them much in flight, but are larger and come in far
larger flocks--sometimes ten, sometimes a hundred or more. Their arrival
is known by the vigorous calls they utter while flying, a loud bass
"jook." When seen squabbling in the spruce trees or in the bare branches
of the willows fringing the streams, the males are likely to be giving
their "song." It is scarcely more of a note than the cowbird's, a rusty
squeak, and it is accompanied by a contortion in the same manner. It is
not such a pronounced effort, however, and is often only a slight
shudder and shrug of the shoulders. They feed, like cowbirds, mostly on
the ground, and walk about most sedately in the grass like small crows.
In tall grass, however, they waddle too much to be graceful. When taking
flight they spread their long pointed tails in a very peculiar and
characteristic manner--not out in a horizontal plane, like most birds,
but up at the sides in the shape of a gardener's trowel, which gives
them an extraordinary appearance.

       *       *       *       *       *

The redwings begin to come into the marshes soon after the grackles, and
are at that time in full feather and song. Their rich, deliberate
"clonk-ka lrrrrrrr," interlarded with the clear piping whistles of some
of the flock, makes a concert of bird-notes very dear to all who are
familiar with it. In their scarlet and black velvet dress these birds
are impossible to mistake, whether seen chasing over the marshes,
singing from an elm-top, or balancing with spread tail upon some tall
reed stalk.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a bird-note so often and so justly mistaken for that of the
phoebe that the error certainly merits correction. The spring song of
the chick-a-dee (which may be heard on almost any warm day all winter,
and is very easy to call forth by even a poorly whistled imitation) is a
clear, pure "^[=eee]_{[=eee]}" or "[--__ __]" which really says
"Phoebe" much more plainly than the true phoebe note, this latter
being much lower in tone, and only to be heard after March is well on,
and almost always in the vicinity of running streams and brooklets;
while the gay little chick-a-dee whistles at any time or place that
suits his versatile fancy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fig. 179. Meadow larks._]

The mellow flute notes of the meadow larks (Fig. 179) float to us from
the middle of some large, open field, and are among the most beautiful
bits of bird music we ever hear. They are not to be represented by
notes, and can only be most inadequately described. There is great
variation in the sequence of notes, but all are beautifully clear and
ringing, and have a decided tinge of what would be sadness if it were
not so sweet. The bird flies in a very characteristic manner, never
raising the wings above the plane of the back, and when seen below the
horizon line always shows the white feathers in the tail. His saffron
breast and black breast-mark seldom show on the living birds, and the
mottled brown back is a wonderful safeguard against his many overhead

       *       *       *       *       *

Two or more doves may be seen winging their headlong flight through the
air. These are among the swiftest of birds, and are generally out of
eyeshot almost before you have seen them. (That is one way of knowing
what they are.) In flight, they look like small pigeons with very long
graduated tails, and when, in some old orchard or open wood, you see one
rise from the ground into a tree, the white lateral feathers in the tail
make an easily recognizable mark. (Fig. 180.) Their cooing notes are
well known--a high-pitched "overtone," followed by several long
bell-toned "[(ooooo],--[(ooooo]," notes.

[Illustration: _Fig. 180. Mourning doves._]

       *       *       *       *       *

About April 1 to 10, you may hear a scratching in the dead leaves among
the underbrush in any thickly grown tangle, and upon cautiously coming
up you may discover the authors--not big grouse as you may have
supposed, but a flock of fine, vigorous fox-sparrows on their way to
their northern breeding grounds. They are bright bay fellows, with
boldly blotched brown and white breasts, diligently scattering the
leaves for their food of seeds, spiders, ants, and various insects. If
you have been fortunate enough not to have been seen you may hear their
song, which is one of the finest of our sparrow songs, readily
recognizable as such, though not resembling any of its fellows--a clear,
vigorous carol, often ending abruptly with a rather unmusical "clip."
If, however, they have seen you, you will be treated to a sharp "tseep!"
and a rear view of a flock of rapidly retreating birds, for they are not
sociable (with us, at least), and generally take a hint to move on
before you know of their presence. They do not stay long with us on
their migration, and seeing them one day is no indication that you can
find them the next.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the white-throated sparrows spend the winter in our southern
counties, they do not start their northward journey as early as we might
expect, and it is not until the first part of April that we may be sure
of finding them. I have one list, indeed that shows their first
appearance on May first!

They are to be found in places similar to those which the fox-sparrows
choose, and are very similar to them in habits, but the boldly striped
head and gray breast are very distinctive marks. Almost all of our
native sparrows have a call note, the "tsweep" note, which is hard to
distinguish in the different species without much patient listening--and
I doubt if any person is infallible in this distinction. The
white-throat has this note, as well as the song-sparrow, tree-sparrow (a
winter-bird), fox-sparrow, white-crown, chippy, field-sparrow,
grass-finch, in fact all our brown-backed sparrows. But the song of the
white-throat is his own, and may be heard frequently during his very
leisurely journey through our state. His Canadian name, "Peabody bird"
is descriptive of his notes, "-- _.., _.., _.." When a number get
together and whistle, as if they were singing a round, it makes a very
sweet concert.

[Illustration: _Fig. 181. White-throated sparrow._]

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the foremost birds in the spring movement is the grass-finch
(vesper-sparrow or bay-winged bunting). It is to be found in open fields
and along roadside fences, in company with meadow larks, and its sweet
song may be heard almost any warm evening after the middle of April.
Unlike most of our birds, this sparrow sings at its best late in the
afternoon and during twilight, which perhaps makes its song seem the
sweeter. It is rather a gentle song, though to be heard at some
distance, carrying quite as far as that of the song-sparrow. Although
the quality of voice is somewhat similar in these two birds,
the grass-finch lacks the merry abandon that characterizes the
song-sparrow's song, but has instead a deeper chord, which is called by
some people sadness. The bird may be easily recognized in the fields by
the white tail-feathers, which always show in flight. It is about the
size and general color of the song-sparrow.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the time the foregoing birds are comparatively common, and the maple
buds are bursting and the lilacs swelling, the gay purple finch appears.
He is not purple at all, but has a crimson head, which fades on the
lower breast through rosy pink into pure white. He is fond of spruces
and larches, feeding greedily on the tender buds as well as on the ants
and scale insects that infest them. His song is a fine one, and in
addition to the charm of being poured forth in full flight, is so long
and intricate that one finds himself holding his breath as the burst of
melody continues, as if to help the little fellow catch up with his

       *       *       *       *       *

Along the banks of some lake or stream, sitting idly on a telegraph pole
or wire, rising and settling, elevating and depressing his long parted
top-knot, a patriarchal old kingfisher may be seen silently awaiting the
gleam of a shiner in the water below (Fig. 182). Or perhaps you may
first see him flying like a big woodpecker, screaming his chattering cry
high in the air, or scaling close to the water under the fringing
hemlock branches that overhang the stream. His large size, slate-blue
back, loud notes, and characteristic flight make him a hard bird to
mistake in any case.

[Illustration: _Fig. 182. Kingfisher._]

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many other birds which pass us on their way north, but they
herald rather the summer than the breaking of spring. The following list
of spring migrations is taken from Mr. Chapman's "Handbook of the Birds
of Eastern North America," and was compiled for use about New York City.
The dates nearly coincide with those I have found about the central part
of the State, and are, in the main, only a few days in advance of those
for the northern counties. The latter dates in the column are about what
may be taken for the middle tier of counties.

It is the earnest hope of the writer that these few very brief
sketches may be of use to those interested in entering the delightful
field of the study of birds; your experience may and probably
will be different from that which I have cited, which only goes to
show that everyone must really see for himself, and not only that,
but by so doing may make new observations and get new ideas on
practically all of even our best known birds. Birds are not, as a
rule, hard to watch, and the patience it requires to sit still and
"be a stump" long enough for birds to cease noticing you is soon
and amply repaid by the new insight into an unknown realm
which is sure to follow.


(Until April 20--Approximate.)

(_Taken from Chapman's Handbook of Birds of Eastern North

  Date of arrival.

  Feb. 15-Mar. 10.  Purple Grackle.
                    Rusty Grackle.
                    Red-winged Blackbird.

  Mar. 10-20        Woodcock.
                    Meadow Lark.

  Mar. 20-31        Wilson's Snipe.
                    Mourning Dove.

  April 1-10        Great Blue Heron.
                    Purple Finch.
                    Tree Swallow.
                    Myrtle Warbler.
                    American Pipit.
                    Hermit Thrush.

  April 10-20       Yellow-bellied Woodpecker.
                    Barn Swallow.
                    Yellow Palm Warbler.
                    Pine Warbler.
                    Louisiana Water Thrush.
                    Ruby-crowned Kinglet.




[31] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 30, March, 1903.


It is best to follow some definite line of bird study for an entire
year. All of the observations that could be made in a single month on
any bird would give but an inadequate idea of its habits. To know the
life of a bird, one must study it month by month for at least one year.

The woodpeckers seem a most attractive group for our study. They are not
only very interesting, but of great importance to the farmer, orchadist
and forester. There are five common species in New York State that we
all may learn to know, and then make observations of our own on their
habits. These species are the downy, the hairy, the sapsucker, the
flicker and the redhead. The way to begin our observations in winter is
to tie a piece of suet to the branch of some tree easily observed from
our windows. Such a bird feast as this is on a branch of a chestnut oak
in front of my office window, and though I never have time to watch more
than momentarily the birds that come there to eat, yet each glance tells
me something of their ways, and my own day's work is much brighter and
happier therefor. The "downy" (Fig. 183), as he is universally called,
comes with his mate every day and they eat greedily of the suet; when
they first arrive they are so absorbed in working this food mine that I
sometimes stand directly beneath and watch them without frightening
them. Perhaps they know that I am the friend who invited them to
breakfast. Anyway, as soon as they leave the suet they hunt
industriously over my tree, finding there all of the hidden insects, and
thus they keep my oak clean and pay for their breakfast. Occasionally
the hairy woodpecker comes, a self-invited guest to the suet banquet. To
the untrained eye he looks very like an over-grown downy, as he is by
two or three inches the longer; but his outer tail feathers are
entirely white, while the downy's are barred with black; usually the red
cap of the hairy is divided by a black stripe. The hairy is said to be a
shy bird, but I have seen him several times this winter at a suet party
near dwellings.

In April there is likely to appear in any region of New York State a
bird which is often mistaken for the downy or hairy, although it is very
different in both coloring and habits. This is the sapsucker, the only
woodpecker of bad repute (Fig. 184). However, I am sure its deeds are
not nearly so black as they are painted. The male sapsucker has a bright
red crown and chin and throat, his breast is yellow, and he is also
yellowish on the back; while the males of the downy and hairy are
red-capped and black and white with no yellow.

[Illustration: _Fig. 183. Downy woodpecker._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 184. Sapsucker._]


1. What is the difference in appearance between the male and female

2. How does the downy travel down a tree; does it go head-first? What
food have you seen it eat?

3. How does the downy use its tail in going up and down the tree trunk?

4. Have you approached a woodpecker closely enough to see how its toes
are arranged? If so, describe them.

5. How does it manage its head to make its blows forceful?

6. Are you able to discriminate between the hairy and the downy when you
see them? How?

7. Do you know the difference in the notes of the hairy and downy?


[32] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 31, April, 1903.

This morning I was awakened by the beating of a drum over in the woods.
My ear was not yet sufficiently trained so that I knew whether my
drummer was Mr. Downy or Mr. Hairy, yet I strongly suspected the former.
The tattoo of the Sapsucker (which does not nest here) James Whitcomb
Riley has aptly characterized as "Weeding out the lonesomeness." This is
exactly what the drumming of woodpeckers in the early spring means. The
male selects some dried limb of hard wood and there beats out his
well-known signal which advertises far and near, "Wanted, a wife." And
after he wins her he keeps on drumming to cheer her, while she is busy
with her family cares. The woodpecker has no voice for singing, like the
robin or thrush, and realizing his deficiency, he does not insist on
singing like the peacock, whether he can or no. He chooses rather to
devote his voice to terse and business-like conversation, and when he is
musically inclined he turns drummer. He is rather particular about his
instrument, and, having found one that pleases him in tone, returns to
it day after day.

In case the drumming I heard this morning was an advertisement for a
wife, I am interested to know what has become of Mrs. Downy, who has
been true to her mate all winter. Does, perhaps, the springtime bring
divorce as well as marriage? Mr. Burroughs tells of a downy that was
absolutely brutal in his treatment of his mate in winter, not allowing
her to live in his neighborhood. Be this as it may, the downy and the
hairy woodpeckers that have feasted upon my suet this winter have
invariably come in pairs, and while only one at a time sits at meat, and
the lord and master is somewhat "bossy," yet they seem to get along as
well as most married pairs.

The sapsucker is a woodpecker that has strayed from the paths of
virtue; he has fallen into temptation by the wayside, and instead of
drilling a hole for the sake of the grub at the end of it he drills it
for its own sake. He is a tippler and sap is his beverage. He is
especially fond of the sap of the mountain ash, apple, thorn apple,
canoe birch, red maple, red oak and white ash. He drills his holes in
beautiful rows, and sometimes girdles a limb or tree, and for this he is
pronounced a rascal by men who have themselves ruthlessly cut from our
land millions of trees that should now be standing. However, the
sapsucker does not live solely on sap and the soft cambium layer of the
tree; he also feeds on insects wherever he finds them. When feeding
their young, sapsuckers are true flycatchers, getting the insects while
on the wing. If you find a sapsucker girdling a tree in your orchard or
a birch on your lawn, just protect the trees with a wire netting, and
let the sapsucker catch mosquitoes for you instead, and remember that he
belongs to a good family and is entitled to some consideration, even if
he has taken to drink.

The red-head (Fig. 185) is well named, for his helmet and visor show a
vivid, glowing crimson that stirs the sensibilities of the color lover.
He is readily distinguished from all other woodpeckers because his
entire head and the bib under his chin are red. For the rest, he is a
beautiful dark metallic blue and white. He is a most adept drummer, and
his roll is a long one. One that I observed last spring selected a dead
limb at the top of an oak tree and there he drummed merrily every
morning. He is an adaptable fellow and has been known to drum on tin
roofs and lightning rods, thus braving the dangers of civilization for
the sake of better music. Though he can rattle so well when he is
musically inclined, he is not, after all, much of a woodpecker, for he
lives mostly on insects which he catches while they are crawling or on
the wing, and he also likes nuts. He is especially fond of beech nuts,
and, being a thrifty fellow as well as musical, in time of plenty he
stores up food against time of need. He places his nuts in crevices and
forks of branches, in holes in trees, and other hiding places. Lets us
watch him this spring and see whether we can discover what he eats.

[Illustration: _Fig. 185. The Red-headed Woodpecker._]


1. Have you observed any species of woodpecker drumming?

2. Have you been able to see the drum? If so, describe it.

3. Are you able to distinguish between the tapping of the woodpecker
when searching for food, and his drumming when he is making music?

4. If you have made any observations on the sapsucker, please give them.

5. Have you seen the sapsucker at work? If so, did the holes girdle the
tree? Were the holes round or square?

6. Have you seen the red-head this spring?

7. Describe the way the woodpecker uses its tail when climbing a tree.

8. Send for Bulletin No. 7, of the United States Department of
Agriculture, Division of Ornithology, called "Food of Woodpeckers." Read
this Bulletin and answer these questions: Does the sapsucker do more
harm than good? What special benefit to us is the red-head? Which is the
most useful of our woodpeckers?


[33] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 32, May, 1903.

The first time I ever saw a flicker I said, "What a wonderful meadow
lark, and what is it doing on that ant hill?" But another glance
revealed to me a red spot on the back of the bird's neck, and as soon as
I was sure that this was not a bloody gash I knew it belonged to no
meadow lark. The golden brown plumage dotted with black, the under wings
of luminous yellow, the white spot above the tail, the ashen gray back,
and, above all, the oriental ornaments of crescents,--one brilliant red
across the back of the neck, one black across the breast,--all conduce
to make the flicker one of our most showy and beautiful birds. The
flicker has many names, such as golden-winged woodpecker, yellow hammer,
highhole, and yarup or wake-up, and many others. It earned the name of
highhole because of its way of excavating its nest high up in trees,
usually between ten and twenty-five feet from the ground. It especially
loves an old apple tree as a site for a nest, and most of our large, old
orchards of New York State may boast of a pair of these handsome birds
during the nesting season of May and June. However, the flicker is not
above renting any house he finds vacant which was made by other birds
last year. The flicker earned his name of "yarup" or "wake-up" from his
spring song, which is a rollicking jolly "wick-a-wick-a-wick." As a
business bird the flicker shines in the rather extraordinary line of
eating ants. It has a tongue equipped almost exactly like the tongue of
the animal called the ant eater, and it often may be seen using it with
great effectiveness in catching the little communal laborers.

[Illustration: _Fig. 186. Young Flickers._]

Those who have observed the flicker during the courting season declare
him to be the most silly and vain of all the bird wooers. Mr. Baskett
says, "When he wishes to charm his sweet-heart he mounts a very small
twig near her, and lifts his wings, spreads his tail, and begins to nod
right and left as he exhibits his mustache to his charmer, and sets his
jet locket first on one side of the twig and then the other. He may even
go so far as to turn his head half around to show her the pretty spot on
his 'back hair.' In doing all this he performs the most ludicrous
antics, and has the silliest of expressions of face and voice as if in
losing his heart, as some one phrases it, he had lost his head also."


We have now studied our five species of woodpeckers common in New York
State, and I trust that you know them all by sight. When you are
teaching the children about the woodpecker, there are many interesting
stories to tell about the way that his form is adapted to his life. Some
of these stories are as follows: First. The woodpecker's bill, which is
a drill and chisel, and how he uses it for getting at the grub or the
borer in the wood, and for making the hole for the nest, and for
drumming when he feels musical. Second. The tongue, which is a barbed
spear, and has a wonderful spring attachment of bones which allows it to
be thrust far out. This tongue is fitted in each case to get the kind of
food which sustains its owner. Third. The feet have a special
arrangement of toes which allows the bird to cling tenaciously to a tree
trunk. Study the way the fourth toe, which may be compared to our little
finger, has been moved around backward so that it acts as another thumb.
Fourth. Study how the tail made of stiff feathers is particularly
adapted to act as a brace, helping the bird to climb a tree. In studying
all these things I would especially recommend you to a little book
called, "The Woodpeckers" by Fannie Hardy Eckstrom, published by
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., price $1.00.


1. Have you ever seen a flicker?

2. Do you know its song?

3. Has the flicker a straight bill like the downy's?

4. What are the differences between the male and female flicker?

5. Have you ever seen a flicker catching ants? Describe.

6. Do you think the flicker is a beneficial bird? If so, why?

7. Have you ever seen a flicker's nest? Describe.

8. Do you know how the flicker feeds its young? Explain.

9. Describe the difference in color between the male and female of the
(a) downy, (b) the hairy, (c) the redhead, (d) the sapsucker, (e) and
the flicker.

10. How can you tell the difference between a flicker and a meadow lark
during flight?

[Illustration: _Downy's long tongue._]



[34] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 3, December, 1903.


    _He is the hero of the woods; there are courage and good nature
    enough in that compact little body, which you may hide in your
    fist, to supply a whole groveful of May songsters. He has the
    Spartan virtue of an eagle, the cheerfulness of a thrush, the
    nimbleness of Cock Sparrow, the endurance of the seabirds
    condensed into his tiny frame, and there have been added a
    pertness and ingenuity all his own. His curiosity is immense, and
    his audacity equal to it; I have even had one alight upon the
    barrel of the gun over my shoulder as I sat quietly under his


However careless we may be of our friends when we are in the midst of
the luxurious life of summer, even the most careless among us give
pleased attention to the birds that bravely endure with us the rigors of
winter. And when this winged companion of winter proves to be the most
fascinating little ball of feathers ever created, constantly overflowing
with cheerful song, our pleased attention changes to active delight.
Thus it is that in all the lands of snowy winters the chickadee
is a loved comrade of the country wayfarer; that happy song,
"chick-a-dee-dee-dee," finds its way to the dullest consciousness and
the most callous heart.

One day in February we were, with much enjoyment, wading through a
drifted highway that skirted a forest, the least twig of which bore a
burden of soft snow. Over all hung that silence of winter which is the
most "silent silence" that rests upon the earth anywhere outside the
desert. No breeze swayed a creaking branch or shook from it the snow in
soft thud to the white carpet below. Even the song of the brook was
smothered beneath coverlets of ice and pillows of drift. We stood fast,
awed by the stillness, when suddenly it was broken by the thrilling
notes of the chickadees. We could hardly credit our senses, for it
seemed as if the woods was a hopeless place for any living creature that
morning. But there before our eyes was a flock of these courageous birds
hunting for food on the leeward sides of boles and branches left bare
and black in the recent storm. Their tiny weights sent the snow in
showers from the terminal twigs, which phenomenon was greeted with
triumphant song while the cheerful midgets hunted the relieved branches
topside and bottomside for any lurking tidbit. As we watched them,
Emerson's poem came to mind:

  "Piped a tiny voice near by,
  Gay and polite, a cheerful cry--
  Chick-chickadeedee! saucy note
  Out of sound heart and merry throat,
  As if it said, 'Good-day, good Sir!
  Fine afternoon, old passenger!
  Happy to meet you in these places
  Where January brings few faces.'"

No wonder that the great American philosopher was attracted by this
other American philosopher who sings when he is cold and hungry.

[Illustration: _Fig. 187. A chickadee at the entrance to its nest._]

Besides its usual song the chickadee has a song that says "phoebe" much
more distinctly than does the song of the phoebe itself. Few people
recognize this, and often in February or early March it is announced in
the local newspaper, "The phoebe-birds were heard to-day" though it may
be weeks yet before these birds arrive. The two songs may be easily
distinguished by even the ear untrained to music. In the phoebe song of
the chickadee, the last syllable is at least one note lower than the
first and has a falling inflection; while the last syllable of the
phoebe bird's song is at least a half note higher than the first and has
a rising inflection.

Not long since I visited the deserted nest of a devoted pair of
chickadees. It was cuddled down in the bottom of a hole that
opened on the very top of a fence post, and, one would imagine,
must have been wet more than once while inhabited. However,
a large family was raised there during the past season and much
enjoyment was derived from watching the many fubsy birdlings
that found home and comfort in that unattractive retreat. I
looked upon them with special interest, for I was sure they would
visit the suet on my trees this winter and thus become friendly

As soon as the trees are bare, nail or tie bits of suet to branches
which may be observed from your windows. I know of no investment which
pays such enormous dividends both to pleasure and pocket as do suet
restaurants in orchards patronized by chickadees. Every child, at home
or school, will be attracted by this experiment.


1. Describe the colors of the chickadee above; below; wings; tail;
throat and head.

2. Describe the differences in coloring between the chickadee and the

3. What is the shape of the chickadee's beak and for what is it adapted?

4. Does it frequent the trunks of trees, or the twigs?

5. Describe its actions when hunting for food on a twig.

6. What is the chief food of the chickadee?

7. Why is it of special value to the farmer?

8. What are the differences in the winter and summer habits of the

9. Do you know the "phoebe" note of the chickadee?

10. Where do these birds build their nests and of what material?

11. What are the colors and markings on the eggs?

12. When is the nesting season?




[35] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 4, January, 1904.

  The busy nuthatch climbs his tree,
  Around the great bole spirally,
  Peeping into wrinkles gray,
  Under ruffled lichens gay,
  Lazily piping one sharp note
  From his silver mailèd throat.


"_With more artless inquisitiveness than fear, this lively little
acrobat stops his hammering or hatching at your approach, and stretching
himself out from the tree until it would seem he must fall off, he peers
down at you, head downward, straight into your upturned opera-glass. If
there is too much snow on the upper side of a branch watch how he runs
along underneath it like a fly, busily tapping the bark, or adroitly
breaking the decayed bits with his bill, as he stretches for the
spider's eggs, larvæ, etc., hidden there; yet somehow, between
mouthfuls, managing to call out his cherry quank! quank! hank! hank!_"



A voice outside is calling at me; I cannot describe it accurately, but
it is making delightful woodsy remarks that make me long to throw aside
the pen and go out and wander where the snow is making still softer the
carpet of dead leaves on the forest floor. It is not a musical note but
it is most enticing and translates into sound the picture of
bare-branched trees and the feeling of enchantment that permeates the
forest in winter. Neltje Blanchan says the voice reiterates "quank,
quank," others say it is "nay, nay"--but no nasal sound of the human
voice, and no spelling of the English language adequately represent this
call of the white-breasted nuthatch.

On the tree in front of the window I can see the owner of this sylvan
voice. He is a little bird blue-gray above with black head and black and
white V-trimmings on the back of his suit and with soft, white breast.
He is flitting blithely from tree to tree enjoying the snow storm and
coming often to the suet feast which I have spread for him and for his
little feathered kin.

[Illustration: _Fig. 188. The nuthatch, one of the winter birds._]

We have been having exciting times at the suet banquet this morning. The
building in which my office is, stands on a high knoll near the
forest-covered brink of a deep gorge. Thus my window is opposite the
tops of the trees. One of our nature-study staff, a brave and gallant
knight, who loves birds and knows that I love to watch them, climbed two
of these trees at imminent risk of breaking his neck in order to place
this suet just opposite my window. The whole chickadee family and four
nuthatches, and Sir Downy and Madam Hairy had been reveling in the feast
all the morning when suddenly one after another three crows appeared
upon the scene. My heart sank as I saw them eying the suet with
interest. Nearer and nearer they hopped from branch to branch. I pounded
on the window and called out, "Go away" in both the crow and the English
language, all in vain. One crow braver or hungrier than the others with
one defiant eye on me flapped confidently down and sought to carry the
suet off in his beak; to his surprise it was tied on. That seemed
suspicious and when we raised the window and leaning far out explained
matters he lifted slowly with a jeering "caw" that said plainly "I'll
call sometime when you are not at home" and with that he and his
companions disappeared up the gorge. The invited guests at the suet
table were less disturbed than was I, and I suppose it is rather
inconsistent to feed the chickadees and let the ravens go hungry. But
this suet will last the little birds a month while it would hardly
furnish a breakfast for three crows; and in philanthropic enterprises
one is obliged to draw the line somewhere even at the cost of

I will return to my nuthatch, who, by the way, has just hammered off a
piece of suet and thrust it into a crevice of the bark on the tree
bole. Why does he do that: is it for convenience in eating or is it an
attempt to store up some of his dinner for future need? Anyway it is bad
manners, like carrying off fruit from _table d' hote_. But he is polite
enough in another respect; every time after eating the suet he wipes his
beak on his branch napkin with great assiduity, first one side and then
the other, almost as if he were sharpening it. The woodpeckers are
similarly fastidious in cleaning suet off their beaks.

The loud note of the nuthatch, seeming to be out of proportion to the
size of the bird is, by no means, its only note. Yesterday we observed a
pair hunting over the branches of an elm over our heads, and they were
talking to each other in sweet confidential syllables "wit, wit, wit,"
entirely different from the loud note that is meant for the world at

The nuthatches and chickadees hunt together all winter. This is no
business partnership, but one of congeniality based upon similar tastes.
Thus it is that the two birds are often confused. There is, however, a
very noticeable character that distinguishes them at the first glance.
Strange to say the nuthatch has also been confused with the sapsucker
and has gained unjust obloquy thereby. How any one with eyes could
confuse these two birds is a mystery, for they resemble each other in no
particular nor in general appearance.

While the nuthatch finds much of its food on trees, yet Mr. Torrey tells
of seeing one awkwardly turning over the fallen leaves for hidden
cocoons and other things quite worth his while; and Mr. Baskett tells of
having seem them catch flies in the air and becoming quite out of breath
at this unusual exercise.

Audubon made some most interesting observations on the nuthatch. He says
they may sleep hanging head downward. He also says of their nesting
habits that "both birds work together, all the time congratulating each
other in the tenderest manner. The male, ever conspicuous on such
occasions, works some, and carries off the slender chips chiseled by the
female. He struts around her, peeps into the hole, cherups at intervals,
or hovers about her on the wing. While she is sitting on her eggs, he
seldom absents himself many moments; now with a full bill he feeds her,
now returns to be assured that her time is pleasantly spent."

The red-breasted nuthatch is sometimes associated with its
white-breasted cousin; it is a smaller bird and is essentially a
northern species. The nuthatches get their name from their habit of
wedging nuts and acorns into bark and then hatching them open. From
every standpoint the nuthatches are most desirable acquaintances, and we
cannot spend our time to better advantage than in getting familiar with
their interesting habits.


1. Describe from your own observations the colors of the nuthatch above
and below.

2. (a) What is the most noticeable character that distinguishes the
nuthatch from the chickadee? (b) Does the nuthatch usually frequent the
bole or the twigs of a tree? (c) Is there any difference in this respect
between the habits of the nuthatch and the chickadee?

3. Does the nuthatch alight with its head down or up?

4. Does it travel down or up? Does it always go in a spiral?

5. What is its food?

6. Does it open nuts for the meat or the grubs within?

7. Does it use its tail as a brace in climbing trees as does the

8. Where does it build its nest?

9. What is the color of the eggs?

10. Why does it seem less common in summer than in winter?

11. How does it use its feet when resting on a tree trunk?

12. Has it any special development of the feet to help it in traveling
on tree trunks?

13. Do you know the note of the nuthatch? Describe.

14. How would you spell its note?

15. How does the nuthatch help the farmer and fruit grower?




[36] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 27, December, 1902.


Thousands and thousands of crows fast asleep amongst the branches of a
grove of pines! The trees themselves look dark and sombre against the
snowy hillside, but when the assemblage of dusky birds has gathered
there, the shadows thicken and the darkness settles like a pall. Soon
all is hushed and silent.

Would you not go miles to see such a sight?

Yet maybe you have lived for years within easy walking distance of a
great crow "dormitory" without even suspecting its existence. You may
have watched the crows flying overhead every morning and then again
every afternoon, without noticing that they came from the same direction
each morning and returned at nightfall. This was just my experience
until I began to care about crows and their ways. Now I know that there
is a sleeping roost a mile or so up one of our wooded valleys and the
oldest inhabitant tells me that he remembers seeing "more'n a million"
crows up there in winters when he was a boy. Undoubtedly generation
after generation of crows return to these sleeping places; certain
localities have probably been so used for centuries.

Although we have crows here all winter they may not be the same
individuals that spent the summer here. The center of crow population in
the eastern United States from November till February is the
neighborhood of Chesapeake Bay. There the food supply is more abundant
than where the ground is snow-covered in winter, and thither the crows
migrate in innumerable armies. Dormitories from ten to thirty acres in
extent and accommodating from ten thousand to three hundred thousand
crows each have been found in that region.

Why crows gather thus in companies either small or large is undoubtedly
due to their natural sociability. The opportunities for exhibition of
conversational powers offered by such a custom seems to be greatly
appreciated by every crow. Such a babel as they raise when in early
morning their watchman rouses them from sleep! They appear to be
reviling him for his untimely interruption. For several minutes the
woods fairly ring with their loud, coarse shouts. Then, as if resigned
to their fate, they take flight towards the feeding grounds. By sunset
they all congregate again and after recounting their adventures, settle
down early to sleep.

In open winters crows fare well enough. Seeds and berries are easy to
get and considerable grain may be found in harvested fields. But like
barnyard fowls, crows are omnivorous. After the grasshoppers disappear,
a supply of animal food is hard to get. The silken egg-sacs of spiders
are often found torn open and rifled, while suspiciously near by are the
tracks of crows. Undoubtedly rabbits and field mice would unite with the
spiders in declaring the crow to be their deadly enemy.

That crows eat corn is undeniable. The farmers know it to their sorrow,
the bird's champions reluctantly admit it, the crow himself goes openly
into the field, both in winter and summer, with no intent to conceal his
intentions. And yet this universally acknowledged habit will bear
investigation. Upon the real or supposed injury done to sprouting corn
and to roasting-ears, the farmer and his sons base their animosity
toward crows and rejoice at the wholesale or retail slaughter of these
birds. Carefully prepared estimates show conclusively that the crow is
the farmer's friend. Only _three per cent_ of the total food of the crow
consists of corn in any form, while _twenty-six per cent_ consists of
insects such as grasshoppers, May beetles (June bugs, whose young are
the white grubs), cutworms and other injurious kinds. On such evidence
as this would not an unprejudiced jury acquit the crow?

The best way to establish the crow in this new and true relationship to
the farmer, is to interest the boys and girls in studying crows and
their ways. To make a fair judgment, one must collect evidence. Mere
hearsay is not always to be depended on. Justice and truth are worth
working for. The case of the Crow _vs._ the Farmer, will give
opportunity for the practice of both of these virtues.


[37] Quiz on Lesson No. 27, December, 1902.

The winter is not so devoid of life as we sometimes think. There are
mammals in the woods and coverts, fishes in the lakes and deep brooks,
birds in the forest and the open. Let us devote one early midwinter
lesson to the birds. Have the children make particular observations on
the English sparrow. Other birds may be observed, as, for example, our
old friend the crow. All these birds touch the life of the farmer and
the nature-lover. Those students who are so situated that a study of
crows is impossible may substitute English sparrows, chickadees,
woodpeckers or any other winter birds.

A bulletin entitled "The Common Crow" was issued by the U. S. Department
of Agriculture in 1895. Students in this course can obtain one copy each
by sending ten cents to Superintendent of Documents, Union Building,
Washington, D. C. Do not send stamps.

Do crows winter in your vicinity?

Are you able to verify the statements made in the lesson concerning the
flight in opposite directions in morning and evening? Give observations
made since receiving this lesson.

Is there a crow dormitory in your vicinity? (Inquire of old residents
and keep a close watch.)

Watch a crow on the wing. If he is flying low, try to count the big wing
feathers. Note here any peculiarities of this bird's way of flying.

How does a crow hold on to a limb when asleep?

What characteristics have crows and chickens in common?

How do they differ?

Compare feathers, bills and feet of chickens and crows.

Look for crow tracks in the snow. Where have you seen them? Can you
always tell which way the bird was going? How? Sketch the tracks on
separate sheet.

How long is the longest toe, including the claw? Which toe is this?

Is the track ever longer than the toe itself? If so, why?

Have you ever seen the scratches in the snow made by the stiff wing
feathers when the crow takes its flight from the ground?

Count the scratches.

What food have you seen crows eating?

Watch during the whole month and mention any new items you can add to
their bill of fare.

Have you ever seen crow's nests? Where? When?

Describe the nest, eggs and nestlings, if you have seen them. (These are
things to look for during the spring and summer.)

Does the plumage of the yearling crow differ from that of the older

Do males and females differ in color?

Crows are said to possess remarkably well developed brains. What
evidence have you of their sagacity, fearlessness, cunning or greed?

What other winter birds have you seen this year?

Give on separate sheet an account of a winter walk.




[38] Teacher's Leaflet No. 1, December, 1896. The first Cornell
nature-study leaflet. For a discussion of the title of this leaflet and
what it signifies pedagogically, consult "The Integument Man," in "The
Nature-Study Idea." (Doubleday, Page & Co.)


If one were to plant seeds of a Hubbard or Boston Marrow squash in loose
warm earth in a pan or box, and were then to leave the parcel for a week
or ten days, he would find, upon his return, a colony of plants like
that shown in Fig. 189. If he had not planted the seeds himself or had
not seen such plants before, he would not believe that these curious
plants would ever grow into squash vines, so different are they from the
vines which we know in the garden. This, itself, is a most curious
fact,--this wonderful difference between the first and the later stages
of nearly all plants, and it is only because we know it so well that we
do not wonder at it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 189. Squash plant a week old._]

It may happen, however,--as it did in a pan of seed which I sowed a few
days ago--that one or two of the plants may look like that shown in Fig.
190. Here the seed seems to have come up on top of the plant; and one is
reminded of the curious way in which beans come up on the stalk of the
young plant. If we were to study the matter, however,--as we may do at a
future time--we should find a great difference in the ways in which the
squashes and the beans raise their seeds out of the ground. It is not
our purpose to compare the squash and the bean at this time, but we are
curious to know why one of these squash plants brings its seed up out of
the ground whilst all the others do not. In order to find out why it is,
we must ask the plant, and this asking is what we call an experiment. We
may first pull up the two plants. The first one (Fig. 189) will be seen
to have the seed-coats still attached to the very lowest part of the
stalk below the soil, but the other plant has no seed at that point. We
will now plant more seeds, a dozen or more of them, so that we shall
have enough to examine two or three times a day for several days. A day
or two after the seeds are planted, we shall find a little point or
root-like part breaking out of the sharp end of the seed, as shown in
Fig. 191. A day later this root part has grown to be as long as the seed
itself (Fig. 192), and it has turned directly downwards into the soil.
But there is another most interesting thing about this germinating seed.
Just where the root is breaking out of the seed (shown at _a_ in Fig.
192), there is a little peg or projection. In Fig. 193, about a day
later, the root has grown still longer, and this peg seems to be forcing
the seed apart. In Fig, 194, however, it will be seen that the seed is
really being forced apart by the stem or stalk above the peg for this
stem is now growing longer. The lower lobe of the seed has attached to
the peg (seen at _a_, Fig. 194), and the seed-leaves seem to be backing
out of the seed. Fig. 195 shows the seed a day later. The root has now
produced many branches and has thoroughly established itself in the
soil. The top is also growing rapidly and is still backing out of the
seed, and the seed-coats are still firmly held by the obstinate peg.

[Illustration: _Fig. 190. Squash plant which has brought the seed-coats
out of the ground._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 191. Germination just beginning._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 192. The root and peg._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 193. Third day of root growth._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 194. The plant breaking out of the seed._]

Whilst we have been seeing all these peculiar things in the seeds which
we have dug up, the plantlets which we have not disturbed have been
coming through the soil. If we were to see the plant in Fig. 195, as it
was "coming up," it would look like Fig. 196. It is tugging away in
getting its head out of the bonnet which is pegged down underneath the
soil, and it has "got its back up" in the operation. In Fig. 197 it has
escaped from its trap and it is laughing and growing in delight. It must
now straighten itself up, as it is doing in Fig. 197, and it is soon
standing proud and straight, as in Fig. 189. We now see that the reason
why the "seed" came up on the plant in Fig. 190, is that in some way the
peg did not hold the seed-coats down (see Fig. 195), and the expanding
leaves, being pinched together must get themselves loose as best they

[Illustration: _Fig. 195. The operation further progressed._]

There is another thing about this interesting squash plant which we must
not fail to notice, and this is the fact that these first two leaves of
the plantlet came out of the seed and did not grow out of the plant
itself. We must notice, too, that these leaves are much smaller when
they are first drawn out of the seed-coat than they are when the
plantlet has straightened itself up. That is, these leaves increase very
much in size after they reach the light and air. The roots of the
plantlet are now established in the soil and are taking in food which
enables the plant to grow. The next leaves which appear will be very
different from these first or seed leaves.

These later ones are called the true leaves. They grow right out of the
little plant itself. Fig. 199 shows these true leaves as they appear on
a young Crookneck squash plant, and the plant now begins to look much
like a squash vine.

[Illustration: _Fig. 196. The plant just coming up._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 197. The plant liberated from the seed-coats._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 198. The plant straightening up._]

We are now curious to know how the stem grows when it backs out of the
seeds and pulls the little seed-leaves with it, and how the root grows
downwards into the soil. Now let us pull up another seed when it has
sent a single root about two inches deep into the earth. We will wash it
very carefully and lay it upon a piece of paper. Then we will lay a
ruler alongside of it, and make an ink mark one-quarter of an inch from
the tip, and two or three other marks at equal distances above (Fig.
200).[39] We will now carefully replant the seed. Two days later we will
dig it up, when we shall most likely find a condition somewhat like that
in Fig. 201. It will be seen that the marks E, C, B, are practically the
same distance apart as before and they are also the same distance from
the peg AA. The point of the root is no longer at DD, however, but has
moved on to F. The root, therefore, has grown almost wholly in the end

[39] NOTE.--Common ink will not answer for this purpose because it
"runs" when the root is wet; indelible ink, used for marking linen or
for drawing, should be used. It should also be said that the root of the
common pumpkin and of the summer bush squashes is too fibrous and
branchy for this test. It should be stated also that the root does not
grow at its very tip, but chiefly in a narrow zone just back of the tip;
but the determination of this point is rather too difficult for the
beginner, and, moreover, it is foreign to the purpose of this tract.

[Illustration: _Fig. 199. The true leaves developing._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 200. Marking the root._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 201. The root grows in the end parts._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 202. The marking of the stem, and the spreading
apart of the marks._]

Now let us make a similar experiment with the stem or stalk. We will
mark a young stem, as at A in Fig. 202; but the next day we shall find
that these marks are farther apart than when we made them (B, Fig. 202).
The marks have all raised themselves above the ground as the plant has
grown. The stem, therefore, has grown between the joints rather than
from the end. The stem usually grows most rapidly, at any given time, at
the upper or younger part of the joint (or internode); and the joint
soon reaches the limit of its growth and becomes stationary, while a new
one grows out above it.





[40] Teacher's Leaflet No. 12, January, 1899.

[Sidenote: _To the teacher._--We want the country child to have a closer
touch with nature in the winter time. Teach him to see, to know, and to
care for the trees when they are leafless. This leaflet will suggest how
you may interest him.

You can also intensify his interest in the subject, and at the same time
increase his knowledge of drawing, by having him make skeleton or
outline drawings of the trees about the schoolhouse or the home. Leaflet
XXX gives suggestions for drawing.

You can correlate this work with geography by giving the distribution or
range of the different kinds of trees. Indicate the limit of
distribution northward, southward, eastward, westward; also the regions
in which the species is most abundant. The common manuals of botany will
help you in this work; or you may consult the many excellent special
books on trees.

In teaching nature-study, remember that a great part of its value lies
in the enthusiasm and zeal with which you handle it. Try, also, to
develop the æsthetic sense of the pupil; but do not teach mere


Only the growing and open season is thought to be attractive in the
country. The winter is bare and cheerless. The trees are naked. The
flowers are under the snow. The birds have flown. The only bright and
cheery spot is the winter fireside. But even there the farmer has so
much time that he does not know what to do with it. Only those who have
little time, appreciate its value.

But the winter is not lifeless and charmless. It is only dormant. The
external world fails to interest us because we have not been trained to
see and know it; and also because the rigorous weather and the snow
prevent us from going afield. In the spring, summer, and fall, the hours
are full to overflowing with life and interest. On every hand we are in
contact with nature. If the farmer's winter is to be more enjoyable the
farmer must have more points of contact with the winter world. One of
the best and most direct of these points of sympathy is an interest in
the winter aspects of trees.

[Illustration: _Fig. 203. Small-fruited Shagbark Hickory._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 204. Pignut Hickory. This and Fig. 203 are from
"Lessons with Plants."_]


In the summer time we distinguish the kinds of trees chiefly by means of
the shape and the foliage. In winter the foliage is gone; but the shape
remains, and the framework of the tree is also conspicuous. Trees are as
distinct in winter as in summer; and in some respects their characters
are more apparent and pronounced.

Observe the outline of a tree against the dull winter sky. It does not
matter what kind of tree it is. Note its height, shape, and size of top,
how many branches there are, how the branches are arranged on the main
trunk, the direction of the branches, whether the twigs are few or many,
crooked or straight.

[Illustration: _Fig. 205. Slippery Elm. The expression is stiff and

Having observed these points in any tree, compare one kind of tree with
another and note how they differ in these features. Compare an apple
tree with an elm, an elm with a maple, a basswood with a pine, a poplar
with a beech, a pear tree with a peach tree.

Having made comparisons between very dissimilar trees, compare those
which are much alike, as the different kinds of maples, of elms, of
oaks, of poplars. As your powers of observation become trained, compare
the different varieties of the same kind of fruit trees, if there are
good orchards in the vicinity. The different varieties of pears afford
excellent contrasts. Contrast the Bartlett with the Flemish Beauty, the
Kieffer with the Seckel. In apples, compare the Baldwin with the Spy,
the King with the Twenty Ounce. The sweet and sour cherries show marked
differences in method of branching. Fruit men can tell many varieties
apart in winter. How?

Two common hickories are shown in Figs. 203 and 204. How do they differ?
Do they differ in length of trunk? General method of branching?
Direction of branches? Character of twig growth? Straightness or
crookedness of branches?

Contrast the slippery elm (Fig. 205) and the common or American elm
(Fig. 211). The former has a crotchy or forked growth, and long, stiff,
wide-spreading branches. The latter is more vase-like in shape. The
branches are willowy and graceful, with a tendency to weep.

Compare the oaks. The white and scarlet oaks have short trunks when they
grow in fields, and the main branches are comparatively few and make
bold angles and curves. The swamp white oak (Fig. 206), however, has a
more continuous trunk, with many comparatively small, horizontal, and
tortuous branches.

[Illustration: _Fig. 206. Swamp White Oak._]

With Fig. 206 compare the pepperidge (Fig. 207). This is one of the most
unusual and interesting of all our native trees. It grows in swales. It
has a very tough-grained wood. The autumn foliage is deep red and
handsome. The peculiarities of the tree are the continuation of the
trunk to near the summit, and the many lateral, short, deflected,
tortuous branches.

Consider the structure of the sassafras in Fig. 208. The great branches
stand off nearly at right angles to the trunk, and are bushy and twiggy
at the ends. Each large branch if cut off at its base and stood upright
would look like an independent tree, so tree-like are its branches.
Observe how much more bushy the sassafras is than any of the other trees
already figured. Compare it in the method of branching and the
twigginess with the slippery elm (Fig. 205).

[Illustration: _Fig. 207. Pepperidge or Sour Gum. The oddest of New York

But there is still greater brushiness in the thorn-apple (Fig. 209). In
twigginess Figs. 208 and 209 are very unlike, however. Pick out the
differences. Observe the very short and spur-like twigs in the
thorn-apple; also notice how soon the trunk is lost in the branches.

With all the foregoing pictures compare the steeple-like form of the
Lombardy poplar (Fig. 210). The tree is frequent along roadsides and
about yards. What is its structure? Observe it as it stands against the
winter sky. There is nothing else in our northern landscape so straight
and spire-like. If you know a beech tree standing in a field, contrast
it with the Lombardy poplar. These two trees represent extremes of
vertical and of horizontal branching.

Aside from the general structure of the tree-top, the pupil will become
interested in the winter color of the tree and in the character of the
bark. How does the bark differ between elms and maples, oaks and
chestnuts, birches and beeches, hickories and walnuts? Why does the bark
separate in ridges or peel off in strips? Is it not associated with the
increase in diameter of the trunk? The method of breaking of the bark
is different and peculiar for each kind of tree.

Look at these things; and think about them.


Consciously or unconsciously, we think of trees much as we think of
persons. They suggest thoughts and feelings which are also attributes of
people. A tree is weeping, gay, restful, spirited, quiet, sombre. That
is, trees have expression.

[Illustration: _Fig. 208. Sassafras. Type of a bushy-topped tree._]

The expression resides in the observer, however, not in the tree.
Therefore, the more the person is trained to observe and to reflect,
the more sensitive his mind to the things about him, and the more
meaning the trees have. No one loves nature who does not love trees. We
love them for what they are, wholly aside from their uses in
fruit-bearing or shade-giving. A knowledge and love of trees binds one
close to the external world.

[Illustration: _Fig. 209. Thorn-apple. One of the most picturesque
objects in the winter landscape._]

How shall one increase his love of trees? First, by knowing them. He
learns their attributes and names. Knowing them in winter, as already
suggested, is one of the ways of becoming acquainted. Second, by
endeavoring to determine what thought or feeling they chiefly express.
The slippery elm is stiff and hard. The American elm is soft and
graceful. The Lombardy poplar is prim and precise. The oak is rugged,
stern, and bold. The pepperidge is dejected. The long white branches of
a leaning buttonwood standing against a distant forest, suggest some
spectre hurrying away from the haunts of men.

Trees which have very strong expressions, or which are much unlike
others, are said to have character. They are peculiar. Of such trees are
oaks, pepperidges, Lombardy poplars, button woods, old apple trees.

[Illustration: _Fig. 210. Group of Lombardy Poplars. From Bulletin 68._]

A tree with very strong characters is said to be picturesque. That is,
it is such an object as an artist delights to put into a picture. Trees
which are very unsymmetrical, or knotty, gnarled, or crooked, are
usually picturesque. Of all common trees, none is more picturesque than
an old apple tree. Observe its gnarled and crooked branches, and the
irregular spaces in its top.

Encourage the pupil to extend his observation to all the trees about
him, especially to such as are common and familiar. Teach him to observe
the growths of bushes and trees in the fence-rows which lie on his way
to school; and to observe carefully and critically. How do gooseberry
bushes differ from currant bushes, and raspberries from blackberries?
Observe the lilac bush and the snowballs. How is the snow held on the
different kinds of evergreens--as the pines, spruces, arbor-vitæ? See
how the fruit-spurs on pears and plums stand out against the sky.
(Consult Leaflet No. XXXI, "Four Apple Twigs.") Are there any bright
colors of branch and twig to relieve the bareness of the snow? Do you
see any warmth of color in the swales where the willows and osiers are?
Do you see old plumes of grass and weeds standing above the snow? Do
they bring up any visions of summer and brooks and woods?





[41] Teacher's Leaflet, No. 12, January, 1899.

The few suggestions which are set forth in these pages are based upon
two assumptions:--first, that the teacher has some knowledge of the most
salient principles of elementary perspective; and second, that she has a
love for all things beautiful. It is feasible to deal here not to any
extent with art in either its abstract or its concrete form, but only
with drawing.

Drawing, in its simplest analysis, is the ability to record objects as
they appear to the normal eye.

Art is more complicated. It includes many elements, a few of which are
composition, expression of movement, and action. The very thought,
feeling, and refinement of the artist must be expressed in his work. He
must tell not only what he sees, but also what he feels. He interprets
nature through his own moods.

There are no outlines in nature. The boundaries, shapes, and character
of various forms are determined by the difference of their color values,
and the contrasts of light and shade. Yet an outline drawing is the
simplest means of representing form and proportion. Although inadequate
in many respects, this somewhat conventional rendering is important to
the beginner, for it is necessary that the child be taught to observe
forms and proportions correctly; and these impressions may be recorded
most simply and definitely by outline drawings. Michael Angelo
emphasized its importance in these words: "The science of drawing or of
outline is the essence of painting and all the fine arts, and the root
of all the sciences."

To a great extent, one may show in an outline drawing the character and
texture of surfaces. Our main object should be to train the boys and
girls to observe in order to acquire a correctness of perception, for
"education amongst us consists too much in telling, not enough in

[Illustration: _Fig. 211. The American Elm, one of the most typical of
vase-form trees._]

One of the greatest difficulties is to impress upon the minds of
beginners the fact that they must think while they look and draw. Insist
upon the pupil's looking repeatedly at the object. It is better to
observe for five minutes and draw for one, than to observe for one and
draw for five.

Make the drawing lesson more interesting by telling the class something
about the object which they are to draw, involving in the story facts
that will impress upon their minds some of the most salient
characteristics of the object. Encourage the children to discuss the
object, drawing out facts for their own observation. Certain kinds of
trees, like certain races of people, have a general similarity, yet
every single tree has an individuality of its own.

Apply a few essential questions that will help to determine at least the
kind of tree it is, the race to which it belongs; for first we must get
its general character, seeing its big proportions and shape; and later
must search for its individualities.

Is it tall for its greatest width?

How far does the trunk extend before dividing?

At what height do the lowest branches arise?

What is their general direction?

Do they appear to radiate from the trunk?

How do they appear to radiate from the trunk?

How do the main branches compare in size with the trunk?

Are they crooked or straight?

The manner of branch growth must be studied carefully.

We see in our elm (Fig. 211) that the trunk divides at about a fourth of
its height into several main branches, while in the case of the
pepperidge (Fig. 207) the trunk extends to the very top of the tree, the
branches being small in proportion to the trunk, not varying much in
size, and taking an oblique downward direction. Notice the weird
expression of these trees with their crookedly bent tops, one side of
each trunk being almost devoid of branches.

The trunk of the sassafras (Fig. 208) continues nearly to the top of
this tree, while the large branches, though unsymmetrical, give it a
well-balanced appearance.

Again in our picture of the thorn-apple (Fig. 209), we are at once
impressed with its irregular form, the branches on the left taking a
more oblique direction than those of the other side, the trunk dividing
a little short of half the height of the tree.

For an example, let our subject be an elm tree (Fig. 211); our drawing
to be rendered in outline.

[Illustration: _Fig. 212. Blocking-in the elm tree (Fig. 211). The first
work which the artist does when he draws the tree._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 213. Working in the details with sharp lines. The
original pencil sketch is not followed exactly._]

_Material._--Almost any good drawing paper, white or buff in color, will
answer our purpose; 9x12 is a good size. Our pencil should be of medium
grade lead (F. or HB.) of any standard make, Kohinoor preferred.

If procurable, we should have a light drawing board 17x22 inches (here
is an opportunity for the carpenters) to place the paper on, otherwise a
very stiff piece of cardboard; or a large geography book might answer.
It is best, however, to fasten our paper, which we cannot do in using
the book. For fastening the paper use four thumb tacks for the corners.

A Faber or multiplex pencil eraser is needed; also a sponge eraser with
which to remove the light lines and clean the drawing before lining it

_Our position._--Our point of view will depend upon our subject, but it
is not well to be so near as to necessitate raising the head in order to
see the top of the tree. If we take longer than one sitting for our
drawing (which I do not think advisable, as we must not choose too
complicated a subject), we must mark our position in order to obtain
again the same point of view.

_Position of the drawing-board._--Our paper must be placed on the board
with its edges parallel to those of the board. The drawing-board should
be held perpendicular, or nearly so, to the direction in which it is
seen, for if the board is tilted far backward, it will be fore-shortened
and our tree will probably have been drawn longer than it should be.

_How to look._--The tendency of the beginner is to see and draw too much
in detail. It is most essential that we look first for the large shapes,
the greatest dimensions; next for the smaller ones; last for detail. It
is not well for the pupils to work too close to their drawings. They
should occasionally sit well back in their seats or get up and stand
behind the seats to obtain the general effect of their drawing, to see
that the big shapes are right and that the character of the tree has not
been lost.

As an aid to placing our drawing so as best to fill the space it has to
occupy, we may use what the French call a _cherche-motif_, the English,
a finder. This is nothing more than a small piece of stiff paper or
cardboard about 5x8 inches, in which is cut a small rectangular opening
about 3/4x1 inch; the size and proportion may vary somewhat. We may look
through this opening, the card acting as a frame to our picture. This
will help us to decide whether our subject will look better placed the
horizontal or the vertical way of the paper and how much of the subject
to include and where to place it in that space. We may include more or
less in the finder by varying its distance from the eye.

Now, I am sure we should not place ourselves within a dozen yards of our
tree if we wished to get its general effect; therefore, we must have
plenty of foreground in our drawing. We must give the eye a chance to
look, allowing plenty of space between the lowest point of our drawing
and the lower edge of our paper.

As the height of tree we are to draw (Fig. 211) is greater than its
greatest width, we find that it will fill the space best if placed the
vertical way of the paper. After indicating the extreme height and width
by four light marks, before carrying the drawing further we must test
these proportions by comparing the width with the height, always testing
the shorter dimension into the longer, viz.:

_To test the drawing._--Close one eye. The pencil may be used to test
the drawing by holding it in front of you at arm's length (as in Fig.
214) perpendicular to the direction in which the object is seen; also
revolving it in a plane perpendicular to the direction in which the
object is seen, in order to compare one dimension with another. For
example, hold your pencil horizontally at arm's length so that its blunt
end covers the outermost left-hand point of the elm. Slide your thumb
along the pencil till it covers the extreme right-hand point; retain
that measurement (keeping the same position in your chair, pencil always
at arm's length); revolve the pencil in the same plane until it
coincides with the height of the elm, at the same time lowering it so
that the end of the thumb covers the lowest point of the tree; note
carefully the point that the blunt end covers; raise the pencil so that
the end of the thumb covers that point, noting again where the blunt end
occurs and notice how many times, and how much over, the width goes into
the height. In our elm (Fig. 211) we find that the width goes about once
and six-sevenths into the height, or a little short of twice. If the
latter statement is preferred, we must bear in mind the proportion left

[Illustration: _Fig. 214. How to test the drawing._]

Do not use the scale side of a ruler or marks on the pencil or object
used in order to test the proportions, and never transfer measurements
from the object used in testing to your paper. A scale or other
mechanical means should not be used in free-hand drawing. The teacher
should have a spool of black thread and should give a piece about 2 feet
6 inches long to each pupil. An eraser, a knife, or some small article
may be attached to one end of the thread. By holding the weighted thread
as a plumb-line in front of us, we have an absolutely vertical line; so
by having it intersect a desired point of our tree we may obtain the
relative positions to the right and left of other points above and below
this intersected point.

_Blocking-in._--We may conceive of the general shape of our elm by
looking at it with half closed eyes. It appears in silhouette. Now
imagine lines joining its outermost points; this will give the general
mass or shape of our tree. Now if we represent the outermost points
contained in these lines by sketching lightly these "blocking-in" lines,
as they are called, we obtain the general shape of the elm (Fig. 212).
We must emphasize the fact that these blocking-in lines are to be
sketched in lightly by holding the pencil near the blunt end, using a
free-arm motion. Now before going farther we again test these new points
to see if they occupy their correct positions in relation to the height
and width. Do not, however, transfer the measurements from the pencil to
the paper. This test is only to obtain the proportion of one dimension
to another. Having tested these smaller dimensions we may draw lightly
the main branches.

After having indicated their general direction and character of growth,
we may indicate some of the smaller branches and twigs (Fig. 213). All
this work should be carried out without erasing; all corrections should
be made by slightly darker lines.

Let us now sharpen our pencils to a good point and go over the drawing
with a fine dark line, carefully studying the character and spirit of
the tree. Now erase the lighter and superfluous lines, as the dark lines
remain distinct enough to indicate our drawing.

_Lining-in._--We may now take our pencil nearer the point and proceed to
line-in the drawing, going over it with a definite, consistent line. If
desirable, we may accent and bring out certain parts of the tree more
strongly than others by darker or shade lines and short, strong markings
called accents. These are especially effective at the junction and
underside of branches, and where one wishes to give the object a
nearer appearance. A soft, broad, grey line may be obtained by using a
softer pencil (B) and the drawing given variety by breaking lines here
and there. We should be cautious in using them, however; but lack of
space does not permit further discussion of the subject of accented

[Illustration: _Fig. 215. The outline drawing complete, and the first
pencil marks erased._]

Allow the pupils to make short ten- or fifteen-minute "time sketches" of
trees. In these it is the spirit and general effect of the tree that we
must strive for. Above all, we must allow our little draughtsmen to give
their own interpretation of the tree. A helpful suggestion as to
proportion, etc., would be in place, but we must allow their
individuality to have as much play as possible.

The suggestions given on these pages are necessary for the beginner.
Some of them are hard facts; but it lies with the teacher to develop the
æsthetic and artistic qualities lying dormant in the pupil, ready to be
moulded and started in the right direction.

If you have confined the pupils to the flat copy, break away from it;
allow them to create. Let them see the beautiful things all about them.
They will respond. Let them draw from nature and still life. Train them
to observe.

The early summer days, just before school closes, with their bright
sunlight and strong shadows, make many subjects interesting as
light-and-shade drawings. Fall, with its brilliant coloring, gives us a
chance to use the color-box, while the early winter twilights will bring
many an interesting silhouette before our boys and girls, and next day
during the drawing hour these impressions may be carried out in pen and

The most successful teacher will be the one of sympathetic nature whose
love reaches out to the boys and girls, as well as to all things
beautiful. The most successful teacher will be the one who endeavors to
place the children where they may view nature sympathetically and in the
most intimate relationship.




[42] Teachers' Leaflet No. 3, March, 1897.


As I walked through an apple orchard the other day for the first time
since the long winter had set in, I was struck by the many different
shapes and sizes of the limbs as I saw them against the blue-gray of the
February sky. I cut four of them in passing, and as I walked back to the
house I wondered why the twigs were all so different; and I found myself
guessing whether there would be any apples next summer.

I have had pictures made of these four little apple limbs. Let us look
them over and see whether they have any story to tell of how they grew
and what they have set out to do.


One of these twigs (Fig. 216) was taken from a strong young tree which,
I remember, bore its first good crop of apples last year. This simple
twig is plainly of two years' growth, for the "ring" between the old and
new wood is seen at B. That is, the main stem from the base up to B grew
in 1895, and the part from B to the tip grew in 1896. But the buds upon
these two parts look very unlike. Let us see what these differences

We must now picture to ourselves how this shoot from B to 10 looked last
summer while it was growing. The shoot bore leaves. Where? There was one
just below each bud; or, to be more exact, one bud developed just above
each leaf. These buds did not put out leaves. They grew to their present
size and then stopped. The leaves fell.

What are these buds of the tip shoot preparing to do in 1897? We can
answer this question by going back just one year and seeing what the
buds on the lower (or older) part of the shoot did in 1896. On that part
(below B) the buds seem to have increased in size. Therefore, they must
have grown larger last year. There were no leaves borne below these
buds in 1896, but a cluster of leaves came out of each little bud in the
spring. As these leaves expanded and grew, the little bud grew on; that
is, each bud grew into a tiny branch, and when fall came each of these
branches had a bud on its end to continue the growth in the year to
come. What we took to be simple buds at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, are, therefore,
little branches.

But the strangest part of this wonderful little twig has not yet been
seen,--the branches are of different sizes, and three of them (7, 8, 9)
have so far outstripped the others that they seem to be of a different
kind. It should be noticed, too, that the very lowermost bud (at 1)
never grew at all, but remained perfectly dormant during the entire year
1896. It will be seen, then, that the dormant bud and the smallest
branches are on the lower part of the shoot, and the three strong
branches are at the very tip of the last year's growth.

If, now, we picture the twig as it looked in the fall of 1895, we shall
see that it consisted of a single shoot, terminating at B. It had a
large terminal bud (like those at 7, 8, 9, 10), and this bud pushed on
into a branch in 1896, while three other buds near the tip did the same

[Illustration: _Fig. 216.--A two-year-old shoot from a young apple tree.
Half size._]

Why did some of these branches grow to be larger than others? "Simply
because they were upon the strongest part of the shoot, or that part
where the greatest growth naturally takes place," some one will answer.
But this really does not answer the question, for we want to know why
this part of the shoot is strongest. Probably the real reason is that
there is more sunlight and more room on this outward or upward end. In
1897,--if this shoot had been spared--each of these four largest twigs
(7, 8, 9, 10) would have done the same thing as the parent twig did in
1896: each would have pushed on from its end, and one or two or three
other strong branches would probably have started from the strong
side-buds near the tips, the very lowest buds would, no doubt, have
remained perfectly inactive or dormant for lack of opportunity, and the
intermediate buds would have made short branches like 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. In
other words, the tree always tries to grow onward from its tips, and
these tip shoots eventually become strong branches, unless some of them
die in the struggle for existence. What, now, becomes of the little
branches lower down?


From another apple tree I took the twig shown in Fig. 217. We see at
once that it is very unlike the other one. It seems to be two years old,
one year's growth extending from the base up to 7, and the last year's
growth extending from 7 to 8; but we shall see upon looking closer that
this is not so. The short branchlets at 3, 4, 5, 7 are very different
from those in Fig. 216. They seem to be broken off. The fact is that the
broken ends show were apples were borne in 1896. The branchlets that
bore them, therefore, must have grown in 1895, while the main branch,
from 1 to 7, grew in 1894. It is plain, from the looks of the buds, that
the shoot from 7 to 8 grew last year, 1896.

[Illustration: _Fig. 217. A three-year-old shoot and the fruit-spurs.
Half size._]

Starting from the base, then, we have the main twig growing in 1894; the
small side branches growing in 1895; these little branches bearing
apples in 1896; and the terminal shoot also growing in 1896. Why was
there no terminal shoot growing in 1895? Simply because its tip
developed a fruit-bud (at 7) and therefore could not send out a branch;
for there are two kinds of buds,--the small, pointed leaf-bud and the
thick, blunt fruit-bud. If the branchlets 3, 4, 5, 7 are two years old,
the dormant buds--1, 2--must be of the same age. That is, for two long
years these little buds have been waiting (if I may use the expression)
for some bug to eat off the buds and leaves above, or some accident to
break the shoot beyond them, so that they might have a chance to grow;
but they have waited in vain.

We have now found, therefore, that the little side shoots upon apple
twigs often become fruit-branches or fruit-spurs, while the more
ambitious branches above them are making a great display of stem and

[Illustration: _Fig. 218.--A fruit-spur which has borne six apples. Half

But will these fruit-spurs bear fruit again in 1897? No. The bearing of
an apple is hard work, and these spurs did not have enough vitality left
to make fruit-buds for the next year; but as they must perpetuate
themselves, they have sent out small side buds which will bear a cluster
of leaves and grow into another little spur in 1897, and in that year
these new spurs will make fruit-buds for bearing in 1898. The side bud
is plainly seen on spur 5, also on spur 4, whilst spur 7 has sown a
seed, so to speak, in the bud at 6. It is plain, therefore, why the tree
bears every other year.


There was one tree in the orchard from which the farmer had not picked
his apples. Perhaps the apples were not worth picking. At any rate, the
dried apples, shriveled and brown, are still hanging on the twigs, and
even the birds do not seem to care for them. I broke off one of these
twigs (Fig. 218). Let us see how many apples this interesting twig has
borne. We can tell by the square-cut scars. An apple was once borne at
1, another at 2, another at 4, another at 5, another at 6, and another
at 7,--and at 7 there will be a scar when the apple falls. Six apples
this modest shoot has borne! And I wonder how many of them got ripe, or
how many were taken by the worms, or how many were eaten by the little
boys and girls on their way to school!

A peculiar thing happened when the fruit was growing at 2. Two side buds
started out, instead of one, and both of them grew the next year. But
one of the little branchlets fell sick and died, or a bug nipped off its
end, or it starved to death; and its memory is preserved by the little
stick standing up at 3. The other branchlet thrived, and eventually bore
apples at 4, 5, 6, and 7.

I have said that these fruit-spurs bear only every other year; then, if
this branch has borne six apples consecutively, it must be twelve years
old. The truth is that it is about twenty years old, for some years it
failed to bear; but the age cannot be traced out in the picture,
although any little boy or girl with bright eyes could soon learn to
trace out yearly rings on the shoot itself.


The last shoot that I got that day has a whole volume of history in it,
and I cannot begin to tell its story unless I should write a small book.
But we will trace out its birthdays and see how many apples it has
borne. It is shown in Fig. 219, and because it is so long I have had to
break it into several pieces to get it on the page. It begins at A, and
is continued at B, C, D, E, and F.

Let us count the yearly rings and see how old the whole limb is. These
rings are at 28, 26, D, 12, 1,--five of them; and as the shoot grew one
year before it made any ring, and another year made no increase in
length--as we shall presently see--the whole branch must be seven years
old. That is, the limb probably started in 1890.[43] Let us begin, then,
at A, and follow it out.

[43] It is really impossible to tell whether the shoot started from the
limb A in 1889 or 1890, without knowing the age of A; for the spur may
have developed its blossom bud at the end in either the first or second
year of its life. That is, young fruit-spurs sometimes make a blossom
bud the very year they start, but they oftener "stand still" the second
year and delay the blossom bud until that time.

1890. Started as a spur from the main branch, A, and grew to 1.

1891. Apple borne at 1. This apple did not mature, however, as we can
readily see by the smallness of the scar. In this year, two side buds
developed to continue the spur the next year.

[Illustration: _Fig. 219. A seven-year-old apple twig and its curious
history. (Half size.)_]

1892. Ceased to be a fruit-spur, and made a strong growth on to 12. For
some reason, it had a good chance to grow. Perhaps the farmer pruned the
tree, and thereby gave the shoot an opportunity; or perhaps he plowed
and fertilized the land.

In the meantime, one of the side buds grew to 3, and the other to 7, and
each made a fruit-bud at its end.

1893. Shoot grew lustily,--on to D.

The fruit-bud at 3 bore an apple, which probably matured, as shown by
the scar 2. Two side buds were formed beneath this apple, to continue
the spur next year.

The fruit-bud at 7 bloomed, but the apple fell early, as shown by the
small scar. Two side buds were formed.

The buds upon the main shoot--1 to 12--all remained dormant.

1894. Shoot grew from D to beyond E.

Side bud of 2 grew to 4, and made a fruit-bud on its end; the other side
bud grew on to 5, and there made a fruit-bud.

Side bud of 7 grew on to 10, and the other one to 8, each ending in a

Buds on old shoot--1 to 12--still remained dormant.

Some of the buds on the 1893 growth--12 to D,--remained dormant; but
some of them made fruit-spurs,--14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

1895. Shoot grew from beyond E to 28.

Flowers were borne at 4 and 5; but at 4 the fruit fell early, for the
five or six scars of the flowers can be seen, showing that no one of
them developed more strongly than the other; that is, none of the
flowers "set." A fairly good fruit was probably borne at 5. At the base
of each, a bud started to continue the spur next year.

Upon the other spur, flowers were borne both at 8 and 10. At 10 none of
the flowers set fruit, but a side bud developed. At 8 the fruit
partially matured, and a side bud was also developed.

The buds upon the old stem from 1 to 12 still remained dormant.

Some of the spurs on the 1893 growth--12 to D--developed fruit-buds for
bearing in 1896.

Some of the buds on the 1894 growth--D to beyond E--remained dormant,
but others developed into small fruit-spurs. One of these buds, near the
top of the 1894 growth, threw out a long shoot, starting from E; and
the bud at 26 also endeavored to make a long branch, but failed.

1896. Main shoot grew from 28 to the end.

The side bud below 4 (where the fruit was borne the year before) barely
lived, not elongating, as seen above 3. This branch of the spur is
becoming weak and will never bear again. The side bud of 5, however,
made a fairly good spur and developed a fruit-bud at its end, as seen at

The side bud of 10 grew somewhat, making the very short spur 11. This
branchlet is also getting weak. The bud of 8, however, developed a
strong spur at 9. Both 11 and 9 bear fruit-buds, but that on 11 is
probably too weak ever to bear fruit again. In fact, the entire spurs,
from 1 to 6 and 1 to 9, are too weak to be of much account for

This year several of the spurs along the 1893 growth--12 to D--bore
flowers. Flowers were borne from two buds on the first one (at 13 and
14), but none of the flowers "set." One of the little apples that died
last June still clings to the spur at 14. A side bud (15) formed to
continue the spur in 1897. Flowers were borne at 16, 20, 21, and 23, but
no apples developed. Upon 16 and 20 the flowers died soon after they
opened, as seen by the remains of them. Upon 23, one of the flowers set
an apple, but the apple soon died. The spurs 17 and 18 are so weak that
they have never made fruit-buds, and they are now nearly dead. The spurs
19 and 22 have behaved differently. Like the others, they grew in 1894
and would have made terminal fruit-buds in 1895, and would have borne
fruit in 1896; but the terminal buds were broken off in the fall or
winter of 1894, so that two side buds developed in 1895, and each of
these developed a fruit-bud at its end in 1896 in the spur 19, but only
one of them developed such a bud in 22. Upon these spurs, therefore, the
bearing year has been changed.

Upon the growth of 1894--D to beyond E--only three spurs have developed,
nos. 24, 25, 26. These started out in 1895, and two of them--25 and
26--have made large fat buds which are evidently fruit-buds. The shoot
at E grew on to EE, and all the buds on its lower two-year-old portion
remained dormant.

On the 1895 growth--from beyond E to 28--all the buds remained dormant
save one, and this one--27--made only a very feeble attempt to grow into
a spur.

The buds upon the 1892 growth--1 to 12--are still dormant and waiting
for an opportunity to grow.

What an eventful history this apple twig has had! And yet in all the
seven years of its life, after having made fifteen efforts to bear
fruit, it has not produced a single good apple! The fault, therefore,
does not lie in the shoot. It has done the best it could. The trouble
has been that the farmer either did not give the tree enough food to
enable it to support the fruit, or did not prune the tree so as to give
the twig light and room, or allowed apple-scab or some other disease to
kill the young apples as they were forming. I am wondering, therefore,
whether, when trees fail to bear, it is not quite as often the fault of
the farmer as it is of the trees?




[44] Nature-Study Quarterly No. 4, Leaflet 17, March, 1900.


Spring is coming! The buds will burst and the birds will sing!

How do the buds burst? Watch them as the spring opens; or, if you are
impatient, cut long twigs and place them in bottles of water in a
living-room, and the buds will swell. First, notice what the winter buds
are like,--that they are spherical, or oblong, or conical bodies lying
close to the limb and tightly covered with scales. Notice that there is
a mark or scar beneath the bud, showing where a leaf was borne.

It is excellent practice to collect winter twigs of different kinds of
trees and bushes, and to compare the form and color of the shoots, and
the size, shape, color, and make-up of the buds. Lay the twigs side by
side on the table and notice how one differs from the other. What part
of the twig grew last year? Notice the "ring" at the base of the last
year's growth. After all the differences are noted, put the twigs in
water, as you would a bouquet. Sometimes flowers and leaves will appear.
If the twigs are two or three feet long, the buds are more likely to
grow, for then there is sufficient supply of food in them. Change the
water frequently, and cut off the lower ends of the twigs so that a
fresh surface will be exposed to the water. It will be two to five weeks
before the buds open, depending mostly on the kind of plant.

Mark one bud on a maple, or apple, or lilac, or other plant, by tying a
string about the twig. Look at it carefully from day to day: observe how
it opens, and what comes out of it.

The pupil should know that a winter twig has interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

The bud may be peach or apricot. Soon the bud begins to swell at its
top. The scales open. A white lining appears. This lining soon protrudes
(Fig. 220). Soon the lining opens. We see that it is a flower. Or
perhaps the peach bud sends out a green shoot rather than a flower.
There must be two kinds of peach and apricot buds,--a flower-bud and a
leaf-bud. Can you tell them apart? The flower-bud is thicker and
rounder. Usually one stands on either side of a leaf-bud. But the
leaf-bud may stand alone. Find one: any peach tree or apricot tree will
have leaf-buds, but all may not have flower-buds. As the bud expands and
the flower or leaf appears, notice that the bud-scales fall away. Do
these scales leave scars? And do not these scars, standing together,
make the "ring" which marks the beginning of the new growth?

[Illustration: _Fig. 220. Opening of an apricot bud._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Observe a pear bud. Notice that the scales elongate as the bud swells.
You can see the white bases of the scales, marking the new growth (Fig.
221). If it is a leaf-bud the scales may become three-fourths of an inch
long before they fall. But sooner or later, they are cast, and their
places are marked by scars. If it is a flower-bud, notice that several
flowers come out of it. In the apricot and peach, there is only one
flower in each bud. Each of these little pear flowers is closed up like
a bud and elevates itself on a stalk before it opens: and this stalk
becomes the stem of the pear fruit. But this pear flower-bud contains
leaves as well as flowers. Fig. 222 shows what comes out of a pear bud.
This, then, is a mixed flower-bud,--it contains both leaves and flowers.
The apricot and the peach bear true or simple flower-buds.

[Illustration: _Fig. 221. Opening of a pear bud._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 222. What came out of a pear bud._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Watch apple buds. The scales do not elongate as in the pear, but the
flower-buds are mixed. Fig. 223 shows the expanding cluster from an
apple flower-bud. Four flowers will open; and there are six leaves. If
the buds are made to open in the house on severed twigs, the leaves do
not grow so large before the flowers expand, for the twig does not
contain sufficient food. Fig. 224 is a photograph of an apple twig which
I had in my window one winter's day.

[Illustration: _Fig. 223. Opening of an apple bud._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 224. Apple flowers in midwinter._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Examine a hickory twig. The illustration (Fig. 225) shows the "ring"
marking the beginning of the annual growth. See the large leaf-scars.
Notice that the terminal bud is much the largest. It is the one which
will grow. The other buds will remain dormant unless they are forced
into growth by the death of the terminal bud or by other unusual
circumstances. Notice that buds differ in size on shoots of all plants;
consider that not all the buds are to grow: there is a struggle for
existence. When the hickory bud expands, some of the scales fall away;
but some of the inner parts enlarge into leaf-like bodies, as shown in
Fig. 226. In some hickories these bodies become two or three inches long
before they fall. Hickories open very late in the season. The Norway
maple, commonly planted on lawns, behaves in a similar way. Observe the
sugar maple.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fig. 225. Shoot of a hickory._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 226. The opening of a hickory bud._]

A twig of the common elm is shown in Fig. 227. Notice the "ring." See
the two kinds of buds. We suspect that the three larger ones are
flower-buds. With the very first warm days--before the robin has built
her nest--these three buds will burst; soon the red-brown tassels will
hang on the leafless twigs. Each tassel is a flower. Several flowers
come from each bud. We see them in Fig. 228; and the leaf-buds have
elongated somewhat. Watch for the fruits or seeds that blow about the
walks so early in spring; and note how the leaves come out.

[Illustration: _Fig. 227. Twig of elm._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 228. Blossoms of the elm._]

       *       *       *       *       *

With the first breath of spring, the "pussy willows" come. And what are
the "pussies"? They are clusters of flowers. So snugly are the little
flowers wrapped in wool, that the "pussies" are silken-soft as they
begin to expand. Fig. 229 is a willow shoot. Find one when the buds
first begin to burst. Notice the big brown-black scale that covers the
bud as a shield and falls when the "pussy" first begins to appear.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now what is a winter bud? It is a miniature shoot or flower, resting
for the time, and snugly wrapped for the long winter. It was made last
season. It is ready to leap into growth the moment the warm rain of
spring wakens it. A good hand lens will show the embryo branch, if a
section is made of the bud.

This bud is not only ready-formed but is ready-fed. The winter shoots
contain starch. On a cut surface of a dormant twig, apply a drop of
tincture of iodine; note the bluish color, which is indicative of
starch. This starch is insoluble; but with the first awakening of life,
it changes into sugar, which is soluble and is transferred to the
growing part. The burst of spring is made possible by means of this
stored food. Notice the azalea in the florist's window (Fig. 230). The
large flower-buds were formed the year before, and it is a short
operation to "force" them into bloom. The flowers come in advance of the
leaves; therefore these leaves could not have made the food required for
the bloom. The blooming of the apple twig (Fig. 224) in the winter shows
that the food is in the twig and buds. Once I drew a branch of a tree
into a room and fastened it there. It made leaves and began to grow
while the tree to which it was attached was perfectly dormant (Fig.

[Illustration: _Fig. 230. Bloom of azalea._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fig. 229. The opening of a pussy willow._]

Not only are the buds ready-formed and ready-fed, but they are covered.
Snugly is the tender, growing part protected. Pull away the scales of a
winter bud one by one. Observe how closely they are placed. Often the
chinks are filled with a packing of wool, or are sealed with varnish.
Dip the bud in water: then see whether the water permeates the
covering. The chief value of the bud covering is not to protect from
freezing, as commonly supposed, but to prevent the soft growing parts
from drying out.

The plants are waiting for spring. They are ready.

[Illustration: _Fig. 231. Branch of a tree bearing leaves inside a
window, when the tree itself is dormant._]




[45] Teacher's Leaflet No. 13, February, 1899.

[Sidenote: _Note to the teacher._--This leaflet has two particular
objects: to teach how evergreens shed their leaves, and to enable you to
distinguish a few of the evergreens which are most commonly met. These
studies (and those suggested in Leaflet No. XXIX) should be the means of
adding much cheer to the winter. Encourage pupils to make collections of
cones, to observe when they shed their seeds, and how long (how many
seasons) they remain attached to the branch. Remember that mere
identification of the kinds of trees is not the highest type of

Cones are good subjects for free-hand drawing. Beginners should draw
them in outline, omitting the shading. Encourage pupils to draw single
leaf-clusters of the different pines, cautioning them to show the right
number of leaves in each case.]


Cone-bearing evergreens are familiar to everyone; yet this familiarity
is usually with the trees as entire objects. We do not often stop to
analyze a tree in order to find out what gives it its characteristic
appearance or to see what makes it look as it does.

We shall often find, if we stop to look, that much of the character of a
tree,--that is, its general appearance or the way in which it impresses
us,--is due to the leaves and to their arrangement on the branches. This
is true of many of the evergreen trees.

Why are certain kinds of trees called evergreen in distinction from
those which are said to be deciduous? The reason is obvious. One kind is
always green from the presence of foliage, while the other sheds all of
its leaves every season. The evergreen trees, like the pines and the
spruces and the firs, always appear to be well covered with foliage;
hence it does not often occur to us that these trees shed their leaves.
And yet perhaps we can recall happy hours when we used to play beneath
some large pine tree where the ground was carpeted with pine "needles."

The falling of the leaves of the maple trees or the oaks is a familiar
sight, but who has seen the spruce leaves fall, and who can tell when
the pine needles drop?

That the evergreen trees do shed their foliage, as truly as the maples
and the elms do, we will not question, for we can see the fallen leaves
under any tree. Look up into the top of a spruce or pine. See that the
interior is bare of foliage. The leaves are towards the ends of the
branches, where they receive sunlight. Yet the branches which are now in
the interior once bore leaves, for we can see the leaf-scars.

[Illustration: _Fig. 232. Shoot of the common white pine, one-third
natural size._]

It will be interesting to find out something about the leaves of our
common evergreens. Let us look at some of them.


In Fig. 232 is shown a white pine branch. Notice that the leaves are
borne in bunches or clusters of five. Each bunch of leaves is produced
in the axil (or angle) of a minute scale-like body, but this scale can
best be seen and studied on the very young growth. It has been worn away
or broken from the older growth by the wind and the rain and the other
forces of nature.

Another strange fact should be well observed. The leaves of the maples
and other deciduous trees are borne only on the present season's
growth; but this is not the case in the pines, and kindred trees. If we
trace back the growth of the past two or three years, we may find that
there are as many leaves on the wood that is two years old as there are
on the last season's growth; and in many cases we can find leaves on the
part of the branch that is three years old. This means that the pine
leaves or needles are two and sometimes three years old when they fall.
The Fig. 232 shows the falling of the leaves from the different years'
growth. The part of the branch between the tip and A is the last
season's growth; between A and B it is two years old; the part between B
and C is three years old. The part that grew four seasons ago--beyond
C--has no leaves.

[Illustration: _Fig. 233. Cone of white pine. It has shed its seeds.
Half natural size._]

The different seasons' growth is indicated not by distinct "rings" as in
the case of deciduous trees, but by the branching. Each whorl of
branches about a limb represents the end of a season's growth. A young
pine tree, or the younger limbs of an old tree, shows this character
very plainly.

Do the leaves of the pines and of the other evergreen trees fall at the
end of the growing season, as the leaves of most of the deciduous trees
do? Or do they gradually become lifeless and fall at any season, from
the force of the wind and other natural forces? Tie a large sheet of
cloth in the top of some evergreen tree, in such a way as to form a
receptacle to catch the leaves. Do you catch leaves in winter as well as
in summer? Do you find leaves on the snow?

As there are several different kinds of pines, we must picture carefully
in our minds the foliage of the white pine, for it is different from
that of any others. The leaves are soft and very slender, and from three
to four inches long. The base of each cluster of leaves is at first
surrounded by a small sheath. A scar is left when the leaves drop and
these scars can often be seen on parts of the branches that are eight or
ten years old. Do the leaves of other kinds of trees make a scar when
they fall?

The white pine cones, in which the seeds are borne, are conspicuous
objects. They are five or six inches long and slightly curved. It will
be interesting to find out whether the seeds ripen the same year in
which they are formed. Perhaps a cone still containing seeds can be
secured. Carefully tear it apart and see where the seeds are attached.
Red squirrels sometimes eat the pine seeds. A white pine cone, which has
shed its seeds, is shown in Fig. 233.

[Illustration: _Fig. 234. Shoot of common pitch pine. One-half natural

This kind of pine is found widely scattered in New England, New York,
and westward to Minnesota and Iowa and along the Alleghany Mountains as
far south as Georgia; also in some parts of Canada. It is a valuable
lumber tree.


This kind of pine is very different, in many respects, from the white
pine. Let us find some of the differences. Instead of having leaves in
bunches of five, it has them in clusters of three, and the base of each
cluster is inclosed by a scaly sheath which does not fall away as in the
case of the white pine; neither does the little scale-like body upon the
branch, in the axil of which the leaf-cluster is borne, fall away, but
it may be found just below the leaf, and even on branches that are
several years old. Sometimes a sheath is found with only two leaves. We
shall want to know, too, how old the leaves are when they fall. Do they
remain on the tree longer than the white pine leaves do?

[Illustration: _Fig. 235. Cone of pitch pine. One-half natural size._]

Again, instead of being soft and slender as the white pine leaves are,
we shall find that these leaves are rigid and thick in comparison, and
stand out straight from the branches. The shape of the leaves is also
distinct from that of the white pine needles. See whether you can find
any other differences.

A pitch pine branch is shown in Fig. 234. The part between the tip and A
is the past season's growth. Observe the foliage on the part that is two
years old. Part of it has fallen. We often find it on growth which is
older than this; but in this specimen there are no leaves on the
three-year wood.

[Illustration: _Fig. 236. Pitch pine. One-third natural size._]

The cone of the pitch pine is very unlike that of the white pine. Fig.
235 gives a good idea of one that has shed its seeds. Compare this with
Fig. 233; or, better, examine the two kinds of cones side by side. The
pitch pine cones are sometimes borne in clusters of two or more and
they persist,--that is, remain on the tree for several years after the
seeds have ripened and scattered.

Notice how the new cones are borne with reference to last season's
growth. Are they attached to the tip of a branchlet? Or are they closely
attached to the side of a branch? Figs. 236 and 237 will help us answer
this question. The little cones in Fig. 237 near the tip of the twig,
are just beginning to form.

[Illustration: _Fig. 237. Pitch pine, showing young cones. Half natural

The pitch pine usually grows in sandy or rocky soil and is found in the
United States along the Atlantic coast to Virginia, along the mountains
to Georgia, westward to Western New York, Eastern Ohio, Kentucky, and
Eastern Tennessee. It has little value as timber, because it does not
grow large enough.


In the same manner other pines may be studied. Fig. 238 shows a cone and
a bit of foliage of the Scotch pine, and Fig. 239 the Austrian pine.
These cones grew the past season and are not yet mature. After they
ripen and shed the seeds which they contain, they will look somewhat
like the cone in Fig 235. The Scotch pine has short and blue-green
needles. The Austrian pine is coarser, and has long dark-green needles.

There are but two leaves in a cluster on these kinds of pines and we
shall find that the sheath which incloses the base of the leaf-cluster
is more conspicuous than in either the white or the pitch pine. Do the
leaves persist in the Scotch and Austrian pines longer than they do in
the others we have examined? Study the cones of these and other pines.

[Illustration: _Fig. 238. Scotch pine. Half natural size._]

The Scotch and Austrian pines are not native to this country, but are
much grown for ornament. They can be found in almost any park and in
many other places where ornamental trees are grown.


The leaves of spruce trees are borne very differently from those of the
pines. Instead of being in clusters of two or more, they are single and
without a sheath at the base; neither are there scale-like bodies on the
branches where the leaves are borne. Notice, too, that the leaves have a
very short stem or petiole.

The leaves of the Norway spruce are about one inch long, although the
length varies more or less in different parts of the tree and in
different trees. They are rather stiff and rigid and sharp-pointed. In a
general way, the leaves are four-sided, though indistinctly so.

It will be interesting to study the position which the leaves take on
the branches. A hasty glance might give us the impression that the
leaves are not produced on the under side of the branches; but a more
careful examination will convince us that there are nearly as many on
the under side as on the upper. The leaves are all pointing outward from
the branch and as nearly upward as is possible. In other words, the
leaves grow toward the light.

[Illustration: _Fig. 239. Austrian pine. One-third natural size._]

We must not forget to see how long the leaves of the Norway spruce
persist and to find out when the leaf-scars disappear. We can find
leaves that must surely be six or seven years old and sometimes we can
find them even older than this. The leaf scars, too, remain a long time.
The falling of the leaves is illustrated in Fig. 240. It shows the
extremities of a limb which is eight years old. The part between the tip
and A is last season's growth; between A and B it is two years old; and
beyond B is a part that grew three seasons ago. The section beyond C is
six years old; from C to D is seven years of age. The four years' growth
of this limb not shown in the drawing was as densely covered with
foliage as is the part shown in the upper figure; but there are not many
leaves between C and D (seven years old) and none on the eight-year-old
wood (except those on the branchlets, and these are younger).

The cone of the Norway spruce is nearly as long as that of the white
pine, but it is not so rough and coarse as the white pine cone is. The
cones are usually borne on the tips of small branchlets, although
occasionally one is borne in the manner shown in Fig. 241. The cones
usually fall the first winter.

[Illustration: _Fig. 240. Twig of the common Norway spruce. Half natural

The Norway spruce is not a native of this country, but like the Scotch
and Austrian pines, it was introduced from Europe and is grown very
widely as an ornamental tree. It is the commonest evergreen in yards and


There are several different kinds of spruces which we find growing in
our forests and swamps, and sometimes these are planted for ornament. A
sprig of foliage and a cone of one of these,--the black spruce,--is
shown in Fig. 242. The foliage is not very unlike that of the Norway
spruce, but the cones are very small in comparison. They are about one
inch long, though they vary considerably in size. Before they open they
are oval or plum-shaped; but when mature and the scales of the cone have
expanded, they are nearly globular. They are often borne in clusters, as
well as singly, and persist for many years after the seeds have fallen.
The position of the cones will depend upon their age. When young they
point upward, but they gradually turn downward.

In general appearance the white spruce resembles the black very closely.
The leaves of the white spruce have a whitish or dusty looking tinge of
color and when crushed or bruised give forth a peculiar, disagreeable
odor. The cones vary in length from an inch to two inches, and in shape
are more cylindrical or finger-shaped than the cone of the black spruce.

The foliage of the red spruce lacks the whitish tinge of color of the
white spruce and the cones, which are from one inch to two inches in
length, are obovate in shape--that is, the widest place is through the
upper part of the cone, and from this point it gradually tapers to the
tip. They seldom persist longer than the second summer.

The leaves of all these different kinds of spruces vary greatly in
length, thickness, and sharpness of point, according to the part of the
tree on which they grow, and their surroundings. The shedding of the
leaves on these or other spruces can be determined as easily as in the
Norway spruce.

[Illustration: _Fig. 241. Cone of Norway spruce. Half size._]

These three spruces like a cold climate and grow in many sections of the
northern United States and Canada and farther south in the mountains.
They are sometimes all found growing together, but the black spruce
likes best the damp, cold swamps, while the others grow best on the
drier and better drained lands. The black spruce is commonest. The red
spruce is least known.


This is another evergreen tree which grows naturally in the cold, damp
grounds of the northern United States and Canada, and to some extent in
the eastern states as far south as West Virginia.

The foliage is borne in much the same manner as that of the spruces; yet
there are interesting differences in the characters of these two kinds
of leaves. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is in the shape; and
the color of the fir leaves will attract our attention because the under
side is a silvery color, while the upper side is green. What is the
nature of the tip of the leaf and how does it compare with the pines and
spruces in this respect? Does the leaf have a stem or petiole or is it
attached directly to the branch without any stem? How are the leaves

[Illustration: _Fig. 242.--Black spruce. Half natural size._]

The cones are about three inches long and present a rather delicate
appearance. It will be interesting to determine the position of the
cones, that is, the direction in which they point, and to learn whether
it is the same when they are young as it is after they have matured.

The grayish colored bark of the trunk and limbs bears many "blisters"
from which Canada balsam is obtained.


A hemlock twig is an interesting object. It may have many characters in
common with the spruce and fir; yet the impression which we get from it,
or from a large hemlock tree, is entirely distinct. The arrangement of
the leaves and the gracefulness of the drooping branchlets are most
pleasing. We are led to examine it more closely. We notice that the
leaves appear to be borne in two more or less regular rows,--one on
each side of the branch or twig; but in reality they come from all sides
of the branch, and it is the position which the leaves assume that gives
this two-rowed appearance.

The leaves have a short stalk or petiole, and this stalk rests along the
side of the branchlet in such a direction that the leaves are placed in
single rows on either side of the branch. The petioles of the leaves are
nearly parallel with the branch while the leaves often make a decided
angle with the petiole. This fact can best be brought out by carefully
examining a small twig.

While we are noting the arrangement of the leaves on the branchlets, we
should also notice the points of similarity and difference between these
leaves and those of the spruces and firs. We shall find that there is
more in common, at least so far as shape and color are concerned,
between the hemlock and the fir than between the hemlock and the spruce.

[Illustration: _Fig. 243. Spray of the hemlock. Two-thirds natural

The small, delicate cones, borne on the tips of the branchlets, will
also attract our attention (Fig. 243.) We may wonder at their small
size, for they are only about three-quarters of an inch long, and very
delicate; yet a second glance at the tree will impress us with the
number of cones which the tree bears, and we conclude that, although the
cones may be small, yet there are so many of them that there will be no
lack of seeds.

It is more difficult to trace the age of a hemlock limb than of many
other kinds of trees, yet we can easily determine that many of the
leaves are several years old when they fall.

The bark of the hemlock is used in tanning hides for leather. The tree
is much used for lumber. Where does it grow?


One might almost wonder, at first sight, if the arbor-vitæ (often, but
wrongly, called the white cedar) has any leaves at all. It does possess
them, however, but they are very different in size and shape from any of
the others that we have examined. They are small scale-like bodies,
closely pressed together along the sides of the branchlets, in four
rows. Leaves pressed to the branches in this manner are said to be
"appressed." The leaves of the arbor-vitæ are so close together that
they overlap one another. The leaves are of two distinct shapes,
sometimes known as the surface leaves and the flank leaves. The former
are located on what appears to be the flattened surface of the
branchlets, while the latter are on the sides or edges. See Fig. 244.

[Illustration: _Fig. 244. The Arbor-vitæ. Nearly full size._]

If we carefully look at the leaves, we shall notice a raised spot near
the point or tip. This is said to be a resin gland. This gland can be
seen more plainly on the surface leaves that are two years old.

Most of the leaves persist for at least two and sometimes three years;
but even older ones can be found. These older leaves, however, exist not
as green, active leaves, but merely as dried and lifeless scales. These
lifeless leaves are probably detached from the branches by the forces of

The cones are even smaller than the hemlock cones. They are borne in the
axils of the leaves in the same manner as the branchlets and are not
conspicuous unless one is close to the tree.

The arbor-vitæ is much planted for hedges and screens, as well as for
other ornamental purposes. There are many horticultural varieties. The
tree is abundant in a wild state in New York.


_The white pine_ (Pinus Strobus).--Leaves in clusters of five, soft and
slender; cones five or six inches long, slightly curved; bark smooth
except on the trunks and larger limbs of old trees, where it is

_The pitch pine_ (Pinus rigida).--Leaves in clusters of three, from
three to four inches long, rather rigid; cones two to three inches long,
often in clusters of two or more but frequently borne singly, persisting
long after the seeds have been shed; bark more or less rough on the
young growth and deeply fissured on the trunks of old trees.

_The Scotch pine_ (Pinus sylvestris).--Leaves usually in clusters of
two, from two to four inches long, rigid, of a bluish-green hue when
seen in a large mass on the tree; cones two to three inches long and the
scales tipped with a beak or prickle.

_The Austrian pine_ (Pinus Austriaca).--Leaves in clusters of two, five
or six inches long and somewhat rigid, dark green in color, and
persisting for four or five years; cones about three inches long,
conical in shape; and scales not beaked or pointed as in the Scotch

_The Norway spruce_ (Picea excelsa).--Leaves borne singly, about one
inch long, dark green, four-sided; cones about six inches long, and
composed of thin scales, and usually borne on the tips of branchlets.
The small branches mostly drooping.

_The black spruce_ (Picea nigra).--In general appearance, this is not
very unlike the Norway spruce, but the small branches stand out more
horizontally and the cones are only one or one and one-half inches long,
recurving on short branches. The cones persist for several years after
shedding the seed.

_The white spruce_ (Picea alba).--Leaves about one inch long, having a
glaucous or whitish tinge; twigs stout and rigid, of a pale
greenish-white color; cones from one to two and one-half inches long,
more or less cylindrical or "finger-shaped," and easily crushed when

_The red spruce_ (Picea rubra).--The foliage lacks the whitish tinge of
the white spruce and is of a dark or dark yellowish color; twigs stouter
than those of the black spruce and not so much inclined to droop; cones
about one inch long, obovate, and usually falling by the second summer.

_The hemlock_ (Tsuga Canadensis).--Leaves about one-half inch long, flat
with rounded point, green on the upper side, whitish beneath, and borne
on short appressed petioles; cones about three-quarters of an inch long,
oval or egg-shaped, and borne on the ends of small branchlets and often
persisting for some time.

_The balsam fir_ (Abies balsamea).--Leaves narrow, less than one inch
long, borne singly, very numerous and standing out from the branchlets
in much the way of the spruce; cones about three inches long,
cylindrical, composed of thin scales, and standing upright on the
branches, or recurved; bark smooth, light green with whitish tinge.

_The arbor-vitæ_ (Thuya occidentalis).--Leaves very small, scale-like,
and over-lapping one another in four rows, adhering closely to the
branchlets; the cones oblong and small,--a half-inch or less in
length,--and composed of but few scales.




  The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee,
  A clover any time to him is aristocracy.


[46] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 8, May, 1904.

[Illustration: _White clover._]

There is a deep-seated prejudice that usefulness and beauty do not
belong together;--a prejudice based obviously on human selfishness, for
if a thing is useful to us we emphasize that quality so much that we
forget to look for its beauty. Thus it is that the clover suffers great
injustice; it has for centuries been a most valuable forage crop, and,
therefore, we forget to note its beauty, or to regard it as an object
worthy of æsthetic attention. This is a pitiful fact; but it cheats us
more than it does the clover, for the clover blossoms not for us, but
for the bees and butterflies as well as for itself. As I remember the
scenes which have impressed me most, I find among them three in which
clover was the special attraction. One was a well-cultivated thrifty
orchard carpeted with the brilliant red of the crimson clover in bloom.
One was a great field of alfalfa spread near the shore of the Great Salt
Lake, which met our eyes as we came through the pass in the Wasatch
Mountains after days of travel in dust-colored lands; the brilliant
green of that alfalfa field in the evening sunlight refreshed our eyes
as the draught of cold water refreshes the parched throat of the
traveller in a desert. And another was a gently undulating field in our
own State stretching away like a sea to the west, covered with the
purple foam of the red clover in blossom; and the fragrance of that
field settled like a benediction over the acres that margined it. But we
do not need landscapes to teach us the beauty of clover. Just one clover
blossom studied carefully and looked at with clear-seeing eyes, reveals
each floweret beautiful in color, interesting in form, and perfect in
its mechanism for securing pollination.

The clover is especially renowned for its partnerships with members of
the animal kingdom. It readily forms a partnership with man, thriftily
growing in his pastures and meadows, while he distributes its seed. For
ages it has been a special partner of the bees, giving them honey for
carrying its pollen. Below the ground it has formed a mysterious
partnership with microbes, and the clover seems to be getting the best
of the bargain.

For many years clover was regarded as a crop helpful to the soil, and
one reason given was the great length of the roots. Thus the roots of
red clover often reach the depth of several feet, even in heavy soil,
which they thus aerate and drain, especially when they decay and leave
channels. But this is only half the story; for a long time people had
noted that on clover roots were little swollen places or nodules, which
were supposed to have come from some disease or insect injury. The
scientists became interested in the supposed disease, and they finally
ascertained that these nodules are filled with bacteria, which are the
underground partners of the clovers and other legumes. These bacteria
are able to fix the free nitrogen of the air, and make it available for
plant-food. As nitrogen is the most expensive of the fertilizers, any
agency which can extract it from the free air for the use of plants is
indeed a valuable aid to the farmer. Thus it is that in the modern
agriculture, clover or some other legume is put on the land once in
three or four years in the regular rotation of crops, and it brings back
to the soil the nitrogen which other crops have exhausted. An
interesting fact about the partnership between the root bacteria and the
clover-like plants is that the plants do not flourish without this
partnership, and investigators have devised a method by which these
bacteria may be scattered in the soil on which some kinds of clover are
to be planted, and thus aid in growing a crop. This method is to-day
being used for the introduction of alfalfa here in New York State. But
the use of clover as a fertilizer is not limited to its root factory for
capturing nitrogen; its leaves break down quickly and readily yield the
rich food material of which they are composed, so that the farmer who
plows under his second-crop clover instead of harvesting it, adds
greatly to the fertility of his farm.

The members of three distinct genera are popularly called clovers: The
True Clovers (_Trifolium_), of which six or seven species are found in
New York State, and more than sixty species are found in the United
States. The Medics (_Medicago_), of which four species are found here.
The Melilots (_Melilotus_), or sweet clovers, of which we have two

THE TRUE CLOVERS. (_Trifolium._)

[Illustration: _Fig. 245. The common red clover._]

_The Red Clover (Fig. 245). (Trifolium pratense._[47])--This beautiful
dweller in our fields came to us from Europe, and it is also a native of
Asia. It is the clover most widely cultivated in New York State for
fodder, and is one of our most important crops. Clover hay often being a
standard of excellence by which other hay is measured. The export of
clover seed from the United States has sometimes reached the worth of
two million dollars per year, and this great industry is supposed to be
carried on with the aid of that other partner of the red clover, the
bumblebee. Bumblebees had to be imported into Australia before clover
seed could be produced there. The whole question of the relation of the
bumblebee to the pollination of clover no doubt needs to be re-studied,
for recent observations have led to the contesting of prevailing
opinions. It has been supposed that the failure of the clover seed crop
in some places is due to the destruction of bumblebees; whether this is
true or not, we are certain that bumblebees visit clover blooms, and the
teacher can observe for himself.

[47] Pronounced _Trifol' -ium praten' -se_, the second or specific name
with three syllables.

There is a more perennial form of red clover, known as variety
_perenne_. It is distinguished from the common form of red clover by its
taller growth and mostly less hairy herbage, and by the fact that the
flower-head is usually somewhat stalked. Some persons regard it as a
hybrid of red and zig-zag clover.

_Zig-Zag Clover. (T. medium.)_--This is another species of red clover,
resembling the one just discussed, except that its flower-head rises on
a long stalk above the upper leaves, while the red clover has the
flower-head set close to these leaves. The color of the blossom is
darker than in red clover, and the flower-head is looser. The stems of
the zig-zag clover are likely to be bent at angles and thus it gets its
name. It is a question whether this species is really grown on farms. It
is probable that some or all of the clover that passes under this name
is _Trifolium pratense_ var. _perenne_. At all events, the zig-zag
clover seems to be imperfectly understood by botanists and others.

_Crimson Clover--Scarlet Clover (Fig. 246). (T. incarnatum.)_--While
this beautiful clover grows as a weed in the southern parts of our
State, it has only recently begun to play an important part in our
horticulture. It is an annual, and its home is the Mediterranean region
of Europe. It thrives best in loose, sandy soils, and in our State is
chiefly used as a cover-crop for orchards, and to plow under as a
fertilizer. It usually has bright, crimson flowers, arranged in a long,
pointed head, and its brilliant green fan-shaped leaves make it the most
artistically decorative of all our clovers.

[Illustration: _Fig. 246. Crimson clover._]

_Buffalo Clover (Fig. 247). (T. reflexum.)_--This is sometimes taken for
a variety of the red clover, but only a glance is needed to distinguish
it. While the head is perhaps an inch in diameter the flowerets are not
directed upward and set close as in the red clover, but each floweret is
on a little stalk, and is bent abruptly backward. The flowers are not
pink. The standard is red, while the wings and keel are nearly white.
The leaves are blunt at the tip. It grows in meadows in western New York
and westward. This species is native to this country.

_Alsike Clover. (T. hybridum.)_--This is a perennial and grows in low
meadows and waste places from Nova Scotia to Idaho. It was introduced
from Europe. It is especially valuable in wet meadows, where the red
clover would be drowned. The blossoms of the alsike look like those of
the white clover except that they are a little larger and are pink; but
the long branching mostly upright stems are very different in habit from
the creeping stems of the white clover; the blossoms are very fragrant.

[Illustration: _Fig. 247. Three clovers, respectively, Buffalo, Yellow,
and Rabbit-foot clover._]

_The White Clover. (T. repens.)_--This beautiful little clover, whose
leaves make a rug for our feet in every possible place, is well known to
us all. It is the clover best beloved by honey-bees, and the person who
does not know the distinct flavor of white clover honey has lost
something out of life. While in hard soil the white clover lasts only
two or three years, on rich, moist lands it is a true perennial. While
it was probably a native in the northern part of America, yet it is
truly cosmopolitan and may be found in almost all regions of the
temperate zones. Very likely the common stock of it is an introduction
from Europe. By many this is considered to be the original shamrock.

_The Yellow, or Hop Clover (Fig. 247). (T. agrarium.)_--This friendly
little plant, filling waste places with brilliant green leaves and small
yellow flower-heads, is not considered a clover by those who are not
observant. But if the flowerets in the small, dense heads are examined,
they will be seen to resemble very closely those of the other clovers.
The stems are many-branched and often grow a foot or more in height. The
flowers are numerous, and on fading turn brown, and resemble the fruit
of a pigmy hop vine, whence the name. Its leaves are much more pointed
than those of the medics, with which it might be confused because of its
yellow flowers.

_Low Hop Clover, or Hop Trefoil. (T. procumbens.)_--This resembles the
above species, except that it is smaller and also more spreading, and
the stems and leaves are more downy.

_The Least Hop Clover. (T. dubium.)_--This may be readily distinguished
from the above species by the fact that its yellow flowerets occur from
three to ten in a head. This is said by some to be the true shamrock,
although the white clover is also called the shamrock.

_The Rabbit-Foot, or Stone Clover (Fig. 247). (T. arvense.)_--This is
another clover not easily recognized as such. It grows a foot or more in
height and has erect branches. The leaflets are narrow and all arise
from the same point. The flowerets occur in long, dense heads. The calyx
is very silky, and the lobes are longer than the white corollas, thus
giving the flower-head a soft, hairy look, something like the early
stages of the blossom of the pussy willow. Because of its appearance it
is often called "pussy clover."

THE MEDICS. (_Medicago._)

_Alfalfa (Fig. 248). (Medicago sativa.)_--This is the veteran of all the
clovers, for it has been under cultivation for twenty centuries. It is a
native of the valleys of western Asia. In America it was first
introduced into Mexico with the Spanish invasion. It was brought from
Chile to California in 1854, where it has since been the most important
hay crop. In fact, there is no better hay than that made from alfalfa.
It was probably introduced into the Atlantic States from southern
Europe, and has grown as a weed for many years in certain localities in
New England and the Middle States; only recently has it been considered
a practicable crop for this climate, although it was grown in Jefferson
Co., N. Y., in 1791. Its special value is that it is a true perennial,
and may be cut three times or more during a season, and when once
established it withstands hot, dry weather. It is of marvelous value to
the semi-arid regions. The alfalfa flower is blue or violet, and grows
in a loose raceme. The plant grows tall and its stems are many branched.
This and all these medics are introduced from Europe.

_Black or Hop Medic. (M. lupulina.)_--This would hardly be called a
clover by the novice. The long stems lie along the ground, and the tiny
yellow flower-heads do not much resemble the clover blossom. It is a
common weed in waste places in our State. It is perennial.

_The Toothed Medic. (M. denticulata.)_--Instead of having the yellow
flowerets in a dense head, this species has them in pairs or perhaps
fours, or sometimes more. It is widely distributed as a weed, and is
also introduced as a pasture plant for early grazing. It is of little
value as hay.

_The Spotted Medic. (M. Arabica.)_--This very much resembles the
preceding species except that the leaves are likely to have on them
conspicuous dark spots near the center. Like the preceding species it is
an annual and a weed, and has also been introduced as a plant for early
grazing. This and the toothed medic are known to farmers under the name
of bur-clover. The reason for this name is found in the seed-pod, which
is twisted in a spiral and has an outer margin of curved prickles.

[Illustration: _Fig. 248. Alfalfa, foliage and flowers._]


In driving or walking along the country roads, we may find ourselves
suddenly immersed in a wave of delightful fragrance, and if we look for
the source we may find this friendly plant flourishing in the most
forbidding of soils. Growing as a weed, it brings sweet perfume to us,
and at the same time nitrogen, aeration and drainage to the hopeless
soil, making rich those places where other weeds have not the temerity
to attempt to grow. When the soil is generous, the sweet clover often
grows very tall, sometimes as high as ten feet. It is a cheerful,
adaptable and beneficial plant, and I never see it without giving it a
welcome, which, I am sorry to say, I cannot always grant to other
roadside wayfarers. The sweet clovers are European.

_The White Sweet Clover (M. alba)_ is sometimes called Bokhara clover
and has white flowers (Fig. 249).

_The Yellow Sweet Clover (M. officinalis)_ has yellow blossoms. It has
interesting old English names, such as Balsam Flowers, King's Clover and

[Illustration: _Fig. 249. White sweet clover._]


_Two general kinds of types of studies are to be made of the clovers:
identification studies, whereby you will come to know the kinds of
clover; life history studies, whereby you will come to know under what
conditions the plants live and thrive. The latter is the more important,
but the former usually precedes it, for one is better able to discover
and discuss the biological questions when he is acquainted with the
species. The following questions will bring out some of the important
biological aspects:_

1. How many of the true clovers, the medics, and the sweet clovers do
you know?

2. Send me properly labelled pressed specimens of the leaves and
blossoms of the clovers that you have been able to find.

3. Dig a root of red clover and find the nodules on it. Please describe

4. What methods does the U. S. Department of Agriculture employ to
inoculate the soil with bacteria so that alfalfa may grow?

5. How do clover roots protect the land from the effects of heavy rains?

6. How do the clover plants conserve the moisture in the soil?

7. How does this conservation of moisture aid the farmer and orchardist?

8. What is a cover-crop, and what are its uses?

9. Why do farmers sow red clover with grass seed?

10. How do the habits of the stems of white clover differ from those of
other clovers?

11. Why is white clover so desirable for lawns?

12. Compare the floweret of the red clover with the sweet pea blossom
and describe the resemblance.

13. Study a head of white clover from the time it opens until it is
brown, and tell what changes take place in it day by day.

14. What has happened to the flowerets that are bent downward around the

15. Watch one of these flowerets deflect, and describe the process.

16. How many flowerets do you find in a head of red clover? Of white
clover? Of alsike?

17. Which flowerets open first in a head of red clover?

18. Describe a clover seed. Describe a seed of alfalfa.

19. What insects do you find visiting the red clover blossoms? The white
clover blossoms?


[48] Home Nature-Study Course, New Series, Vol. I, No. 1, October, 1904.

The alfalfa plant is just now coming into great prominence in New York
State. Every teacher, particularly in the rural schools, will need to
know the plant and to have some information about it.

_What alfalfa is._--It is a clover-like plant. It is perennial. It has
violet-purple flowers. The leaves have three narrow leaflets. It sends
up many stiff stems, 2 to 3 feet high. The roots go straight down to
great depths.

_Why it is important._--It is an excellent cattle food, and
cattle-raising for dairy purposes is the leading special agricultural
industry in New York State. In fact, New York leads all the States in
the value of its dairy products. Any plant that is more nutritious and
more productive of pasture and hay than the familiar clovers and grasses
will add immensely to the dairy industry, and therefore to the wealth of
the State. Alfalfa is such a plant. It gives three cuttings of hay year
after year in New York State, thereby yielding twice as much as clover
does. In the production of digestible nutrients per acre ranks above
clover as 24 ranks above 10. When once established it withstands
droughts, for the roots grow deep.

Alfalfa is South European. It was early introduced into North America.
It first came into prominence in the semi-arid West because of its
drought-resisting qualities, and now it has added millions of dollars to
the wealth of the nation. Gradually it is working its way into the East.
It is discussed in the agricultural press and before farmers'
institutes. Last year the College of Agriculture offered to send a small
packet of seeds to such school children in New York State as wanted to
grow a little garden plat of it. About 5,000 children were supplied. The
teacher must now learn what alfalfa is.

In nearly every rural community, sufficient alfalfa can be found for
school purposes. In many places it has run wild along roadsides.

On these plants make the following observations:

1. Under what conditions have you found alfalfa growing? How did the
plant come to grow there,--sown, or run wild?

2. Describe the form of the root. How does the root branch?

3. Do you find the little tubercles or nodules on the roots? On what
part of the roots? How large? How numerous?

4. The crown of the plant (at the surface of the ground),--describe it,
and how the tops and the roots start from it.

5. The stems,--how many from each crown, whether erect or prostrate, how
they branch.

6. The leaves,--simple or compound? Form? Edges entire or fine toothed?
Do the leaves "sleep" at night, as those of clover do?

7. Do you find any distinct spots on the leaves? What do you think is
the cause of them?

8. Flowers,--how borne (whether singly or in clusters), color, form,
resemblance to any other flowers you may know. Do they vary in color?

9. If possible, find the seed-pods and seeds, and describe.

10. Make inquiries as to whether alfalfa is becoming well known in your

_Agricultural Account of Alfalfa._

You may be asked some practical questions about alfalfa; therefore we
give you a brief agricultural account of it. If you desire further
information, write to the College of Agriculture, Ithaca, N. Y., for
Bulletin 221, "Alfalfa in New York."

Alfalfa is grown mostly for hay. It is not adapted to pasture, because
the new growth springs from the crown at the surface of the ground, and
if this is destroyed the growth will not be renewed vigorously. New York
is a hay-producing State. Grain feeds can be grown more cheaply in the
West. It is of great importance to the State, therefore, if a better
hay-producing plant can be found. We have seen that New York leads the
States in dairy cattle. Other livestock also is abundant. Last year more
than half a million horses and mules were fed in the State.

Success has not attended efforts to grow alfalfa in all parts of New
York. This is due to two principal reasons: (1) farmers have not known
the plant and its habits well enough to give it the care and treatment
it demands; (2) the soils of many localities, because of their physical
condition or composition, are not suitable for the plant.

The alfalfa seedling is not a strong plant. It cannot compete with weeds
nor overcome adverse conditions of moisture; it cannot adapt itself to
conditions resulting from poor preparation of land, and it is not
vigorous in its ability to get food from any source. Care must be given
to the preparation of the land in order that sufficient moisture may be
supplied during the early stages of growth and that there may be an
abundance of quickly available plant-food. After growth has started,
alfalfa has the power to get some of its nitrogen from the air through
the nodules which grow upon its roots; yet during the early stages of
growth it is essential that the soil be supplied with all elements of
plant-food in available form.

While alfalfa requires an abundance of moisture for its best growth and
development, yet it will not grow in soils that hold water for any
considerable length of time. Such soils are usually those with an
impervious subsoil or hard-pan, or those of clay or silt structure which
retain free water to the exclusion of air. Therefore, it is important
that alfalfa soils be well and uniformly drained, either by natural
conditions or by underground drains. One other essential of prime
importance is that the soil be neutral or alkaline in its reaction; in
other words, that it contain no free acid. Limestone or blue-grass soils
are ideal in this regard for alfalfa. If acid is present, the difficulty
may be corrected either wholly or in part by the application of 500 to
2,000 pounds of lime per acre.

As in most other legumes (members of the family Leguminosæ, including
peas, beans, clovers), there is a peculiar relationship existing between
the plant and excrescences or nodules upon its roots. These nodules are
essential to the normal growth and development of the plant. They
contain bacteria, and these bacteria have the power of "fixing" or
appropriating the free atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. Legumes are
"nitrogen-gatherers," whereas most other plants secure their nitrogen
only from decomposing organic matter. Failure to have the soil
inoculated with the proper bacteria for alfalfa is the cause for many
failures with the crop. In most instances when the plants do not make
satisfactory growth, or have a yellow, dwarfed appearance, the trouble
can be traced to the absence of these bacteria from the soil, and hence
to a lack of nodules on the roots. The relationship existing between the
plant and the organism is one of mutual benefit. Each kind of leguminous
plant seems to have its characteristic bacterium, which grows on no
other plant, although this question is not thoroughly settled.

Farmers are becoming aware of this requisite in alfalfa culture and
usually supply it in two different ways. The older method is to take the
surface soil from an old alfalfa field, where the plants have grown well
and where nodules are to be found on the roots, and to sow it on the
land to be seeded at the rate of one hundred or more pounds per acre. In
this way the soil becomes inoculated with the bacteria, and as the young
plants spring into growth the bacteria develop on the roots. Another
method is to inoculate the seed before sowing with artificial cultures
of the bacteria. Both of these methods are usually successful, and if
soil conditions are right the chances for failure are few.

Alfalfa should be cut when it opens into flower. At this time the stems
and leaves contain their highest percentage of nutrients, the leaves do
not so easily fall off in curing, and the stems are not so woody.
Besides these reasons, if cutting be delayed until after flowering, the
plant may not spring quickly into subsequent growth.

Disease does not spare the alfalfa plant. Both leaves and roots are
attacked, the leaf spot being serious. The parasitic dodder is a serious
enemy in some parts of New York State.




[49] Nature-Study Quarterly No. 6: Leaflet 19, October, 1900.


To the general observer, plants seem to be distributed in a promiscuous
and haphazard way, without law or order. This is because he does not see
and consider.

The world is now full of plants. Every plant puts forth its supreme
effort to multiply its kind. The result is an intense struggle for an
opportunity to live.

Seeds are scattered in profusion, but only the few can grow. The many do
not find the proper conditions. They fall on stony ground. In Fig. 250
this loss is shown. The trunk of an elm tree stands in the background.
The covering of the ground, except about the very base of the tree, is a
mat of elm seedlings. There are thousands of them in the space shown in
the picture, so many that they make a sod-like covering which shows
little detail in the photograph. Not one of these thousands will ever
make a tree.

[Illustration: _Fig. 250. A carpet of young elms, all of which must

Since there is intense competition for every foot of the earth's surface
that is capable of raising plants, it follows that every spot will
probably have many kinds of plant inhabitants. Plants must live
together. They associate; they become adapted or accustomed to each
other. Some can live in shade; they thrive in the forest, where
sun-loving plants perish. Others prefer the sun, and thereby live
together. There are plant societies.

[Illustration: _Fig. 251. A plant society waiting for the spring._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 252. Weak, narrow-leaved grasses grow in the
cat-tail forest._]

Every distinct or separate area has its own plant society. There is one
association for the hard-tramped dooryard,--knot-weed and broad-leaved
plantain with interspersed grass and dandelions; one for the
fence-row,--briars and choke-cherries and hiding weeds; one for the dry
open field,--wire-grass and mullein and scattered docks; one for the
slattern roadside,--sweet clover, ragweed, burdock; one for the meadow
swale,--smartweed and pitchforks; one for the barnyard,--rank pigweeds
and sprawling barn-grass; one for the dripping rock-cliff,--delicate
bluebells and hanging ferns and grasses. Indefinitely might these
categories be extended. We all know the plant societies, but we have not
considered them.

In every plant society there is one dominant note. It is the
individuality of one kind of plant which grows most abundantly or
overtops the others. Certain plant-forms come to mind when one thinks of
willows, others when he thinks of an apple orchard, still others when he
thinks of a beech forest. The farmer may associate "pussly" with
cabbages and beets, but not with wheat and oats. He associates cockle
with wheat, but not with oats or corn. We all associate dandelions with
grassy areas, but not with burdock or forests.

It is impossible to open one's eyes out-of-doors, outside the paved
streets of cities, without seeing a plant society. A lawn is a plant
society. It may contain only grass, or it may contain weeds hidden away
in the sward. What weeds remain in the lawn? Only those which can
withstand the mowing. What are they? Let a bit of lawn grow as it will
for a month, and see what there is in it. A swale, a dry hillside, a
forest of beech, a forest of oak, a forest of hemlock or pine, a weedy
yard, a tangled fence-row, a brook-side, a deep quiet swamp, a lake
shore, a railroad, a river bank, a meadow, a pasture, a dusty
roadway,--each has its characteristic plants. Even in the winter, one
may see these societies,--the tall plants still asserting themselves,
others of less aspiring stature, and others snuggling just under the
snow (Fig. 251).

[Illustration: _Fig. 253. The wild grape covers the treetop, and the
children play in the bower. The grape is searching for light._]

Often these societies are in the nature of overgrowth and
undergrowth--one society living beneath another. Of such are forest
societies. Few woods are so dark that some plants do not grow on the
ground, unless they are evergreen or coniferous woods. Even in humbler
communities, the overgrowth and undergrowth are usually apparent if one
looks closely. Separate the cat-tails in the dense swamp and see the
weak and narrow-leaved grasses growing between (Fig. 252). Note the
clover, young grasses, and other plants between the grass in the meadow:
the farmer says that his meadow has good "bottom."

Some plants even grow on top of other plants. It is their way of getting
light. Of such are the climbers. Note the mantle which the wild grape
throws over the trees (Fig. 253). Often the supporting tree is smothered
and killed.

When an area is newly cleared, many plants rush for it. Quickly it is
covered with ambitious growths,--pokeweeds, fireweeds, thistles, briars,
nettles. Often each plant occupies large places alone, making clumps or
patches. These patches are plant colonies,--made up mostly of one
species or kind (Fig. 254). But as the struggle tightens, other plants
insinuate themselves into the colony and it is broken up; a mixed
population results. Sometimes these colonies are broken up by the shade
of trees and tall bushes which have come up near them, for all neglected
areas, in this part of the world, tend to return to forest if they are
not mown, pastured or burned. Mown and pastured areas run into grass,
for the grass withstands the cutting and grazing. In burned areas the
struggle begins anew when the fire has passed.

[Illustration: _Fig. 254. A colony of clotbur._]

Plant societies are easy to study for the school. The study of them
appeals to the desire for exploration and adventure, and adds zest to
the excursion. Go to a swale, swamp, roadside, forest, weedy field, or
other place, and ask the pupil to note: (1) that the flora of the place
is unlike that of places with different physical features; (2) that
these particular plants grow together because they can all survive
under similar conditions; (3) what these conditions are,--whether sun,
shade, dry soil, wet soil, sand, clay, rock; (4) what particular plant
is most abundant or gives character to the society.

[Illustration: _Fig. 255. Two plant societies,--the close-bitten sward
and the rushy pond._]

Study one society thoroughly. Make lists of the kinds of plants and of
the relative numbers of each. If the names of the plants are not known,
call them by numbers; make dried specimens of them for reference. When
another society is visited, repeat these observations, and compare one
society with another.

[Illustration: _Fig. 256. The edge of the road. Trees and bushes crowd
the drive-way, and a ribbon of grass and weeds has pushed itself to the
very margin._]

_Ask every plant why it grows there._




[50] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 8: Leaflet 21, January, 1901.


Most persons are interested in plants, even though they do not know it.
They enjoy the green verdure, the brilliant flower, the graceful form.
They are interested in plants in general. I wish that every person were
interested in some plant in particular. There is a pleasure in the
companionship, merely because the plant is a living and a growing thing.
It expresses power, vitality. It is a complete, self-sufficient
organism. It makes its way in the world. It is alive.

The companionship with a plant, as with a bird or an insect, means more
than the feeling for the plant itself. It means that the person has
interest in something real and genuine. It takes him out-of-doors. It
invites him to the field. It is suggestive. It inculcates a habit of
meditation and reflection. It enables one to discover himself.

I wish that every child in New York State had a plant of his own, and
were attached to it. Why cannot the teacher suggest this idea to the
pupils? It may be enough to have only one plant the first year,
particularly if the pupil is young. It matters little what the plant is.
The important thing is that it shall be alive. Every plant is
interesting in its way. A good pigweed is much more satisfactory than a
poor rosebush. The pupil should grow the plant from the beginning. He
should not buy it ready grown, for then it is not his, even though he
own it.

It is well to begin with some plant that grows quickly and matures
early. One is ambitious in spring, but his enthusiasm may wither and die
in the burning days of summer. If possible, grow the plant in the free
open ground; if this is not feasible, grow it in a pot or box or tin
can. Take advantage of the early spring enthusiasm. Choose hardy and
vigorous plants: sow the seeds when the "spirit moves."

If a pupil is interested in kitchen-garden vegetables, recommend lettuce
and radish, or a potato. If in flowers, suggest sweet pea, bachelor's
button or blue-bottle, annual phlox, candytuft, China aster. If in
fruits, suggest strawberry.

       *       *       *       *       *

We desire to inaugurate a general movement for the planting of plants.
The school ground should be planted. Private yards should be planted.
Roadsides should be planted. In some cities and villages there are
committees or other organizations whose object it is to encourage the
planting of public and private places. Sometimes this organization is
connected with the school interest, sometimes with a local horticultural
or agricultural society, sometimes with a business men's organization.
There should be such a committee in every village and town. We wish that
the teachers might help in this work, for they would not only be lending
their aid to planting, but also be interesting their pupils in some
concrete and useful work, and teaching them the value of public spirit.
Arbor Day should be more than a mere ceremonial. It should be a means of
awakening interest in definite plans for the adornment of the
neighborhood and of directing the attention of the children




[51] Nature-Study Quarterly No. 3: Leaflet 16, January, 1900.


Perhaps no subject connected with the growing of plants awakens so much
popular wonder and inquiry as their propagation by means of cuttings and
grafts. We assume that propagation by means of seeds is the natural way,
and therefore do not wonder, notwithstanding that it is wonderful. We
assume that propagation by cuttings is wholly unnatural, and therefore
never cease to wonder, notwithstanding that this is less wonderful than
the other. To common minds, common things are not wonderful. Mere
commonplace familiarity takes away the charm, for such minds have no
desire of inquiry. The well trained mind goes beneath the surface, and
wonders at everything; and this wonder, grown old and wise, is the
spirit of science.

A plant does not have a definite number of parts, as an animal does. It
may have ten branches or fifty. Each of these branches may do what every
other branch does--produce leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds. It is not so
with the higher animals, for in them each part may do something which
some other part cannot do: if the part is a leg, it runs; if an ear, it
hears. Each part serves the whole animal; and it cannot reproduce the
animal. But in the plant, each branch lives for itself: it grows on the
parent stock; or, if it is removed, it may grow in the soil. And if it
grow in the soil, it is relieved of competition with other branches and
grows bigger: it makes what we call a plant.

Having thus bewildered my reader, I may say that a bit of a plant stuck
into the ground stands a chance of growing; and this bit is a cutting.
Plants have preferences, however, as to the kind of bit which shall be
used; but there is no way of telling what this preference is except by
trying. In some instances this preference has not been discovered, and
we may say that the plant cannot be propagated by cuttings. Most plants
prefer that the cuttings be made of the soft or growing wood, of which
the "slips" of geraniums and coleus are examples. Others grow equally
well from cuttings of the hard or mature wood, as currants and grapes;
and in some instances this mature wood may be of roots, as in the
blackberry. Somewhat different principles underlie the handling of these
two kinds of cuttings; and these principles we may now consider. We
shall find it excellent practice to set the pupils to making cuttings
now and then. If we can do nothing more, we can make cuttings of
potatoes, as the farmer does; and we can plant them in a box in the

[Illustration: _Fig. 257. Geranium cutting. One-half natural size._]


The softwood cutting is made from tissue which is still growing, or at
least from that which is not dormant. It must not be allowed to wilt. It
must, therefore, be protected from direct sunlight and dry air until it
is well established; and if it has many leaves, some of them should be
removed, or at least cut in two in order to reduce the evaporating
surface. Keep the soil uniformly moist; and avoid soils which contain
much decaying organic matter, for these soils are breeding places of
fungi which attack the soft cutting and cause it to "damp off."

For most plants, the proper age of maturity of wood for the making of
cuttings may be determined by giving the twig a quick bend; if it snaps
and hangs by the bark, it is in proper condition; if it bends without
breaking it is too young and soft or too old; if it splinters, it is too
old and woody.

[Illustration: _Fig. 258. Carnation cutting. Natural size._]

The tips of strong upright shoots usually make the best cuttings.
Preferably each cutting should have a joint or node near its base; and
if the internodes are short, it may comprise two or three joints. Allow
one to three leaves to remain at the top. If these leaves are large,
cut them in two.

Insert the cutting half or more its length in clean sand or gravel.
Press the earth firmly about it. Throw a newspaper over the bed to
exclude the light--if the sun strikes it--and to prevent too rapid
evaporation. See that the soil is moist clear through, not on top only.

[Illustration: _Fig. 259. Rose cutting. More than one-half natural

Mason's sand is good earth in which to start cuttings. Or fine
gravel--sifted of most of its earthy matter--may be used. If the
cuttings are to be grown in a window, put three or four inches of the
earth in a shallow box or a pan. A soap box cut in two lengthwise, so
that it makes a box four or five inches deep--like a gardener's flat--is

[Illustration: _Fig. 260. Cutting-bed, showing carnations and roses._]

If the box does not receive direct sunlight, it may be covered with a
pane of glass to prevent evaporation; and then the children may see the
plants more readily. But take care that the air is not kept too close,
else the damping-off fungi may attack the cuttings and they will rot at
the surface of the ground. See that the pane is raised a little at one
end to afford ventilation; and if water collects in drops on the under
side of the glass, remove the pane for a time. Cuttings of common
plants, as geranium, coleus, fuchsia, carnation, should be kept in a
living-room temperature.

The pictures are better than words. The line across them shows where the
soil comes. There are softwood cuttings of the geranium (Fig. 257), the
carnation (Fig. 258), and the rose (Fig. 259); and there is a gardener's
cutting bed (Fig. 260) with cuttings of carnations and roses.

Be patient. As long as the cuttings look bright and green, they are
safe. It may be a month before roots form. When roots have formed, the
plants will begin to make new leaves at the tip. Then they may be
transplanted into other boxes or into pots. The verbena in Fig. 261 is
just ready for transplanting. Each child will want a plant.

[Illustration: _Fig. 261. Verbena cutting ready for transplanting.
Two-thirds natural size._]

It is not always easy to find growing shoots from which to make the
cuttings. The best practice is to cut back some old plant severely, then
keep it warm and well watered, and thereby force it to throw out new
shoots. The old geranium plant from the window garden, or the one taken
up from the lawn bed, may be served this way. See Fig. 262. This may
seem hard treatment, but that is all the old plant is good for; it has
passed its usefulness for bloom. The best plants of the geranium and the
coleus and many window plants are those which are not more than one year
old. The cuttings that are made in January, February, or March will give
compact blooming plants for the next winter; and thereafter new ones
take their place.

Some plants may be propagated by means of cuttings of leaves. The Rex
begonias or "beefsteak geraniums" are the commonest examples. The large,
nearly mature leaf is divided into triangular pieces, each piece
containing at its point a bit of the leaf-base (top of the leaf-stalk).
This kind of cutting is shown in Fig. 263. This base is sometimes split
(as at o) by gardeners to hasten the formation of roots. Only the tip of
the cutting is stuck into the sand; otherwise it is treated like other
softwood cuttings.


Many plants grow readily from cuttings of ripe or dormant wood. The
willows cast their branchlets in snow and wind, and these, falling in
pleasant places propagate their kind; and thus the river sides and the
lake shores become willow-crowned.

Grapes, currants, gooseberries, poplars readily take root from the
hardwood. Fig. 264 shows a currant cutting. It has only one bud above
the ground.

[Illustration: _Fig. 262. Old geranium plant cut back to make it throw
out shoots from which cuttings can be made._]

The best results are attained when the cuttings are made in the fall,
and then buried until spring in sand in the cellar. They are not idle
while they rest. The lower end calluses or heals, and the roots form
more readily when the cutting is planted in the spring. But if the
children are interested, take cuttings at any time in winter, plant them
in a deep box in the window, and watch. They will need no shading or
special care.

When plants of any variety are scarce, the cuttings may be shorter.
Sometimes they are reduced to a single "eye" or bud, with an inch or two
of wood attached; and these single-eye cuttings are planted much as one
plants seeds.

[Illustration: _Fig. 263. Begonia leaf cutting. Natural size._]


If the cutting were planted in a plant rather than in the soil, we
should have a graft; and the graft might grow. In this case, the cutting
would not make roots, but it would grow fast to the other plant, and the
twain would become one. When the cutting is inserted in a plant it is no
longer called a cutting, but a cion; and the plant in which it is
inserted is called the stock. The completed thing--the cion growing in
the stock--is a graft.

[Illustration: _Fig. 264. Currant cutting. One-third natural size._]

Plants are particular as to their companions, when it comes to such
close relationships as these. They choose the stocks upon which they
will grow; but we can find out what their choice is only by making the
experiment. There are queer things about it. The pear grows well on the
quince, but the quince does not grow so well on the pear. The pear grows
on some of the hawthorns, but it is an unwilling subject on the apple.
Tomato plants will grow on potato plants and potato plants on tomato
plants. When the potato is the root, both tomatoes and potatoes may be
produced; when the tomato is the root, neither potatoes nor tomatoes
will be produced. Chestnuts are said to grow on some kinds of oaks.

[Illustration: _Fig. 265. Cion for cleft-grafting. One-half natural

Why do we graft? Think a bit. If I sow seeds of a Baldwin apple, I shall
probably have as many kinds of apples as I have trees. Some of these
apples may be like the Baldwin, and they may not. That is, apple seeds
do not reproduce the particular variety. They will not be held to any
stricter account than merely to produce apples; these apples may range
all the way from toothsome kinds to Ben Davis. The nurseryman knows
this, and he does not wait for the trees to bear in the hope that they
will produce something to his liking. So he grafts them when they still
are young,--takes a cion from the kind which he wishes to perpetuate. So
it happens that all the Baldwins and the Kings and the Russets, and all
other named varieties, are growing on alien roots; and what kinds of
fruits these stocks would have produced no one will ever know, because
their heads were cut off in youth and other heads were put on to order.
In this way apples and pears and plums and peaches and cherries and
apricots are propagated, for they will not grow readily from cuttings.
But raspberries and blackberries and gooseberries and currants and
grapes grow willingly from cuttings, and they are not grafted by the

The forming, growing tissue of the trunk is the cambium, lying on the
outside of the woody cylinder, beneath the bark. In order that union may
take place, the cambium of the cion and the stock must come together.
Therefore, the cion is set in the side of the stock. I once knew a man
who believed that everything was designed for some useful purpose. The
hole in the pith bothered him, until he discovered that a cion just
filled it. He grafted his trees accordingly; but the experiment was
productive of nothing except pithy remarks.

[Illustration: _Fig. 266. Cleft-graft. One-half natural size._]

There are many ways of shaping the cion and of preparing the stock to
receive it. These ways are dictated largely by the relative sizes of
cion and stock, although many of them are matters of mere personal
preference. The underlying principles are two: see that there is close
contact between the cambiums of cion and stock; cover the wounded
surfaces to prevent evaporation and to protect the parts from disease.

[Illustration: _Fig. 267. The graft waxed._]

On large stocks the common form of grafting is the cleft-graft. The
stock is cut off and split; and in one or both sides a wedge-shaped cion
is firmly inserted. Fig. 265 shows the cion; Fig. 266, the cions set in
the stock; Fig. 267, the stock waxed. It will be seen that the lower
bud--that lying in the wedge--is covered by the wax; but being nearest
the food supply and least exposed to weather, it is the most likely to
grow: it pushes through the wax.

[Illustration: _Fig. 268. Shield-budding. One-half natural size._]

The wax is made of beeswax, resin, and tallow. The hands are greased,
and the wax is then worked until it is soft enough to spread. For the
little grafting which any school would do, it is better to buy the wax
of a seedsman. However, grafting is hardly to be recommended as a
general school diversion, as the making of cuttings is; and this account
of it is inserted chiefly to satisfy the general curiosity on the
subject. But we hope that now and then a youngster will make the effort
for himself, for nothing is more exciting than to make a graft grow all
by one's self.

Cleft-grafting is done in spring, as growth begins. The cions are cut
previously, when perfectly dormant, and from the tree which it is
desired to propagate. The cions are kept in sand or moss in the cellar.
Limbs of various sizes may be cleft-grafted--from one-half inch up to
four inches in diameter; but a diameter of one inch is the most
convenient size. All the leading or main branches of a tree top may be
grafted. If the remaining parts of the top are gradually cut away and
the scions grow well, the entire top will be changed over to the new
variety in three or four years. Each cion may be a different variety;
but there is no difference in the operation or the treatment of the

On young or small stocks, like nursery trees, the cleft-graft is not
practicable, and a different form of grafting is employed; but the
teacher will not care to be confused with further details.

[Illustration: _Fig. 269. The bud set in the matrix. One-half natural

We have seen that a cutting may be reduced to a single bud; so may a
cion. If the bud-cion has very little or no wood attached, and is
inserted underneath the bark, the operation is known as budding. The
commonest form of budding is shown in Figs. 268, 269, 270. This is the
method known as shield-budding, because the bud, with its attached
bark, is shield-shaped (Fig. 268). A T-shape incision is made in the
stock, and under the bark the bud is inserted (Fig. 269); then the wound
is tightly bound with soft cord or bast (Fig. 270). Budding may be
performed whenever the bark will "slip" and when well grown buds can be
secured,--that is, either in spring or late summer. It is usually
performed at the latter season; and then the bud does not throw out a
shoot the same season, but merely grows fast to the stock. The next
spring it throws out a shoot and makes a trunk; and in the meantime the
stock has been cut off just above the bud. That is, the bud-shoot takes
the place of the top of the stock.

Shield-budding is performed only on small and young stocks. It is
usually exclusively employed in the propagation of stone fruits, as
cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, for experience has proved that it is
preferable to other forms of grafting. It may also be employed for other
fruit trees.

[Illustration: _Fig. 270. The bud tied._]

How is a peach tree made? In 1898 a pit or seed is saved. In the spring
of 1899 it is planted. The young tree comes up quickly. In August, 1899,
the little stock has one bud--of the desired variety--inserted near the
ground. In the spring of 1900 the stock is severed just above the bud:
the bud throws out a shoot which grows to a height of four or six feet;
and in the fall of 1900 the tree is sold. It is known as a year-old
tree; but the root is two years old.

How is an apple tree made? The seed is saved in 1898, planted in 1899.
The seedlings do not grow so rapidly as those of the peach. At the end
of 1899 they are taken up and sorted; and in the spring of 1900 they are
planted. In July or August, 1900, they are budded. In the spring of 1901
the stock is cut off above the bud; and the bud-shoot grows three or
four feet. In 1902 the shoot branches, or the top begins to form; and in
the fall of 1902 the tree may be sold as a two-year-old, although most
persons prefer to buy it in 1903 as a three-year-old. In some parts of
the country, particularly in the west, the little seedling is grafted in
the winter of 1899-1900 in a grafting-room; and the young grafts are set
in the nursery row in the spring of 1900, to complete their growth.

I have now given my reader an elementary lesson in horticulture; but I
shall consider it of little avail if it is not transformed into
practice for the children. February is the gardener's time for the
starting of his cutting-beds, in which to grow plants for the summer
bloom. Ask the children to bring the old geraniums and fuchsias and
coleus, and other favorites. Keep them in a warm window; cut them back;
see that they are well watered; then take the cuttings when the time
comes. The children will be interested to watch the fortunes of the
different cuttings. They will be interested in Vergil's couplet, as set
to rhyme in old-fashioned English:

  Some need no root, nor doth the Gardner doubt,
  That Sprigs though headlong set, will timely sprout.




[52] Teachers' Leaflet No. 4, April, 1897.


We want every school child in the State to grow a few plants. We want
every one of them to learn something of why and how plants grow; and the
best and surest way to learn is to grow the plants and to watch them
carefully. We want everyone to become interested in everything that
lives and grows. It does not matter so very much just what kinds of
plants one grows as it does that he grows something and grows it the
best that he knows how. We want the children to grow these plants for
the love of it,--that is, for the fun of it,--hence we propose that they
grow flowers; for when one grows pumpkins and potatoes, and such things,
he is usually thinking of how much money he is going to make at the end
of the season. Yet, we should like some rivalry in the matter in every
school, and we therefore propose that a kind of a fair be held at the
school-house next September, soon after school begins, so that each
child may show the flowers which he has grown. What a jolly time that
will be!

Now, we must not try to grow too many things or to do too much.
Therefore, we propose that you grow sweet peas and China asters. They
are both easy to grow, and the seeds are cheap. Each one has many
colors, and everybody likes them. Now let us tell you just how we should
grow them.

_1. The place._--Never put them--or any other flowers--in the middle of
the lawn,--that is, out in the center of the yard. They do not look well
there, and the grass roots run under them and steal the food and the
moisture. I am sure that you would not like to see a picture hung up on
a fence-post. It has no background, and it looks out of place. The
picture does not mean anything when hung in such a spot. In the same
way, a flower bed does not mean anything when set out in the center of
a lawn. We must have a background for it, if possible,--a wall upon
which to hang it. So we will put the flower bed just in front of some
bushes or near the back fence, or alongside the smoke-house, or along
the walk at the side of the house, or in the back yard. The flowers will
not only look better in such places, but it will not matter so much if
we make a failure of our flower bed; there are always risks to run, for
the old hen may scratch up the seeds, the cow may break into the yard
some summer night, or some bug may eat the plants up.

Perhaps some of the children may live so near to the school-house that
they can grow their plants upon the school grounds, and so have sweet
peas and asters where there are usually docks and smartweeds. Grow them
alongside the fence, or against the school-house if there is a place
where the eaves will not drip on them.

_2. How to make the bed._--Spade the ground up deep. Take out all the
roots of docks and thistles and other weeds. Shake the dirt all out of
the sods and throw the grass away. You may need a little manure in the
soil, especially if the land is either very hard or very loose and
sandy. But the manure must be very fine and well mixed into the soil. It
is easy, however, to make sweet pea soil so rich that the plants will
run to vine and not bloom well.

Make the bed long and narrow, but not narrower than three feet. If it is
narrower than this the grass roots will be likely to run under it and
suck up the moisture. If the bed can be got at on both sides it may be
as wide as five feet.

Sow the seeds in little rows crosswise the bed. The plants can then be
weeded and hoed easily from either side. If the rows are marked by
little sticks, or if a strong mark is left in the earth, you can break
the crust between the rows (with a rake) before the plants are up. The
rows ought to be four or five inches further apart than the width of a
narrow rake.

_3. How to water the plants._--I wonder if you have a watering-pot? If
you have, put it where you cannot find it; for we are going to water
this garden with a rake! We want you to learn, in this little garden,
the first great lesson in farming,--how to save the water in the soil.
If you learn that much this summer, you will know more than many old
farmers do. You know that the soil is moist in the spring when you plant
the seeds. Where does this moisture go to? It dries up,--goes off into
the air. If we could cover up the soil with something, we should prevent
the moisture from drying up. Let us cover it with a layer of loose, dry
earth! We will make this covering by raking the bed every few
days,--once every week anyway, and oftener than that if the top of the
soil becomes hard and crusty, as it does after a rain. Instead of
pouring water on the bed, therefore, we will keep the moisture in the

If, however, the soil becomes so dry in spite of you that the plants do
not thrive, then water the bed. Do not _sprinkle_ it, but _water_ it.
Wet it clear through at evening. Then in the morning, when the surface
begins to get dry, begin the raking again to keep the water from getting
away. Sprinkling the plants every day or two is one of the surest ways
to spoil them.

_4. When and how to sow._--The sweet peas should be put in just as soon
as the ground can be dug, even before frosts are passed. Yet good
results can be had if the seeds are put in as late as the 10th of May.
In the sweet pea garden at Cornell last year, we sowed the seeds on the
20th of April. This was about right. The year before, we sowed them on
the 30th. If sown very early, they are likely to bloom better, but they
may be gone before the middle of September. The blooming can be much
prolonged if the flowers are cut as soon as they begin to fade.

Plant sweet peas deep,--two or three or sometimes even four inches. When
the plants are a few inches high, pull out a part of them so that they
will not stand nearer together than six inches in the row. It is a good
plan to sow sweet peas in double rows,--that is, put two rows only five
or six inches apart,--and stick the brush or place the chicken-wire
support between them.

China asters may be sown from the middle of May to the first of June. In
one large test at Cornell, we sowed them the 4th of June, and had good
success; but this is rather later than we would advise. The China asters
are autumn flowers, and they should be in their prime in September and
early October.

Sow the aster seed shallow,--not more than a half inch deep. The tall
kinds of asters should have at least a foot between the plants in the
row, and the dwarf kinds six to eight inches.

Sometimes China asters have rusty or yellow spots on the undersides of
their leaves. This is a fungous disease. If it appears, have your father
make some ammoniacal carbonate of copper solution and then spray them
with it; or Bordeaux mixture will do just as well or better, only that
it discolors the leaves and flowers.

_5. What varieties to choose._--In the first place, do not plant too
much. A garden which looks very small when the pussy willows come out
and the frogs begin to peep, is pretty big in the hot days of July. A
garden four feet wide and twenty feet long, half sweet peas and half
asters, is about as big as most boys and girls will take care of.

[Illustration: _Fig. 271. A clump of weeds in the corner by the
house,--motherwort and Virginia creeper. How pretty they are!_]

In the next place, do not get too many varieties. Four or five kinds
each of peas and asters will be enough. Buy the named varieties,--that
is, those of known colors,--not the mixed packets. If you are very fond
of reds, then choose the reddest kinds; but it is well to put in at
least three colors. The varieties which please you may not please me or
your neighbor, so that I cannot advise you what to get.

Of China asters, the Comet type--in various colors--will probably give
the most satisfaction. They are mostly large-growing kinds. Other
excellent kinds are the Perfection and Peony-flowered, Semple or
Branching, Chrysanthemum-flowered, Washington, Victoria, and, for early,
Queen of the Market. Odd varieties are Crown, German Quilled, Victoria
Needle, and Lilliput. Very dwarf kinds are Dwarf Bouquet or Dwarf
German, and Shakespeare.

One of the chief merits of the China aster is the lateness of bloom,
allowing the flowers to be used in the schools after they open in the
fall. An excellent flower for sowing during May is the common annual
Phlox (_Phlox Drummondii_ of the catalogues). Poppies are also
satisfactory, but the flowers do not last long. Petunias are excellent
and Balsams, Clarkias, Coreopsis (or Calliopsis), and Zinnias may be

Now, let us see how many boys and girls in New York State will raise
sweet peas and China asters this year! And we should like them to write
us all about it.




[53] Nature-Study Quarterly, No. 7: Leaflet 20, January, 1901.


Plant a hill of potatoes. You can do it in the school-room. Plant in a
box or a flower-pot. Keep the box warm, and do not let the soil dry out.
Plant whole tubers and pieces of tubers. Plant pieces of various sizes.
Plant some that have no "eyes." Plant shallow--so that the tuber is just
covered with soil--and deep. Watch the results.

All plants are abundantly supplied with means for reproducing their
kind: some by seed, some by multiplication at the crown or base or by
roots, others by means of underground stems; and some, as the potato,
have two or more means of reproduction. In its wild or partially
improved state the potato is abundantly supplied with fruit, "seed
balls," borne on the top of the stalks. The seeds of a single ball will
often produce many varieties of potatoes; but they cannot be depended
upon to reproduce the parent stock. Farmers seldom attempt to raise
potatoes from the seeds; when they do it is for the purpose of securing
new varieties. The common method of reproduction is to plant a part or
all of an enlarged underground stem, that is, a part of the "potato" or

When the soil is reasonably porous and fertile, a strong root may start
at the seed-piece and descend more or less directly into the subsoil. In
most cases, however, the roots spread laterally. This is a good
illustration of how plants may vary in their root habits in order to
adapt themselves to their environment. Notice where the roots form on
the plants you are growing. Few farmers know where they form.
Distinguish the true or feeding roots from the underground stems.
Determine how many tubers form on each underground stem. Dig up a hill
of potatoes from the garden before school closes.

[Illustration: _Fig. 272. Underground part of potato plant in mellow

A single eye, with a portion of the tuber attached to furnish
nourishment to the bud until sustenance can be secured from newly formed
rootlets, may produce one, occasionally more, strong upright stems. A
most interesting study of manifold reproduction may be made even in the
winter time by planting in a fertile soil a piece of potato containing a
single eye (Fig. 273). As soon as the rootlets begin to start, divide
each eye and piece into two parts and re-plant. In a few days after the
rootlets have again started, divide the two pieces into four and
re-plant. This operation may be performed again and again, until many
plants suitable for transplanting in the open may be secured from a
single eye.

[Illustration: _Fig. 273. Piece of tuber for planting, bearing a single

Demonstrate that the potato contains starch. This can be done by
applying a drop of dilute iodine to a freshly cut surface of the tuber:
the starch grains turn blue-black. Five cents' worth of iodine purchased
at the drug-store will be sufficient for many tests. Dilute it about
one-half with water. This starch, after being changed to sugar,
supplies the young plant with nourishment. Dig up the pieces you have
planted and see which start first, shoots or roots.

The "potato" is an enlarged underground stem provided with numerous buds
similar to those on the stems of plants above ground. These buds are
placed spirally on the underground stem or tuber with a considerable
degree of uniformity. As on the stems of other plants, the buds are less
numerous and weaker at the base and most numerous and vigorous at the
top or upper end. On a smooth well developed long potato, the spiral
arrangement of the buds may be illustrated by sticking a tooth-pick or
pin in each eye, beginning at the base or stem end, and connecting the
pins with a string (Fig. 274).

[Illustration: Fig. 274. How to illustrate the spiral arrangement of the


Now that we have seen the potato growing in the school-room, some
information may be given respecting its treatment in the field as a

Potatoes are easily raised, even under adverse conditions, although they
respond quickly to superior fertility and tillage. The average yield in
the United States during the last ten years was 76.6 bushels an acre,
although from three to four hundred bushels an acre are not uncommon
under superior tillage when soil and climate are at their best.

The area devoted to potatoes during the last decade was two and a half
million acres annually. Potatoes do best on a moderately moist and deep
soil and in a climate relatively cool.

Since the period of growth is short, varying from three to five months,
they should be planted in soil which has an abundance of readily
available plant-food. Notice in Fig. 272 that most of the underground
stems which have produced potatoes leave the main stem about four inches
below the surface and but a short distance above the seed-piece. This
suggests that the seed should be planted about four inches deep. To
produce three hundred bushels of potatoes requires the exhalation of
over three hundred tons of water: therefore water or moisture is of
quite as much importance in securing large yields as plant-food.

It is best to prepare the land deeply, to plant deep, and then to
practice nearly or quite level culture. The practice of hilling up
potatoes, so common in most parts of the country, is to be discouraged,
usually, because it is wasteful of moisture and the tubers do not grow
in the coolest part of the soil. For very early potatoes, hilling-up may
be allowable. Till the soil very often to save the moisture. For the
philosophy of this, see Leaflet No. IX.

Not infrequently the potato is seriously injured by blights which attack
the leaves. The early blight, which usually appears in June, may destroy
some of the foliage, thereby checking growth. The late blight, which
also attacks the foliage, is far more serious. It differs little in
outward appearance from the early blight. In rare cases the vines are so
seriously injured that no potatoes are formed. The potato rot or blight
did great damage to the potato in many localities in the United States
in 1845. In 1846 the blight appeared in Ireland and virtually destroyed
the entire crop. Before this date the potato had become the chief food
supply of the peasantry. The cultivation of oats as a food crop had been
universal before the introduction of the potato, but oats furnished so
little food on a given area as compared to the potato that the
cultivation of them at the time the blight appeared had been very
largely abandoned. The loss of the potato crop produced widespread
famine. The most conservative estimate of the numbers who perished for
want of food or by disease caused by a meager diet of unhealthy and
innutritions food is set down at six hundred thousand during the two
years of the potato blight. This disease was not so destructive in 1847
as in 1846; and by 1848 it had virtually disappeared. Some one has said
that if Great Britain had expended one dollar for investigating the
diseases of potatoes where she had spent a thousand dollars for
perfecting the engines of war, the terrible famine might have been
averted. We now think it a relatively easy matter to keep the blight in
check by thorough spraying with Bordeaux mixture.


All plants have their origin in pre-existing plants. While the young
plant is always similar to the one from which it was derived, it is
never exactly like its parent in every detail. This arises from the fact
that all of the conditions under which the parent plant and its
offspring grow are never exactly alike. The variations or differences in
the plants are usually exceedingly small in a single generation; but
occasionally they are wide, in which case they are called "sports" and
are usually difficult to perpetuate. If successive generations of plants
are reared under continuously improved conditions, there will be a
continuous and accumulating variation from generation to generation,
which in time may come to be so great as to make it difficult to
discover a marked similarity between the wild and the cultivated forms
of the same plant.

When conditions are undisturbed by man there is found to be a fierce
struggle for existence. The hardiest or those best suited to the
conditions preponderate, and this without any reference to the wants of
mankind. The farmer steps in and selects those plants which give promise
of being most useful or most beautiful and then decreases or eliminates
the struggle for these selected plants, by destroying the plants which
are least desirable, by fertilizing and tilling the soil, by conserving
moisture, and by improving the physical conditions of the land, thereby
making it more comfortable for the plants which he has chosen. The
selected or "improved" plant, by reason of being more comfortable and
better nourished, tends to vary in one or more directions from the wild
and unimproved types. Whenever these variations tend towards greater
productiveness, better quality or enhanced beauty, selection is again
made of such specimens as give promise of supplying the wants and
gratifying the desires of civilized man. The bettered conditions of the
plant, by reason of man's effort, do not usually result in producing
like variation along all lines. One part of the plant as the flower, the
fruit, or the stem, varies more than the other parts. All this tends to
break up a single type or stock into many varieties. There are hundreds
of varieties of potatoes all traceable to a single wild species. The
kind and quantity of nourishment supplied plays the most important part
of any single factor in producing variation.

The general character of the cultivated potato plant as to leaf, stem,
root, and habit of growth, is virtually the same as the wild plant,
variation having been directed and accentuated along the line of
increasing the size and quality of the underground tubers. This habit of
producing enormously enlarged underground stems has been operating so
long that the plant has inherited the power of transmitting this
acquired quality to the succeeding plants. The most improved varieties
seldom produce seed balls, because growth has been directed so largely
toward enlarging and multiplying the tubers. By selecting tubers with
shallow buds or eyes and avoiding those with deep, sunken eyes,
varieties have been produced with few eyes or buds, and these set not in
deep indentations but nearly even with the surface of the potato.

       *       *       *       *       *

As a school-room subject, the potato is not very tractable, unless we
study merely the tubers. If the school is in session in summer, the
growing plant may be had. Then it will be found to be an interesting and
profitable exercise to set the children at the problem of determining
the root-system of the potato plant. How do the roots look? Does the
plant have a tap-root, or do the roots spread laterally? Are the tubers
borne on roots? Or on underground stems? Why do you think so? Does the
tuber terminate the branch? What relation, in position, do the
tuber-bearing branches bear to other parts of the underground system? Do
you think that the tuber-bearing branches aid in collecting food from
the soil?

The top of the plant may be studied in the same spirit,--branching,
leaves, flowers, berries.

If the growing plant cannot be had, study tubers. Compare as to size,
shape, color, character of eyes, whether scabby or smooth. Use them as
objects in drawing.

Plant tubers in the school-room, in boxes or flower pots. This Leaflet
will suggest some interesting observations.

How important is the potato crop in the State and nation? The pupil can
use his mathematics here.




[54] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 30, March, 1903.


As children are always especially interested in the wild flowers in
spring, I have thought best to study a few of the woodland blossoms. The
wonderful processes of plant life are as well shown in these as in any.
The hepatica is among the first which greets us in the spring, and we
will study this first.

There are several ways of getting acquainted with a plant: one is to
go-a-visiting, and another is to invite the plant to our own home,
either as guest on the window-sill, or as a tenant of the garden. When
we visit the hepatica in its own haunts it is usually with the longing
for spring in our hearts that awakens with the first warm sunshine and
which is really one of the subtlest as well as greatest charms of living
in a climate that has a snowy winter. As we thread our way into the
sodden woods, avoiding the streams and puddles that are little glacial
rivers and lakes from fast disappearing snow-drifts still heaped on the
north sides of things, we look eagerly for signs of returning life. The
eye slowly differentiates from the various shades of brown in the floor
of the forest a bit of pale blue or pink purple that at first seems as
if it were an optical delusion; but as we look again to make sure, lo!
it is the hepatica. There it is, rising from its mass of purple brown
leaves, leaves that are always beautiful in shape and color and suggest
patterns for sculpture like the acanthus or for rich tapestries like the
palm-leaf in the Orient. There the brave little flower stands with its
face to the sun and its back to the snow-drift and looks out on a gray
brown world and nods at it and calls it "good."

It is when the hepatica is our guest that we have a better opportunity
for studying its form and features. Take up a hepatica root in the fall
and pot it and place it in a cool cellar until March 1. Then give it
light, warmth, and moisture on your table and see how gladly it will
blossom and tell its secrets. Or perhaps if we are not sufficiently
forehanded to get the root in the fall we can get it during a thaw in
March when we go foraging for spring feelings in winter woods.

[Illustration: _Fig. 275. Hepatica, harbinger of spring._]

When finally a bud has uncuddled and lifted itself into a flower, it
will tell us the story of leaves in different disguises, and we may be
able to notice whether the pollen ripens and is all distributed when the
flower begins to fade and fall. We may note also the number of seeds and
examine one of them with a lens. It is what the botanists call an akene,
which simply means just one seed with a tight envelope about it. We have
a careless habit of forgetting all about plants after their blossoms
fade unless their fruits or seed are good to eat or good to look at.
This is as inconsistent as it would be to lose all interest in the farm
before the fields were planted. After the flower is gone the plant must
mature its seeds and somehow must sow them. We will study the hepatica
through the summer and autumn, for we must know what is happening to it
every month.


1. In what situations are the hepaticas found?

2. How does the hepatica prepare for the winter and store up energy for
blossoming early in the spring?

3. How early do you find blossom buds down in the center of the plant?
Did you ever look for these buds in the fall?

4. Do the flowers come out of the crown bud?

5. Are the leaves that come up late in the spring as fuzzy when they
first appear as those that come up early?

6. Make out as complete a life-history of the hepatica as you can,--how
it sows itself, where it grows, how long it lives, with what plant it
keeps company.




[55] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 31, April, 1903.

  "Jack-in-the-Pulpit preaches to-day
  Under the green trees, just over the way.
  Squirrel and song sparrow high on their perch
  Hear the sweet lily bells ringing to church.
  Come, hear what his reverence rises to say,
  In his low, painted pulpit this calm Sabbath day,
  Fair is the canopy over him seen,
  Penciled by nature's hand, black, brown, and green."

  _J. G. Whittier._

[Illustration: _Fig. 276. Jack-in-the-Pulpit._]


At one time or another, perhaps all of us are given to the belief that
all flowers blossom for our especial enjoyment. It is hard to think back
for a thousand years and imagine hepaticas blooming on our New York
hills; yet no doubt, they blossomed then in far greater numbers than
they do to-day. Many of our native plants played their part in
sustaining the lives of the native Americans, and that little preacher,
Jack-in-the-pulpit, was a turnip long before he was a preacher. Indian
turnip was his name in the days of our ancestors because the Indians
boiled his bulb-like root and the ripe berries, thus making them a less
peppery and a more palatable food.

The St. Nicholas Magazine was for so many years the organ through which
Jack preached so many sermons to children all over our land that
he is even to-day one of the best loved of the woodland flowers.
Whittier, in his "Child Life," and Lucy Larcom have both celebrated
Jack-in-the-pulpit in song, and these verses should be given to the
children when they are studying the habits of this interesting plant.

Jack-in-the-pulpit is a wild cousin of the over-civilized calla lily. It
is interesting to study the way the flowers resemble each other, and
this you and the children will be able to study for yourselves. It will
teach you that the showy parts of a blossom may be merely a protection,
and an advertisement for the true flower hidden within.


1. Where do you find this plant, in dry or in wet locations?

2. What is the shape of the root? Is it pleasant to the taste?

3. How do the leaves look when they first appear above the ground?

4. How far are the leaves developed when the flowers appear?

5. Does the tip of the hood fold over at first?

6. Do you see a resemblance to the calla lily when you bend the tip of
the hood backward? Compare or contrast the two plants.

7. How many leaves has Jack-in-the-pulpit? Are they simple or compound?

8. What are the colors of the "pulpits" in your locality?




[56] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 32, May, 1903.

_"Hail! Ha-wen-ni-yu! Listen with open ears to the words of thy people.
Continue to listen. We thank our mother earth which sustains us. We
thank the winds which have banished disease. We thank He-no for rain. We
thank the moon and stars which give us light when the sun has gone to
rest. We thank the sun for warmth and light by day. Keep us from evil
ways that the sun may never hide his face from us for shame and leave us
in darkness. We thank thee, oh, mighty Ha-wen-ni-yu that we still live.
We thank thee that thou hast made our corn to grow. Thou art our creator
and our good ruler, thou canst do no evil. Everything thou doest is for
our happiness."_


Thus prayed the Iroquois Indians when the corn had ripened on the hills
and valleys of New York State long before it was a state, and even
before Columbus had turned his ambitious prows westward in quest of the
Indies. Had he found the Indies with their wealth of fabrics and spices
he would have found there nothing so valuable to the world as has proved
this golden treasure of ripened corn.

The origin of Indian corn, or maize, is shrouded in mystery. There is a
plant which grows on the tablelands of Mexico which is possibly the
original species, but so long had maize been cultivated by the American
Indians that it was thoroughly domesticated when America was discovered.
In those early days of American colonization it is doubtful, says
Professor John Fiske, if our forefathers could have remained here had it
not been for Indian corn. No plowing nor even clearing was necessary for
the successful raising of this grain. The trees were girdled, thus
killing their tops to let in the sunlight; the rich earth was scratched
a little with a primitive tool and the seed put in and covered; and the
plants that grew therefrom took care of themselves. If the pioneers had
been obliged to depend alone upon the wheat and rye of Europe which
would only grow with good tillage they might have starved before they
had gained a foothold on our forest-covered shores. While maize has
never been a popular grain in European countries outside of the
southermost parts, yet on the great continents of Africa and Asia it
was welcomed from the first, and is now largely grown. It has ripened
for so many centuries on the slopes of the Himalayas that if you were to
ask one of the natives to-day how long it had grown there he would
answer you "always."

It is fitting that a grain which is so peculiarly adapted to be the aid
and support of a great civilization should grow upon a plant of such
dignity and beauty as is the maize. The perfect proportions of the
slender stalk to the long gracefully curving leaves; the plumed tassels
swaying and bowing to every breeze and sending their pollen showers to
the waiting skeins of silk hidden below; the ripened ear with its exact
rows of shining yellow grains wrapped in silken husks; all these make
the corn plant as delightful to the eye as it is intrinsically important
to the welfare of nations. No more wonderful lesson in plant growth can
we find for our study than this lesson of the Indian corn.

[Illustration: _Fig. 277. Parts of corn kernel._]


Secure a kernel of corn and cut it in halves (Fig. 277) and with the
naked eye you will be able to see there the young plant pressed close to
its stored up food, which, though largely composed of starch, also has
in it proteids and oil. You will see that this food is dry and thus
cannot be used by the young plant, for plants, whether young or old,
must take their nourishment in a fluid condition. Soak the seed and see
how soon the young plant passes on the moisture to soften the food so
that it may imbibe it and grow. Fill a tumbler with earth and plant a
grain of corn next to the glass so that you may be able to see how it


1. Which appears first, root parts or leaf?

2. How does the leaf look when it first comes up?

3. How old is the corn when the blossom stalks begin to show above the

4. Does the stalk break more easily at the joints than elsewhere?
Measure the distances between the joints in a stalk of young corn and
two weeks later measure these distances again, and compare your figures.
From these measurements tell whether the plant grows only at the top, or
has it several growing places?

5. Are the joints nearer each other at the bottom or at the top?

6. Where do the bases of the leaves clasp the stalks?

7. Tell why this arrangement gives strength to the stalk.

8. Do you see a little growth at the base of the leaf that prevents the
rain from flowing down between the stalk and the clasping leaf? This is
called the rain-guard. How might it damage the plant if the water should
get in between the leaf and stem?

9. What is the structure of the leaf and direction of the ribs?

10. How does this structure keep the long leaf from being torn to pieces
by the wind?

11. Note the ruffled edge of the leaf. Lay such a leaf flat on a table
and bend it this way and that, and note how this fullness allows it to
bend without breaking the edges. What advantage is this to the plant?

12. Study the roots of a corn plant. How far do they extend into the
ground? Describe them.

13. Study the brace roots that come off the stalk an inch or more above
the ground. Of what utility are these to the plant?

14. Bend down a stalk of growing corn and place a stone on it near its
base so as to hold it down, and note how it acts. Does it commence to
lift itself up straight from the joint, or from a place between the

15. Cut off the water supply from a plant, or watch the corn during a
drought and tell how the leaves behave.

16. Do they offer as much surface to the air for evaporation when they
are curled? Is this the way the plant protects itself by retaining this
moisture during a dry time?

17. Do the stalks or leaves grow after the ears begin to form?

18. Do you find "suckers" growing; if so what is the variety?


    There are two kinds of flowers on the corn: the tassels bearing
    the pollen, and the ears bearing the ovules which develop into
    seeds. Study first the tassel. Observe the flowerets through a
    lens if you have one and note that the pollen sacs open a little
    at one side instead of at the tip so that the wind is needed in
    order to shake out the pollen. It is estimated that on each corn
    plant there may be developed eighteen million pollen grains and
    two thousand ovules. The pollen-tube must penetrate the whole
    length of each thread of corn-silk in order to reach the ovules.

19. What agency carries the pollen grains to the ear?

20. What would happen to a field of corn if the farmer cut off all the
tassels as soon as they were formed?

21. Find a tassel before it appears and study it. Secure an ear when
only an inch or two long and study it. These should be studied as flower

22. How early can you find the ear? Look at every joint and tell how
many ears you find on a young stalk.

23. In studying the ear, take first the husk. Does it resemble the leaf
in structure? What is the difference between the outer and the inner

24. Do you believe that the husk is a modified leaf; if so why? In the
young ear does each thread of silk extend out to the end of the ear; if
so why?

25. Is there a thread of silk for each kernel in the ear?

26. Study corn when it is in the "milk." Is the taste sweet?

27. Does this sweet taste continue as the kernel matures?

28. How is the stalk modified to fit the ear?


    The corn has many difficulties to contend with: there are heavy
    winds, too much or too little rain, hail, and, worst of all,
    frosts which not only kill it when it is first planted, but
    also hurt it before it is matured. The corn has living enemies
    also, such as wire-worms and cut-worms. Our forefathers were
    much troubled with the mischief which crows did in pulling corn.
    However, many of our observing farmers to-day say that only in
    rare instances do the crows injure corn much. The work done by
    cut-worms is often attributed to crows.

29. Please note in your locality what difficulties the corn has to
contend with. If possible make a special study of the damage said to be
done by crows. Give the results.




[57] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 1, October, 1903.


Every boy and girl living on a farm in New York State twenty-five years
or more ago, has in memory a picture like this: a stubbly hill-side
field beset with russet shocks of corn and constellations of orange
pumpkins, whence might be seen wide valleys filled with purple haze, and
far hills bedecked with autumn tapestries woven about emerald patches of
new wheat.

To such a field, after the laggard sun had changed the hoar frost to
dew, would they hasten of an October morning, to begin the corn-husking.
The enthusiastic youngster, who had an eye to artistic unity in the
situation, invariably selected a pumpkin for his seat, scorning his more
sordid fellows who had brought milking-stools from the barn, when nature
had placed so many golden thrones at their disposal. Too soon a
discovery was made about this that applies as well to other thrones,--it
proved an uneasy seat, and was abandoned for a sofa constructed of
corn-stalks. Here, leaning back with a full sense of luxury, listening
to the rustle of the dry leaves and husks and the monotonous song of the
cricket, enlivened now and then by the lazy call of the crow from the
hemlocks on the hill, the sweet note of the belated meadow-lark from the
valley, or the excited bark of the dog as he chased a squirrel along the
fence, the busy husker passed the autumn day. On either side of him were
evidences of his labor. On the right stood great disheveled stooks of
corn stalks bereft of their pockets of gold; on the left lay in a heap
the shining yellow ears, ready to be measured in the waiting
bushel-basket; in front was always a little pile of noble ears with some
of the husks still attached,--the seed corn. Proud was the boy when he
had learned to select successfully "the ear of good length, cylindrical
rather than pointed, the cob firm and well filled from butt to tip with
grains uniformly large, of good color and in regular rows that showed no
space between." Now-a-days, we challenge this ideal of the "perfect

[Illustration: _Fig. 278. The Harvest of the Corn._]

As "chore time" approached, came the wagon afield to gather the harvest
of ears and take them to the cribs, where their gold gleaming between
the boards gave comfortable assurance of peace and plenty. But the seed
corn was stored in a way learned by our forefathers from the American
Indians; the ears were braided together by their husks, by the skilled
farmer, who could make a braid two or three feet long, strong enough to
hold the weight of the ears that hung a heavy fringe along each side;
this braid when completed was tied with a bit of soft, tow twine, long
saved for the purpose, and then was hung on hooks on the granary walls.
There, until spring, waited the elect of the cornfield, holding in
perfect kernels all the future corn wealth of that farm.

From the first day's husking a bushel of ears was reserved from the crib
and was spread on a chamber floor to dry quickly; later this was taken
to the mill and ground into samp, one of the prized luxuries of the
autumn bill of fare. Other corn was ground into finer meal for the
delicious Johnny-cake and the Indian bread, the latter reaching fullest
perfection when baked in a brick oven.

To the tenants of the farm barns the corn meant even more than to those
in the farm house. In August the cattle in dry pastures cast longing
eyes and expressive voices toward the pale, green leaves and waving
tassels of the sowed-corn, and great was their joy the first day they
tasted this delicacy; in November, they munched the dry leaves of the
planted crop, leaving in the barn-yard an angular patterned carpet of
bare, hard stalks. In winter the corn meal, in proper proportions, made
for them a food that kept them warm despite the cold winds that clutched
at them, through crevices, with fingers of drifted snow. And no less
dependent on this important crop were the denizens of the fold, of the
sty, and of the chicken-yard.

The old-time harvesting and husking are passing from the New York farm
of to-day. The granary is no longer frescoed with braids of model ears,
for the seed corn is now bought by the bushel from the seedsmen. The
corn harvester has dissolved the partnership between corn and pumpkin
and fells the stalks by the acre, doing away with the old-time stooks or
shocks. Corn-stalks now become silage and are fed in a green condition
throughout the winter. How often do we lose something of picturesqueness
when we gain the advantages of modern improvements! Let us be thankful,
however, that the corn harvester and the silo make efficient use of the
great fields of corn.

Although there is but one species of corn recognized (_Zea Mays_), there
have been an endless number of varieties developed from it. Seven
hundred and seventy of these were sufficiently distinct to be recognized
when the Department of Agriculture published its account of varieties.
The importance of the corn crop to this country and to others is almost
incalculable. In 1902, the United States produced more than two and a
half billion bushels and the export price was $.60 per bushel. When the
corn crop fails every man, rich or poor, in America, suffers from it,
and every business is affected by it. Though the man working in the
cornfield may think only of his own crop, yet he is the man that is
helping maintain the prosperity of our country. He is working for us


1. Is the corn crop in your vicinity good this year?

2. What affected it, beneficially or otherwise?

3. How many ears of corn are there usually on a mature stalk?

4. Are they on the same side of the stalk, or how are they disposed?

5. How many kinds of corn do you know?

6. Describe an average ear of each in the following particulars: shape
and color of kernel; number of rows of kernels on the cob; number of
kernels in a row; length of cob. Are the rows in distinct pairs? Do any
of the rows disappear near the tip; if so, how many?

7. Study a cob with corn on it. Are the kernel-sockets of adjacent rows
opposite each other or alternate?

8. Cut a kernel of pop-corn and a kernel of field corn across and
compare the texture of the two. What has this texture to do with causing
the kernel to "pop?"

9. How many foods do you know made from the grain of the corn?

10. How many products do you know made from stalks of the corn?

11. Do you know of any part of the corn that is used in constructing

12. What is the corn crop of New York State worth in dollars a year?
(See U. S. Census Bulletin, No. 179.)

13. How many bushels of shelled corn are usually produced on an acre of
well cultivated land?

14. Could the corn plant itself without the agency of man?

If you are able to draw, please make a sketch of a kernel of sweet corn
and a kernel of field corn. Break an ear of corn in two and sketch the
broken end, showing shape of the cob and its relation to the kernels.


[58] Extracted from an article by L. H. Bailey in Country Life in
America, July, 1903.

The particular materials that give the corn kernel most of its value are
the oil, the protein and the starch. For the production of corn oil--for
which the demand is large--a corn that has a high oil content is, of
course, particularly valuable; while for the production of starch or for
the feeding of bacon hogs, a relatively higher percentage of other
materials is desirable. It is apparent, therefore, that races of corn
should be bred for a particular content, depending on the disposition to
be made of the grain. Equal economic results cannot be attained,
however, in increasing the content of any of the three leading
ingredients, since a pound of gluten is worth one cent, a pound of
starch one and one-half cents, and a pound of oil five cents. The
amounts of these ingredients in the corn kernel are amenable to increase
or diminution by means of selection,--by choosing for seed the kernels
of ears that are rich or poor in one or the other of these materials.
Fortunately, the oil and starch and protein of the corn kernel occupy
rather distinct zones. Next the outside hull is a dark and horny layer
that is very rich in protein; in the center is the large germ, very rich
in oil; between the two is a white layer of starch. It is found that the
kernels on any ear are remarkably uniform in their content; the
dissection of a few kernels, therefore, enables the breeder to determine
the ears that are rich in any one of the substances. Experiment stations
in the corn-growing States are already making great headway in this new
breeding of corn, and one private concern in Illinois is taking it up as
a commercial enterprise. All this recalls the remarkable breeding
experiments of the Vilmorins in France, whereby the sugar-content of the
beet was raised several points. It is impossible to overestimate the
value of any concerted corn-breeding work of this general type. The
grain alone of the corn crop is worth about one billion dollars
annually. It is possible to increase this efficiency several
percentages; the coming generation will see it accomplished.

An interesting cognate inquiry to this direct breeding work is the study
of the commercial grades of grains. It is a most singular fact that the
dealer's "grades" are of a very different kind from the farmer's
"varieties." In the great markets, for example, corn is sold as "No. 1
yellow," "No. 2 yellow," "No. 3 yellow," and the like. Any yellow corn
may be thrown into these grades. What constitutes a grade is essentially
a judgment on the part of every dealer. The result is that the grain is
likely to be condemned or criticised when it reaches its destination.
Complaints having come to the government, the United States Department
of Agriculture has undertaken to determine how far the grades of grain
can be reduced to indisputable instrumental measurement. The result is
likely to be a closer defining of what a grade is; and, this point once
determined, the producer will make an effort to grow such grain as will
grade to No. 1, and thereby attain to the extra price. Eventually, the
efficiency points of the grower and the commercial grades of the dealer
ought nearly or quite to coincide. There should come a time when corn is
sold on its intrinsic merits, as, for example, on its starch content.
This corn would not then be graded 1, 2 and 3, on its starch content,
because that content would be assured in the entire product; but the
grade 1 would mean prime physical condition, and the lower grades
inferior physical condition. Eventually, something like varietal names
may be attached to those kinds of corn that, for example, grade fifteen
per cent protein. The name would be something like a guarantee of the
approximate content, as it now is in a commercial fertilizer.

The first thing that strikes one in all this new work is its strong
contrast with the old ideals. The "points" of the plants are those of
"performance" and "efficiency." It brings into sharp relief the
accustomed ideals as to what are the "good points" in any plant,
illustrating the fact that these points are for the most part only
fanciful, are founded on a priori judgments, and are more often
correlated with mere "looks" than with efficiency. An excellent example
may be taken from corn. In "scaling" any variety of corn it is customary
to assume that the perfect ear is one nearly or quite uniformly
cylindrical throughout its length, and having the tip and butt well
covered with kernels. Now, this ideal is clearly one of perfectness and
completeness of mere form. We have no knowledge that such form has any
correlation with productiveness in ears, hardiness, drought-resisting
qualities, protein or starch content,--and yet these attributes are the
ones that make corn worth growing at all. We only know that such ears
may bear more kernels. An illustration also may be taken from string
beans. The ideal pod is considered to be one of which the tip-projection
is very short and only slightly curved. This, apparently, is a question
of comeliness, although a short tip may be associated in the popular
mind with the absence of "string" in the pod; but it is a question
whether this character has any direct relation to the efficiency of the
bean-pod. We are also undergoing much the same challenging of ideas
respecting the "points" of animals. Now, animals and plants are bred to
the ideals expressed in these arbitrary points by choosing for parents
the individuals that score the highest. When it becomes necessary to
recast our "scales of points," the whole course of evolution of domestic
plants and animals is likely to be changed. We are to breed not so much
for merely new and striking characters, that will enable us to name,
describe and sell a "novelty," as to improve the performance along
accustomed lines. It may be worth while to produce a "new variety" of
potato by raising new plants from the seed-bolls; but it is much more to
the point to augment the mealiness of some existing variety or to
intensify its blight-resisting qualities. We are not to start with a
variety, but with a plant.




[59] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 4, January, 1904.

  "A mystery passing strange,
  Is the seed in its wondrous change;
  Forest and flower in its husk concealed,
  And the golden wealth of the harvest field."



As is the case with our own babies, the first necessity of the infant
plant is food close at hand to sustain this tiny speck of life until it
shall be large and strong enough to provide for itself. If we study any
seed whatever we shall find some such motherly provision for the plant
baby or germ. Sometimes the germ is a mere speck with a large amount of
food packed around it, as is the case with the nutmeg; sometimes the
baby is larger and its food is packed in a part adjacent to it, as is
the case with the corn (Fig. 279); and sometimes the mother stuffs the
baby itself so that it has enough to last it until its own little roots
and leaves bring it mature food, as is the case with the squash seed. In
any case this "lunch put up by the mother," to use Uncle John's words,
is so close at hand that as soon as favorable conditions occur the
little plant may eat and grow, and establish itself in the soil.

Nature is remarkable for her skill in doing up compact packages, and in
no other place is this skill better shown than in storing food in seeds
for the young plants. Not only is it concentrated, but it is protected
and of such chemical composition that it is able to remain fresh and
good for many years awaiting the favorable moment when it may nourish
the starting germ. People often wonder why, when a forest is cleared of
one species of trees, another species grows in its place. This often may
have resulted from the seeds lying many years dormant awaiting the
opportunity. This preservation of the food in the seed is largely due to
the protecting shell that keeps out the enemies of all sorts, especially
mould. And yet, however strong this box may be, as it is in the
hard-shelled hickory nut, it falls apart like magic when the germ within
begins to expand.

Brain rather than brawn is the cause of man's supremacy in this world.
Of all the beings that inhabit the earth he knows best how to use for
his own advantage all things that exist. His progress from savagery to
civilization is marked by his growing power to domesticate animals and
plants. Very early in his history man learned the value to himself of
the seeds of the cereals. He discovered that they may be kept a long
time without injury; that they contain a great amount of nutrition for
their bulk; that they are easily prepared for food; that, when planted,
they give largest return. Thus, we see, the advantages the plant mother
had developed for her young, man has turned to his own use. That the
food put up for the young plant is so protected and constituted as to
endure unhurt for a long time gives the cereal grains their keeping
quality. That it is concentrated and well packed renders it convenient
for man to transport. That the "box" is easily separated from the
"lunch" makes the preparation of food by crushing and sifting an easy
matter for man. That every mother plant, to insure the continuation of
the species, develops many seeds, so that in the great struggle for
existence at least some shall survive, makes the cereals profitable for
man to plant, and harvest the increase. Think once, how few ears of corn
it requires to plant an acre.

[Illustration: _Fig. 279. Section of kernel of corn, showing the embryo,
and the food supply at one side of it (at the right)._]

Because of all these things there has grown up between domestic plants
and man a partnership. Man relieves the plant of the responsibility of
scattering its seeds, and in return takes for himself that proportion of
the seeds which would have died in the struggle for existence had the
plant remained uncultivated. This partnership is fair to both parties.

Different plants store food materials in different proportions in their
seeds; the most important of these food substances are starch, oil,
protein, and mineral matter. All of these materials are necessary to man
as food. In the cereals the seeds contain a large proportion of starch,
but in the nuts, like the butternuts and walnuts, there is a
predominance of oil. Let us for a moment examine a kernel of corn and a
kernel of wheat and see how the food is arranged. Fig. 279 is a kernel
of corn cut in two lengthwise; at the lower left-hand corner are the
root parts and leaf parts of the young plant (the embryo); above the
embryo is the loose starch material. Now we have the baby corn plant
lying at one side, and its food packed about it. However, this food is
in the form of starch, and must be changed to sugar before the young
plant can partake of it and grow. There lies a connecting part between
the germ and its food, the scutellum. This is so constituted that when
soaked with water it ferments the starch and changes it to sugar for the
young plant's use.

The germ itself is also a very nutritious food for man; hence the seed
is eaten, "baby and all." In the corn, those kernels with the largest
germs have the largest food value, and, therefore, to-day corn breeders
are developing kernels with very large embryos.

If we examine the microscopic structure of the food part of a grain of
wheat (Fig. 280), we find that there are two outer layers, _a_ and _b_.
Next there is a row of cells _d_ that divides these outer layers from
the flour cells within. This is the aleurone layer. At _e_ are the flour
cells which constitute the central portion of the wheat kernel. They
contain starch, and also gluten, and some oil, and some mineral
substances. In grinding to make white flour, the miller tries to leave
the aleurone layer of cells _d_ with the outer layers _a_ and _b_, for
if it is mixed with the flour the latter spoils much sooner, and it is
also darker in color. In the seed is a ferment that helps digest the
food for the young plant.

[Illustration: _Fig. 280. Section of grain of wheat._]

In order to think more intelligently about our use of food, let us find
out, if we can, which parts of the food stored up by the plant for its
sustenance are used by us both for ourselves and our livestock. The
intelligent farmer gives his stock a carefully balanced ration, _i. e._,
food that is well proportioned for the growth and product of the animal.
If he wishes his cows to give more milk he may give them more proteids
in their food, and less starch and fat. If he wishes to fatten them he
may give them a greater amount of starch and fat and less of the
proteids. In order to know what these proteids and starch and fat mean,
both to us and to the plant, we have to know a little chemistry. The
following table may aid us in this:

  Nutritive substances which   {Proteids (casein, gluten, legumen,
  contain nitrogen.            {  etc., albuminoids, gelatine,
                               {  white of egg, etc.).

  Nutritive substances which   {The carbohydrates (sugar and
  do not contain nitrogen.     {  starch). Fats (oils, butter).

  Mineral substances.          {Lime, phosphorus, sulfur, etc.

The substances mentioned in the above table are all needful to
sustain the life of man and beast. If we compare the body to a
steam engine, then we can see that its whole framework is built
out of the proteids, mineral matter and water. The starch and sugar
and fats constitute the fuel used to heat the boiler and make the
engine move. Strictly speaking the proteids are also used somewhat
as fuel, as well as for framework. It is easily seen from this
that in order to be healthy we should try to give ourselves food
containing a proper amount of building material to repair the
breakage and wear and tear in the engine, and also give ourselves
enough fuel to make the boiler do its greatest possible work. For
if we do not have sufficient building material we break down, and
if we do not have sufficient fuel we lack energy. Food thus properly
proportioned is called a "well balanced ration."

A well balanced ration per day for the average human being is
as follows:

  Proteids, - - - - - -   .40 lbs.
  Starch, - - - - - - -  1.00  "
  Fats, - - - - - - - -   .40  "
  Mineral matter, - - -   .10  "
                         1.90 lbs.

The above is the amount of nutriment necessary, and in addition to this
there should be sufficient bulk to keep the digestive organs healthy. We
are just now entering upon the era of intelligence in relation to our
food. It seems strange that this intelligence should first be applied to
our domestic animals rather than to man. As soon as the farmer
discovered that to make his animals pay better he must give them the
right proportions of building material and fuel for energy, he demanded
that the agricultural chemists give him directions for mixing and
preparing their food. But how few of the cooks in our land understand in
the slightest degree this necessity for the proper proportions to our
food! When they do we may look forward to entering upon an era of serene
good health, when we shall have strength to bear and ability to do.

In answering the following list of questions you may be obliged to
consult with the miller, or feed-dealer, but it is to be hoped that you
will gain a clear conception of the parts of the seed used in making
foods from cereals.

1. What is graham flour? How does it differ from white wheat flour?

2. What is whole wheat flour?

3. What is bran?

4. What is cracked wheat?

5. What are shorts, middlings, or canaille?

6. Which of the above are considered the more nutritious and why?

7. What part of the corn kernel is hominy?

8. What is corn meal?

9. Is corn bran considered good food?

10. What is gluten meal?

11. What is germ meal?

12. Why is corn fattening to cattle?

13. How much of the oat grain is contained in oat meal?

14. What is a cotyledon?

15. Show by sketch or describe the cotyledon in the chestnut, the walnut
or hickory nut, and the bean.

16. Describe or show by sketch the position of the germinal portion in
each of these.

If you cannot find the germ in these, soak them in water for several
days and then observe.

The following publications may be had from the Department of
Agriculture, Washington, D. C., on application:

Circular No. 46, Revised--The Functions and Uses of Food. By C. F.

Circular No. 43, Revised--Food-Nutrients-Food Economy. The Cost of Food
as Related to its Nutritive Value. By R. D. Milner.


As our knowledge increases, we give greater attention to the economical
and efficient use of all feeds for live-stock. We cannot afford to feed
even the corn stalks carelessly, either for the immediate concern of the
pocket-book or for the good of the animal. The results of many
experiments in feeding lead to the conclusion that a suitable daily
ration for a cow giving milk and weighing 1,000 pounds should contain 24
pounds of dry matter, of which 2.5 pounds is digestible protein; .4
pounds digestible fat; and 12.5 pounds digestible carbohydrates. In such
a ration, the ratio of digestible protein to digestible carbohydrates in
the ration will be as 1 is to 5.4. In computing this ratio the amount of
fat, multiplied by 2.4, is added to the carbohydrates. The fiber and the
nitrogen-free extract constitute the carbohydrates. Individual animals
vary so much in digestive capacity and in other respects that the
foregoing standards may be frequently widely departed from to advantage.
Thus many animals will profitably use more than 24 pounds of dry matter
in a day and the ratio of protein to carbohydrates may vary from 1:5 to
1:6.5 without materially affecting the amount or character of the
product. Standards are useful as guides. The art of feeding and the
skill of the feeder consist in determining in how far the standard
should be conformed to or departed from in each individual case.

Suppose a farmer has corn silage and timothy hay, and may purchase
cotton seed meal, wheat bran and buckwheat middlings, how may they be
combined so that the ration shall contain 24 pounds dry matter, and the
ratio of protein to the carbohydrates shall be approximately 1:5.4? The
following table gives the data:

                              Water. Protein. Fiber. Nitrogen-free  Fat.

  In 100 pounds of silage[60]. 79.1     1.2     4.3       7.4         .6
  Timothy hay                  13.2     3.4    16.8      28.4        1.2
  Cotton seed meal              8.2    31.3     1.3      10.9       11.9
  Wheat bran                   11.9    13.6     1.8      43.1        3.2
  Buckwheat middlings          13.2    22.     [61]      33.4        5.4

[60] Silage is often put up when the corn is more mature, and then the
water content is less than here given.

[61] Included with nitrogen-free extract.




[62] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 29, February, 1903.


If you are fond of a dish of "greens" made of young beet leaves in early
summer, you must see to it that there are beets in the garden. What
shall be planted? Seeds. Certainly; but where do the seeds come from?
Most of us buy them from a seedsman, it is true; but somebody must grow
them. They are not manufactured articles. If the beet plant produces
seeds it must first have flowers. Have you ever seen the beet in
blossom? When do the flowers come and how do they look?

Study the picture in Leaflet LII. Read the history beneath the picture.
Better still, get a plump red beet from the cellar, and plant it in a
can, a box, or a flower-pot. If no beets are to be had, a turnip, a
carrot, or a parsnip will do as well. It seems that "plants" come from
beet roots as well as from beet seed. The root you plant in the
flower-pot grew last summer from a seed. When may we expect the plant to
produce seeds of its own, thus multiplying according to its nature? If
you keep a beet plant long enough it will answer this question.

Beet seeds are rather slow in germinating. For this reason it is common
to soak them in warm water several hours or a day before planting in the
garden. These facts are interesting in themselves; and instead of being
discouraged should we not try to find out some reason why the beet seed
should take more time than the corn or the bean? From a comparative
study of a beet seedling and of a plant which comes from a beet root
throughout a season, one may learn the whole life history of a beet.
This story is not written down in books. Every stage of growth noted in
the two plants should be regarded as typical of the life of an
individual, for each plant must pass through all these stages in its
development from seed to seed again.

The seedling beet pushes out roots and begins early to take food from
the soil. One may even see the root-hairs through which the liquids
enter the plant. Inquire if the plant growing from a beet root has put
out new roots. Have not its old ones dried long ago in the cellar? It is
a good idea to have more than one plant, so that investigation of a
matter like this may go on without disturbing all. Where, if not from
the soil through roots, does the food come from which nourishes those
thick-ribbed leaves? From the stored-up material in the root, does it
not? Is this not the plant's way of providing for the second half of its
life, after a long resting period in the "beet" stage? When the "plant"
or top has grown quite large, how does the old beet look?

We may read in the botany that certain plants are biennials, taking two
seasons to pass through all the phases from seed to seed; but we shall
not know the joy of gaining knowledge from original sources nor
experience the mental training that comes with this "finding out"
process until we have actually planted the beets or other things and
watched them grow.

The following questions relate to the study of a beet plant. Any other
available plant may be reported on. The important thing is that a minute
study be made of some particular plant.

What plant are you making this special study of this month?

What care do you give it?

What conditions of temperature and moisture do you find most beneficial
to its growth?

What other plants are related to it? (Mention a wild and a cultivated

What leads you to think them related? (Make this clear and definite.)

How do the plants which come from beet roots differ from those which
come from the seed?

Of what utility to the plant is the fleshy root of beet, turnip, or
carrot? When is this root made use of by the plant?

What becomes of the old beet as the plant grows larger and stronger?

What is the natural length of life of an individual beet plant?

Through how many changes of form does it pass? Which of these are
"resting" stages?

Give the events in the life history of a beet in chronological order by
seasons, beginning with a seed in the spring of 1903, and ending with
the first crop of ripened seed.




[63] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. IV, No. 20, February, 1902.


You should know how the trees in your school yard have been pruned. Who
did the work, nature or a man with a saw? Some people hold to the idea
that pruning is unnatural, and therefore should not be practiced. Let us
see if this is true. Have you ever gone into the deep woods after a
storm? Who has been there, tearing and wrenching at the big limbs,
twisting the small branches until the ground is strewn with wreckage?
Nature has been pruning a few trees and she works with a fury which is
awe-inspiring. But the trees are much the worse for their encounter with
the forces they must obey without question. Their branches are broken;
mere stubs are left. With the melting snow and the April rains germs of
decay are likely to enter at every break in the bark. In a few years the
trunk may be weakened and the monarch of the woods lie prone upon the
forest floor.

We may learn the lesson of how not to prune by looking at this great
pine tree torn by the storm (Fig. 281).

"But why do we prune?" one asks. Let the horticulturist answer. In a
Farmers' Reading-Course lesson on The Care of Trees, Professor Craig
says: "Fruit trees must be pruned. If a tree in an open field is allowed
to go unpruned, the crown soon becomes a dense mass of twigs and
interlacing branches. Such a tree may produce as large a number of
apples as a well-pruned, open-headed tree, but will there be the same
percentage of merchantable fruit? The chief effort of every plant under
natural conditions is expended in ensuring its own reproduction. This is
chiefly effected by means of seeds. A small apple may contain as many
seeds as a large one and even more. The orchardist wants big fruits, and
if they are nearly seedless so much the better."

[Illustration: _Fig. 281. A pine tree pruned by the storm._]

In a tree top there is a sharp struggle for existence. But few of the
twigs which started from last year's buds will reach any considerable
size. One needs only to count the dead and the dormant buds on a branch,
and the weak, stubby, or decayed side shoots to appreciate this fact. If
part of the branches are cut out, this struggle is reduced and energy is
saved. By judicious pruning the tree may be shaped to suit the needs of
the owner. If a low tree is desired to make fruit-gathering easy pruning
keeps the head down. An open, spreading habit may be encouraged by
cutting out such branches as tend to grow close to the main trunk. A
careful orchardist has an ideal in his mind and knows how to prune to
bring the tree up to his standard. He knows the habits of trees of
different varieties. He will not prune all alike. He must prune some
every year, or the trees will not carry out his plans.

The pruner should not only know why he prunes, but how the work should
be done. He should be able to tell why he removes one limb and leaves
another. When I look at the trees in parks and along the streets I
wonder at the careless pruning. Judging from the way they are treated
one would think that a tree could be produced in "a year or two or three
at most."

Pruning should not be confined to fruit trees. It may be practiced with
profit on all kinds of plants from shade trees to house plants. Pinching
off the terminal bud of a young geranium makes the plant branch. Cutting
the lower limbs of a young elm makes the tree more stately. Nature may
do this, but broken branches leave wounds which the tree cannot heal.
Small branches may be cut close with a sharp knife or pruning shears.
The tree readily heals these places. It is little short of a crime to
break or tear limbs from trees. The injury done to the trees is bad
enough; but does not such heedless treatment of living things also have
a baneful influence on the mutilator?

For larger branches, if these must come off, no tool is better than a
sharp saw. The cut should be smooth and clean. No ragged edges of bark
should be left. The branch should all be cut off, and care should be
taken not to tear the bark about the wound. If a stub six or eight
inches long, or even one inch, be left, the tree is likely to suffer.
The branch started years ago from a bud on the side of the main trunk,
then but a twig itself. The fibers of the branch are continuous with
those of the trunk. In the air are the germs of decay. These take hold
of the bare stub and soon make their way to the center of the tree
itself. Try as it may, the tree cannot quickly heal a wound so far from
the main paths traveled by the sap in the trunk.

[Illustration: _Fig. 282. Close cutting results in prompt healing._]

The two illustrations (Figs. 282, 283) show the right and the wrong way
to remove a limb. When the branch is cut close, new growth takes place
all around the cut surface and in a few years the wound is healed.

[Illustration: _Fig. 283. The long stub does not heal._]

Bad pruning is worse than no pruning. Do you not think that nature
students should use their influence to protect the trees in the school
grounds, in the door yards, and along the streets? Trees have insect and
fungous enemies enough without having to contend against carelessness
and neglect.


1. Describe the results of some of the natural forces you have seen
pruning trees. Observe willows after a storm.

2. Are all sorts of trees affected alike by wind, ice, and snow?

3. From your observations which kinds suffer most? Give your opinion as
to why.

4. Nature does not always prune in this boisterous fashion. Silent
forces are at work pruning out the weak buds and shoots, giving the
strong ones a better chance. Select a very young tree, or a shrub like
the lilac. Examine the tips of the branches. You will find healthy buds
on last season's growth. See if you can find any dormant buds. Are there
any weak-looking or dead twigs?

5. Compare the number of strong healthy shoots with the number which the
plant started to make. How many of each?

6. Mention several good effects which may result from pruning.

7. What are some of the bad results of over-pruning? Of insufficient

8. Consult some orchard-owner concerning this subject. When does he
prune to increase the production of fruit? When to increase the growth
of the woody part of the tree?

9. If the lower branches of a tree are not removed, what is the effect
on the shape of the tree?

10. For what kinds of trees is this form desirable?

11. What is your opinion as to the shearing of evergreens into fantastic

12. If a tree has a tendency to grow crooked, how should one prune to
correct the habit?

13. Would you prune an elm tree just as you would an apple tree? Why?

14. Why does pinching off the terminal bud of a geranium produce a more
bushy plant?

15. Discuss in full the reasons for cutting a limb off smoothly and
close to the main trunk or larger branch. Look at every tree you pass to
see whether it has been pruned well. Has it been able to cover its
wounds by the healing process?

16. Is it correct to suppose that "anybody" can prune a tree?

17. The cut surfaces made by pruning large limbs from trees are often
covered with thick paint, tar, or Bordeaux mixture. What is the purpose
of this?

18. Why is it better to prune a little every year than a great deal once
in five years?

19. When is the best time to prune shade trees? Why?

20. Does a tree carry the bases of its branches upward as it grows
higher, or does the base of every branch remain at the level from which
it started originally? Observe many trees in different situations before
making up your mind on this point.




[64] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 2, November, 1903.


  The maple puts her corals on in May,
  While loitering frosts about the lowlands cling,
  To be in tune with what the robins sing,
  Plastering new log-huts 'mid her branches gray;
  But when the autumn southward turns away,
  Then in her veins burns most the blood of Spring,
  And every leaf, intensely blossoming,
  Makes the year's sunset pale the set of day.



Like a friend is a tree, in that it needs to be known season after
season and year after year in order to be truly appreciated. A person
who has not had an intimate, friendly acquaintance with some special
tree has missed something from life. Yet even those of us who love a
tree because we find its shade a comfort in summer and its bare branches
etched against the sky a delight in winter, may have very little
understanding of the wonderful life-processes which have made this tree
a thing of beauty. If we would become aware of the life of our tree we
must study it carefully. We should best begin by writing in a blank book
week after week what happens to our tree for a year. If we keep such a
diary, letting the tree dictate what we write, we shall then know more
of the life of our tree.

In selecting a tree for this lesson I have chosen the sugar maple, for
several reasons. It is everywhere common; it is beautiful; it is most
useful; and it has been unanimously chosen as the representative tree
of the Empire State. Let each of us choose some maple tree in our
immediate vicinity that shall be the subject for our lesson now, and
again in the winter, and again in the spring. Our first thought in this
study is that a tree is a living being, in a measure like ourselves, and
that it has been confronted with many difficult problems which it must
have solved successfully, since it is alive. It has found breathing
space and food; it has won room for its roots in the earth and for its
branches in the light; and it has matured its seeds and planted them for
a new generation.

[Illustration: _Fig. 284. Sugar maple._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 285. A sugar maple grown in an open field._]


The tree lives by breathing and by getting its daily food. It breathes
through the numerous pores in its leaves, and green bark, and roots. The
leaves are often called the lungs of the tree, but the young bark also
has many openings into which the air penetrates, and the roots get air
that is present in the soil. So the tree really breathes all over its
active surface, and by this process takes in oxygen from the air. It
gives off carbon dioxid as we do when we breathe.

[Illustration: _Fig. 286. Silver maple._]

While the leaves act as partial lungs they have two other most important
functions. First, they must manufacture the food for the entire tree.
"Starch factories" is the name that Uncle John gives to the leaves when
he talks to children, and it is a good name. The leaf is the factory;
the green pulp in the leaf cells is part of the machinery; the machinery
is set in motion by sun-shine power instead of steam or water power; the
raw materials are taken from the air and from the sap sent up from the
roots; the first product is usually starch. Thus, it is well when we
begin the study of our tree to notice that the leaves are so arranged as
to gain all sunlight possible, for without sunlight the starch factories
would be obliged to "shut down." It has been estimated that on a mature
maple of vigorous growth there is exposed to the sun nearly a half acre
of leaf surface. Our tree appears to us in an unfamiliar light when we
think of it as a starch factory covering half an acre. Plants are the
original starch factories. The manufactories that we build appropriate
the starch that plants make from the raw materials.

Starch is plant-food in a convenient form for storage; but as it cannot
be assimilated by plants in this form it must be changed to sugar before
it can be transported and used in building up plant tissues. Hence the
leaves have to perform the office of a stomach in order to digest the
food they have made for the use of the tree; they change the starch to
sugar, and they take from the sap nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and
other substances which the roots have appropriated from the soil, and to
these they add portions of the starch, and thus make the proteids which
form another part of the diet of the tree. It is interesting to know
that while these starch factories can operate only in the sunlight, the
leaves can digest the food, transport it, and build up tissues in the

[Illustration: _Fig. 287. The bole of a sugar maple grown in a wood._]

The autumn leaf, which is so beautiful, has completed its work. The
green material which colors the pulp in the leaf cells is withdrawn,
leaving there material which is useless, so far as the growing of the
tree is concerned, but which glows gold and red, thereby making glad the
eye that loves the varying tints in autumn foliage. It is a mistake to
believe that the frost makes these brilliant colors: they are caused by
the natural old age and death of the leaf, and where is there to be
found old age and death more beautiful? When the leaf turns yellow or
red it is making ready to depart from the tree; a thin corky layer is
being developed between its petiole and the twig, and when this is
finally accomplished the leaf drops from its own weight, from the touch
of the lightest breeze, or from a frost on a cold night.


We want you to know the maples from actual observation.

Discover the characteristic forms of the tree, the character of bark,
fruits, and leaves. Verify the pictures in this lesson.

Though the fruit of the sugar maple matures in midsummer, yet you may
perhaps find beneath your tree some of the keys or seeds now partially
planted. If the tree stands alone you may perchance see how well she has
strewn its seeds, and how many of its progeny have been placed in
positions where they can grow successfully.

[Illustration: _Fig. 288. Leaves and fruits of Norway maple._]

We have in New York State seven species of maple common in our forests.
Two of these are dwarf species rarely attaining thirty-five feet in
height, more often found as mere bushes. These two are the mountain
maple and the striped maple or moosewood. This latter is sometimes
called goose-foot maple, because its leaf is shaped somewhat like the
foot of a goose. Of the maples that attain to the dignity of tall trees
we have four species: the sugar maple, the silver or white maple, the
red or swamp maple, and the box elder. The leaf of the box elder does
not look like the leaf of a maple at all; it has a compound leaf of
three or five leaflets, but the flowers and fruits are those of the
maples. There is also a variety of sugar maple that is called black
maple. We have planted in our parks the sycamore and Norway maples
introduced from Europe, and also ornamental species from Japan. Our
native species are easily distinguished from these and from each other;
just a little observation as to the shape of the leaves, the form of the
trees, and the character of the bark enables a person to tell all these
species at a glance. I hope that you will become familiar with the seven
native species. Such knowledge is not only of practical use, but gives
real zest and pleasure. When a person walks in the morning he should be
able to call his tree acquaintances as well as his human acquaintances
by name.

[Illustration: _Fig. 289. Leaves and fruits of striped maple._]


1. How many species of maple trees do you know and what are they?

2. How do you distinguish the red maple and the silver maple from the
sugar maple?

3. What is the shape of the one tree you have chosen to study?

4. What is there in its shape to tell you of its history, _i.e._, did it
grow in the open or in the forest? Was it ever shaded on either side;
if so, what was the effect? How have the prevailing winds affected its

5. How old do you think the tree is?

6. Was the tree injured by storm or insects during the past season; if
so, how?

7. Study the leaves on this tree and note any differences in shape and

8. What is the use of the skeleton of the leaf?

[Illustration: _Fig. 290. Leaves of mountain maple, sugar maple, red

9. Is there always a bud in the axil where the leaf stalk joins the

10. How are the leaves arranged on the twig?

11. What is the color of the tree this autumn?

12. When did the leaves begin to fall? Place in your note book the date
when the tree finally becomes bare.

13. Have you found any seeds from your tree? If so, describe them.

14. How are they dispersed and planted?

15. Are both seeds of the pair filled out?

16. How high is your tree?

17. How large an area of shade does it produce? If it stands alone,
measure the ground covered by its shadow from morning until evening.

18. How has its shadow affected the plants beneath it? Are the same
plants growing there that grow in the open field?

19. Make a sketch of the tree you are studying, showing its outline.

20. Make a sketch of the leaf of the sugar maple.




[65] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 5, February, 1904.


  Strong as the sea and silent as the grave, it ebbs and flows unseen:
  Flooding the earth,--a fragrant tidal wave, with mists of deepening



"Tapping the sugar bush" are magical words to the country boy and girl.
The winter which was at first so welcome with its miracle of snow, and
its attendant joys of sleighing and skating, begins to pall by the last
of February. Too many days the clouds hang low and the swirling flakes
make out-of-door pursuits difficult. Then there comes a day when the
south wind blows blandly and the snow settles into hard, marble-like
drifts, and here and there a knoll appears bare, and soggy, and brown.
It is then that there comes just a suggestion of spring in the air; and
the bare trees show a flush of living red through their grayness and
every spray grows heavy with swelling buds. Well do we older folk
remember that in our own childhood after a few such days the father
would say, "We will get the sap buckets down from the stable loft and
wash them, for we can tap the sugar bush soon if this weather holds." In
those days the buckets were made of staves, and were by no means so
easily washed as are the metal buckets of to-day. Still do we recall the
sickish smell of musty sap that greeted our nostrils when we poured the
boiling water in to cleanse those old, brown buckets. During the long
winter evenings we had all had something to do with the fashioning of
the sap spiles made from selected stems of sumac; after some older one
had removed half of the small branch lengthwise with a draw-shave we
younger ones had cleared out the pith, thinking thirstily meanwhile of
the sweet liquid which would sometime flow there.

With buckets and spiles ready when the momentous day came, the large,
iron caldron kettle was loaded on a stoneboat together with the sap cask
and log chain, the axe and various other utensils, and as many children
as could find standing room; and then the oxen were hitched on and the
procession started across the rough pasture to the woods where it
eventually arrived after numerous stops for reloading almost everything
but the kettle. When we came to the boiling-place we lifted the kettle
into place and flanked it with two great logs, against which the fire
was to be kindled. Meanwhile the oxen and stoneboat had returned to the
house for a load of buckets; and the oxen blinking with bowed heads or
with noses lifted aloft to keep the underbrush from striking their faces
"geed and hawed" up hill and down dale through the woods, stopping here
and there while the man with the auger bored holes in certain trees near
other holes which had bled sweet juices in years gone by. When the auger
was withdrawn the sap followed it and enthusiastic young tongues met it
half way though they received more chips than sweetness therefrom. Then
the spiles were driven in tightly with a wooden mallet.

[Illustration: _Fig. 291. Sugar making in New York._]

The next day after "tapping," those of us large enough to wear the
neck-yoke donned this badge of servitude and with its help brought pails
of sap to the kettle, and the "boiling" began. As the evening shades
gathered, how delicious was the odor of the sap steam permeating the
woods farther than the shafts of fire-light pierced the gloom! How weird
and delightful was this night experience in the woods! and how
cheerfully we swallowed the smoke which the contrary wind seemed ever to
turn toward us! We poked the fire to send the sparks upward and now and
then we added more sap from the barrel and removed the scum from the
boiling liquid with a skimmer which was thrust into the cleft end of a
stick to provide it with a sufficiently long handle. As the evening wore
on we drew closer to each other as we told the stories of the Indians
and the bears and panthers that had roamed these woods when our father
was a little boy; and there came to each of us a disquieting suspicion
that perhaps they were not all gone yet, for everything seemed possible
in those night-shrouded woods; and our hearts suddenly jumped into our
throats when nearby there sounded the tremulous, blood-curdling cry of
the screech owl.

It was the most fun to gather the sap in the warmer mornings, when on
the mounds the red squaw-berries were glistening through a frosty veil;
then we looked critically at the tracks in the snow to see what visitors
had come sniffing around our buckets. We felt nothing but scorn for him
who could not translate correctly those hieroglyphics on the film of
soft snow that made white again the soiled drifts. Rabbit, skunk,
squirrel, mouse, muskrat, fox: we knew them all by their tracks.

After about three days of gathering and boiling the sap, came the
"syruping down." During all that afternoon we added no more sap, and we
watched carefully the tawny steaming mass in the kettle; and when it
threatened to boil over we threw in a thin slice of fat pork which
seemed to have some mysterious, calming influence. The odor grew more
and more delicious, and finally the syrup was pronounced sufficiently
thick. The kettle was swung off the logs and the syrup dripped through a
cloth strainer into the carrying pail. Oh! the blackness of the material
left on that strainer! but it was "clean woods-dirt" and never destroyed
our faith in the maple sugar any more than did the belief that our
friends were made of "dirt" destroy our friendship for them.

Now the old stave bucket and the sumac spile are gone, and in their
place a patent galvanized spile not only conducts the sap but holds in
place a tin bucket carefully covered. The old caldron kettle is broken
or lies rusting in the shed. In its place are evaporating vats placed
over furnaces with chimneys, built in the new-fangled sugar houses. The
maple molasses of to-day seems to us a pale and anæmic liquid and lacks
just that delicious flavor of the rich, dark nectar which we, with the
help of cinders and smoke and various other things, brewed of yore in
the open woods.

While sugar-making interests us chiefly as one of our own industries,
yet we must not forget that it is based upon the life processes of the
maple tree, and in studying about it we may be able to learn important
facts about the tree which we have chosen for our study.


1. How does the maple tree look in winter? Describe it or sketch it.

2. Are the buds on the twigs opposite or alternate?

3. Are the tips of the twigs the same color as the bark on the larger
limbs and trunk?

4. If you can draw, make a pencil sketch, natural size, of three inches
square of bark of the maple tree trunk.

5. How does the bark on the trunk differ from that on the branches?

6. How does the bark on the trunk of a maple tree differ from that on
the trunk of a soft maple or an elm?

7. What work for the tree do the trunk and branches perform?

8. Is the tree tapped on all sides? If not, why?

9. How deep must the spiles be driven successfully to draw off the sap?

10. Would you tap a tree directly above or at the same spot tapped last
year; or would you place two spiles one above the other? Give reasons.

11. Why does the sap flow more freely on warm days after cold nights?

12. Is the sap of which we make sugar going up or down?

13. How does the sugar come to be in the sap?

14. Why is the sugar made during the "first run" better than that which
is made later? Why cannot you make sugar in the summer?

15. Does it injure trees to tap them?

16. Do the holes made in earlier years become farther apart as the tree

17. What other trees besides the sugar maple give sweet sap?

18. What animals, birds, and insects are to be seen in the woods during
sugar-making time?

19. Have you ever seen the tracks of animals on the snow in the woods?
If so, make pictures of them and tell what animals made them.




[66] Home Nature-Study Course, Vol. V, No. 2, November, 1903.

    "All day long the red squirrels came and went, and afforded
    me much entertainment by their manoeuvres. One would approach
    at first warily through the shrub-oaks, running over the snow
    crust by fits and starts like a leaf blown by the wind, now a
    few paces this way, with wonderful speed and waste of energy,
    making inconceivable haste with his "trotters" as if it were for
    a wager, and now as many paces that way, but never getting on
    more than half a rod at a time; and then suddenly pausing with
    a ludicrous expression and a gratuitous somerset, as if all the
    eyes in the universe were fixed on him,--for all the motions of
    a squirrel, even in the most solitary recesses of the forest,
    imply spectators as much as those of a dancing girl,--wasting more
    time in delay and circumspection than would have sufficed to walk
    the whole distance,--I never saw one walk,--and then suddenly,
    before you could say Jack Robinson, he would be in the top of a
    young pitch-pine, winding up his clock and chiding all imaginary
    spectators, soliloquizing and talking to all the universe at the
    same time,--for no reason that I could ever detect, or he himself
    was aware of, I suspect."--THOREAU.


From contact with civilization some wild animals flourish while others
are soon exterminated by association with man. To this latter class
belongs the black squirrel. Within my own memory this beautiful creature
was almost as common in the rural districts of New York State as was the
red squirrel; but now it is seen no more except in most retired places;
while the red squirrel, pugnacious and companionable, defiant and shy,
climbs on our very roofs and sits there scolding us for daring to come
within his range of vision. One reason for the disappearance of the
black squirrel is, undoubtedly, the fact that its meat is a delicious
food. The red squirrel is also good food at certain times of the year,
but because of its lesser size, and its greater agility and cunning, it
has succeeded in living not merely despite of man, but because of man,
for now he rifles corn cribs and grain bins and waxes opulent by levying
tribute on man's own savings.

Although the red squirrel is familiar to us all, yet, I think, there are
few who really know its habits, which are as interesting as are those of
bear or lion. Note, for example, the way he peeps at us from the far
side of the tree, and the way he uses his tail as a balance and a help
in steering as he leaps. This same tail he uses in the winter as a boa
by wrapping it around himself as he lies curled up in his snug house.
His vocal exercises are most entertaining also; he is the only singer I
know who can carry two parts at a time. Notice some time this autumn
when the hickory nuts are ripe that the happy red squirrel is singing
you a duet all by himself,--a high, shrill chatter, with a low chuckling

We usually regard nuts as the main food of squirrels, but this is not
necessarily so; for they are fond of the seeds of pines and hemlocks,
and also hang around our orchards for apple-seeds. In fact, their diet
is varied. The red squirrel is a great thief and keeps his keen eye on
chipmunks and mice, hoping to find where they store their food so that
he can steal it if he can do so without danger to his precious self.


We want you to make some original observations on the red squirrel.

1. In summer, what is the color of the red squirrel on the upper parts?

2. What is the color along the side where the two colors join?

3. Do these colors change in winter?

4. Tell how and where the squirrel makes its nest.

5. Does it carry nuts in its teeth or in its cheeks?

6. Has it cheek pockets like the chipmunk?

7. Does the red squirrel store food for winter use? If so, where?

8. Does it spend its time sleeping in winter like the chipmunk, or does
it go out often to get food?

9. Name all the kinds of food which you know it eats.

10. Did you ever see a red squirrel disturb birds' nests?

11. How does a squirrel get at the meat of a hard-shelled nut like a
black walnut, or a hickory nut? (Answer this by a sketch, if you can

12. Do the squirrels of your neighborhood have certain paths in
tree-tops which they follow?

13. How many emotions does the squirrel express with his voice?

14. What kind of tracks does the red squirrel make in the snow? (Show
this by a sketch if possible.)




[67] Supplement to Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1902.



Despite all that is said and done the average school ground is far short
of its possibilities in an artistic way. Of this you are well aware, and
no doubt you have often wished that you might remedy this defect. Your
hours are full of arduous work. Perhaps, however, you can interest your
children to help you to clean and to improve the grounds, without much
extra care or work on your part.

This illustration of a schoolhouse (Fig. 292) is taken from Bulletin
160, published by the College of Agriculture of Cornell University. The
title of the bulletin is "Hints on Rural School Grounds." I wish you
would send for the bulletin. It will be mailed you free if you request

The picture is not an imaginary sketch, but a faithful representation of
what stood in a prosperous rural community less than five years ago. To
one familiar with country school buildings it will not be considered as
a solitary "awful example," but rather as a type of many that are
scattered over the State. I hope it is not your misfortune to be
teaching in such a house, even though it is my desire to reach every
teacher who is that luckless. However, to make my talk more real let us
"make believe," as children say, that you are the priestess in a similar
temple of learning. Together we will plan how we can make the most of
very uncongenial surroundings.

[Illustration: _Fig. 292. A country school property._]

It would be safe to wager a red apple that the inside of the building is
every bit as dilapidated as the outside. A community that tolerates such
a building would not be likely to have anything but the rudest furniture
and most of that on crutches. It would be something out of the usual if
the box stove is not short a leg or two, with brick-bats being used as
substitutes. You will be fortunate if the stove door has two good hinges
and if the wood is not green. At the last school meeting, did the
patrons instruct the trustees not to pay more than six dollars per week
for your services? Was the proposition that the district raise five
dollars, to which the State would add five more for the purchase of
books for a library, unanimously voted down and the poor man who
introduced the resolution expected to apologize for his temerity? The
leading man in the district each Sunday during summer drives two miles
to salt his young stock, inspect fences, and see how the yearlings are
prospering; but he never thinks of visiting the school to see how his
children are progressing. Yet the people of this district are not bad.
They are counted good citizens by the bar and judge, when they are drawn
on juries. The public buildings at the county-seat are models of their
kind and these gentlemen do not remonstrate as to the expense. Perhaps
it has not occurred to them that school buildings and grounds should
have as high a standard as those of the county. A correct public ideal
is everything. It is not a hopeless undertaking to advance such an ideal
in the community of which we are speaking.

I suggest to you as teacher in this school to undertake some
improvements in the grounds. I consider the above sketch to be a zero
case. If improvements can be developed here, it is reasonable to suppose
that the same can be repeated where conditions are primarily better. The
possibilities are sufficient to warrant the undertaking. The victory
will add to your strength. The lives of the children will be better
filled for the part they may do, and you will have started a public

[Illustration: _Fig. 293. "The girls organized themselves into a
tug-of-war team."_]

I should not appeal to the parents for help. You have a fountain of
power in the children. It is necessary only to inspire and guide them.
This is no theory of mine. It is a result that has been worked out in
many instances.

The beautiful city of Rochester is proud of its schools. The development
of the town made the construction of new school buildings necessary to
such an extent that little money remained for the improvement of the
grounds. Some of them were located in the breadwinners' districts. The
grounds were as the contractor left them; your imagination can picture
their condition. The interiors were well nigh perfect. The exterior was
sometimes a Sahara of mud and builders' rubbish. The principal of one of
the schools--a woman, by the way,--knowing the force in children, set
about to apply it to the improvement of the surroundings. Her method was
first to inspire, and then to direct. Her success was ample. Both boys
and girls participated. The girls organized themselves into a tug-of-war
team (Fig. 293). By fastening ropes to sticks and beams, these things
were hauled out of sight. The boys leveled the hummocks and brought
fertile soil from some distance. This principal confined her
improvements to small areas--so small that the children wanted to do
more when they were through. From the time school opened until the
rigors of winter stopped the juvenile improvements, only part of the
space from the front of the building to the street was graded. Some of
the boys brought chaff from a haymow, which was raked in as lawn grass
seed. The following spring quite as many weeds appeared as grass, but
the children gave the weeds the personification of robbers and made
their career short. The promoters had a just pride in what they had
accomplished; and that meagre bit of lawn meant vastly more to them than
had it been made by a high-salaried landscape gardener.

I am acquainted with another instance, where the patrons are largely
Polish Jews. I am credibly informed that the average head of a family
does not have a gross annual income to exceed three hundred and fifty
dollars. This necessitates that the mother go out for work and that the
children leave school as soon as the law allows to take up work. Yet
with all these unfavorable circumstances the pupils have a pride in
their school grounds that is glorious to see. In the fall of 1901 prizes
were offered for the greatest improvement of school grounds made by
children. Nothing daunted, the principal entered his grounds in
competition with those in the more wealthy part of the city. The
committee of awards gave him the third prize. To judge from the mere
physical side, the decision was no doubt just; but when judged on the
score of getting the greatest results from the least material, the
principal and his school may have deserved the first prize, plus a

The chances are that your fuel is wood, and perhaps not very
dry at that. It is in a pile in the open. Sometimes the sticks are
scattered over half the lot. This you can prevent by properly
appealing to the pride of your pupils. You will find that they
wish to be more tidy than is the school over in Whippoorwill Hollow
or in some other district that is considered to be a little more
in the back country than your own.

About the time you hear the first spring notes of the bluebird and the
robin, prepare public opinion in your little school community for a
spring furnishing. You can devise many ways to inspire them. Tell them
about Col. George R. Waring and his white brigade and what they did to
make New York City cleaner than it had been for many decades before.
After the Spanish war, when Cuba became a responsibility upon the United
States, the question arose as to what could be done to make filthy
Havana cleaner and freer from yellow fever. No one was thought by the
Federal government so competent to solve the problem as Colonel Waring.
He went, spared not himself, and did his duty, did it so fearlessly that
he died the victim of the filth he had fought so valiantly. He had done
much during previous years to commend his memory to posterity; but
probably nothing will stand out so prominently as his great ability to
correct municipal untidiness. Ask your pupils to be Warings in their own

By this time the ground will be bare of snow and it will be soft. Ask
some of the pupils to bring rakes, and have them gather up the rubbish.
You can all play gypsies when you gather about the bonfire. This will be
a favorable time to sow grass seed; for I have no doubt the school lot
will need it. A lawn mixture of seed would be ideal, but I hardly expect
you to pay for it. At this stage of your improvements, I scarcely expect
that any of the patrons of your school would do so either. Later some of
them may feel differently. Your pupils can at least follow the plan of
those spoken of in Rochester--get chaff from a haymow. It will
inevitably be a mixture of grass and weeds, but the latter can be pulled
out after germinating. It is barely possible that some farmer will give
you some clover and timothy, such as he uses in seeding his meadow; and
this will be far better.

Next, I should put out a hitching-post. When your school commissioner
calls it will be appreciated. If that functionary does not publicly
compliment your school for even such small improvements, I wish you
would report such indifference to me, giving his full address, and I
will request him to explain this forgetfulness.

Good results in landscape-gardening depend on observing certain
principles, the same as with our wardrobe. Many a clever girl will
accomplish more in dress with twenty-five dollars than others can do
with twice that amount. Among the first and most important efforts is to
make a frame or setting for the house by planting around the borders of
the place. Sometimes the location will make this inconvenient if not
impossible, when, for instance, the building is placed near the street
or crowded between other buildings. Even in such cases, however, it is
well to keep the idea clearly in mind and to approach it as nearly as
circumstances will permit. An illustration of a normal location to which
this principle can be applied is shown in Fig. 294. The trees and the
higher shrubs are planted first and on the extreme borders of the lot,
with shorter shrubs, roses, and the like in front of them. This frame
can be given a finish by planting flowers or very low things next the
grass. If the area be ample, let the edges be irregular (Fig. 294); but
if very limited, straight lines become necessary.

[Illustration: _Fig. 294. Showing how the borders may be planted._]

The open space within the boundaries should be a mat of green carpeting,
for nothing can be more beautiful than sward. Fight all influences to
bedeck it with beds of flowers in forms of stars and moons and other
celestial and terrestrial designs. The demands for such capers may be
great, but hold out against them boldly. Certain small shrubs, ferns,
and flowers may be planted along the walls of the building, particularly
in the angles; but I beg of you to leave the green plat unscalloped and
unspoiled, only as is necessary for drives and walks. When the buildings
are unsightly, cover with vines and plant bushes against them. Fig. 295
illustrates how Fig. 292 may be improved with very little effort.

Now I will speak of the actual planting. In the light of unnumbered
thousands of Arbor Day trees put out to struggle a few weeks for life
and then die, this may seem the most important feature of my article. To
the unsuccessful planter, let me suggest that he select shrubs and trees
which take care of themselves under adverse conditions. We have a
number of such. If they were imported from Japan and sold at fancy
prices, they would be greatly appreciated. The common sumac is one of
them. For a shrub I know of nothing of its class so sure to bear the
ordeal of transplanting or to make more vigorous growth under adverse
conditions. It can be pruned to suit, and nothing can rival its blaze of
color in late autumn; yet as a farmer, I know the experience of fighting
against its existence in fence corners, about stone piles, and on steep
hillsides. I do this even though I am fond of the shrub and admire it.
It encroaches on my vineyard and injures the crop. Grapes will help pay
taxes and sumac will not. In my cherry orchard it is a weed. In my back
yard and on the borders of my lawn it is an ornamental shrub. The same
can be observed of people. When in their proper sphere they are helpful
factors in a community; when out of it they are nuisances.

[Illustration: _Fig. 295. How the grounds in Fig. 292 may be improved._]

If you ask me to mention a tree most likely to live when planted by
unskilled hands, I should name the willow. I mean the most common kind
to be found in the northern States--the kind that stands beside the
roadside watering-trough. The impression is common that willows will
thrive only in wet places. It is true that a willow is very comfortable
in places where many other trees will suffer from wet feet; yet it will
give good results elsewhere. It is reasonable to suppose that poor soil
goes with a poor school building, and a refined tree would probably
find life hard in such a place. I should certainly plant a willow in
such cases. It will thrive where a goat can, and where a sheep cannot.
For city places, the Carolina poplar is to be recommended. If the soil
is good enough, plant maples, elms, or other trees.

A judicious planting of Virginia creeper helps the appearance of
buildings both good and bad. I should surely plant it about the main
building and the outbuildings and fences, if the patrons of the school
did not object. The probabilities are that when the vines have begun to
cover some of the deformities of the place, some finicky resident of the
district will cut them out on the plea that they promote decay of the
weather-beaten clap-boards; but do not be discouraged by such a
possibility. Vines, too, usually interfere with the painting of a
building. Although they may be taken down and put back after the
painters are through, the first effect is not regained unless the
process of putting back has been done with unusual care.

Do not make the mistake of planting too much. A small lawn can be
overdressed as is sometimes the case with women. Lilac, Japan quince,
syringa, hydrangea, and like common shrubs, could be planted if the
opportunities of space seem to warrant.

I hope it will be your taste to allow the limbs of the trees to start
low and those of the shrubs to begin as near the ground as possible. I
am aware that among country people it is the practice to tolerate only
the higher limbs. I can give a reason for this only on the supposition
that they must do something in pruning, and the lower limbs are the most
convenient to reach. I know a man who came into possession of a place
having a fine lot of evergreens with the lower branches at the ground.
By way of proclaiming a change of ownership he cut away the lower
branches, leaving a bare trunk of about five feet. Before he touched
them they were beautiful green cones and when passing the place I always
turned my face in their direction to enjoy the beauty. When he was
through they were standing on one leg, and a wooden leg at that. I have
never felt kindly toward the man since.

In the matter of planting I know of no better method than that of the
experienced orchardist. As a rule he buys his trees of a nurseryman.
They are often dug in the fall, and are planted the following spring.
During the interval they are stored in specially constructed cellars,
and at no time are the roots permitted to become dry. When packed for
shipment damp moss is placed about the roots. When the orchardist
removes them from the packing box he "heels" them in, which is a kind of
probationary planting in shallow furrows where they stand until ready to
be set out permanently. When that time comes the trees are taken from
the trench and the roots plunged in a tub of thin mud or doused with
water and covered with a blanket. An orchardist counts a tree lost if
the roots have been allowed to remain in the sun until the small
rootlets have so dried that they have a gray appearance.

In taking the young tree from the nursery row only a fraction of the
original roots go with the tree, and these are badly bruised at the
point of cleavage. These ragged ends should be dressed smoothly by means
of a slanting cut with a knife. All mutilated roots should be removed.
You must bear in mind that the roots you find with the trees are capable
of performing but a small part of what was done by all the roots when
growing in their native place.

The hole in which the tree is set should be large enough to accommodate
the roots without cramping them out of their natural positions. It is
important that the earth used for filling should be fertile, and it is
doubly important that it should be fine--even superfine. Clods, even
small clods like marbles, will not snuggle up to the bark of the root as
closely as is absolutely necessary. Set the tree about an inch deeper
than you think it originally stood, so that when planted and the earth
settles, it will really be about the same depth. All the earth should
not be dumped in at once and then the surface pressed firm with the
feet. A close examination will show that the soil has "bridged" in
places, leaving many roots in tiny caverns. It is important that fine
soil should be snuggled close to each little rootlet, not for warmth but
for moisture. Fill the hole by installments of one-third at each
filling. Sprinkle the fine earth about the roots. Then dash in a third
of a pail of water. This will give the roots much needed moisture and,
best of all, will wash the earth about each root fiber. I urge the
adoption of this careful method for all trees and shrubs, not excepting
the sumac and willow. Even wallows will show their gratitude for such
considerate treatment, even though they are able to survive rougher
usage. They will pay for it when the drought and neglect of summer come.

The most common mistake made in the selection of trees is in taking
those that are too large. For the conditions that we have under
consideration, I suggest that a tree no larger than a broom-handle be
chosen. I know that the common feeling is, "we shall have to wait too
long for our shade." Unless the larger tree is in the hands of an
expert, the smaller will be the more desirable at the end of five years.
I much prefer, moreover, the selection of a tree or shrub growing in the
sunshine, rather than one from the shade.

I have one final request to make, which to the novice will be the most
difficult of all and one which he is quite likely to fail in performing
because of lack of moral courage. I mean the cutting back of the top of
the tree or shrub after planting. Before the removal of the tree, the
roots probably found pasturage in a cart load of soil. After planting,
the root pasturage is not more than half a bushel of soil. What follows
when the forces of plant growth begin? A demand for soil products, with
a very much restricted means of supply. The top must be cut back to
match the shortened root system. Thousand of trees die every year
because this principle is not duly observed and the failure is often
attributed to the nurseryman. The amount necessary to cut back differs
with different trees and shrubs. No hard and fast rules can be given.
With willows and sumacs one-third to one-half of everything bearing leaf
buds can be cut away. With a maple having a diameter of one and a half
inches at the butt, I should suggest that about one-third of the branch
area be left to grow.

In this article I have had in mind the improvement of school grounds
where all the conditions are at zero--where the building would be a
discredit to any owner, where the patrons are totally indifferent, and
where the only resource is to awaken a public spirit on the part of the
children. With better school buildings, more ample grounds, and a small
number of patrons favorable to improvement, the foregoing ideas need not
be followed closely. However, they do contain principles and some
details that deserve careful consideration, even in landscape planting
of the highest form. The first step should be the development of local
pride. Something may be accomplished among the parents; but it is a
problem as to what extent that may be done. To the true teacher the
pupils may be counted upon as the mainstay in such an undertaking. To
such a teacher I should say, Do not for a moment believe that the
improvements seen about the school grounds will be all the good that is
wrought. Fifty years from now there will be a few gray-haired
men and women who take more interest in the appearance of their
"front-door-yard," and give their children encouragement in having a
posy bed "all their own," and who extend sympathy and service to the
better appearance of the school grounds, because of your altruism when
you taught district school.

We have some aids that may be helpful to you and to which you are
welcome. Bulletin 160, spoken of at the beginning, specifically treats
of this work, and Bulletin 121, on "Planting of Shrubbery," has been
very popular. We have published a number of articles on children's
gardening, all of which will be sent you free if you request it. If you
have specific problems we shall be glad to have you write and we will
help you all we can by correspondence.

The most efficient help we can give you is through the organizing of
your pupils into Junior Naturalist clubs. We give these clubs especial
instruction in gardening and the improvement of home and school grounds.
Children receive great inspiration from large numbers doing the same
thing, while we can give instruction to ten thousand as easily as to one
child. Many hundreds of teachers and thousands of children find the
study of nature a beam of sunshine in the schoolroom and a great aid in
the English period without being a burden to the teacher.




Most of these leaflets were published as companions to the Teachers'
Leaflets and Lessons,--the teachers' lessons written in one vein and the
children's in another. Even though the subject-matter may be largely
duplicated in the two, it seems worth while to keep these separate as
showing a simple method of presentation and as suggesting a means of
procedure to those who would reach small children.



  A little child sat on the sloping strand
    Gazing at the flow and the free,
  Thrusting its feet in the golden sand,
    Playing with the waves and the sea.

      I snatch'd a weed that toss'd on the flood
        And parted its tangled skeins;
      I trac'd the course of the fertile blood
        That lay in its meshèd veins;

      I told how the stars are garner'd in space,
        How the moon on its course is roll'd,
      How the earth is hung in its ceaseless place
        As it whirls in its orbit old:--

  The little child paus'd with its busy hands
    And gaz'd for a moment at me,
  Then dropp'd again to its golden sands
    And play'd with the waves and the sea.




(Compare Leaflet VII.)

  A chill no coat however stout,
  Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,
       *       *       *       *       *
  The coming of the snow storm told.


[68] Junior Naturalist Monthly, December, 1903.


"Surely, it is going to snow," says Grandfather, as he puts an armful of
wood into the old box beside the fire; and a happy feeling comes over
you, and you like Grandfather a little better because he has promised
you a snow storm. "What a wise old Grandfather he is!" you think. He
always seems to know what is going to happen out-of-doors and you wonder
how he learned it all. Perhaps I can tell you why Grandfather is so
wise. When he was a boy he lived on a farm and was in the outdoor world
summer and winter. There he learned to know Nature day by day. This is
why he can consult her now as to wind and weather, and why he nearly
always understands what she tells him. He is a good observer.

If you hope ever to be as weather-wise as Grandfather, you must begin
right away to see and to think. The next time you hear him say, "It is
going to snow," put on your fur cap and mittens and go out-of-doors. Is
the air clear, crisp, and cold--the kind you like to be out in? Or is it
a keen cold that makes you long for the fire-place? Can you see the sun?
If so, how does it look? In what direction is the wind? How cold does
the thermometer tell you it is?

All the time that you are learning these things the storm will be
coming nearer. Then on your dark coat sleeve something soft and white
and glistening falls--a snowflake. You touch the bright thing and it
disappears. Where did it come from and whither did it go? Others follow
faster and faster, jostling each other as they whirl through the air.
Look at them closely. Are the crystals large and flowery or small and
clear? Put your head back and let them come down on your face. Is their
touch soft or do they hurt as they fall?

Perhaps by this time you are very cold and think that supper must be
nearly ready. You go into the house, and you find the gray kitten
snoozing comfortably on the hearthrug. You snuggle down beside her "to
warm your frozen bones a bit," and still the storm and outdoor world are
near; for is it not splendid music that the wind is making as it roars
down the old chimney or sways the tall pine trees?


Answer as many of the following questions as you can from your own

1. How did the sky look before it began to snow? During the storm? After
the storm? It is always a good thing to look up at the sky.

2. In what direction did the old weather-cock tell you the wind was
blowing as the storm came on? Did the wind change during the storm? If
so, did the snow change in any way?

3. Look at snow crystals through a tripod lens if you have one. How many
points do they have?

4. After supper go to the window, raise the shade, and look out on the
stormy night. Tell Uncle John all that you see.

5. On your way to school the next day after a snow storm, have the
following in mind to write to us about:

(a) The tracks in the snow. How many do you find? Did Rover make them?
the gray kitten? a snow bird? an old crow? a rabbit? a squirrel?

(b) The way the trees and small plants receive the snow. Some hold it,
others cast it off: why?

(c) Notice the snow drifts. Where are they highest? Why does the snow
pile up in some places and not in others? Is the drift deepest close to
buildings or a little way from them? Are the drifts deepest close to the
trees, or is there a space between the tree and the drift?




[69] Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1903.


I dropped a seed into the earth. It grew, and the plant was mine.

It was a wonderful thing, this plant of mine. I did not know its name,
and the plant did not bloom. All I know is that I planted something
apparently as lifeless as a grain of sand and that there came forth a
green and living thing unlike the seed, unlike the soil in which it
stood, unlike the air into which it grew. No one could tell me why it
grew, nor how. It had secrets all its own, secrets that baffle the
wisest men; yet this plant was my friend. It faded when I withheld the
light, it wilted when I neglected to give it water, it flourished when I
supplied its simple needs. One week I went away on a vacation, and when
I returned the plant was dead; and I missed it.

Although my little plant had died so soon, it had taught me a lesson;
and the lesson was that it is worth while to have a plant. I wish that
every Junior Naturalist would have a plant. It matters little what the
plant is. Just drop the seed, keep the earth warm and moist, watch the
plant "come up," see it grow. Measure its height at a given time every
day. Keep a record of how many times you water it. Make a note of every
new leaf that appears. See whether it leans towards the light. If it
dies, tell why. Four weeks from the time when you plant the seed, send
Uncle John your notes.

A sheet of foolscap paper contains about twenty-eight lines, one line
for the notes of each day, and space enough at the top to write your
name, date of sowing, kind of seed, and nature of the soil. Open the
sheet and on each line at the left side write all the dates for four
weeks ahead; then fill in these lines across the two pages day by day as
the plant grows. For the first few days there will not be much to write,
but you can say whether you watered the earth or not, and where you
kept the pot or box. It will be good practice to get into the habit of
taking notes. I suppose that the record of the first few days will run
something as follows:

    MYRON JOHNSON, name of school, age ----. ----, Teacher.

    _Feb. 2._ Monday. Planted six cabbage seeds in loose soil from the
    chip yard. I put the earth in a small old tin cup, and pressed it
    down firmly. I made it just nicely moist, not wet. I planted the
    seeds about equal distances apart and about one-fourth inch deep,
    and pressed the earth over them.

[Illustration: _Fig. 297. An egg-shell farm. The plants, from left to
right, are: cabbage, field corn, pop-corn, wheat, buckwheat._]

_Feb. 2._ Did not water to-day, for the soil seemed to be moist enough.

_Feb. 3._ Watered at 10:30 A. M. Teacher told me to be careful not to
make the soil too wet.

_Feb. 4._ Watered at noon.

_Feb. 5._ Put the cup nearer the stove so that the seeds would come up
more quickly.

_Feb. 6._ The earth is cracking in two or three places. Watered at noon.

_Feb. 7._ Went to the schoolhouse and found some of the plants coming

_Feb. 9._ Four of the plants are up. (Here tell how they look, or make a
few marks to show.)

When your month's record is all complete, send the sheet, or a copy of
it, to Uncle John, and this will be your club dues. See how many things
you can find out in these four weeks.

[Illustration: _Fig. 298. A window plant that is easy to grow. It is a
common garden beet. The end of the beet was cut off so that it could be
got into the tin can. A very red beet will produce handsome red-ribbed
leaves. In all cases, be sure that the crown or top of the plant has not
been cut off too close, or the leaves may not start readily. The beet
starts into growth quickly and the growing plant will stand much abuse.
It makes a very comely plant for the school-room window. Try carrot,
turnip, and parsnip in the same way._]

Before the four weeks are past write to Uncle John and he will tell you
what next to do. By that time your plants will need transplanting, and
he will tell you how to do it. Perhaps you can set some of the plants
outdoors later on and see them grow all summer; whether you can or not
will depend on the kinds of plants that you grow. If you want to grow
asters or cabbages next summer, you can start some of them in February
and March.

Quick-germinating seeds, fit for starting in the schoolroom, are wheat,
oats, buckwheat, corn, bean, pumpkin and squash, radish, cabbage,
turnip. Perhaps some of these require a warmer place than others in
which to germinate. If you find out which they are, let Uncle John know.

You can grow the plants in egg-shells, wooden boxes (as cigar boxes),
tin cans, flower pots. If you use tin cans it is well to punch two or
three holes in the bottom so that the extra water will drain out. Set
the can or box in a saucer, plate, or dripping-pan so that the water
will not soil the desk or table. It is best not to put it in a sunny
window until after the plants are up, for the soil is likely to "bake"
or to become hard on top; or if you do put it in such a place, throw a
newspaper over it to prevent the earth from drying out.


[70] Alice G. McCloskey, Junior Naturalist Monthly, January, 1904.

Last year hundreds of children sent us records of their plants. This
kind of work is most satisfactory to Uncle John. Following is a record
which we received in March, from a girl in the fourth grade:

Feb. 16--Monday. I planted seven cabbage seeds in an eggshell. I did not
water it.

Feb. 17--Did not see anything.

Feb. 18--Saw a little brown thing.

Feb. 19--Saw a little seed lying on top.

Feb. 20--Saw little sprout.

Feb. 21--Holiday.

Feb. 22--Holiday.

Feb. 23--Holiday.

Feb. 24--Saw two little sprouts.

Feb. 25--The egg-shell was full of sprouts.

Feb. 26--The plant was coming up and the earth was very wet, so I did
not water it.

Feb. 27--Saw six sprouts.

Feb. 28--Holiday.

March 1--Holiday.

March 2--Turned the plant around, so it would look toward the light.

March 2--That afternoon I planted the cabbage in a tin can with tissue
paper around it, because the cabbage outgrew the eggshell some time ago.

March 3--I put the plant out of the window.

March 4--I did not look at it.

March 5--One of the sprouts began to droop.

March 6--I dug the dirt up around it. Then it was put in the air out of
the window.

March 7--Holiday.

March 8--Holiday.

March 9--I put it out of the window.

March 10--It was put out of the window. It was brought in at the close
of school.

March 11--Dug the dirt out from the plant and patted it down.

March 12--Watered.

March 13--Put out of the window.

March 14--Holiday.

March 15--Holiday.

March 16--Watered and put out of the window. HELEN.

Was not this a good record for a little girl to make? I wish that she
had told something about the soil in which she planted the seeds. This
is always important. In winter you may have some difficulty in getting
soil, but in the village a florist will let you have some, and in the
country you may be able to get it in the cellar of a grocery store or
from your own cellar. Perhaps you can find some in the potato bin. When
there is a "thaw," get some soil, even if it is very wet; you can dry it
near the stove. Perhaps your schoolhouse will be too cold over Sunday in
mid-winter to allow you to grow plants. If so, plant the seeds at home.

When you have planted your seeds, unless you take them up every day, you
cannot see how the little plants are behaving down under the soil. I
want to tell you how you can know some things that the plants are doing
without disturbing them.

[Illustration: _Fig. 299. Radish seeds germinating between
blotting-paper and the side of a tumbler._]

Choose an ordinary glass (Fig. 299), roll up a piece of blotting paper
so that it is a trifle smaller than the glass, and place it inside.
Between the blotting paper and the glass, put a few radish seeds or any
kind of seed such as you planted in the soil. Keep the blotting paper
moist and watch what happens. In four or five days the plants should be
"up." Here are some things to think about as you watch them:

1. Note any change in the seeds when they have been moist for a few

2. What happens to the outer coat of the seed?

3. In what direction does the little root grow? The stem?

4. Notice the woolly growth on the root? Does this growth extend to the
tip of the root?

5. When the little plant has begun to grow, turn it around so that the
root is horizontal. Does it remain in that position?

6. How soon do the leaves appear?

It may interest some of the Junior Naturalists to see the effect of much
water on seeds. Suppose you experiment a little along this line. Choose
three glasses. In one put seeds into water, in another put them into
very wet or muddy soil, and in the third plant the seeds in moist soil,
such as seeds are ordinarily planted in. Tell us the results of the
three experiments.


Following is a facsimile reproduction of a spontaneous and unpruned
record made by a child in the third grade. The child grew beans in a
tumbler against blotting paper, as shown in Fig. 299. I hope that this
will illustrate to both teacher and children the value of simple


[Illustration: _Fig. 300. The bean plants that were grown by the
third-grade child._]




(Compare Leaflet XXXI.)

[71] Junior Naturalist Monthly, January, 1903.


Yesterday I went over into the old apple orchard. It was a clear
November day. The trees were bare. The wind had carried the leaves into
heaps in the hollows and along the fences. Here and there a cold-blue
wild aster still bloomed. A chipmunk chittered into a stone pile.

I noticed many frost-bitten apples still clinging to the limbs. There
were decayed ones on the ground. There were several small piles of fruit
that the owner had neglected, lying under the trees, and they were now
worthless. I thought that there had been much loss of fruit, and I
wondered why. If the fruit-grower had not made a profit from the trees,
perhaps the reason was partly his own fault. Not all the apples still
clinging to the tree were frost-bitten and decayed. I saw many very
small apples, no larger than the end of my finger, standing stiff on
their stems. Plainly these were apples that had died when they were
young. I wondered why.

[Illustration: _Fig 301. This is the branch that tried and failed._]

I took a branch home and photographed it. You have the engraving in Fig.
301. Note that there are three dead young apples at the tip of one
branch. Each apple came from a single flower. These flowers grew in a
cluster. There were three other flowers in this cluster, for I could see
the scars where they fell off.

But why did these three fruits die? The whole branch on which they grew
looked to be only half alive. I believe that it did not have vigor
enough to cause the fruit to grow and ripen. If this were not the cause,
then some insect or disease killed the young apples, for apples, as well
as people, may have disease.

[Illustration: _Fig. 302. These are the flowers that make the apples.
How many clusters are there?_]

Beneath the three dead apples, is still another dead one. Notice how
shrivelled and dried it is, and how the snows and rains have beaten away
the little leaves from its tip. The three uppermost apples grew in 1902;
but this apple grew in some previous year. If I could show you the
branch itself, I could make you see in just what year this little apple
was borne, and just what this branch has tried to do every year since.
This branch has tried its best to bear apples, but the fruit-grower has
not given it food enough, or has not kept the enemies and diseases away.

The lesson that I got from my walk was this: if the apples were not good
and abundant it was not the fault of the trees, for they had done their

In the cellar at home we have apples. I like to go into the cellar at
night with a lantern and pick apples from this box and that--plump and
big and round--and eat them where I stand. They are crisp and cool, and
the flesh snaps when I bite it and the juice is as fresh as the water
from a spring. There are many kinds of them, each kind known by its own
name, and some are red and some are green, some are round and some are
long, some are good and some are poor.

[Illustration: _Fig. 303. The apples are usually borne one in a place,
although the flowers are in clusters. Why?_]

Over and over, these apples in the cellar have been sorted, until only
the good ones are supposed to remain. Yet now and then I find a decayed
heart or a hollow place. The last one I picked up was fair and handsome
on the outside, but a black place and a little "sawdust" in the blossom
end made me suspicious of it. I cut it open. Here is what I found (Fig.
306). Someone else had found the apple before I had. Last summer a
little moth had laid an egg on the growing apple, a worm had come from
the egg and had eaten and eaten into the apple, burrowing through the
core, until at last it was full grown, as shown in the picture. Now it
is preparing to escape. It has eaten a hole through the side of the
apple, but has plugged up the hole until it is fully ready to leave.
When it leaves it will crawl into a crack or crevice somewhere, and next
spring change into a pupa and finally come forth a small, dun-gray moth.
This moth will lay the eggs and then die; and thus will be completed the
eventful life of the codlin-moth, from egg to worm and pupa and moth.
But in doing all this the insect has spoiled the apple. The insect acts
as if the apple belonged to him; but I think the apple belongs to me. I
wonder which is correct?

[Illustration: _Fig. 304. The Baldwin apple. How many kinds of apples do
you know?_]

[Illustration: _Fig. 305. The same Baldwin apple cut in two._]

Some of these apples are sound and solid on the inside, but they have
hard blackish spots on the outside (Fig. 307). This is a disease--the
apple-scab. This scab is caused by minute plants and these plants also
claim the apple as their own. There are ways by means of which the
apple-grower is able to destroy the codlin-moth and the apple-scab; and
thereby he secures fair and sound apples.

Insects and diseases and men are all fighting to own the apple.


When you write your dues to Uncle John on the apple, answer as many of
the following questions as you can. You can get the answers from an
apple itself. He does not want you to ask anyone for the answers:

1. How much of the apple is occupied by the core?

2. How many parts or compartments are there in the core?

3. How many seeds are there in each part?

4. Which way do the seeds point?

5. Are the seeds attached or joined to any part of the core? Explain.

6. What do you see in the blossom end of the apple?

7. What do you see in the opposite end?

[Illustration: _Fig. 306. This is an apple in which a worm made its

8. Is there any connection between the blossom end and the core?

9. Find a wormy apple and see if you can make out where the worm left
the apple. Perhaps you can make a drawing. To do this, cut the apple in
two. Press the cut surface on a piece of paper. When the apple is
removed you can trace out the marks.

[Illustration: _Fig. 307. These are the apples on which other plants are
living.--The apple-scab._]

10. When you hold an apple in your hand, see which way it looks to be
bigger--lengthwise or crosswise. Then cut it in two lengthwise, measure
it each way, and see which diameter is the greater.

[Illustration: _Fig. 308. Here is where city boys and girls buy their




[72] Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1904.


Along a country road, through a drifted field, over a rail fence, and
into the woods I went, gathering twigs here and there as I passed. A
February thaw had come and these first messengers of spring, reaching
out from shrub and tree, were beginning to show signs of life. Many
young people do not believe that spring is near until they hear a robin
or a bluebird. The bare little twigs tell us first. Look at them as you
go on your way to school. Are they the same color in February that they
were in the short December days?

When I reached home with my bundle of twigs, it was "fun" to sit by the
window and study the strange little things. They were so different one
from another, and so interesting in every way, that I decided to ask our
boys and girls to gather some winter twigs and tell us about them.
Select your twigs from the butternut, willow, hickory, horsechestnut,
apple, plum, plane-tree, maple, or any other tree that you come across.
Here are some suggestions that will help you in your study:

1. How many colors do you find in one twig? Count the tints and shades.
I found eight colors on a small maple branch (Fig. 309).

[Illustration: _Fig. 309. Red or swamp maple._]

2. Notice the differences in several twigs as they lie on the table.
What makes them look so different: size, shape, color, arrangement of
buds, the size or shape of the buds?

3. On how many twigs are the buds opposite each other? Note the opposite
buds on the horsechestnut (Fig. 310). On how many are they alternate?
Are the buds opposite on the butternut (Fig. 311)?

4. Which twigs bear the buds singly?

5. When you find two or more buds growing together on a stem, is there
any difference in the size of the buds?

6. On how many of the twigs can you see a scar left by the leaf when it
dropped off (Fig. 310 and Fig. 311 _a, a_)? Compare the leaf scars on
different twigs. Notice the strange scar on the butternut (Fig. 311). It
looks like the face of an old sheep.

[Illustration: _Fig. 310. Horsechestnut._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 311. Butternut._]

7. Do you see any cocoons on your twig?

8. You all know the rings on an apple twig that tell how much it grew
each year. Do you find rings on other twigs? Do you see them on any of
these pictures?

9. What do you suppose makes these rings? Do you think there was once a
large terminal bud where these rings are?




(Compare Leaflet XLVI.)

[73] Extended from Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1901.


First snow, then sleet, and then a down-pour of rain--it stormed all
day. At night-fall it grew colder. The wind blew fiercely. The twigs and
branches fell on the white crust which covered the earth. Nature was
pruning the trees.

Have you ever seen your father go into the orchard and prune his trees?
Why did he do it? Compare the work done by nature and that which your
father does. Which seems to be the more careful pruner?

Let us experiment a little. It will please Uncle John. He always wants
his boys and girls to find out things for themselves. Select a branch of
lilac or some other shrub. Mark it so that you will always know it.
Count the buds on the branch. Watch them through the spring and the
summer. Note the number that become branches. You will then know that
nature prunes the trees.

If you think a minute, you will see that pruning is necessary in the
plant world. Suppose a branch has thirty buds, and that every bud should
produce thirty branches, each of which in turn should produce thirty
more,--do you think there would be any room left in the world for boys
and girls? Would a tree be able to hold so many branches?

You certainly have noticed decayed holes in trees. Did you ever wonder
why they were there? I suppose that most persons never wonder about it
at all; or if they do give it any passing thought, they say it is only
"natural" for trees to have rotten spots. But these rotten spots mean
that once the tree was injured. Perhaps the injury was the work of a
careless or thoughtless man who pruned the tree. Very few persons seem
really to know how to remove the limbs of a tree so that the wound will
heal readily.

As you go and come, observe how the trees have been pruned. Do you see
long "stubs" left, where limbs have been cut? Yes; and that is the wrong
way to cut them. They should be cut close to the main branch or trunk,
for then the wounds will heal over better (Fig. 312). If we abused our
cows and horses, as we sometimes abuse our shade trees, what would
become of the animals?

[Illustration: _Fig. 312. The wrong way and the right way to remove a

Did you ever see trees that were mutilated to allow of the stringing of
telephone and telegraph wires?

Who owns the shade trees along a street or public highway?




(Compare Leaflet XL.)

[74] Junior Naturalist Monthly, March, 1903.


Something new and pleasant happened in my life this year. In February,
while the wood was snow-covered and the roadsides piled high with
drifts, I saw hepaticas in bloom.

Oh, no! I did not find them out of doors. I had all the fun of watching
them from my warm chimney-corner. Then when winds blew fiercely I often
went to the window where they grew and buried my head in the sweet
blossoms. What do you suppose they told me? If some winter day you feel
their soft touch on your face, and smell their woodsy fragrance, you
will hear the message.

Perhaps you want to know how the hepaticas found their way into my
window-box. Last fall as I walked through a leafy wood I gathered a few
plants, roots and all, that I had known and loved in spring and summer
days. Among them were hepaticas. These I laid away in the cellar until
the first of February. Then I planted them in a corner of the window-box
that I had left for them.

Since the little woods plants have come to live with me I have learned
to know them well. Perhaps the most important lesson they have taught me
is this: The blossoms may be the least interesting part of a plant. Will
you find out what hepaticas have to tell as the seasons pass?

Even before you hear the first robin, go into the woods, find one of the
hepaticas, and mark it for your own. You will know it by the old brown
leaves. Then watch it day by day. The following questions will help you
to learn its life story:

1. Where do hepaticas grow, in sunny or shady places? During which
seasons do they get the most sunlight?

2. Watch the first sign of life in the plant. Do the new leaves or the
flowers come first?

3. Look at the hepatica blossom a long time. How many different parts
can you see in it? Whether you know the names of these parts now does
not matter. I want you to see them.

4. Notice the three small, green, leaf-like parts that are around the
flower bud. As the flower opens see whether they are a part of it, or
whether they are a little way from it on the stem.

5. Observe the stem closely. Is it short or long? Hairy or smooth?

6. As the new leaves appear find out whether they are fuzzy on the
inside as well as on the outside. Notice how they are rolled up and
watch them unroll.

7. In how many different colors do you find hepaticas?

8. Do some smell sweeter than others? If so, does color seem to have
anything to do with it?

9. Look at a hepatica plant at night or very late in the afternoon. Also
watch it early in the morning and in cloudy weather. Then look at it in
bright sunshine. Do you see any change in the flowers? I think you will
discover something of much interest.

10. Seed-time among hepaticas is very interesting. Notice what becomes
of the three small, leaf-like parts that were underneath the flower. How
many seeds are there?

11. How long do you think the leaves of hepatica remain on the plant? Do
you suppose they remain green all winter?

12. What becomes of the hepatica plant after it blossoms? Did you ever
see one in summer? Describe.




(Compare Leaflet XLI.)

[75] Junior Naturalist Monthly, April, 1903.


  They call him Jack-in-the-Pulpit, he stands up so stiff and so queer
  On the edge of the swamp, and waits for the flower-folk to come and
  The text and the sermon, and all the grave things that he has to say;
  But the blossoms they laugh and they dance, they are wilder than ever
  And as nobody stops to listen, so never a word has he said;
  But there in his pulpit he stands, and holds his umbrella over his
  And we have not a doubt in our minds, Jack, you are wisely listening,
  To the organ-chant of the winds, Jack, and the tunes that the sweet
      birds sing!


"It is Indian turnip," said I.

"No," said Grandmother, "it's memory root. If you taste it once you will
never forget it." And what Grandmother said to me so long ago, I say to
every boy and girl, "If you taste it once you will never forget it."

But of all the names for this strange little wood plant, I like
Jack-in-the-pulpit best. Though never a word has it said in our lifelong
acquaintance, it has been a helpful little "country preacher" to me. As
we go into the woods this year, let us make up our minds that we will
know more than we ever have known before of its interesting life.

Where do you find the Jack-in-the-pulpit? In what kind of soil does it
grow? How does it first come up?

What is the shape of the root? One is enough for the whole class to
study and it should be planted again. We do not want the
Jack-in-the-pulpit to disappear from our woods.

Does the little hood fold over at first?

The hood or "umbrella" is not the flower. You will find the flowers on
the little central stalk that you call "Jack." See whether the blossoms
are alike. Look at the blossoms on several plants. Place a stick by the
side of one of these plants so that you will know it later in the year
when the Jack-in-the-pulpit has disappeared.

Notice whether there are insects in the lower part of the flower stalk.
If so, can they get out?

When the blossom has gone, look for the seeds. What color are they in
June? In August?

Have you any house plant that you think is related to

[Illustration: _Fig. 313. Tubers of Jack-in-the-pulpit, or Indian




[76] Supplement to Junior Naturalist Monthly, May, 1904.


The first warmth of spring brought the dandelions out of the banks and
knolls. They were the first proofs that winter was really going, and we
began to listen for the blackbirds and swallows. We loved the bright
flowers, for they were so many reflections of the warming sun. They soon
became more familiar, and invaded the yards. Then they overran the
lawns, and we began to despise them. We hated them because we had made
up our minds not to have them, not because they were unlovable. In spite
of every effort, we could not get rid of them. Then if we must have
them, we decided to love them. Where once were weeds are now golden
coins scattered in the sun, and bees revelling in color; and we are
happy! L. H. BAILEY.


I. Ask your teacher to let you go out of doors for ten minutes to look
at dandelions. In your note books write answers to the following

    1. At what time of day are you looking for the dandelions? Is the
    sun shining, or is the sky overcast? Make up your mind to notice
    whether dandelions behave the same at all hours of the day and in
    all kinds of weather.

    2. How many dandelions can you count as you stand on the
    school-ground? The little yellow heads can be seen a long distance.

    3. Where do they prefer to grow,--on the hillsides, along the
    roadsides, in the marshes, or in your garden?

II. Gather a basket full of blossoming dandelions, roots and all, take
them to school, and ask the teacher to let you have a dandelion lesson.
Here are some suggestions that will help you:

    1. Each pupil should have a plant, root and all. Describe the
    plant. Is it tall or short? How many leaves are there? How many

    2. Hold the plant up so that you can see it well. How many
    distinct colors do you find? How many tints and shades of these

    3. Look carefully at the blossom. How many parts has it? How much
    can you find out about the way in which the yellow head is made up?

III. Mark a dandelion plant in your garden. Watch it every day. Keep a
record of all that happens in its life. Later in the year send Uncle
John a little history or account of the plant you have watched.

[Illustration: _Fig. 314. Blow the dandelion balloon!_]


  Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
    Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
  First pledge of blithesome May,
    Which children pluck, and, full of pride uphold,
  High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
    An Eldorado in the grass have found,
  Which not the earth's ample round
    May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
  Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.





(Compare Leaflets XLVII and XLVIII.)

  The hills are bright with maples yet,
    But down the level land
  The beech leaves rustle in the wind,
    As dry and brown as sand.
  The clouds in bars of rusty red
    Along the hill-tops glow,
  And in the still sharp air the frost
    Is like a dream of snow.--ALICE CARY.

[77] Junior Naturalist Monthly, November, 1903.


The hills are bright with maples about the time Jack Frost appears, and
many people say that he makes the leaves turn red and yellow. Wise folk
tell us, however, that Jack Frost is not the artist; that leaves change
to autumn tints when their work is completed.

Boys and girls may not know that leaves "work;" yet all through the long
summer days when you have been playing in the shade of some old maple,
the leaves over your head have been very busy. Uncle John says that each
leaf is a "starch factory," and this is true. Starch is necessary for
plant food and it is manufactured in the leaves. The green leaves and
stems are the machinery, which is run by sunlight. Look at a large
branch of maple and see how the leaves are arranged to catch every
sunbeam. The more light the green parts of the tree get, the more plant
food can be made and the sturdier and handsomer the tree.

But the story of the way in which the plant food is made is a long one
and not easy for young people to understand. This can come later when
you have become familiar with the many interesting things that you learn
by watching the tree and by studying with the microscope.

If I should to go into your school-room and should ask how many boys and
girls know a sugar maple, I suppose every hand would be raised. But if I
should ask: "When does the sugar maple blossom?" "What do the blossoms
look like?" "When do the winged seeds fall?" I wonder how many could
give me satisfactory answers to my questions!

Choose some fine old maple for study. The one that stands near the door
will be best, since you can see it every day. Write in a note book all
that you can find out about it as the weeks go by.


1. Notice how the leaves turn to the sunlight.

2. Try to find two leaves exactly alike in color, form, size, length of
stem, etc. If you succeed send them to Uncle John.

3. How many different tints can you find in a single leaf?

4. As you look at two sugar maple trees, do they seem to be colored

5. Are all sugar maples that you know the same shape?

6. How are the leaves arranged on the branch?

7. Can you find any winged seeds near the tree? If so, plant one in a
box of earth and see whether it will grow.

8. If you find any plants growing beneath the maple tree, describe them
or tell what they are.

9. Do you know any other kinds of maples? How do you distinguish them?

[Illustration: _Child's drawing of a maple leaf. Fifth grade.




(Compare Leaflets XLII and XLIII.)

[78] Junior Naturalist Monthly, May, 1903.


"Tom," said I to a young friend who stood by the window tossing a
ten-cent piece into the air, "what plant is used for part of the design
on that coin?"

The boy did not answer right away. I do not believe he had ever looked
at it closely; yet this is one of the prettiest of our silver pieces.
After a few minutes he said, "It is corn, isn't it?"

Hearing a note of surprise in his voice, I told him something about
corn-raising in this country. We then decided that it is a good thing to
represent corn on one of the United States coins, since it is a source
of much of our wealth.

But aside from its value, Indian corn should interest us because it is a
wonderful plant. Boys and girls do not know much more about it than does
any old black crow. You have watched the farmer plant corn and you like
to eat it. Jim Crow has watched the farmer plant corn and he likes to
eat it, too. The time has come, however, when you can get ahead of him
if you care to; and to get ahead of crows on the corn question is worth
the while. Let me tell you how to do it.

1. Secure a kernel of corn, cut it in halves, and note the food inside
it. This food was stored in the seed by the parent plant. Uncle John
would say that it is the "lunch" that the mother puts up for her
children. What must happen before the food can be used by the little

2. Place some moist soil in a tumbler, and put a kernel of corn in it
near the side so that you can watch it grow. How soon does the root
appear? The leaves? How many leaves come up at one time?

3. Ask your father to give you a small piece of ground in the garden.
Plant a few kernels of corn so that you will have some plants of your
own to study this summer. Other people's plants are never so interesting
as our own.

4. As your corn plants push their way up into the light and air, watch
them every day. Notice how the new leaves are protected by the next
older ones.

5. Is the stem hollow or solid? In which way would it be stronger?

6. Notice the joints. Are they the same distance apart throughout the
length of the stem? Does the distance between the joints always remain
the same? Measure them some day; then in a week measure them again.

7. Where does the stalk break most easily?

8. Where does the leaf clasp the stalk?

9. Notice how strong the leaf is. In what direction do the ribs extend?
If these long narrow leaves were not strong what would happen to them as
they wave back and forth in the wind?

10. Have you ever noticed the ruffled edges of the leaves? As you bend
them you will see that the edges do not tear.

11. There are two kinds of blossoms on a corn plant. The ear bears one
kind, the tassel the other. If you were to cut all the tassels from the
plants in your garden, the kernels would not grow on the ears. Later on
you will learn why.

12. Watch the ear closely as it grows.

13. Follow a thread of silk to the place where it is attached. Notice
whether there is one silk for each kernel.

14. When the corn is in the milk stage it is preparing to store up food
for the young plants. How does it taste at this time?

15. Look closely at the base of the corn stalk and you will see roots
extending obliquely into the soil. These are the brace roots. Of what
use do you think they are to the corn stalk?




(Compare Leaflets XLII and XLIII.)

[79] Junior Naturalist Monthly, October, 1903.


"Caw caw!" said Jim Crow as he flew over our heads. "Was he jeering at
us?" we wondered, the children and I. Perhaps he was inquisitive to know
what business we had in the open country and in the fields of corn.
Perhaps he was not concerned with us at all. Very likely crows are less
concerned with us than we think they are.

Jim Crow flew on out of sight, but we stayed among the ripening corn.
The ears were filling out. The ends of the silk were turning brown. We
saw many things that we had planned to look for in vacation: the tall
stem, the brace roots, the long strong leaves and the way the ribs
extend in them, the ruffled edges of the leaves, the two kinds of
blossoms, and where each silken thread is attached. The whole story was
before us.

[Illustration: _Fig. 315. Over the fields in corn-harvest time._]

But this is the harvest time and we are ready to learn a new lesson from
the corn fields. As we watch them now let us answer the following

1. How is the corn cut?

2. How many ears do you find on a stalk?

3. Are the ears on the same side of the stalk or on opposite sides?

4. Take into the school room as many kinds of corn as you can find and
describe each as follows:

  a--The shape and color of the kernel.
  b--Number of rows of kernels.
  c--The number of kernels in each row.

5. Perhaps the girls will pop some corn and bring it to the
Junior Naturalist Club meeting. Let them try to pop field corn.
Cut kernels in two of field corn and pop-corn, and report whether
they differ. Why does pop-corn pop?

6. Make a list of the foods for which corn is used.

7. Why are pumpkins planted among corn?

8. Why not make for your school room some decorations from
ears of corn?





(Compare Leaflet XXXIV.)

[80] Junior Naturalist Monthly, October, 1904.


All the things that the farmer sells are produced by plants and animals.
The animals live on the plants. It is important that we know what some
of these plants are.

Some plants are grown for human food. Such are potato, wheat, apple,
lettuce. Some are grown only to feed to animals. Such are grasses and
clover,--plants that are made into hay.

Hay is the most important crop in New York State. In fact, New York
leads all the States in the value of the hay and forage. This value is
more than 66 millions of dollars.

[Illustration: _Fig. 316. Sprig of the alfalfa plant._]

Hay is important in New York also because there are so many dairy cattle
in the State. There are more than one and one-half millions of dairy
cattle in New York. In the value of the milk and butter and cheese, New
York also leads all other States. There are also great numbers of beef
cattle, horses, mules, and sheep. All these millions of animals must be
supplied with hay in our long cold winters.

Hay is made in New York State from grasses and clover. Suppose we could
find some plant that would yield twice as much hay as clover yields, and
yet be as nutritious,--you can readily see how valuable such a plant
would be to the State. It would be better than a gift of millions of
dollars. Such a plant is alfalfa.

Now that you know something about alfalfa in a general way, I want you
to know how the plant looks and how it grows. It is not yet very well
known even among farmers, but its cultivation is increasing every year.
You will probably know where there are fields of it. Sometimes it grows
along roadsides as a weed. Last spring Uncle John offered to send a
small packet of alfalfa seeds to any Junior Naturalist who wrote for it.
He sent about 5,000 packets. But if you do not know the plant or cannot
find it, _write at once to Uncle John and he will send you some by mail
from the University farm_.

Let us see how many school children in New York State will know what
alfalfa is between now and Thanksgiving time. When writing to Uncle John
about alfalfa, try to answer as many of the following questions as
possible from your own observation:

1. Does the plant remind you of any other plant that you ever saw? Of

2. How does it grow,--straight up or spreading out on the ground?

3. How many stalks come from one root?

4. What are the leaves like? Mark out the shape with a pencil.

5. What are the flowers like? Do you know any other flowers of similar
shape? What is the color?

6. If possible, dig around a plant and describe how the root looks. Does
it branch into many fibres, as grass roots or corn roots do?


_My Dear Boys and Girls:_

Do you know much about the alfalfa plant? Do you remember that last
spring we promised to send a packet of seed to each of you who asked for
it? Did you send your name asking that you be served? We received the
names of several thousand children asking for seed and I am wondering
whether you are one of them. If so, did you sow the seed? Will you write
me a letter telling me what became of it?

[Illustration: _Fig. 317. What leaf is this? Is it enlarged?_]

[Illustration: _Fig. 318. Leaf of alfalfa. What significance have the

[Illustration: _Fig. 319. Flowers of the alfalfa. Are they natural

[Illustration: _Fig. 320. Alfalfa pods. How much enlarged?_]

I am very fond of children's letters. Each year I receive more than
thirty thousand of them. I sometimes wonder whether there is another man
who is honored by so many letters from young people, for I count it an
honor to be so remembered.

As large as that number is, I cannot spare one letter. I always want a
few more. All your letters are read and I take great pains to answer all
questions. If, by any oversight, you have been missed I am sorry. I know
what it costs a boy or girl to write a letter. I never open one without
feeling that the writer is a friend of mine, otherwise he would not have
expended so much hard work to write it.

School has now begun and of course you are very busy, and so is your
teacher. One of the best opportunities to write letters is in school.
Please ask your teacher whether you may not write me during your
language period. You may say that she may make authors of all of you if
she can, but I will do all I can to help you become good letter writers.
Ask her whether a letter to me may not be a substitute for a

[Illustration: _Fig. 321. Crown of the alfalfa plant, showing how root
and top start off._]

In your letter you may tell me your experience with alfalfa. Tell me
your failures as well as your successes. Even though you received your
seeds and did not sow them, tell me that. I shall never find fault with
you for telling me the truth. If you sowed the seed and the plants did
not do well, tell me that also. The plants may look very small and
uninteresting to you this year, but next year they may surprise you.

In some parts of the United States the alfalfa crop is of great value
and the loss of it would bring distress to many farmers. I am wondering
whether the crop, as raised in all parts of our country, is not worth
more money than all the gold found in the Klondike, taking the two year
by year. I do not know how that may be. I am wondering. Men by the
thousand have gone to the gold mines and endured many hardships and
later returned with less money than those who had remained at home and
took care of their alfalfa.

It may be that a mine of wealth lies very near you, and to get it you
may have to ask alfalfa to find it and bring it to you. Gold cannot be
found in all places in a gold country and alfalfa may not feel
comfortable and grow in all parts of a good farming country. What we
asked of you last spring was that you become alfalfa prospectors and
later tell us what you found.





(Compare Leaflet XLIX.)

_The squirrel came running down a slanting bough, and as he stopped
twirling a nut, called out rather impudently, "Look here! just get a
snug-fitting fur coat and a pair of fur gloves like mine and you may
laugh at a northeast storm."_--THOREAU.

[81] Junior Naturalist Monthly, November, 1903.


For a cheery companion give me the red squirrel! I enter the woods and
there the little fellow is, ready to welcome me. "What a fine day it is
for gathering nuts!" he seems to say, and straightway, as I listen to
his merry chatter, I think it is a fine day for any sport that includes
him and the brown November woods.

Young naturalists may think it is a difficult thing to become acquainted
with red squirrels, but you will often find them willing to be sociable
if you show them a little kindness. I have many times watched two or
three squirrels playing about a friend as she sat in her garden. They
seemed to find her nearly as interesting as the old pine tree near by.
They are inquisitive animals.

"How did you tame them?" I asked.

"I fed them occasionally," she replied. "At first I put some nuts on the
grass several feet away from me. Then I gradually placed a tempting meal
nearer and nearer until the little fellows seemed to lose all fear of

If we care to, you and I, we can learn a great deal about red squirrels
before another year has passed. If you live on a farm you should know
the habits of all the wild creatures about you. You can then be just to
them, and decide whether or not you can afford to let them continue to
be tenants on your farm. You will find that all of them have interesting


  A. B. C.

  Just a tawny glimmer,
    A dash of red and gray,--
  Is it a flitting shadow,
    Or a sunbeam gone astray?

[Illustration: _Fig. 322. In the haunts of the red squirrel._]

  It glances up a tree trunk,
    And from some branch, I know
  A little spy in ambush
    Is measuring his foe.

  I hear his mocking chuckle;
    In wrath he waxes bold,
  And stays his pressing business
    To scold and scold and scold.


1. What is the color of the red squirrel? Is he really red? Is his
entire coat of one color? Does he wear different colors in winter and

2. Did you ever see a red squirrel's nest? If so, describe it.

3. Does the red squirrel hibernate; that is, does he sleep all winter as
the chipmunk does?

4. What does a red squirrel eat? Did you ever see him getting the winged
seeds out of a pitch pine cone?

5. Do you believe a squirrel ever planted an oak? Give a reason.

6. If you live in the country, you have seen red squirrels running on
the rail fences. Why do they like rail fences? Do you see them so often
on other kinds of fences?

7. Notice the tracks made in the snow in winter woods. Try to find
whether the red squirrel's is among them.

8. If you know any other kinds of squirrels, tell how they differ from
the red squirrel.




[82] Introduction printed in Junior Naturalist Monthly, March, 1901.


The drifts along the fences are settling. The brooks are brimming full.
The open fields are bare. A warm knoll here and there is tinged with
green. A smell of earth is in the air. A shadow darts through the apple
tree: it is the robin!

Robin! You and I were lovers when yet my years were few. We roamed the
fields and hills together. We explored the brook that ran up into the
great dark woods and away over the edge of the world. We knew the old
squirrel who lived in the maple tree. We heard the first frog peep. We
knew the minnows that lay under the mossy log. We knew how the cowslips
bloomed in the lushy swale. We heard the first soft roll of thunder in
the liquid April sky.

Robin! The fields are yonder! You are my better self. I care not for the
birds of paradise; for whether here or there, I shall listen for your
carol in the apple tree.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our lesson on robin shall be a lesson out of doors. We shall leave the
books behind. We shall see the bird. We shall watch him and make up our
minds what he is doing and why. We shall know robin better; and robin
lives in the fields.

Perhaps you think you know robin. Suppose that one of your friends never
saw a robin; do you think you could close your eyes and describe him so
that your friend would know how the bird looks?

Then tell me where robin builds its nest, and of what materials; and how
many eggs are laid and their color; and how long the mother bird sits;
and how long the fledglings remain in the nest. You can readily find a
family of robins in some near-by tree, or perhaps even on the porch; and
you can learn all these things without ever disturbing the birds.

I want you to watch a bird build its nest. You may think that you know
how robin builds, but can you really tell me just how the bird carries
the mud, and where it finds the other materials, and how long the
building operation continues? Do both birds take part in the building?

Then I want to know whether you can tell the difference between father
robin and mother robin. Did you ever notice whether robins that come
first in the spring have brighter breasts than those that come later?
And can you explain?

Tell me, too, what robin does with his year. You know when he comes in
spring and when he builds and when the speckled young ones fly. But
where is he in summer and fall and winter? And what is he about all this
time? Does he build another nest and rear another family, or does he go
vacationing? And does he gather the same kind of food in spring and
summer? Does he gather cherries for his family or for himself? Did you
ever see robin in winter in New York?

What can you tell me about the song of robin? Does he sing all the year?
Or does he have a different note for summer? Not one of you can tell how
many different notes and calls robin has. I sometimes think that robin
knows several languages.

I have seen many more springs than you have seen: and yet I always wait
for robin on the lawn. I often wonder whether the same robins come back
to my lawn. They seem to go to business at once. They hop with the most
confident air, and day after day pull strings out of the ground. You
know what these strings are: but do you know how robin finds them? Is it
by smell, or sight, or feeling, or hearing? Do you suppose he is
listening when he cocks his head to one side and then to the other? Or
is he merely making motions? And I wonder whether birds and animals
usually make motions just for the sake of making them?

I have asked you many questions, and not one of you can answer. Perhaps
I cannot answer. You ask, "What's the use?" If you can see robin, and
learn why, you can also learn other things. But I like robin just
because he is robin.

There is one thing more. You will read about robin redbreast. Who is he?
Find out for me whether robin redbreast of Europe and of English poetry
is the same as our American bird.




(Compare Leaflet XXIV.)

[83] Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1904.


At a wigwam in the Adirondack Mountains a tame crow lives with a family
of Indians. These Indians make baskets of birch bark and other things
that they find out of doors, and sell them to visitors who spend their
summer in the mountains. The little crow helps in the business. He makes
himself so interesting to the passers-by that they stop to watch him.
The Indians then have an opportunity to show their baskets, and very
often sell them.

But we need not go to the Adirondacks to find a crow that earns his
living. Mr. F. E. L. Beal, who has studied crows a long time, speaks of
them as valuable farm hands; and Neltje Blanchan says that they are as
much entitled to a share of the corn as the horse that plows it. This
may surprise boys and girls who have heard crows spoken of as thieves
and rascals. Let us look into their story so that we can find out for
ourselves whether to the farmer the crow is a friend or an enemy.

_How Jim Crow does harm:_--

1. By killing toads, frogs, small snakes, and salamanders ("lizards").
Why are these little creatures first rate farm hands?

2. By pulling up sprouting corn. Some farmers prevent this by tarring
the corn.

3. By stealing eggs, small chickens, and tiny birds. It is said that the
crow is rarely guilty of these wrongs. What do you know about it?

_How Jim Crow does good:_--

4. By eating large numbers of insects: grasshoppers, caterpillars
(including army worms and cut worms), June bugs, and other insects. So
many insects does he devour that he earns more than he destroys. A half
bushel of corn scattered on a field is said to be sufficient in many
cases to prevent Jim Crow from pulling the growing corn.

_To study crows:_--

Watch the crows to find out just what they do. Do you ever see them
flying in large numbers? If so, at what time of day do they fly? Where
are they going? Notice how they use their wings.

Do they come from the same direction each morning? Would it not be a
great experience to make up a party and visit the place from which they
come? What do you think you would find there?

[Illustration: _Fig. 323. Who's afraid!_]

When you see crows feeding in a field try to learn what they are eating.

You can often find crows' tracks in the snow. There the prints of their
feet and wings may be seen. What do you think interested the crows in
the snow-covered field?

Determine whether the caw is always the same. Is it sometimes short,
sometimes long? Can you associate these differences with the actions of
the birds?

I wish you would read John Hay's poem, "The Crows at Washington."




(Compare Leaflet XXIV.)

  This scrap of valor just for play
  Fronts the north wind in waistcoat gray.


[84] Junior Naturalist Monthly, December, 1903.


One cold December day a chickadee found himself alone in a wood. He
looked very much like other chickadees, a small, gray bird, wearing, as
someone has said, "a black hood with white side pieces and a black
vest." He was like others of his kin, too, in that he was a skillful
acrobat. He could stand right side up on a twig or cling to it upside
down--one position seemed as easy as the other.

But I am not sure that this little chickadee was like his fellows in one
respect. I have wondered whether they are all as friendly as he. I shall
tell of something that he did, and leave it to young naturalists to find
out whether other chickadees will show as friendly a spirit.

It happened on the cold December day when the chickadee was alone in the
"snow-choked wood" that a Senior Naturalist wandered along that way.
Whether or no the little bird knew that the tall man was there I cannot
say. At any rate, he called out "phoe-be," the plaintive little pipe of
two notes, clearer and sweeter than the real phoebe bird can make. The
tall man answered the call, whistling two notes as plaintive and sweet
as the chickadee's own. Again and again the whistle was repeated and
every time it was answered. Nearer and nearer came the fluffy midget,
until finally he alighted on a tree directly over the tall man's head.

And then a remarkable thing happened! You will scarcely believe it, yet
it is true. Knowing how near the chickadee was, the tall man whistled
"phoe-be" very softly, and the little bird flew down and rested on his
arm. How pleased the Senior Naturalist must have felt when he had gained
the confidence of this wild bird! I wish that our boys and girls would
try to do the same thing and tell Uncle John whether the experiment is


1. Keep a sharp lookout for chickadees. Can you tell one when you see
it? They are often with nuthatches and downy woodpeckers. If you tie a
piece of suet in a tree near your house these winter birds may visit

2. Listen to the notes of all the winter birds. Some day you will hear
one say "Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee." Then he may sing "phoe-be," and you
will try to imitate the notes. He may answer you. Tell us how near you
can get to one of these friendly little birds.

3. Watch a chickadee searching for his breakfast on a twig. What kind of
a bill has he? What do you think he is finding to eat?

4. If I lived on a farm I should have suet hung in my orchard to
encourage the chickadees to stay there. Can you tell why?

5. Do you see chickadees in summer? Where are they then?

6. If I were to ask you to find a deserted chickadee's nest, where would
you look?




(Compare Leaflet XXIV.)

[85] Junior Naturalist Monthly, January, March, April, and May, 1903.



The story goes that, once upon a time, a naturalist found a great many
grasshoppers wedged into an old fencepost. They were alive but could not
get away. Bye and bye their jailor appeared. He was neither somber nor
ugly, as you might suppose, but a merry red-headed woodpecker. With
never a thought of cruelty in his little red head, he had used the
fencepost as a cold-storage place, and had filled it with a good supply
of food.

Now I am sure our boys and girls will ask, "Is this story true?" I
cannot say. The best way to decide whether it may be true is to study
the habits of a red-headed woodpecker. Do you think that we shall find
him capable of so clever a trick?

The red-head is not uncommon. Keep on the lookout for him. His head,
neck, throat, and upper breast are red; the rest of his body is
blue-black and white. He is a handsome fellow, a bright bit of color in
wood, garden, orchard, or field. Let us see what we can learn about him.


1. Try to get a nearer view of any bird that you see sitting on a
telegraph pole or fencepost. It may be a red-headed woodpecker.

2. Is this little fellow as good a drummer as his relatives?

3. His mate likes his music. If she comes near, the better to hear him
drum, notice whether she has a red head.

4. Do you find beech-nuts or other food stored in decayed trees? Under a
bit of raised bark? In cracks in bark? In gate posts? If so, a red-head
may be about.

5. These woodpeckers eat more grasshoppers than any of the others. Find
out whether they eat them on the ground.

6. Have you ever seen one fly into the air after a passing insect?

[Illustration: _Fig. 324. The red-headed woodpecker._]

7. Do red-headed woodpeckers ever visit your chicken yard? Watch them
closely and find out why they are there.

8. Do you see them later in the year eating fruit on your farm?

9. It has been found that they eat ants, wasps, beetles, bugs,
grasshoppers, crickets, moths, spiders, and caterpillars. If you find
them doing harm on your farm will you not compare it with the good they

10. What plants do they visit?

11. Where is red-head's nest?


[86] Junior Naturalist Monthly, January, 1903.

Rap! rap! rap! the little inspector has come to look at our apple trees.
"You are welcome, downy woodpecker," say we every one. "Stay as long as
you like. We want to look at you closely so that we shall know you every
time we see you."

A bird about three inches shorter than a robin, black above, white
below, white along the middle of the back, and the male red on the nape
of the neck: this is the way downy looks. A hardworking, useful,
sociable tenant of the farm: this is what downy is.

Let us see how this little woodpecker is useful. If you live on a farm,
you have probably heard of borers--grubs that get into trees and injure
them. Your father does not like these grubs, but downy does. He seems to
like any kind of grub. Watch him on a tree sometimes when he is looking
for one. He knows where to find it, although neither you nor I might
suspect that an insect is living beneath the smooth bark. Then he bores
into the tree, and spears the grub with his long tongue. His tongue is a
remarkable weapon. He can stretch it two inches beyond the tip of his
bill, and it is barbed on both sides.

[Illustration: _Fig. 325. Cocoons of the codlin-moth as they were found
attached to a piece of loose bark, natural size._]

Downy does not stop work, you must remember, when borers are not plenty.
Beetles nibble no more plants after his eyes light on them. They are
trespassers, and as judge, jury, and executioner, he proves his right
to be considered a most useful farm hand. Ants, too, provide him with a
good meal occasionally.

Among the helpful deeds of the downy woodpecker, we must not forget to
mention that he destroys great numbers of the larvæ or worms of the
codlin-moth in winter, when these worms have tucked themselves away in
the crevices of the bark, all wrapped in their cocoons. (Figs 325, 326.)
Perhaps your father has shown you these little cocoons along the body
and in the crotches of the apple tree. If not, you can find them
yourself. Open some of them and see whether the worm is still there. If
he is not, downy has probably taken him. I suppose you know that the
larvæ of the codlin-moth are the worms you find in apples. See Leaflet

You must not confound the downy woodpecker with that other woodpecker,
the sap-sucker, that often drills rings of holes in the trunks of apple
trees. The sapsucker has yellow on his under parts. I shall tell you
about him some other time.

[Illustration: _Fig. 326. Pupæ of the codlin-moth in cocoons,

You have learned that insects and apple-scab and yourselves all try to
see who shall own the apple fruit. Now you know that birds, and insects
that feed on leaves and in the wood, are also concerned in this quarrel
about the apple.


1. Does the downy woodpecker travel down a tree head first or does he
hop backward?

2. Try some day to see his feet. You will find that two of his toes are
turned forward and two backward. Are there other birds that have this
arrangement of toes?

[Illustration: _Fig. 327. The downy woodpecker._]

3. Notice that he braces himself with his tail as he works.

4. Do you ever see the downy woodpecker eat seeds of plants that the
farmers do not like to have on their land?

5. Hang a bone or piece of unsalted suet out of doors for the
woodpeckers. They will enjoy an unexpected feast.

6. Where does downy make his nest?


[87] Junior Naturalist Monthly, March, 1903.

If you are walking through an orchard or wood and see a jolly little
woodpecker with red on its head, do not say at once that it is a
downy woodpecker. Look again. Has it yellow on the underparts, black on
the breast, a red throat, and red on the crown instead of on the nape?
Then it is a sapsucker, a new arrival. (Fig. 328.) It is larger than the
downy. The female has no red on the throat.

And to think that such a merry little fellow has such a bad reputation
among farmer-folk! You will be surprised to find how unkindly
woodpeckers are treated throughout the country, because of the misdeeds
of the sapsucker. Even the downy has suffered much abuse. This is
unfortunate, for I am sure downy woodpeckers have done much more good
than sapsuckers have done harm.

I wish that all Junior Naturalists would try to find out whether even
the sapsucker deserves all that has been said against him. He does harm
by boring holes in trees, but how much? Let us learn. As woodpeckers are
not shy, it is not difficult to get near them. I have stood within a few
feet of a sapsucker, and he did not mind a bit. He kept on boring holes
in a tree without a thought that any one might object.

1. How many trees can you find that have holes bored by the sapsucker?

2. How are the holes arranged; here and there on the trunk, or in rings
around it? Have you ever found a complete ring of holes?

3. Keep a record of the months in which you find the sapsucker.

4. Notice how the sap runs down into the holes that have been newly made
by a sapsucker.

5. It is said that this woodpecker eats the inner bark of the tree as
well as the sap. What can you find out about this?

[Illustration: _Fig. 328. The sapsucker. Compare this picture with that
of the downy woodpecker in Fig. 327._]

6. Do you ever find insects near the holes made by the sapsucker? Do you
think he eats them?

7. Find out where the sapsucker has his nest.


[88] Junior Naturalist Monthly, May, 1903.

Three woodpeckers have been introduced to you in these leaflets: the
red-head, the hard working downy (Fig. 327), the sapsucker (Fig. 328).
There is one more that we ought to add to the list for summer study,
since he is very likely to cross our path,--the flicker (Fig. 329).

[Illustration: _Fig. 329. The flicker._]

This woodpecker has a great many names, probably because he lives
in a great many States. The most common are: flicker, highhole,
yellow-hammer, and golden-winged woodpecker. I like the name flicker
best of all.

He is a good-sized bird, about two inches longer than a robin. His
colors are: brownish with black spots above, whitish spotted with black
underneath, a black crescent on the breast, and a scarlet crescent on
the back of the neck. When he flies you will notice two things: the rich
golden color of the inside of his wings, and the white patch on the back
just above the tail.

Now, since he is a woodpecker, you will probably expect to find the
flicker in trees; but you are quite as likely to find him on the ground.
About half of his food consists of ants, and these he finds afield. He
also eats other insects, as well as a good deal of plant food.

I hope that you will see a flicker this year and hear him call out,
"a-wick-a-wick-a-wick-a-wick-a-wick-a." Possibly some of you may find a
nest that these birds have dug out in an old apple tree. They do not
always make new nests, however, but live in the deserted homes of other


1. Has the flicker a straight bill like the downy woodpecker?

2. Have you seen the flicker's mate? If so, in what way does she differ
from him in color or marking?

3. Where does the flicker build its nest? What color are the eggs?

4. Try to watch a flicker feeding its young. Describe.

5. Do you know the call of the flicker? Can you imitate it, or write it
so that Uncle John can recognize it?

6. Do flickers remain all winter? If not, when do they come? When do
they leave?




[89] Junior Naturalist Monthly, February, 1901.


There is a wagon trail which I like to follow; it is always a pleasant
walk. There is no foot path; so I do not think many people pass that
way. Perhaps this is why many little wild creatures of the field and
wood like to live there. I do not know any other place where the birds
sing so sweetly, where the wild flowers grow so thick, and where the
insects are so numerous.

By the side of this road I found the little vireo's nest which you see
in the picture. It was about five feet from the ground, and hung near
the end of a long branch. It was interesting to find out what it was
made of,--grasses, strips of bark, hair, pine needles, plant fibres, and
bits of paper. On the outside were lichens and spiders' webs. The pieces
of paper were dropped along the way, I think, by the leader in a
cross-country run. Even the little vireos have an interest in the
outdoor sports of the college men.

[Illustration: _Fig. 330. The vireo's nest._]

One of the most interesting bird homes is the oriole's nest. Uncle John
will like to know whether you find one. The young orioles must have
happy times in their cradle, which hangs between the earth and the sky.

Winter is the best time of year to hunt for birds' nests. It is hard to
find them in the spring and the summer. The parent birds intend it shall
be. If you succeed in getting a nest, take it into the school room so
that the other members of your club can study it with you.


Where did you find the nest? What is its size and shape? Name it, if you

Was it built on the horizontal crotch of the branch, or on an upright

How was it fastened to the branch?

Notice the materials of which it is made.

[Illustration: _Fig. 331. The hanging nest of the oriole. A cord is
woven into the nest._]

In the oriole's nest you will see that there is a difference in the way
in which the upper and lower parts are made. What is it?

How deep is the oriole's nest which you find? Compare the material on
the outside with that on the inside.

How is the nest fastened to the twigs?

Where does a catbird build its nest? Robin? Bluebird? Swallow? Hen?

[Illustration: _What?_]




[90] Extended from Junior Naturalist Monthly, November, 1902.


A rosy-cheeked girl, a freckled-faced boy and a little bald-headed baby
were the only young persons at the Thanksgiving dinner. The baby was not
old enough to be invited, but we were so thankful to have her with us
that we could not resist drawing her chair up to the table.

The turkey was a big one and "done to a turn." We old folks thought so,
the freckled-faced boy thought so, and the rosy-cheeked girl thought so.
The baby, so far as I could judge, thought not at all. She chewed
energetically on a spoon and left the discussion of the turkey to her

Having known for a long time that children like to chatter, I decided
that I would give the little lad and lassie opposite me an opportunity
to talk about turkeys, ducks, chickens, and the like. "These," thought
I, "are good Thanksgiving topics, and a boy and girl who have lived on a
farm all their lives can tell me some interesting things about them."

But this world is full of many strange surprises! It was not long before
I learned that those little folk could not answer some very simple
questions about poultry. They did not even know why a chicken does not
fall off the roost when it sleeps. To be sure, they could tell the exact
moment when, in the process of carving, the wish-bone would appear: but
you will admit that this is very little. I certainly was disappointed.
The bald-headed baby cheered things up a bit, however, by crowing
lustily. I rejoiced in the fact that apparently she had heard sounds
from the barn-yard.

Now there are many reasons why children, Junior Naturalists especially,
should know something about poultry. It may be that you live on a farm
and will want to raise chickens, ducks, and turkeys some day; and the
farmer who knows his poultry best will be most successful in raising it.
But whether you live in country or city you will like to study these
interesting birds. Let us see what we can find out about them in the
next three or four weeks. November, the month of Thanksgiving, is a good
time to begin.


Let us first pay our respects to the king of the poultry yard. We may
never know His Royal Highness, the old gobbler, very well, because it is
said he will not often permit folks to meet him on his own ground. I am
told that a visitor is more sure of a welcome within his domain if he
wear sombre garb. Although gaily dressed himself the old fellow objects
to bright colors on others.

There is one thing that we can do if the gobbler does not let us near
him,--we can peek at him through the fence. Then, too, at Thanksgiving
time many a slain monarch will hang in a nearby market. Following are a
few suggestions that will help us to learn something about turkeys. I
hope that you know all these things now, and, therefore, will not need
to be asked. If you do, please write Uncle John. How many letters do you
think he will get from such persons?

In the study of any bird, learn to describe it fully: the size, the
shape, the bill, the length of legs, the feet, and the color. Is there
more than one color of turkey?

Observe the head, face and wattles of the turkey gobbler.

Notice the strong, curved beak; the bright, clear, hazel eyes.

How many colors does he wear?

When the turkey is being prepared for the Thanksgiving dinner, ask
mother for the foot. Are there any feathers on it? Has it the same
number of toes that you find on a rooster's foot? Is the arrangement of
the toes the same?

Perhaps you find scales on the legs of the turkey. Do you find them also
on hens' legs? On which side of the leg,--front or back--are the scales
the larger?

When I was a little girl I liked to pull a tendon that I found in the
turkey's foot after it had been cut off. It was amusing to see the toes
curl up. I did not know then that when birds roost at night this tendon
is stretched as they bend their legs. Then the toes grasp the perch and
hold the bird on. When it stretches its leg to leave the roost the toes
spread out, but not until then Because of this birds can go to sleep
without the least fear of falling. What kind of perch do they choose, a
wide one or a narrow one? Why?

Can you tell which is the hen turkey and which the gobbler? Explain. On
which one do you find a hairy tuft on the breast?

Did you ever hear of the caruncle on the head of the turkey? Compare
this with the comb in domestic fowls. Does it differ in shape? Do ducks
and geese have combs?

[Illustration: _Fig. 332. A turkey likes to roam through the fields._]

What is the color of the turkey's face? Does it change color? Do you
notice any difference in color when the turkey is angry? What are the
turkey's wattles?

Notice the fourth toe. Why is it placed in opposite direction to the
others? I wonder whether it enables the fowl to grip the perch; and
whether it gives the turkey a wide span for support in running over
loose brush.

Turkeys and chickens and other animals have habits, as boys and girls
do, only that they are not bad habits. Did you ever watch turkeys
hunting grasshoppers? And did they go in flocks or alone? How do
chickens hunt,--in flocks or alone? Which roams farther from home,
turkeys or chickens? Do turkeys lay their eggs in the barn or poultry
house, as chickens do? Did you ever see a turkey's nest, and where was

We have Junior Naturalists in many parts of the world: England,
Scotland, Australia, Egypt. Will they have an opportunity to study
turkeys? See what you can find out in answer to this question.


Geese, as you know, come of a very distinguished race. This is no
advantage to them in a social way in the poultry yard, however. There is
not a duck nor a turkey nor even a wise rooster, that knows or cares
whether in times gone by geese saved a Roman city, or whether they were
recognized in ancient Egypt.

[Illustration: _Fig. 333. Geese; "a very distinguished race."_]

The story of the old gray goose was the one I liked best long ago,--the
goose that died before Aunt Nabby had enough feathers to make a bed. How
often you and I have listened to mother sing about her! And what an
inconsiderate old gray goose we thought she was, to die before the
feather bed was finished.

Some things for Junior Naturalists to think about come into my mind in
connection with Aunt Nabby's goose and others of its kind:

Why do goose feathers make the best beds?

Do you think an old grandmother goose would give enough feathers in her
lifetime to make a good bed? I have heard of one that lived sixty years.

Are feathers ever taken from live geese for beds?

Compare the feathers of land-fowls and water-fowls.

Probably one or more of our Junior Naturalists will have a goose for his
Thanksgiving dinner. If so, I wish that the wing feathers might be
brought to school. See whether you can find out why the wing feathers of
a goose were preferred for making quill pens. Make a pen if you can and
write a letter to Uncle John with it. The five outer wing feathers are
most useful for writing, and of these the second and third are best.
Why? Do you think that the Declaration of Independence was signed with a
quill pen? Do goose quills make good holders for artists' brushes?

[Illustration: _Fig. 334. A happy family._]

What kind of food do geese like best?

Is the tongue of a goose similar to that of a turkey or chicken?

Is the old gander as cross as the turkey gobbler?

Have you ever seen a flock of wild geese flying northward or southward?
Which way are they going in the fall? Observe that nearly always they
keep their V-shaped ranks unbroken. There is, of course, a leader whose
call the flock follows. Whether the leader is some chosen member of the
number or whether he takes his position by chance I do not know. What
time of day do the wild geese fly? Do you like to hear them honking as
they go on their way? I wish you would find out whether our farmyard
geese are only these common wild geese tamed.


One mother hen had her own brood of fluffy little chicks (Fig. 334).
When they were old enough they scratched for worms and ate gravel as
obediently as any one could desire. How happy they were underneath the
hemlocks in the long afternoons!

[Illustration: _Fig. 335. Mother hen and baby ducks._]

The other mother hen had to take care of ducks (Fig. 335). Pretty as any
chicks they were, but troublesome as only little ducks can be with a
nervous old hen for their adopted mother. The family in the picture
looks very contented. Do you suppose that the photographer told them to
look pleasant? When we come to know ducks and chickens better, we shall
learn why the little ducks are often such a trial to the hen mother.

It may be that when we ask boys and girls to study chickens and ducks
they will say that there is nothing new to learn about them. I am not so
sure. The freckled-faced boy thought he knew all about them, too. Let us
see whether we can suggest some new things to think about, as you look
over the fence into the poultry yard, or watch the cook preparing a hen
or duck for the Thanksgiving dinner.

As I looked at the chickens in a barn-yard the other day, I was
interested in the different kinds that I saw: some brown, some white,
some black, some speckled; some had feathers on their feet, others had
not; some had combs with many points, in others the comb was close to
the head; some had long tails, some short tails, some no tails at all to
speak of. If I were to name the differences that I noticed you would not
get through reading them in time to write your November dues. How many
unlike marks or characters can you find in chickens or ducks?

Have you ever seen two chickens or two ducks exactly alike?

Compare the feet of a hen and a duck. Their bills. Do you think that a
duck can scratch for worms?

What do ducks eat? What kind of food do hens like best?

How do a hen's feathers differ from a duck's?

Note the scales on a hen's foot. Snakes have scales on their bodies,
too. Some day you may learn a wonderful story that these similar
features of hen and snake suggest.

Touch a hen's eye lightly with a pencil. Does she cover it with a thin
eyelid? A turtle does this. Has a turtle scales also? If so, may be it
will come into the wonderful story connected with hens and snakes.

Look closely at a hen's ear.

Watch chickens as they make their toilet. A farmer told me that among
the tail feathers of barn-fowls there is an oil sac that they find
useful in cleaning their clothes. I wonder whether this is true?

While I was watching some chickens the other day, I saw one jump up into
the air several times. She was a skillful little acrobat. What do you
think she was trying to catch?

Watch the cook as she prepares a chicken or turkey for dinner. Find the
crop into which the food passes after it has been swallowed. From the
crop it passes on to the gizzard. Look closely at the gizzard. See what
strong muscles it has. It needs them to grind the grain and gravel
stones together. It is a very good mill, you see.

Try to find out whether a duck has a crop and a gizzard. Do not ask any
one. Wait until there is to be a duck for dinner some day. Would you
suppose from the kind of food ducks eat that they need a crop and a

Do little chickens have feathers when they are hatched? What is the
cover of their bodies called? Are they always of the same color when
they are hatched that they are when they are grown up? What kinds of
poultry change their color when their feathers grow? Notice the chickens
of Black Minorcas (if you know any one who has that kind), then write
Uncle John about their color. Did you ever see fowls without feathers?
When you go to the fair be sure to look for some "Silkies." Did you ever
see fowls whose feathers were all crinkled up toward their head? Look
for "Frizzles" when you go to the fair.


[Illustration: _Fig. 336. A coop of chickens._]

What is the color of the turkey's egg? Do the first-laid turkey's eggs
differ in color from those that are laid later? How do these eggs differ
in color from the eggs of ducks, geese, and hens? Do eggs from different
breeds of hens differ in color? Do eggs from different kinds of poultry
differ in shape? Can you not make some drawings of eggs showing how they
differ, and send to Uncle John? Not one of you can tell how much a
turkey's egg weighs, nor a hen's egg. Do you think that eggs from all
kinds of hens weigh the same? And if they do not, do you think that they
are worth the same price the dozen?

Did you ever look through an egg at a strong light? What did you see?
Was there an air space? Was it on the big end or the little end? Leave
the eggs in a dry room for a few days. Does the air space increase in
size? Boil an egg. Remove the shell carefully over the air space. Do you
notice a membrane? Are there two membranes? Boil an egg until it is very
hard; does the white of the egg separate in layers? Break the yoke
carefully; do you notice layers of light and dark color? Is there a
little soft light colored spot in the centre? Write to Uncle John and
ask him what this is.


How many varieties of fowls can you name? How do they differ in size and

[Illustration: _Fig. 337. What kind of hens are these?_]

Have you ever seen ducks, geese, hens, and turkeys standing on the snow
or ice? If so, how did they behave? Which seemed to enjoy it? Why should
a duck or goose be able to swim in ice water without apparently
suffering from cold? When mother dresses a duck or goose for dinner, ask
her to let you see the layers of fat under the skin and inside the body.
Write to Uncle John and tell him what the fat in the body is for. Ask
him how this fat came in the body; also whether there is such a thing as
fat in the food which the ducks eat.

Did you ever see hens and ducks out in the rain? Did they all enjoy it?
Did you ever see anything wetter than a wet hen? Why do they look so

Examine the feathers of different kinds of poultry. How do the feathers
of ducks, geese, turkeys and fowls differ? Try wetting the various
feathers, then let them dry out. Make drawings of these feathers,
showing, if you can, the different colors and shapes.

Do turkeys think? Did you ever watch a turkey steal her nest? Where did
she go? How long did you watch her before you found the nest? Did she
cover up her eggs? With what? Why do they cover the eggs when they leave
the nest? Do ducks, geese, turkeys, and hens all cover their eggs? Why
do hens differ in this respect from the turkeys? Do all kinds of ducks
cover their eggs?

Did you ever watch ducklings and little chickens eat? Did you notice any
difference in their appetites? Which grow faster, little chickens or
little ducks?

Do you know that some hens do not pay their board? Sometimes hens eat
more than they are worth. It may be the fault of the hen or it may be
that she is not provided with the proper kind of food or given the
proper care. A hen cannot make eggs unless she has the proper kind of
food. Some persons so feed and handle their hens that they are able to
produce eggs for six cents the dozen; other persons expend more than a
dollar to get the dozen.

How does the farmer make his money from fowls (that is, what kind of
products does he sell)?

You should learn to classify chickens according to the uses for which
they are grown. (1) Some kinds of hens excel in egg-laying. These kinds
are known as the "egg breeds." One of the leading egg breeds is the
Leghorn. (2) Others produce much meat, and are known as the "meat
breeds," as the Brahma. (3) Others are fairly good fowls for both eggs
and meat, and are called "general-purpose breeds," of which Plymouth
Rock and Wyandotte are good examples. (4) Then there are "fancy breeds,"
grown as pets or curiosities or as game birds. Now, try to find out
whether there are any general differences in form and looks to
distinguish one class of breeds from another. And find out whether
turkeys, geese, and ducks may be similarly classified.


Frank and Henry wanted to keep chickens all by themselves. They thought
they might sell the eggs and the fowls and get spending money. They knew
little about chickens, but then, it did not matter, for chickens will
take care of themselves. All there is to do is to give them corn and
water every day,--at least, so the boys thought.

Both boys had a hard time the first year, but they kept at it. Frank
finally made a success. Henry lost money; his hens died or did not lay,
and he had to give up. One boy turned out to be a good farmer and the
other a poor farmer. You have seen such farmers living side by side.

I will tell you why Frank succeeded. 1. He provided warm and pleasant
quarters for the chickens, so that the fowls were comfortable and
contented. 2. He learned to like the chickens, so that he spent many of
his extra hours watching them and caring for them. 3. He learned that
something more is required in feeding a hen than merely to satisfy her
appetite. Some kinds of food may be best for growing chicks and others
for laying hens. 4. He soon found that some hens lay more and larger
eggs than others, and he saved eggs from these hens for hatching. Henry
said that "eggs are eggs" and that there was "no sense in being so
fussy." 5. He learned that eggs and poultry sell best when they really
are best and when they are carefully cleaned and neatly packed. Frank
had learned the first lessons in good farming.

[Illustration: _Fig. 338. At the drinking fountain._]




[91] Nature-Study Quarterly, June, 1899.


In far Thibet exists a class of Buddhist monks who are hermits and who
dwell in caves. I was told about these strange people by a Senior
Naturalist, who has spent his life going around the world and finding
the countries upon it as easily as you Junior Naturalists find the same
countries on the globe in the schoolroom. A real naturalist is never
contented with maps of places and pictures of things, but always desires
to see the places and things themselves.

The Senior Naturalist told me that he found Thibet a dreary land
inhabited by queer people; and the hermit monks were the queerest of
all. Each one dwelt in his solitary cave, ate very little, and worked
not at all, but spent his time in thought. Could we read his thoughts we
should be none the wiser, since they are only mysterious thoughts about
mysterious things.

Now it is a surprising fact that we have hermits of similar habits here
in America; only our hermits are little people who dress in a white garb
and live in cells underground; they also eat little and work not at all,
and probably meditate upon mysteries. However, they are equipped with
six legs while the monks of Thibet have only two, a difference of little
importance since neither hermit travels far from his cave.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are in eight or nine counties in New York State places that may
surely expect visitors on certain years. The connection between these
guests and the hermits of Thibet may not seem very close at first sight;
but wait and see.

The reason why these New York counties expect company is that they
entertained a large number of similar guests in 1882, 1865, 1848, 1831,
1814, in 1797, and probably at intervals of seventeen years long before
that; in 1797, however, was the first record made of the appearance of
these visitors. Every time they came they probably outstayed their
welcome; yet they had the good quality of allowing their hosts sixteen
years of rest between visits.

In order that the Junior Naturalist may recognize these visitors I will
describe their methods of arrival. Sometime in the latter part of May or
in early June you may hear a great buzzing in some trees, as if there
were a thousand lilliputian buzz saws going at once. If you examine the
trees you will find on them many queer-looking insects, with black
bodies about an inch long, covered with transparent wings folded like a
roof. Naturally you will wonder how such great numbers of large insects
could appear one day when they were nowhere to be seen the day before.
But if you look at the ground beneath the trees you will find in it many
small holes. You will also find clinging to the trees many whitish
objects, which at first sight seem like pale, wingless insects, but
which on closer examination prove to be merely the cast skins of insects
(Fig. 339). These are the cowls and robes which our little American
hermits cast off after they come out of their underground cells, and
which they must shed before they can free their wings. Our little
American hermits we call the seventeen-year locusts. However, this name
is a most confusing one, since we also call our grasshoppers locusts,
and to them the name truly belongs. These seventeen-year locusts are
really cicadas, and they belong to a different order from the locusts.
The real locusts have mouth-parts formed for biting, while the cicadas
have mouth-parts grown together in the form of a tube, through which
they suck juices of plants. So we hope the Junior Naturalists will call
our little hermits by their right name, cicadas; and will not permit
them to be spoken of as locusts.

In order that you may know the mysterious lives of these wonderful
insects, I will tell you the story of one of them.


Once a cicada mother made with her ovipositor a little slit or cavity in
an oak twig, and in this slit placed in very neat order two rows of
eggs. Six weeks later there hatched from one of these eggs a pale,
lively little creature, that to the naked eye looked like a tiny white
ant. If, however, we could have examined him through a lens we should
have found him very different from an ant; for his two front legs were
shaped somewhat like lobsters' big claws, and instead of jaws like an
ant, he had simply a long beak that was hollow like a tube. After he
came out of his egg he ran about the tree and seemed interested for a
time in everything he saw. Then, suddenly, he went to the side of a limb
and deliberately fell off. To his little eyes the ground below was
invisible; so our small cicada showed great faith when he practically
jumped off the edge of his world into space. He was such a speck of a
creature that the breeze took him and lifted him gently down, as if he
were the petal of a flower; and he alighted on the earth unhurt and
probably much delighted with his sail through the air. At once he
commenced hunting for some little crevice in the earth; and when he
found it he went to the bottom of it and with his shovel-like fore-feet
began digging downward. I wonder if he stopped to give a last look at
sky, sunshine, and the beautiful green world before he bade them
good-bye for seventeen long years! If so, he did it hurriedly, for he
was intent upon reaching something to eat. This he finally found a short
distance below the surface of the ground, in the shape of a juicy
rootlet of the great tree above. Into this he inserted his beak and
began to take the sap as we take lemonade through a straw. He made a
little cell around himself and then he found existence quite blissful.
He ate very little and grew very slowly, and there was no perceptible
change in him for about a year; then he shed his skin for the first
time, and thus, insect-wise, grew larger. After a time he dug another
cell near another rootlet deeper in the ground; but he never exerted
himself more than was necessary to obtain the little food that he
needed. This idle life he found entirely satisfactory, and the days grew
into months and the months into years. Only six times in the seventeen
years did our hermit change his clothes, and this was each time a
necessity, since they had become too small. Judging from what the Senior
Naturalist told me, I think this is six times more than a Thibetan
hermit changes his clothes in the same length of time.

What may be the meditations of a little hermit cicada during all these
years we cannot even imagine. If any of the Junior Naturalists ever find
out the secret they will be very popular indeed with the scientific men
called psychologists. However, if we may judge by actions, the sixteenth
summer after our hermit buried himself he began to feel stirring in his
bosom aspirations toward a higher life. He surely had no memory of the
beautiful world he had abandoned in his babyhood; but he became suddenly
possessed with a desire to climb upward, and began digging his way
toward the light. It might be a long journey through the hard earth; for
during the many years he may have reached the depth of nearly two feet.
He is now as industrious as he was shiftless before; and it takes him
only a few weeks to climb out of the depths into which he had fallen
through nearly seventeen years of inertia. If it should chance that he
reaches the surface of the ground before he is ready to enjoy life, he
hits upon a device for continuing his way upward without danger to
himself. Sometimes his fellows have been known to crawl out of their
burrows and seek safety under logs and sticks until the time came to
gain their wings. But this is a very dangerous proceeding, since in
forests there are many watchful eyes which belong to creatures who are
very fond of bits of soft, white meat. So our cicada, still a hermit,
may build him a tall cell out of mud above ground. How he builds this
"hut," "cone," or "turret" as it is variously called, we do not know;
but it is often two inches in height, and he keeps himself in the top of
it. Under ordinary circumstances our cicada would not build a hut, but
remain in his burrow.

Finally there comes a fateful evening when, as soon as the sun has set,
he claws his way through the top of his mud turret or out of his burrow
and looks about him for further means of gratifying his ambitions to
climb. A bush, a tree, the highest thing within his range of vision,
attracts his attention and he hurries toward it. It may be he finds
himself in company with many of his kind hurrying toward the same goal,
but they are of no interest to him as yet. Like the youth in the famous
poem, "Excelsior" is his motto and he heeds no invitation to tarry. When
he reaches the highest place within his ken he places himself, probably
back downward, on some branch or twig, takes a firm hold with all his
six pairs of claws, and keeps very still for a time. Then his skeleton
nymph-skin breaks open at the back and there pushes out of it a strange
creature long and white, except for two black spots upon its back; on he
comes until only the tip of his body remains in the old nymph-skin; then
he reaches forward and grasps the twig with his soft new legs and pulls
himself entirely clear from the old hermit garb. At once his wings begin
to grow; at first they are mere pads on his back, but they soon expand
until they cover his body and are flat like those of a miller. The many
veins in the wings are white and he keeps the wings fluttering in order
that they may harden soon. If, in the moonlight of some June evening, a
Junior Naturalist should see a tree covered with cicadas at this stage
he would think it had suddenly blossomed into beautiful, white,
fluttering flowers.

[Illustration: _Fig. 339. The cicada is full grown at last, and his
empty nymph skin is hanging to a branch._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 340. The cicada's drum._]

As the night wears on, the color of our hero changes and his wings
harden; until when the sun rises we behold him in the glory of a black
uniform with facings of orange and with beautiful glassy wings folded
roof-like above his body. (Fig. 339.) Great is the change wrought in his
appearance during this one marvelous night, and greater still the change
wrought in his habits! He is now no longer a hermit; there are thousands
of his kind about him, a fact which he realizes with great joy. So happy
is he that he feels as if he must burst if he does not find some
adequate means for expressing his happiness in this beautiful world of
sunshine. Then suddenly he finds in himself the means of expression and
bursts into song. Yet, it is not a song exactly, for he is a drummer
rather than a singer. On his body just behind each of his hind wings is
a kettle drum. The head to this drum is of parchment thrown into folds
and may be seen with a lens if you lift his wings and look closely.
(Fig. 340.) Instead of drum sticks he uses a pair of strong muscles to
throw the membranes into vibration and there is a complex arrangement of
cavities and sounding boards around these drum heads so that the noise
he gives off is a great one indeed for a fellow of his size. So fond is
he of making music that he has no time to eat or to do aught else but to
sound fanfares all the sunshiny day. He is not the only musician on the
tree; there are many others and they all join in a swelling chorus that
has been described as a roar like that made by the "rushing of a strong
wind through the trees."

If our cicada could talk to one of you Junior Naturalists he would tell
you that there was a good reason for all this music. He would explain
that only the men of the cicada world possess drums and that the object
and reason of all their music is the entertainment of the lady cicadas,
who are not only very fond of this drumming, but are good critics of
cicada music as well. He would perhaps tell you also that he had his eye
on a certain graceful maiden perched on the leaf between him and the
sun; but she, on the other hand, seemed to give about equal attention to
him and three other drummers situated near by. Excited by the
competition and by her indifference, he rattled his drum faster and
faster until he rose to the heights of cicada melody and harmony that
left his rivals far behind. Then the lady of his choice listened
spellbound and pronounced him the greatest of all musicians, and thus he
won his bride. However, we may safely predict that their wedded life
will be too full of happiness to last. After a few weeks the sunshine,
the music, the happiness of wooing and winning will prove too much for
our hero and one day he will beat his drum in a last mad ecstacy and
fall to earth and die from happy exhaustion. His little wife may survive
him only long enough to cut slits in some of the twigs of the home tree
and place in them rows of eggs from which shall develop a family of
hermits which shall come forth and fill the world with their music
seventeen years hence.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are many broods of cicadas in the United States, so that they
appear in different localities in different years. New York State has
five well-marked broods.

There are several other species of cicada peculiar to America. One is
called _Cicada tredecim_, since it appears every thirteen years.
However, this species is limited to the South.

The dog-day harvest fly, or lyreman, is the cicada that is best known to
us through the northern and middle States. This appears in small numbers
every year and is a distinct addition to the summer chorus of insect
singers. He is larger and much more dignified in appearance than is his
cousin _septendecim_. He wears a black suit embroidered with scrolls of
dark olive green and the whole lower surface of his body is covered with
white powder. His drums are situated above plates which may be seen on
the lower side of the body, one behind each hind leg. He hides in trees
and his shrill music is so associated with the heat of summer noons that
the sound itself makes one drowsy. The hermit life of the lyreman in
underground cells is supposed to last only two years.

While the cicadas of which we have spoken are the children of an ancient
race which inhabits America, Europe also has her ancient races of
cicadas, although they are not the kind which live hermit lives for
seventeen years. We have evidence that their music was held in high
esteem by the ancient races of men--especially the Greeks. When Homer
complimented his orators he compared them with cicadas. Thus it may lend
a special interest to the study of the cicada by our Junior Naturalists
when they know that his kettle drums have been celebrated instruments of
music by poets who wrote three thousand years before America was
discovered by Columbus.


1. When did you first see one of the cicadas?

2. What was it doing when you found it?

3. Did it do anything to attract your notice to it, or did you find it
by accident?

4. Where did you find it?

5. See whether you can determine which are the father and which the
mother cicadas.

6. Try to find where a mother cicada has laid eggs.

7. If you find where the cicada emerged from the ground, or from a hut,
give a brief description of the location, as to kind of soil, etc.

8. Where did you find the most of the cast-off nymph skins?

9. Did you discover animals or birds feeding upon the cicada?




(Compare Leaflet XVII.)

[92] Junior Naturalist Monthly, October, 1902.


Last year when vacation days were over our young people found it hard to
leave the acquaintances that they had made during the summer,--the
garden-folk, the road-side-folk, and the wood-folk. Let us take them
indoors with us this year. It will not be difficult to provide a home
for some of the more friendly ones and they will help to make the
schoolroom a cheerful place. How pleasant it will be in the long
afternoons to hear the cricket's merry tune or see the flutter of a
butterfly's wings! The quiet woods and the green fields will then seem
nearer and we shall feel a little touch of their mystery and beauty.

It is not necessary to have a fine home for the outdoor-folk. They will
not object if it is not an up-to-date dwelling. Fig. 341 illustrates a
very convenient terrarium, as the home is called. The sides and top are
covered with fine wire screening and the front is glass. By raising the
cover, which is fastened to one side by means of hinges, new visitors
can be admitted easily.

Another terrarium is shown in Fig. 126, page 208. This is made from an
old berry crate. It does not look quite so well as the other, but, as I
said before, the inmates will not mind a bit. The toads will give their
high jump as gracefully and the crickets fiddle as merrily as in the
finer one.

When the terrarium is ready to furnish, you can have some nature-study
trips in search of materials for it. Cover the floor with stones and
place about three inches of good soil over them. Then you will be ready
to select the carpet. Let this be of soft green moss, the prettiest bits
that you can find on the forest floor. Leave one corner free for sods
on which tall grasses grow, so that there will be a cozy nook for the
orchestra (crickets, grasshoppers, katydids, and the like). What a fine
concert there will be! Will the most conceited toad in the terrarium
ever dare to raise his voice in song again after hearing it? Perhaps
next spring we shall know.

[Illustration: _Fig. 341. A shower for the little neighbors._]

Even before the home is completed, you can gather your small guests
about you. Temporary lodgings can be provided without much trouble. Fig.
342 illustrates a good insect cage, and a box containing damp moss and
covered with mosquito netting will make fairly comfortable quarters for
salamanders ("lizards") and toads.

The first visitor that you welcome will probably be a little
woolly-bear, a brown and black caterpillar that you see so often in your
autumn walks (Fig. 343). He is one of my favorite insect friends, and I
really like to have him snuggle up in a furry ball in my hand. You will
find woolly-bear a very restless little creature. You never know what he
is going to do next. He may spin a cocoon this fall or "he may curl up
like a woodchuck," as Uncle John says, and sleep until spring. Then, if
all goes well, he will spin his cocoon and come out an Isabella
tiger-moth (Fig. 344). No matter how fast woolly-bear may be hurrying
along the highway when you meet him, put him into the terrarium, for you
will find that he is a most entertaining little fellow.

If you have an insect net, sweep it among shrubs and weeds. I am hoping
that when you look into it you will find "golden-eyes" or the
lace-winged-fly. When you see the pretty little green creature you will
wonder that her children can be called aphis-lions, for they are not at
all like their mother (Fig. 345); but when you have watched them among
the aphids or plant-lice, you will understand how they have earned their
name. They have very long jaws and very large appetites.

No one knows better than golden-eyes what her children are capable of
doing when on a foraging tour. For this reason she places her eggs high
on silken stalks (Fig. 345). If she laid them on the leaf close
together, the first aphis-lion hatched would not give the other members
of his family a chance to open their eyes, nor to know how pleasant it
is to live on a green leaf. As it is he walks down the silken stalk and
finds himself among the aphids. Then, when he has proved himself the
gardener's friend by devouring a great many of the small green insects,
he spins a pearly white cocoon and out of this comes a lace-winged-fly
with glistening golden eyes. If one of these dainty creatures comes to
live in your terrarium, you may notice some day that it has a
disagreeable odor. This is a characteristic that many insects possess,
and owing to it the birds do not like to eat them.

There is another insect out in the garden that ought to be an inmate of
every terrarium this fall, the green cabbage-worm. Some Junior gardeners
will object to calling this a friendly little neighbor, but you will
find that he will teach you many new things, in this way proving himself
friendly to you as a naturalist. You must remember that these green
caterpillars did not know that you had planted the garden in which they
worked destruction. They did not know that you wanted to send the very
best cabbage to the State fair. They knew only that when they opened
their eyes they were on a green leaf and it was good to eat.

Probably you will find the eggs of the cabbage butterfly on the under
side of the leaves. Then you can feed the young caterpillars when they
hatch. They will, of course, prefer cabbage leaves. If you miss them
some day, search in the terrarium for the chrysalids into which they
have changed. These chrysalids sometimes imitate the color of the
support from which they hang, and you may have difficulty in finding
them. For this reason it may be well to keep one of the caterpillars
under a lamp chimney, the top of which has been covered with mosquito
netting (Fig. 342), so that you may know how the chrysalids look.

The cabbage butterflies are familiar to most boys and girls; yet as they
come out of the chrysalid state in your terrarium, you will be able to
observe them more closely. Notice that the wings are dull white on the
upper sides, while on the under side the apex of the fore wings and the
entire surface of the hind wings are pale lemon yellow. In the female
you will find that there are two black spots besides the tip on each of
the fore wings, and in the male there is but one.

[Illustration: _Fig. 342. An insect cage._]

Now that I have put you in the way to find a few members of the insect
world for your terrarium, I am going to ask you to think about some
other outdoor-folk that naturalists learn to like.

Have you ever turned over stones or broken off pieces of an old stump in
the woods or along the bank of a stream? If so, you may have seen
salamanders ("lizards") making their escape as quickly as possible. If
you can get a few for your terrarium you will learn to like them, for
they are harmless and have very interesting ways. Do not catch them by
their tails as they try to get away, or you may find that you have
captured the tails but lost the salamanders.

[Illustration: _Fig. 343. Woolly-bear, natural size._]

Let the excursion in search of these little fellows be one of the
jolliest of the year. You will find them in moist places and should
therefore, carry a box containing damp moss to put them in. I would
suggest that you take two boxes along, one for the smaller salamanders,
the other for their larger brothers. Why? I will tell you.

It happened this summer that a party of little folks went out with me on
a salamander hunt. We found three kinds: the _Spotted Salamander_, which
is black with yellow spots on each side of the back; the _Red-back
Salamander_, which usually has a reddish brown band along the back; and
a black one covered with whitish spots. This black one with whitish
spots was named "Freckles" by one of our number, a much more attractive
name than his own, which is _Pleth'-o-don glu-ti-no'-sus_.

We placed the three in a box, and as I closed it the large spotted
salamander seemed very well satisfied (no wonder!), while the other two
raised their heads in a most appealing way. I was firm, however, and
made them prisoners, feeling sure that they would be comfortable in the
nice large terrarium.

When morning came we opened the box, for we were ready to put our little
neighbors into their new home. What was our surprise to find the spotted
salamander alone! As to countenance he was well content; as to sides he
was much bulged out. Poor little "Freckles" and poor little Red Back! I
wish I had listened to your appeal!

[Illustration: _Fig. 344. Isabella tiger moths, male and female. The red
and black woolly-bear is the larva or caterpillar of this moth. The
smaller moth is the male._]


1. A terrarium is "an inclosed bit of earth on which things may live and
grow." Do not think that it is necessary to have one as well made at
first as that in the illustration. (Fig. 341.) Uncle John will be well
pleased to know that you have made some arrangement for having
outdoor-folk live in the schoolroom. Any such home will be a terrarium.

2. Every one can have grasshoppers for study. How many different kinds
can you find? Do all have the feelers or antennæ the same length?
Observe the growth of the wings in the nymph, as the young grasshopper
is called. In the grown-up ones notice that the narrow wing is on the
outside and the pretty ones underneath.

3. Every one can also find crickets, and no terrarium will be complete
without them. In the warm schoolroom or home they will make music until
late in the year. Watch the black cricket make music with his wings.

Notice a tiny light speck near the elbow of the cricket's front leg.
This is the ear; so you see the little fellows "listen with their

The mother cricket has a spear at the end of her body. With this she
makes a hole in the ground in which to place her eggs. She cannot chirp,
but the father makes enough music for the family. You will see that the
mother seems to enjoy it.

Plant fresh grass seed and grain occasionally in the cricket corner of
your terrarium.

4. If you do not own an insect net, try to find a lace-winged fly
without one. It will not be difficult for young naturalists to see the
flies resting on the bushes along the roadside. These insects are
valuable to farmers because their children, the aphis-lions, eat so many
plant-lice and other insects.

[Illustration: _Fig. 345. Golden-eyes or lace-winged fly; eggs, larva or
aphis-lion, cocoon, adult._]

Look on the under side of the leaves for the cocoon illustrated in Fig.
345. It has the appearance of a small pearl. The first time I found one
I did not know what it was. I left it on my desk hoping that something
interesting would come out of it. The next morning there was a pretty
green insect trying to get out of the window and I wondered how it had
come there. While thinking about it my eye fell on the cocoon lying on
my desk. I noticed that a lid had been raised on it and suspected at
once how golden-eyes had found her way into my room. Who will succeed
in getting the eggs, an aphis-lion, a cocoon, or a lace-winged fly? Let
us know.

5. The larger the number of butterflies you can bring into the
schoolroom, the gayer will be the terrarium world. Gather fresh thistles
or other flowers from which they can suck the nectar or give them
sweetened water in a dish. Notice their long mouth-parts as they eat.

One of the most common of all butterflies is the large brown and black
one. This is called the monarch butterfly. Notice that many of these fly
together on autumn days. They are going south with the birds.

6. Be sure to keep the moss damp for the salamanders and add
occasionally fresh pieces in which they will get food. Perhaps you can
teach them to eat raw meat after they have been with you awhile.

7. The terrarium will not be complete without a toad or two. You can
feed them flies, other insects, and earthworms, and they may then leave
the salamanders alone. You need not be afraid to handle the toads for
_they cannot give you warts_. When they have been in the terrarium
awhile they will show you how they like to spend the winter.

[Illustration: _A terrarium in School No. 23, Buffalo._]




[93] Junior Naturalist Monthly, March, 1902.


Of all the insects that interest boys and girls, moths and butterflies
seem to hold the first place. I find, however, that young people are not
always able to distinguish these insects one from another, and do not
know very much of the strange lives they lead. Perhaps you may have
found out a few facts about them in books, but this is not _knowing_. To
know, one must see some of the wonderful things that they do. When you
have watched the whole life-story of a moth or butterfly, you will have
a far greater interest in these animals than their handsome wings and
graceful flight have ever given you.

The most important thing to remember in the study of moths and
butterflies is that they appear in four different forms during their
lives. These forms are:

  _The egg._   _The larva._   _The pupa._   _The adult._


The eggs are laid singly or in clusters. They are usually found on the
plant which is the favorite food of the young. Look for the shining
masses of the eggs of the tent-caterpillar on apple and wild cherry
trees; also for the yellow eggs of potato beetles on potato leaves.


The larva or "worm" hatches from the egg. During this period in its
history the insect _eats_ and _grows_. If you doubt that they have good
appetites, undertake to feed a few healthy caterpillars this spring. If
you doubt that they are particular as to the kind of food they have,
find out for yourselves whether the apple tree "worm" will eat
milk-weed leaves or whether the milk-weed caterpillar will eat leaves
taken from an apple tree.

One of the most interesting things to notice in the study of larvæ or
caterpillars is that they occasionally appear in bright new coats, and
we find the old ones have been cast aside. It is necessity, not pride,
that leads them to do this. You see, an insect's skeleton is on the
outside of its body; and if it could not be shed once in a while how
would there be room for the little creature to grow?

[Illustration: _Fig. 346. Chrys'-a-lids of the mourning-cloak


[Illustration: _Fig. 347. Cocoon of the cecropia moth. It is often
attached to the twig of a fruit tree._]

Of all the forms in which moths and butterflies appear, the pupa is the
strangest. Although we speak of this period in the life of the insect as
one of rest or sleep, it is the time when the most wonderful changes
take place in its body.

The queer little objects that you see illustrated in Fig. 346 are the
pupæ of the mourning-cloak butterfly. When the caterpillars were about
to shed their coats for the last time, they hung themselves head
downward from a twig by means of a silk button which they had spun. Then
they cast off their skins, leaving the chrysalids or naked pupæ hanging;
protected from birds by their spiny form and protected from many
enemies, even from young naturalists, by their wood-brown color which so
closely resembles the support from which they are suspended.

[Illustration: _Fig. 348. The cecropia pupa inside the cocoon. Nearly
natural size._]

Let us next look at the pupa of a moth. This is often inside a covering
which is called a cocoon. If you look on the fruit trees or shade trees
about your home you may find a cocoon of the ce-cró-pi-a moth. You will
see that it is made of silk. This covering was spun by the giant
silkworm as a protection against the storms of winter. How snug the pupa
is inside, and how firmly the cocoon is fastened to the twig on which
you found it! Figs. 347, 348, 349 show this interesting insect.

When you are studying pupæ remember that butterflies do not come out of
cocoons. Their chrysalis or pupa is always uncovered. In the case of
moths, however, the pupa is either inside a cocoon or protected by being
underground or in some well sheltered place. These facts suggest a
question. Is there any reason why the one should be better fitted to
endure cold and storms than the other?


We now come to the fourth period in the lives of moths and butterflies,
a period which has ever had and ever will have an interest for young and
old. Since there are many persons, little and big, who cannot
distinguish the two groups, butterflies and moths, let us learn the
marks by which they may be known.

[Illustration: _Fig. 349. Cecropia moth just emerged from the cocoon, on
which it hangs. The moth comes from the pupa._]

Butterflies have uncovered pupæ. They fly by day. The wings are folded
over the back when at rest. The antennæ or feelers have _knobs_ on the
ends. (Fig. 350 B.) The body is slender.

Moths have pupae either inside cocoons or protected by being underground
or in some sheltered place. Many moths fly at night. The antennæ are
never knobbed. (Fig. 350 M M.) leave the wings spread when they are at
rest. The body is stout.

Occasionally you may come across insects that very closely resemble
butterflies, yet have some characters that are similar to those of
moths. They are the skippers, so named because of their strong and rapid
flight. The antennæ have knobs, but these knobs are drawn out and turned
back in the form of a hook. (Fig. 350 S.) The body is rather stout. The
pupa is covered by a thin cocoon. In some species the wings are held
vertically, in others horizontally.


Cocoons and butterfly chrysalids are very hard to find because they so
closely resemble the withered leaves that cling to shrubs and trees.

[Illustration: _Fig. 350. Antennæ or feelers._]

You will probably find cocoons of the ce-cro-pi-a and pro-mé-the-a
moths. The former, illustrated by Figs. 347 to 349, is commonly found on
fruit trees; the latter swings loosely from a branch of ash, wild
cherry, or lilac. The promethea cocoon is enfolded in a leaf which the
caterpillar fastened to a twig by means of silk before it spun the
cocoon. If you are rewarded for your search by finding some of these
winter homes, leave a few of them in a cool place and occasionally dip
them in water that they may not become too dry. Look at them carefully
from time to time and note any changes that take place. Following are a
few suggestions that will help you in the study of cocoons:

1. Observe the covering of the pupa closely. Is it made of other
material beside silk? When the woolly-bear, that many of you have cared
for all winter, spins his cocoon, he will use some of his own hair as
well as silk.

[Illustration: _Fig. 351. Luna moth and swallow-tail butterfly._]

2. Open the cocoon. Is the pupa free from it? Are the threads of silk
woven in the same direction in all parts of the covering?

3. Out of which end do you think the moth will come?

4. Describe the inside of the cocoon. Do you find anything in it beside
the pupa?

5. The cocoons of the Chinese silkworm are soaked in hot water or
softened by steam before the thread can be unwound. Put one of the
cocoons that you find in hot water and see whether you can unwind the
silk. I wish you could secure some cocoons of the real silkworm.

Boys and girls often ask us what they shall feed moths and butterflies.
Many of the adult insects do not eat at all. Some, however, sip the
nectar of flowers or sap of trees. Oftentimes they will drink sweetened
water or the juice of fruit. If you have an opportunity, watch one while
it eats. Notice the long "tongue" through which it takes its food. This
is made of two pieces grooved on the inner side, and when held together
they form a tube. When the insect is not eating these mouth-parts are

[Illustration: _Fig. 352. The life-story of an insect, the forest tent
caterpillar. m, male moth; f, female; p, pupa; e, egg-ring recently
laid; g, hatched egg-ring; c, caterpillar. Moths and caterpillars are
natural size, and eggs and pupa are slightly enlarged._]




[94] Junior Naturalist Monthly, February and March, 1901.



Many school rooms in the State have a hornet's nest which some boy or
girl has brought to show the teacher. It is usually hung on the wall or
used as an ornament on top of the bookcase. Let us take it down some day
this month and learn something about it.

Do you think the nest can be called a castle? Why not? Look inside. Is
it not several stories high? Are there not spacious galleries in it? Is
it not as well guarded when the wasps are at home as if an army of
soldiers stood outside?

[Illustration: _Fig. 353. The paper castle._]

Let us see how this castle is built. You have heard that wasps were the
first paper makers. In the early summer you will see them around wood
that has been worn by the weather. They take off loose fibres and by
means of their mouth-parts work them into pulp. Can the rain get through
this paper? Find out whether it is waterproof.

Some of the nests made by vespa (Fig. 353), as the hornets or
yellow-jackets are called, are very large. Do you think a wasp could
make one alone? No, these are social wasps; that is, a great many live
together. There are males, females, and workers. Some day we shall tell
you how the wasps form their colony, but for this lesson we want you to
study the nest.

Notice the envelope which covers the cells. How many layers of paper are
there in it? We might call each layer a clapboard.

Can you see any difference in the direction of the outside layers on top
of the nest and those which are below?

[Illustration: _Fig. 354. Interior arrangement of white-faced hornet's

How many stories high is the nest?

Note the difference in the size of the stories. Where do you find the

Count the rooms or cells in each.

You know, of course, that an egg is placed in each cell. When the larvæ,
as the young of the wasps are called, are hatched, they still live in
the cells.

How do they manage to keep in their cells? You see the nest is really
turned upside down. Their little heads must hang where the worker wasps
can feed them easily. I wonder whether you can tell me why the young
wasps do not fall out?

The workers chew all the food which they give the little ones. When in
summer you see hornets about your flower beds or feeding on other
insects, it may be that they are preparing breakfast for the young.
Notice the flowers which they visit.


In the previous lesson I spoke of vespa wasps that make homes of paper.
You learned that they bite off pieces of weather-worn wood with their
jaws and chew it until it is made into pulp. Were you interested in
these social wasps? If so, you may like to hear about another member of
the same family.

[Illustration: _Fig. 355. Home of polistes, the paper-maker._]

Hiding in some crevice about your house or the school building there is
probably a wasp which naturalists call po-lis´-tes. She has been there
ever since the cold weather came. In the spring you may see her tearing
off pieces of wood from some unpainted building or weather-worn fence.
Let us see what she is going to do.

This wasp is the founder of a colony. The first thing she does is to
select a place for her home. Then she makes a few cells--only a few, for
she has no help. When you find a nest like the one in the picture (Fig.
355), you will see how the comb is fastened to the roof or to a tree or
to the under side of a stone.

As soon as the cells are completed, the mother lays an egg in each. From
these eggs little grubs or larvæ are hatched. They are fed by the mother
until they become pupæ. The cells are sealed over while the wasps are in
the pupa state. They have to break open the seals before they can come

All members of the first brood are workers. As soon as they are hatched
the mother has nothing to do but to provide eggs. They clean out the
cells in which they passed their early days; they make additions to the
nests; they take care of the young. Do you remember how the vespa
workers prepared food for the larvæ in their colony and what they fed
them? The young polistes are cared for in the same way.

You may see the workers flying about in your garden this summer, getting
the sweets from the various flowers that you have planted. You will know
why they are so busy through the long sunny days. You will think of the
hungry little wasps waiting for their dinner. You will wonder whether
they put their heads out of the cells when the workers feed them.


1. Compare the nest of polistes with that of vespa.

2. In what ways do they differ?

3. Where did you find the nest?

4. How was it held in place?

5. How many cells are there in it?

6. Notice the pieces of the seals which still remain on the nest. Tell
us whether they are made of the same material as the cells. Of what
utility are the seals?




(Compare Leaflet XXI.)

[95] Junior Naturalist Monthly, October, 1903.


One bright August morning, as we were walking along the edge of a wood,
we found an old tree trunk lying on the ground. I am sure it had been
there a long time. Large pieces of bark were loose enough to be lifted
up; being naturalists, we took advantage of this fact to see whether
anything was living underneath.

What queer little outdoor folk we found: "thousand-legged worms,"
sow-bugs, a black beetle that looked as if its back were made of
patent-leather, and best of all a colony of ants! These ants were large
black ones known as carpenter ants. They had made very comfortable
quarters in this old log. How alarmed they were when we so rudely
exposed them to the light!

One brave ant impressed me more than any other member of the colony. I
wish that all of our girls and boys might have seen it. With my knife I
commenced to cut down the wall of one of the rooms to see what was
inside. The soldier-like ant stood near and, instead of running away, it
attacked the large steel blade with its jaws. Was not that a brave thing
to do? Are you surprised that I closed the knife and put it into my

During all this time there was great commotion in the colony. The worker
ants were scurrying off with the younger members of the family, trying
to find a safe place for them. Some of these little brothers and sisters
were tiny white legless creatures; some were covered up in what looked
like little bags; others were ghost-like things, very white and
apparently lifeless.

Now before you can understand what is going on in an ant's nest, you
must know four things:

1. The white oblong eggs are very small. You will not see them readily.

2. The little legless creatures, or larvæ, hatch from the eggs and are
fed by the workers. Mrs. Comstock says that an ant larva looks like a
crook-neck squash.

3. The larvæ either spin cocoons or rest awhile without any covering
before they become fully grown ants. In their resting form they are
called pupæ. Children usually think the little sack-like pupæ are the

4. The fully grown ants come from the pupæ.

[Illustration: _Fig. 356. Making a home for ants._]

We want every Junior Naturalist Club to have an ant's nest in the school
room and to observe the following:

In time of danger do the ants look to their own safety first?

Watch the workers feed and clean the young.

Try to see an ant help a younger relative out of the pupa skin.

Notice how many uses the ants seem to have for their antennæ or feelers.

Has it ever seemed to you that ants carry on a conversation when they

See how many different kinds of ants you can find out-of-doors, Tell us
about their homes.


In the illustration (Fig. 356) you will see an ant's nest. For this kind
of nest you will need a plank, near the outside edge of which is a deep
groove. The plank should be painted; can you tell why? In the center use
two pieces of glass laid flat and separated by narrow sticks along each
side, so that they are about one-eighth of an inch apart. The sticks
should not come close together at one corner. This leaves a little
doorway for the ants. Cover the top glass with black paper or cloth so
that the space between the two pieces of glass may seem a nice, dark,
safe room in which ants may live. It will be a good thing to keep a
small piece of damp blotting paper in one corner of this room in case
the workers want a moist place for the young ones. Fill the groove in
the plank with water and the nest is ready.

The best ant colony to take indoors is the one that you find under
stones in a pasture. With a trowel lift up the ants, pupæ, larvæ, and
sand and put the contents carefully into a pint can. When you reach the
schoolroom put the contents of the can on the plank and watch what
happens. If the ants do not find the room you have made for them, place
a few larvae and pupæ within it. They will probably find them.

Do not neglect to provide food for the colony. Ants like to eat cracker
soaked in sweetened water, bread, cake, berry jams, sugar, bits of raw
meat, yolk of hard-boiled egg, and custard.

[Illustration: _Junior naturalist museum in the school. District No. 2,
Sheridan, N. Y._]




[96] Junior Naturalist Monthly, May, 1904.



Would you like to have a garden this summer--a garden all your very own?
If so, you can surely have one. A man up in a balloon could have one if
he were to try; a man living down in a coal mine could not, because
there would be no sunlight. Plants must have light from the sun, which
is the vital source of all light. I consider that anyone who cares for a
plant, growing either in a window box or in a tomato can, has a garden.
Yes; a plant growing in an eggshell constitutes a garden.


Near my desk is a picture of a little girl, holding in her arms a big
pumpkin that she raised in a garden all her own. I do not know how many
pies could have been made from that pumpkin, but, at any rate, it was a
big pumpkin. The seed from which the vine started was planted in an
egg-shell in the school-room. When the bright May days came the
egg-shell had become too small for the plant or the plant had become too
large for the egg-shell, so the little girl planted it in the open
ground at her home. She must have been a tiny girl or the soil in her
garden must have been very hard, for without help she was unable to
spade it and make it fine. She hired her father to do it for her and
paid him by carrying his dinner every day for a week to the shop where
he worked. When lunch time came, papa and she had a little picnic all by
themselves. There is no prettier picture than is made by such strong
comradeship between a little girl and her father.


I hope your teacher will permit you to have some boxes of earth (I mean
_soil_) in the windows of your school-room, in which you may plant
flower or vegetable seeds. In early June, just before the close of
school, you can divide the plants among yourselves and set them out in
the open ground or in window boxes at your home. Ask your teacher
whether you may have such a privilege. Promise that if she will grant
this favor you will be just as good as the "little girl who had a little
curl that hung in the middle of her fore-head," and if at any time you
become "horrid" the teacher may give your share of the plants to some
one better behaved than yourself. If she is a wise teacher she will
consent, but not until she has made a bargain with you that you are to
do all the work and to ask nothing from her but advice when you need it.

[Illustration: _Fig. 357. Sweet peas._]


[Illustration: _Fig. 358. A nest of window pots._]

Your first garden should be in a shallow box, called a "flat," which you
may consider a kind of nursery for the plants. Let this nursery, or
cradle, be as long and as wide as a soap box, and not more than three or
four inches deep. You can make a "flat," as gardeners do, by sawing a
soap box in two. In the bottom of the box make some small auger holes
for drainage. Some of you may be so fortunate as to be able to gather
from the woods and fields the material for fitting up the flat. Some
moss,--say about an inch of it,--should first be laid in the bottom.
When moss cannot be found, use stones or pieces of broken pottery to
cover the drainage holes. This is to prevent the soil from washing
through. The remainder of the flat should be filled with good woods
earth. Pack the soil firmly. Fill the flat not even full, but to within
half an inch of the top. Those who cannot go to the fields must get the
best garden soil to be found. A few children may be unable to get even
garden soil. They will be obliged to go to the florist's for soil, as
they must do when they fill their window boxes. Because of the frequent
waterings required by all plants growing in boxes, it is important to
get soil that is not sticky and that will not pack hard.


When the time comes for the sowing of seeds, you had better ask your
teacher to look over your shoulder to see that you do it correctly. In
sowing, put the seeds in straight rows. These rows may be made by
denting the soil with the sharp edge of a stick or ruler. Let the rows
extend the entire width of the flat. Into the dent, drop the seeds at
regular intervals. If any seeds drop outside of the dent, gently push
them into place with a toothpick. Half a dozen rows of one variety of
flowers or vegetables having small seeds will give a large number of
plants. One flat may accommodate a number of varieties.

At the point where one variety stops and another begins, a neat label of
wood should be stuck. This affords a good chance for a boy to bring his
new jack-knife into use. On the label should be written the name of each
variety. This will give an excellent opportunity for one who writes a
good vertical hand to make himself useful. Begin at the very top of the
label and write towards the lower end; then if the lower part of the
label rots off or becomes discolored, you will still have the first and
most important part of the name left. The label should never be
disturbed, for a careless boy or girl might not put it back into the
exact place where it was found, which would be indeed unfortunate. The
Smiths and Joneses of that plant community would become so mixed that
the Joneses would be called Smiths and the Smiths would be known as
Joneses. It would be as bad as changing door-plates.

When the seeds have been evenly distributed in rows like houses along a
street there comes another very important step,--the covering of the
seeds. If seeds are covered too deep they will rot because of too much
moisture; if the covering is too thin, the soil will dry so rapidly that
the seeds will fail because of insufficient moisture. The size of the
seed usually determines the amount of covering necessary. As a broad
general rule, the soil covering should be about four times the thickness
of the seed.

Having been covered, the earth must be thoroughly watered. This must be
done gently and carefully. If done with a rush, the water will wash the
covering away and many of the seeds will be left bare. Whenever such an
accident occurs, the seed may be pushed into the soil with a toothpick.
At most times when watering, continue to apply the water until it just
begins to drain through the bottom of the flat. This should be
practiced even after the seeds have germinated and become growing
plants. Keep the flats shaded until the plants begin to push their heads
through the soil. After this time strong light should gradually be given
them that the plants may not become tall and spindling, or "leggy," as
gardeners say.

[Illustration: _Fig. 359. Transplanted into a pot._]

If the seed boxes are in a sunny or windy place, the soil may dry out
too rapidly. This can be prevented by laying a newspaper over the flat
when the sun strikes it. As the plantlets grow, care must be taken not
to shade them too much.


In some plants the first leaves are called the "seed-leaves," and, like
children's milk teeth, soon disappear. The next set are the true leaves.
After the true leaves appear, if the plants seem crowded and
uncomfortable, like three boys trying to sleep in a narrow bed,
transplant them into other flats prepared similarly to the one into
which the seeds were sown. You may think of this as the promotion of the
young plants from the cradle to the kindergarten. Here the plants should
be placed about an inch from each other, in squares. Wet the plants
thoroughly before taking them up and also the soil into which they are
to make their second home. After this is done, the soil should be
pressed firmly about the roots, as you snuggle the bedclothes about your
neck on a cold winter's night. It is entertaining practice to transplant
the plants into pots, if you happen to have any florist's pots of small

[Illustration: _Fig. 360. A soap box put to use._]

This transplanting of plants in the school-room gives a quiet occupation
to boys and girls who for a time may not be engaged in study. The
disobedient child or the would-be "smart" one might better be denied
the privilege. I say "privilege," because the wise teacher will make
window gardening a privilege and not required work. After the
transplanting has been completed and the plants thoroughly soaked with
water, they must be shaded for about twenty-four hours, after which they
had better receive the strong light once more, when they will resume
their growth.


If plants could feel and talk, they would tell of periods when they had
endured great suffering because of thirst: suffering as great as that
sometimes experienced by travelers in crossing a desert. Often it has
been so great as almost to ruin a plant's constitution. I am often
asked, "How frequently shall I water plants?" It is as difficult to give
a fixed rule for watering as to determine how often a boy should be
allowed a drink. During cool cloudy weather, plants do not require as
much water as when the sun shines bright and hot on them. I can give no
better general direction than this:--water plants when the surface of
the soil seems dry and powder-like, when a pinch of it rolled between
the thumb and finger does not form a little ball. Under conditions in
which the drainage is good, plants should receive water until the
surplus begins to trickle out of the holes at the bottom. If you follow
these directions carefully, your schoolroom garden should afford a good
lot of plants for cultivation at home in the open ground or in boxes.


As to the kind of seeds to sow, you must be governed by what you most
desire to have in your home garden for summer cultivation. If you are
able to have a garden in the open ground, I would have you make a
selection of both flowers and vegetables. Do not choose a large variety
of either, for children are but little men and women and must shape
their tasks to fit their shoulders. It would be better to have a garden
the size of a horse blanket and have it in good condition all summer
than to have a larger one and allow it to become a wilderness of weeds.

In the vegetable line, you can have radishes and lettuce that may be
harvested by the Fourth of July. After the first crop has been removed
the ground should be spaded and wax beans planted in rows about eighteen
inches apart and the beans six inches apart in the rows. These give the
juiciest of pods, excellent for pickling. Kings and princes could have
none better. This plan gives you two crops from the same ground in one
summer. Plant radishes in rows twelve inches apart and about two inches
apart in the row. Pull them for the table when the roots are
three-quarters of an inch or a little more in diameter. Set lettuce
about three inches apart in the row, which is twice or more as thick as
the plants should be when full grown. When half grown or more every
other plant may be pulled out for table use and the remaining ones will
soon fill the vacancies.

[Illustration: _Fig. 361. A window-garden of one's own._]

In suggesting your selection of flowers, I shall mention but a few. I
have chosen the following kinds because they are not too particular or
exacting as to care, while some are equally well adapted for cultivation
either in the open ground or in window boxes. I hope you will include
sweet peas, dahlias, and gladioli in your selection. I have not named
them in this list because they are not suitable for planting in flats,
but are planted directly in the open ground where they are to spend
their lives. Gladioli and most dahlias you will not raise from seeds.

The following is a list from which you may make a selection for planting
in your school-room, to divide later with your mates for home

  Petunia       }
  Nasturtium    } Suitable for planting either in
  Sweet Alyssum }  window boxes or in the open ground.
  Mignonette    }

  Bachelor's Button       }
  Salvia (Flowering Sage) }
  Phlox                   }  To be planted in
  Aster                   }  the open ground.
  Marigold                }
  Candytuft               }

[Illustration: _Fig. 362. Plan of the improvement of the school ground,
shown in Fig. 365._]


There is no reason why you cannot have a window-box as attractive as the
one shown in Fig. 361. Plants will grow as well for you as for the
richest or the greatest man of whom you ever heard. All they require is
to be made comfortable. The two things most necessary for their comfort
are water as often as they need it, and fertile soil that will not
become hard from frequent watering. Plants in boxes need water much
oftener than those in the open ground. I once knew of a window-box on a
tin roof on the south side of the house that was watered morning, noon,
and night. Those plants must have been comfortable, for they made
thrifty growth.

When you have learned how to make plants comfortable in a flat, you will
know what is necessary for their comfort in a window-box. They should
have the same kind of earth, but more of it. The box should never be
less than eight inches wide and eight inches deep and as long as you can
afford to fill with earth and plants. There must be holes in the bottom
for drainage, and moss or small stones placed over the holes to prevent
the soil from washing away.

The plants should be set four to six inches apart in the box. At first,
this will seem too great a distance, but after a few weeks of growth,
the plants will cover all bare spots. When transplanting either to
window-boxes or to the open ground, do it the same way as when changing
plants from the cradle flat to the kindergarten flat.

I know of a brother and a sister who found enough soil to fill some
egg-shells. The shells had small drainage holes in the bottom. In time
the plants grew and became too large for the egg-shells. Then the
children went in search of more soil. They found enough to fill a few
tomato cans. These cans also had drainage holes in the bottom. In each
can they set a plant. They then put the cans into a soap box. Then they
packed excelsior into all the vacant places in the soapbox. The
excelsior helped to hold the moisture. The box stood on a back veranda
where the plants had plenty of sunshine. So long as they were
comfortable they did their best, which is as much as they could have
done if they had been in expensive vases in the grounds of the White
House at Washington.


On the last page of this leaflet are two pictures of a school-house. The
first shows how it looked when it had not a friend. The second shows
what the friendship of the teacher and the children could do for it. In
both cases the building remains the same. Look at one picture and then
at the other. See, if you can, what one thing has been done to make the
difference--a difference as great as that between a tramp and a
gentleman. A few shrubs have been planted by the friends, but the
greatest thing they did was to clean up. They took away everything that
looked untidy and shabby.

At this time of the year you see many beautiful crocuses, tulips,
daffodils, and hyacinths. Nothing children can plant will give so much
for the labor as these bulbs. Why not have some on the school grounds?
When school begins next September, write me for directions how to grow

[Illustration: _Fig. 363. Product of a child's garden._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 364. School premises before improving._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 365. School premises after improving._

_Could you not do as much for your school grounds?_]




[97] Junior Naturalist Monthly, June, 1903.



Of course you believe that Columbus discovered America, even though you
were not with him. If you had been on the deck of his ship when San
Salvador raised its head on the rim of the sea, you would be talking
about it every day of your life. As it is, your knowledge comes to you
through books, and you think you are fortunate if you are able to answer
questions correctly on examination. This leads me to remark that there
is much more interest in things that we have helped to "make happen"
than in things that we read about and that were "made to happen" by some
one else.

There is a chance for each of you boys and girls, in a way, to become a
Columbus. It is true that, not counting the north and south poles, all
the continents are discovered, but there is much pleasure and "fun" in
discovering facts. I am now speaking from experience. I think that James
Buchanan was President when I learned, in such a way that I could
explain to others, the principles of a suction-pump. Some of the
suggestions led me to make a squirt gun from a bit of elder stalk.
Sometimes when I made a demonstration the water would fly in the faces
of my audience. I started a squirt gun factory, but the teacher stopped
the enterprise because it made too much litter in the school-room.

I have a suggestion that will start you on a voyage of discovery. When
you have gone as far as you can I wish you would write me, telling what
you have learned. Writers of agricultural books sometimes use the
expression, "There is fertility in tillage." Is that true?

By fertility is meant the power of the soil to furnish plant-food.
Fertile soil is "rich" soil. By tillage is meant frequent stirring of
the soil. For example, Billy Boy and his chum each have a flower garden
side by side of equal size. Each boy sows seeds from the same bag. The
same sunshine and the same rains give vigor to each flower-bed alike.
Billy Boy spades the soil deep and makes it fine. His chum stirs the top
and leaves clods on the surface. With the end of a sharp stick Billy
makes a straight drill for the seed. On the bottom of the drill the soil
is fine like meal, and the seed is sown with great care and is covered
with the finest soil. If the seed is small he makes the soil covering
very thin. The last thing he does is to firm the soil by patting it with
either his hand or the flat part of a hoe, and he does it in an
affectionate way as if he were patting a dog. His chum makes the drill
for the seed in a hasty way, leaving in the bottom little clods of earth
as large as hickory nuts. He sows the seed as if he were glad to get rid
of it, and he covers it as if he wanted it out of sight as soon as

Which of the two boys gave the better tillage to the soil? During the
summer you will see how others care for their plants and you will see
instances of good tillage and poor tillage. You must observe and write
me which of the two had the better success in having the seed come up.
The difference between the two ways does not end in sowing and
germination of seed, but continues all summer until the end of the
season. Billy Boy will care for the soil by combing it with a rake
several times a week, with the same care and affection with which the
lover of a horse will groom the animal each morning. The chum will think
the plants are all like goats, and ought to live with almost any chance.
Billy Boy will have no weeds among his plants and his chum will have
them in great numbers. The chum may say that weeds shade the plants and
thereby protect them from drought. I have known grown-up farmers to say
that. Is it true? Go on a voyage of discovery and find out.

I hope your garden may be of the Billy Boy kind, receiving plenty of
tillage. You will have no trouble to find any number of the other kind
of gardens growing to weeds and receiving no tillage. It will please me
very much if you will write me, giving as many reasons as you can why
tillage makes the soil more fertile (or "rich") and able to produce
better plants and flowers. Each letter will be carefully read.


Perhaps you can answer the questions by watching your garden or some
one's else garden; but you can answer them better if you will grow a few
"hills" of corn. In the fall I shall have many questions to ask you
about corn, and I want you to be able to answer by telling me what you
have seen with your own eyes. Those of you who are Junior Naturalists
have done well with your dues this year, but we must always do better
next year than we did last; so I want you to know many things about
Indian corn when you come back to school in the fall. Your teacher has
also been asked to study corn, and I am going to study it myself. I am a
farmer and I have grown corn all my life. Once I thought that I knew all
about it; but frequently some one asks me a question about it that I
cannot answer.

Now, I hope that you can plant at least ten "hills" of corn, or, if you
do not plant it in "hills," you may make two rows, each of them five or
ten feet long. I want you to plant part of these hills (or one of the
rows) in good rich soil. Perhaps your father will let you plant them in
the best part of the garden along with the cabbages or other crops; or,
perhaps, your mother will let you plant them at the back part of the
flower garden. Then I want you to keep down the weeds and break or
cultivate the ground often with a hoe or rake so that the soil is always
loose. Then I want you to plant the other part of the corn in a poor or
dry piece of ground, where the weeds grow. This part you need not
cultivate. I think that before the summer is half over you will learn a
very great lesson by looking at these two pieces of corn. Some of you
will say that you know beforehand what will happen; but I want you to
grow the corn nevertheless.

By fall I hope you will be able to write me whether you can tell a rich
soil when you see it, and also why you think it is rich. I want everyone
of the Junior Gardeners to tell me that much when school opens.

       *       *       *       *       *

_To the Teacher:_

We must depend upon your courtesy to help in reporting what has been
done by you and your pupils in improvement of school grounds. In
addition to this we hope it may be your pleasure to ask all the children
who are able to write to tell us in detail, at some language period,
what they have done. We are never able to get reports of all this good
work. Many teachers feel that nothing but heroic deeds in the planting
of school grounds are worthy of mention. This is a mistake. Some grounds
may be more improved by attention to simple tidiness than by expensive
planting, and they are equally worthy of mention.

The attendance at some schools is small and the pupils are young. Small
efforts from them are relatively great when compared with what is done
by schools with ample facilities. We know a teacher who began her first
teaching in the fall of 1902. The pupils were eight in number and most
of them were small. The school was in the country. The interior of the
building was shabby. The teacher was courageous and resolute. With her
small handful of not over-competent pupils, she had school "exercises"
and the children sold tickets. By this means enough paper was bought to
cover the walls, and the teacher and the children put the paper on. Then
they made other sales, for which they received as commission three
pictures creditably framed. They were hung on the walls of the
school-house. By this time, the tide of civic improvement in that
community began to turn towards the improving of the school building and
grounds. We are eagerly awaiting reports to know what was done on Arbor
Day. Under such conditions, it was no small thing that the teacher and
children accomplished.

[Illustration: _Fig. 366. Making a school-garden in Massachusetts._]




[98] Supplement to Junior Naturalist Monthly, April, 1902.



I wish to make farmers of you all. I will try to tell you how to have
farms all your own--farms on which you can plant seeds and see the
plants grow. Once a little girl in Buffalo, who is one of my Junior
Naturalists, asked me whether I would call at her home and see the
harvest from seeds she planted on one of her farms the spring before.
The principal of the school went with me, for he knew all about the
little girl's success, and seemed proud of what she had accomplished.
What do you think it was she had raised? It was something that filled
her lap and was good to eat. It was a fine pumpkin. It weighed
twenty-two pounds. I wish I could have a photograph of her holding the
pumpkin, her face glowing with pride and satisfaction.

You are surely able to do as much as this little girl did. Perhaps you
would prefer some other crop to pumpkins, in which case you have many
kinds of seeds from which to choose.

Last spring, in school, this little girl with other boys and girls began
planting and caring for egg-shell farms. It costs no money and but
little trouble to own several such farms. The greatest pleasure and
profit is to be found in having them in school, for then you have the
opportunity of seeing how others manage their farms, and there is a spur
in doing what others are doing. When you have read all about my plan I
wish you would ask your teacher whether you cannot have some egg-shell
farms in your grade. When your plants are large enough to put
permanently in the open ground, you can plant them in a garden or
window-box at your home. If it is not convenient to have egg-shell
farms at school, ask your parents if you cannot have some at home.

Please give me your ears and your attention while I tell you how to get
your farms.

In April you have eggs at some one of the three meals of the day, and
the empty shells can be easily obtained. The end of the shell to be
broken is the sharp or "peaked" end. Break away about a quarter or a
third of it and pour out the white and the yolk that is inside. This
empty shell is to hold the soil of your farm, and you can have as many
farms as may be convenient to care for. On each egg-shell you may write
your name, for the same reason that people have door plates on the doors
of their houses or signs on their places of business. Some very
methodical boys and girls write also the names of the kind of seeds
sown, and the dates of planting and sprouting. Do not forget to put a
hole through the bottom of each one of your farms for drainage. I wish I
could be with you when you get your soil; we would go out to the
pastures and the woods for a supply. I should be able to tell you much
about different soils, and how they have been made. It is an interesting
story that I must tell you when we are past the hurry of spring's work.
If we could go afield we should find the best soil for your egg-shell
farms about the roots of rotted stumps or in rotted leaves. It is
necessary that the soil shall not bake hard because of frequent
waterings, shall not dry out quickly, and shall have plenty of
plant-food. I fancy the most convenient plan will be for all of you who
wish soil to form a syndicate by contributing a cent each and go to a
florist and buy your soil. Tell the florist you wish it for your use and
the probabilities are that he will be so much interested in your plants
that you will get more for the same amount of money than I could if I
were to go for you.

The next difficulty will be to keep your farms right side up. That is
easily accomplished by putting some sand or sawdust in a shallow box and
making a dent where you wish each farm to stand. If you have your farms
in the school-room, Tom, Dick, and Harry can have all their farms in the
same box. There will be no trouble in separating them if the owner's
name is written on each one.

Next comes the planting of seeds and the problem of the amount of earth
to put over them. Big seeds require more covering than little seeds.
Seeds like peas, beans, and corn may be thrust into the middle of your
farm. Small seeds, like those of the petunia, which are almost like
dust, require only the gentlest sprinkling of soil. Seeds as large as
those of the aster and the balsam should be covered with a layer of
earth as thick as a lead pencil. I advise you to plant twice as many
seeds as you wish to have grow. Many accidents may happen and if all
grow, the surplus plants can be replanted later or thrown away. The
earth covering should be sprinkled or sifted over the seeds, and then it
must be patted or pressed down firmly. By this means the particles of
soil are snuggled close together, and the seed and the soil hold
moisture much better than when the particles lie loose and far apart.

The next thing to do after planting is to sprinkle water over your
farms. Do this as gently as possible, for with all your care some seeds
may be uncovered. Look over the ground carefully, and those you find
exposed poke into the earth with the point of a pencil or a stick.

The soil of your farms must be kept moist at all times. This is a point
that will require your continued attention. When your Uncle John
attended school, many years ago, there was a passage in his reader that
taught him that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." The
attention required to keep plants suitably watered does not fall much
short of eternal vigilance. This need not scare you. If you care for
your farms you will find it a pleasure to wait on your plants.

If you have your egg-shell farms in the school-room, there will be no
opportunity to water your plants Saturday or Sunday, when school is not
in session. I think if you make your farms soaking wet Friday at the
close of school, and then set them back from the window out of the
direct rays of the sun, no harm will come from dryness before Monday

You must watch to see whether all members of the same family do the same
thing precisely alike. After sowing your seeds and watering your farms
you will go to them many times to see whether anything has happened. You
will not be able to see anything or hear anything, and you will conclude
that nothing is going on in the soil.

In this you will be mistaken, for some active changes are taking place.
They are of a kind that you can neither see nor hear. In days to come,
when you are men and women, you will be able to appreciate the fact that
some of the most important events come about silently and some of the
least important come with a racket.

The first leaves that appear on most plants are called the seed-leaves.
If your plants are comfortable, but a few days will pass before true
leaves develop. You will find the latter very different from the
seed-leaves. Before the first or seed-leaves appear it is not important
that your farms have the strong sunlight. In fact I always put my
egg-shell farms in the shade while the seeds are germinating, but at the
first peep of a leaf or stem I put them in the full sunshine.

Most of you will no doubt have your farms on the window ledge. Among the
first things you will observe is a way all the leaves have of looking
out of doors. If you turn your farms around so the leaves are looking in
the room, the time will not be long before all of them will be faced out
of doors again. Once on a time one of my Junior Naturalists told me that
plants take to sunshine as a duck does to water. A duck is never so
comfortable as when in water; and I am certain that sunshine is
important to the comfort of most plants. Some of my nephews and nieces
will understand why light is so necessary to plants, for I have spoken
of this before.

I hope you will this moment decide to have some egg-shell farms, and sow
some seed immediately after getting your soil. Later, when the plants
are large enough to plant in the open ground, we will talk of what is
best to do with them. In Leaflet LII you will find a picture of an
egg-shell farm.




[99] Nature-Study Quarterly, October, 1899.



  "It's rather dark in the earth to-day,"
  Said one little bulb to his brother;
  "But I thought that I felt a sunbeam ray--
  We must strive and grow till we find the way?"
  And they nestled close to each other.
  Then they struggled and toiled by day and by night
  Till two little snowdrops in green and white,
  Rose out of the darkness and into the light,
  And softly kissed one another.--_Boston Journal._

To succeed with the cultivation of flowers, the first thing to have in
mind is to make the plant comfortable. This condition should be not only
the first thought, but also the last thought. If you can do this
successfully, the plant will do the rest of the work and your results
will be abundant.

What plant comfort is, is a question more easily suggested than
answered, for it is a very large subject--about as large as the surface
of the earth. As a venture we will say that there are as many different
kinds of plants as there are people. It is at least safe to say that
plants have as many different notions as to their conditions of life as
have the people of the different nations and tribes of the world.

If you were to have a birthday party and should invite as your guests
the children from the four corners of the earth, and by magic could
bring them to you in a jiffy, the boys and girls from Greenland would
come enfolded in seal-skin, and those from Hawaii would bring only their
bathing suits. You would have a busy time keeping them comfortable, for
when you opened the door to cool off the little Greenlanders, the little
Kanakas would complain of too much draft; and at the table the former
would ask if you happened to have some tallow candles for dessert, and
the latter would ask for bread-fruit and bananas.

Many of our flowering plants have been brought together from such remote
quarters as that. We have bulbs from Holland, and pansies from England,
and phlox from the dry atmosphere of Texas.

[Illustration: _Fig. 367. The Snow-drop._]

There is as much difference in the conditions necessary for comfort in
these different plants as there is in the requirements of the little
Eskimos and little Polynesians. To some extent, plants can change their
manner of living, but in the main they are happiest when they can have
their own way, just as you and I are.

We cannot bring about the foggy, damp weather of Holland and England
when we want it; neither can we bring the dry atmosphere of Texas--air
so dry that meat will cure hard in the hottest weather without tainting.
It so happens, however, that from one Fourth of July to the next we have
many kinds of weather, and if one could not find conditions suited to
almost any kind of plant it would be strange. If we cannot make the
weather accommodate itself to the best comfort of the plant, we must set
the plant so as to accommodate itself to the weather.

Pansies from foggy England and bulbs from the lowlands of Holland should
be planted to bloom in the cool days of spring, and the phlox from Texas
will prosper in the heat and drought of July and August.

With this idea well fixed in your mind, you will easily see that when
you know the country from which a plant has come, a knowledge of the
physical geography of that country will be helpful in knowing how to
make the plant happy and prosperous.

We must also make the plant comfortable in the soil. There is great
difference in what plants require to make them comfortable. Some, like
thistles or mullein or ragweed, will thrive on almost any soil and are
no more exacting as to food than a goat or a mule; but other plants are
as notional as children reared in the lap of luxury. As a rule,
flowering plants belong to the "lap-of-luxury" class.

Soil covers the land as thin skin covers an apple or as a thin coat of
butter covers bread, and it holds more or less plant-food. When men
erect school buildings and afterwards grade the ground they usually turn
a part of the soil upside down. There is also considerable rubbish of
the builders left scattered about, such as brick-bats, chips of stone,
and the like, that go to make the place an uncomfortable one for
notional plants. For this reason I wish particularly to call your
attention to the manner in which you should prepare the ground on which
you intend to plant. The first thing to do is to spade the ground
thoroughly to the depth of at least ten inches. All stones as large as a
big boy's fist should be thrown out, and all lumps given a bat with the
back of the spade to break them into fine particles. This is to be a
flower-bed and should be soft like your own bed. It would be better to
make it up more than once. After the first spading it would be well to
cover the bed with a coat of stable fertilizer to a depth of six to
eight inches, which will give additional plant-food; and in spading the
second time, this fertilizer will become thoroughly mixed with the soil.
The surface should next be raked smooth, and your flower-bed will then
be ready for planting.

We all admire the bright bulb flowers that are among the first to
blossom in the spring. These mostly come from Holland, or at least
attain their perfection there. We have just spoken of the importance of
planting flowers at such a time that they may live their career when our
climate is most like that from which they come. In the case of bulbs,
spring and early summer is the most favorable time for them in this
country, and fall is the proper time for planting.

The exact time in the fall to plant, how to plant, what bulbs to plant,
when to put a winter overcoat on the bed, and other details, I will
leave for Mr. Hunn to tell in the following Leaflet. He has had many
years' experience in the management of flowers, and I advise you to read
carefully what he says.

[Illustration: _Fig. 368. A bulb bed at the school house._]




[100] Nature-Study Quarterly, October, 1899.


Perhaps you would like to hear from the gardener. Your Uncle John has
told you something about preparing a bed for your plants. His advice is
very good; but the bulbs we are to talk about are like those notional
children whom he mentions and they do not want tallow candles for any
part of their meal.

You should know that bulbs do not want to come into direct contact with
the stable fertilizer. They want the fertilizer below them where the
feeding roots may nibble at it when the bulb is hard at work developing
the leaves and flower. You know that all the leaves and the flowers were
made the year before, and the bulb simply holds them until the new roots
have formed. No kind of treatment will make a bulb produce more flowers
than were formed in the year it grew (last year); but the better the
treatment the larger and finer the flowers will be.

If I wanted to make a bulb bed, I should choose, if possible, a sandy
soil and throw out the top soil to the depth of six inches. Then I
should put into the bottom of the bed about two inches of well rotted
manure and spade it into the soil. Then I should throw back half of the
top soil, level it off nicely, set the bulbs firmly on this bed, and
then cover them with the remainder of the soil; in this way you will
have the bulbs from three to four inches below the surface. It is dark
down there and in the fall months the top of the ground is cooler than
at the depth of five or six inches and the top of the bulb will not want
to grow, while the bottom, which is always in a hurry, will send out
roots, to push out the leaves and flowers the next spring.

When the weather is cold enough to freeze a hard crust on the soil, the
bed should have its winter overcoat. This may be straw, hay, cornstalks,
or leaves spread over the bed to the depth of six inches if the material
is coarse; but if you use leaves, three inches will be enough, because
the leaves lie close together and may smother out the frost that is in
the ground and let the bulbs start. What we want is to keep them asleep
until spring, because if they start too early the hard freezes of March
and early April will spoil their beauty if the leaves or flowers are
near or above the surface. Early in April the covering may be removed
gradually and should all be off the beds before the leaves show above
the ground.

[Illustration: _Fig. 369. Simple designs for bulb beds._]

Perhaps many of you cannot find a sandy place for your beds; if not,
make your beds as has been told you, leaving the stones in the bottom of
the bed for drainage. Then, when you are ready to set the bulb, place a
large handful of sand where your bulb is to go and set your bulb on it;
this will keep the water from standing around the bulb. Very good
results may be obtained on heavy soil by this method.

What kind of bulbs shall we put into these beds? Choose hyacinths,
tulips, narcissus, or daffodils, with snowdrops or crocuses of various
colors around the edge.

If you use hyacinths you can have the national colors, red, white, and
blue, or many shades of either color, as shown in the diagrams (Fig.
369). Of tulips you can have stars or ribbons of yellow, white, or
crimson, or in fact almost any color except true blue. In narcissus,
yellow, sulfur, and white are the colors. The little crocuses come in
yellow, blue, white, and striped colors, and are in bloom and gone
before the large flowers take your attention. Many other bulbs are fine
for spring flowering; but as most of them are more difficult to grow
and many of them rather expensive, I do not think we will discuss them

Suppose we want a bed of red, white, and blue hyacinths (Fig. 369), and
make it six feet in diameter: how many bulbs would you want? Now,
hyacinths should be planted six inches apart each way, and the outside
row should be at least three inches from the edge of the bed. You see
you will want a little over one hundred bulbs, which, if one person had
to buy them, would cost him a considerable sum; but if fifty or more
boys and girls would club together it would be easy for everyone.

If you want a bed of tulips, they should be planted four or five inches
apart instead of six inches. So you will need more bulbs; but they are
cheaper than hyacinths. The narcissus bulbs, being still smaller than
tulips, may be planted three inches apart; and the little crocuses, the
first flowers of spring, should touch one another, as should also the

Perhaps many of you do not wish to wait until spring for your bulbs to
flower, in which case we must try to persuade them to bloom through the
winter, say at Christmas. Nearly all bulbs are good-natured, and may be
coaxed to do things that nature never asks them to do; so if we go at it
right we shall find it very easy to make them think their time to bloom
has come, even if the ground is covered with snow and the ice is thick
on the ponds. Hyacinths, narcissus, and crocus can all be made to flower
in the winter by starting this way. Get the bulbs so as to be able to
pot them by the middle or last of October, or if earlier all the better.
The soil should be rich, sandy loam if possible; if not, the best you
can get, to which add about one-fourth the bulk of sand and mix
thoroughly. If ordinary flower pots are to be used, put in the bottom a
few pieces of broken pots, charcoal, or small stones for drainage; then
fill the pot with dirt so that when the bulbs are set on the dirt the
top of the bulb is even with the rim of the pot. Fill around it with
soil, leaving just the tip of the bulb showing above the dirt. If the
soil is heavy, a good plan is to sprinkle a small handful of sand under
the bulb to carry off the water, the same as is done in the beds
outdoors. If you do not have pots you may use boxes. Starch boxes are a
good size to use as they are not heavy to handle; and I have seen
excellent flowers on bulbs planted in old tomato cans. If boxes or cans
are used, care must be taken to have holes in the bottoms to let the
water run out. A large-size hyacinth bulb will do well in a five-inch
pot. The same size pot will do for three or four narcissuses or eight to
twelve crocuses.

After the bulbs are planted in the pots or other receptacles, they
should be placed in a cool place, either in a cold pit or cellar or on
the shady side of a building, or, better yet, plunged or buried up to
the rim of the pot in a shady border. This is done to force the roots to
grow while the top stands still; as only the bulbs with good roots will
give good flowers. When the weather gets cold enough so that a crust is
frozen on the soil, the pots should be covered with a little straw, and
as the weather gets colder more straw must be used. From six to eight
weeks after planting, the bulbs should have made roots enough to grow
the plant, and the pots may be taken up and placed in a cool room for a
week or so; after which, if the plants have started into growth, they
may be taken into a warmer room where they can have plenty of light.
They will grow very rapidly now and will want lots of water; after the
flowers begin to show, the pots may stand in a saucer of water all the
time. When just coming into bloom the plants may have full sunlight part
of the time to help bring out the color of the flowers. Fig. 370 shows a
pot of tulips.

[Illustration: _Fig. 370. Pot of tulips._]

I want to tell you of two bulbs that do not need so much fussing with to
get them to bloom for Christmas. One of them is called freesia (Fig.
371) and if I could have but one kind of bulb to flower in the winter, I
should choose this. The little bulbs are not half as large as crocus
bulbs and you will be astonished at the large leaves and flowers such a
bulb can produce. The bulbs are about the cheapest of all winter bulbs
and they grow without putting them away to make roots, as the tops do
not seem as impatient to start as those of most other bulbs, but wait
until there are roots to help them along. The flowers are borne on a
slender stem and look very graceful, either on the plant or in bouquets.
They are also very fragrant, and a pot with five or six bulbs will
perfume a large room. All they need is good light soil, sunlight, water,
and warmth to make glad the heart of anyone who plants them.

[Illustration: _Fig. 371. Pot of the freesia._]

The other bulb I should select is the oriental narcissus or Chinese
sacred lily. This grows in water without any soil whatever. Just take a
bowl or glass dish about three times the size of the bulb; put some
pretty stones in the bottom; set in the bulb and build up around it with
stones so as to hold it stiff when the leaves have grown; tuck two or
three small pieces of charcoal among the stones to keep the water sweet;
then fill up the dish with water and add a little every few days, as it
evaporates. Set the dish in a warm, light place. In about six weeks the
fragrant, fine white flowers will fill the room with perfume and you
will have the pleasure of watching the roots start and grow, the top
throw up long green leaves, and the flower clusters develop and open
their flowers. Hyacinths may also be grown in water, but not as easily
as this narcissus, or in such inexpensive dishes.

[Illustration: _Fig. 372. Winter box of bulbs._]

The picture (Fig. 372) of a bulb box was taken last winter from a box of
mixed bulbs grown at Cornell. The calla in the center and the Kenilworth
ivy trailing over the front were planted in the box in September, and
pots of geraniums and other plants set on the dirt to fill the space.
When the bulbs that were in pots were ready to be started they were
taken out of the pots and set in the dirt in the box, where they grew
and flowered; the tall stems are paper white narcissus, the best variety
for winter. On each side there is a hyacinth just starting and in front
a little freesia in bloom. When these bulbs were done flowering, small
pots of blooming plants were set on the box and a charming window box
was obtained with many different things in it through the winter.


A large part of the beauty of the flower-bed lies in its position. A
flower-bed in the middle of the lawn is usually out of place. It has no
"setting," as the artists say. It lacks background. It is merely an
incidental thing dropped into the sward. It is out of place. A
flower-bed should belong to some part of the general planting of the
grounds, or it should be a part of the border or boundary surrounding
the place. The center of any grounds should be left open, or free from
heavy planting. A few trees may be planted in the center, if one desires
shade; but all the masses of foliage and flowers should be somewhere
near the sides or else near the foundations of the house or near other
definite boundary lines. In such places the flower-bed is supported by
other herbage. It has relation to something else. It forms a part of a
general picture; and every good yard should be a picture.

Along the borders the beds are usually more easily cared for than they
are in the center of the lawn. In the latter place they are in danger of
being trampled over, and the roots of the grass run underneath the bed
and absorb the food and moisture which the flowers need. The beauty of a
formal bed in the center of the lawn is destroyed if some of the plants
are injured or do not develop. Symmetry is part of its merit. If,
however, the bed is along the border, a few vacant places in the bed do
not attract great attention. In school grounds it is well to have the
beds somewhat near together or continuous, in order that the labor of
taking care of them may be less.

It is always well to plant profusely. Much of the beauty of a flower-bed
lies in an abundance of color. One must consider, also, that some of the
roots, seeds, or bulbs may fail. Some of them may not grow in the first
place, and others may be injured by weather or by accidents. It is well
to provide for all these contingencies.

One of the best plants to use for the school bulb garden is the crocus,
because the bulbs are cheap and very hardy. The mixed bulbs, comprising
all the common colors, can be had for forty or fifty cents per hundred
at retail, and if one should buy them in considerable quantities, they
could be had for less than this. A thousand bulbs of mixed crocuses
should be got for three dollars or a little more, and these would make a
great display along the fence or walks of any school garden. One of the
ways to grow crocuses is to plant the bulbs in the grass, not cutting
out the grass where they are planted. That is, they grow right in the
sod. By the time the lawn needs to be mown in the spring, the flowers
are gone and the crocuses can be cut with the grass. The crocuses will
not last so long in a mown sod as they will in beds which are especially
prepared for them, but they will ordinarily give good results for two or
three years if the land is good; and they are so cheap that they can be
renewed from time to time.

Other good, hardy bulbs for fall planting out-of-doors, aside from
lilies, are hyacinth, snowdrop, snowflake, tulip, narcissus of various
kinds (including daffodils and jonquils), grape hyacinth, squill. All
these are early spring bloomers and will delight the children's eyes.

[Illustration: _Fig. 373. A good arrangement of shrubbery and




[101] Junior Naturalist Monthly, December, 1904.


A few minutes ago I went into the stable to see Peg and Nan, the two bay
horses. On the outside of each stall I found a door-plate, with _Nan_
written in large, black letters on one, _Peg_ on the other. I visited
each old friend in turn.

They are quite different in disposition, these two horses. Nan is
gentle, affectionate, patient; Peg is spirited, unfriendly, restless. I
am very fond of them both and as yet have not been able to decide which
I enjoy the more, quiet Nan or spirited Peg.

All horses are interesting to me. As I take my daily walk, I like to
look at the different ones I meet along the way. There is the baker's
horse and the butcher's; the doctor's horse, sleek and active; the heavy
gray horses that haul loads of coal up the hill all through the winter
weather; "Old Speckle," the postman's horse; and the friendly bay I so
often see feeding in the meadow.

[Illustration: _Fig. 374. Nan._]

Of all these wayside acquaintances, I like best the one I meet in the
meadow. Perhaps I associate him with the meadow-lark's song, the fresh,
green grass, and the gay little dandelions that were about when I first
crossed his path; or, perhaps our friendship progressed more rapidly
than city streets ever will permit. He seems to know when I am
approaching and raises his head in welcome. I always pet him and talk to
him a bit, and we both know that two friends have met.

There are many things about horses that everyone ought to know. If we
were to ask Junior Naturalists how coach horses differ from roadsters
and how roadsters differ from draft horses, how many would be able to
tell us?

Perhaps you will ask, "What is a draft horse?" The draft horse has short
legs, a heavy body, a short, thick neck, broad deep chest and shoulders,
strong hocks and moderately large feet. It may be that your father owns
a draft horse. Ask him whether it is a Percheron, a Clydesdale, or an
English Shire. These are the most familiar breeds of draft horses. The
Percherons came from France and at first they were gray. Now they are
often black or dark brown. The Shires, commonly bay, brown or sorrel,
came from England; and the Clydesdales, similar in appearance to the
Shires but smaller and more active, came from Scotland.

[Illustration: _Fig. 375. A typical draft horse._]

All boys and girls know coach horses. As you stand by the school-room
window, you may see one pass. They have long arched necks and fine
heads. Their bodies are rounded and well proportioned.

Roadsters, trotters, and saddle horses are usually not so large as
coachers. Their necks are inclined to be longer and their chests
narrower than in the coach horse; however, their muscles and tendons are

[Illustration: _Fig. 376. Welsh pony and its mother._]

Now you must not think that just because a horse is drawing a load he is
a draft horse; nor because a horse is hitched to a coach he is a coach
horse; nor because he is driven on the road he is a roadster. These
three names,--draft horses, coach horses, roadsters,--represent types or
classes. They mean kinds of horses that are supposed to be best adapted
for drawing, or for coaches and carriages, or for fast driving,
providing the horse has no other work to do. But the horses that you
usually see are just mere common horses of no particular type, and are
used for a great variety of purposes. They are "nondescripts," which
means "undescribed" or "unclassified." You would not think of putting a
true draft horse, like the animal in Fig. 375, on a light carriage; nor
of hitching a coacher like that in Fig. 377 to a coal wagon. Do you
think there is any real roadster, or coach horse, or draft horse in your
neighborhood? If not, perhaps you can tell, as the horses pass you,
whether they are nearest like one type or another. Try it.

If you will observe horses closely you will find that some are large,
heavy, and strong, and that they are seldom made to move rapidly, while
others may be nearly as tall but they are slim, and carry their heads
high and their necks arched. You should also notice that the heavy draft
horse does not lift his feet high nor walk with a proud and lofty tread,
while the coach horse lifts his feet high, carries his head high, and
moves very proudly.

[Illustration: _Fig. 377. A good coacher._]

There are several breeds of draft or heavy horses. Fig. 375 shows a fine
Clydesdale horse imported from Scotland. Notice how nicely he is marked.
The horseman would say that he has four "white stockings" and plenty of
"feather" on his fetlock; strange, is it not, that this long hair should
be called feather?

If you should see a large, smooth gray horse similar to the Clyde,
without the "white stockings" or the "feather," you may conclude that he
is a Percheron horse. As we have said before, the Percheron breed of
horses came from France. It is not always gray in color. It is slightly
smaller than the Clydesdale.

After you have learned that a draft horse should be large and strong,
study the picture of the coach horse (Fig. 377). Compare him with the
draft horse. The coach horse is not a fast trotter nor even a fast
roadster, but he is usually very beautiful, strong, and stylish.

[Illustration: _Fig. 378. Arabian horse._]

Now I shall ask you to compare the neck shown in Fig. 380 with that
shown in Fig. 381. Which do you think is the more beautiful? The horse
with the long, slim neck is a noted trotter. If the neck and head were
large, would it help or hinder the trotter? Compare the neck of the
trotter with that of the draft horse and see whether you can explain why
one is heavy and the other light. Can you explain to your parents why
the draft horse should weigh more than the coach horse?

Do you admire the head and neck shown in Fig. 380? Wherein does it
differ from the others? This type is called "ewe-neck." Can you tell
why? Tell me whether you think this horse would be a safe driver.

What do you think of the head and neck of the Arabian horse (Fig-378)?
You like it, do you? Why? Can you imagine what kind of horse belongs to
that head and neck? Describe it.

Probably the Arabian horse would be too spirited for you so I shall show
you a Shetland pony. (Fig. 379.) Where is Shetland? Why are horses so
small in the country where this little fellow came from? How does he
differ from the other horses shown in the Leaflet? Note _all_ of the

[Illustration: _Fig. 379. Shetland pony._]

In Fig. 376 you will see the picture of a Welsh pony, and she has a
ponyette, a baby only a few days old. Which is the larger, the Shetland
pony or the Welsh pony? Which one would you prefer if the baby were left
out? Could you raise a calf until it became a grown cow and then trade
it for a pony? Just a plain little pony can be bought for the price of
a good cow. It is part of a good education to know how to raise and
handle cows and horses.

[Illustration: _Fig. 380. Ewe-neck, a poor horse._]

With this Leaflet in your hand, you should go to the stable, or, better
still, out on the street, and see whether you can find as good horses
and ponies as the pictures represent. As you study horses try to answer
the following questions:

1. Where is the horse's knee joint? Which way does the knee bend?

2. Where is the hock joint? Which way does it bend?

3. Can a horse sleep when standing?

4. How are the legs placed when a horse lies down?

5. How does a horse get up,--front legs first or hind legs first? How
does a cow get up?

6. When a horse starts, after standing, what foot does he put forward
first,--the left or the right? Fore or back? What foot moves next?

7. When a horse trots, do the two feet on one side move together? Or do
lefts and rights move together?

8. What does a driver mean when he says that a horse "forges" or

9. Name the things that a horse commonly eats. What is a good feed for a
day,--how much of each thing, and when given?

[Illustration: _Fig. 381. Neck of a trotter._]

[Illustration: _Fig. 382. At pasture._]


    ["Fig." means that the page referred to contains the figure only,
    no text reference.]


  Agassiz, glacial hypothesis                                       105
    making of surveys and maps                                 202, 203

  Agriculture, its place in schools                               45-47

  Agricultural education, what it is                              45-53

  Air                                                      87, 123, 124

  Alfalfa                                40, 354, 355, 357-360, 489-493

  Alluvial fans                                                     132

  Annual rings                        321, 327, 328, 329, 330, 335, 474

  Ants                       62, 64, (Fig.) 224, 243-251, 274, 508, 513

  Ant-lions                                                         250

  Aphids                                           62, 68, 248-251, 539

  Aphis-lion                                         249, 539, 540, 543

  Apple, buds                                                  328, 329
    fruit                                                       467-472
    grafting of                                                374, 375
    shape of tree                                                   304
    twigs                                                       317-325

  Apple-scab                                            470, (Fig.) 471

  Apricot                                                 328, 375, 377

  Aquaria                                     59, 60, 141-156, 165, 166

  Arborvitae                                              345, 346, 347

  Asters                                                        379-383

  Azalea                                                            331

  Back-swimmers, see "Bugs."

  Bagworms                                                           61

  Balsams                                                           383

  Barngrass                                                         362

  Bass, black                                                       162

  Basswood leaf-roller, see "Moths."

  Beans                                          291, 460-466, 563, 564

  Begonias                                                     372, 373

  Bees, wings of                                             (Fig.) 224
    bumble                                             65, 68, 351, 352
    carpenter                                                        61
    honey                                               62, 64, 65, 353

  Beet                                                    257, 415, 416
    sugar                                                           405

  Beetles                                            210, 223, 224, 507
    engraver                                                         61
    plum curculio                                                    68

  Beetles, potato                                            62, 63, 68
    predaceous diving                                               151
    snapping                                                 (Fig.) 223
    tiger                                                            61
    water scavenger                                                 152
    whirligig                                                       135
    wood-boring                                              (Fig.) 223

  Bibliography of nature-study                                   76-79

  Biennial                                                          416

  Birds, leaflets on                        253-290, 503, 504, 515, 516
    suggestions for study                                        70, 71
      See special birds.

  Black bass, see "Bass."

  Blackberry                                              305, 370, 375

  Blackbird, redwing                                                263

  Black-fly, see "Flies."

  Bluebells                                                         362

  Bluebird                                                     238, 261

  Black-nosed dace, see "Dace."

  Bordeaux mixture                                        381, 382, 389

  Breeding cage                                                     228

  Brook, The, insects of                                        135-140
    suggestions for study                                           125
    work of                                                     126-134

  Brownie-bugs, see "Bugs."

  Budding                                                      376, 377

    apple                                                       317-325
    apricot                                                         328
    azalea                                                          331
    butternut                                                       474
    dormant                                           318, 314-320, 329
    elm                                                             330
    flower                                                319, 328, 330
    hepatica                                                        392
    hickory                                             329, (Fig.) 330
    horse-chestnut                                           (Fig.) 474
    leaf                                                  319, 328, 330
    maple                                                      329, 473
    peach                                                           328
    pear                                                            328
    pussy-willow                                                    330
    terminal                                                   318, 474
    winter                              72, 331, 332, 327-336, 473, 474

  Bugs,                                                             223
    brownie                                                  (Fig.) 223
    back-swimmers                                         136, 152, 153
    giant water                                                137, 153
    June                                                            288

  Bugs, lady                                                   210, 250
    stink                                                           223
    water boatmen                                              136, 152
    water scorpions                                            152, 153
    water-striders                                                  137

  Bulbs                                           567, 577-580, 581-583
    see special bulbs.

  Burdock                                                           362

  Butterflies                             58, 59, 61, 62, 224, 238, 544
    cabbage                              208, 209, 210, (Fig.) 224, 540
    common blue                                                     248
    milkweed                                                   208, 209
    monarch                                                     63, 544
    viceroy                                                          63

  Butternut                                                  (Fig.) 474

  Cabbage butterfly, see "Butterflies."

  Caddice-worm                                             61, 136, 155

  Cambium                                                           375

  Cankerworms                                                        68

  Carnations                                            (Fig.) 370, 372

  Carrot                                                            257

  Caterpillars                                              58, 62, 501
    apple-tree tent                                     59, 69, 227-235
    of cecropia moth                                           167, 168
    cabbage                                       63, 68, 208, 209, 210
    of codlin-moth                                                  470
    of common blue butterfly                                        248
    of fall web-worm                                                 61
    of promethea moth                                          168, 169
    "woolly-bear"                             210, 238, 539, (Fig.) 541

  Catfish                                                      150, 161

  Cat-tails                                                         364

  Cecropia moth, see "Moths."

  Cereals, food value of                                        409-414

  Chara                                                 (Fig.) 148, 149

  Charcoal                                                          144

  Cherry, grafting of                                               377

  Chestnut, grafting of                                             374

  Chickadee                                      279-281, 285, 503, 504

  Chickens                                   70, 522-524, 525, 526, 527

  Child's Realm, The (poem)                                         451

  Chinese lily, see "Narcissus."

  Chipmunk                                                           69

  Choke-cherries                                                    362

  Chrysalids                                                     58, 59
    of apple-tree tent caterpillar                                  233
    cabbage butterfly                                          209, 540

  Chrysalids, codlin-moth                                           470
    milkweed butterfly                                              208

  Cicada                                   66, 210, (Fig.) 223, 529-535
    dog-day harvest fly                                        534, 535
    seventeen-year locust                                       529-535

  Cion                                                              374

  Clam                                                              150

  Clarkias                                                          383

  Clay                                                         117, 118

  Clothes moth, see "Moths."

  Clouds                                                 84, 85, 88, 90

  Codlin-moth, see "Moths."

  Clover                                                   124, 349-360
    alsike                                                          353
    buffalo                                                    352, 353
    crimson                                                         352
    hop, see yellow.
    hop trefoil, see low hop.
    least hop                                                       354
    low hop                                                         354
    rabbit foot                                         (Fig.) 353, 354
    red                                                        351, 352
    scarlet, see crimson.
    stone, see rabbit-foot.
    zig-zag                                                         352
    See, also, "Alfalfa," "Medics," "Melilots."

  Cocoons                                               58, 59, 167-169
    of cecropia moth                                           167, 168
    codlin-moth                                                     508
    lace-winged fly                                       539, 540, 543
    promethea moth                                             168, 169
    tent caterpillar                                    (Fig.) 233, 235
    "woolly-bear"                                              211, 539

  Cockle                                                            363

  Cold-blooded animals                                              199

  Coleus                                                       370, 372

  Common blue butterfly, see "Butterflies."

  Cones, of arborvitae                                         345, 347
    hemlock                                                    344, 347
    balsam fir                                                 343, 347
    Austrian pine                             338, 339, (Fig.) 340, 346
    pitch pine                                            337, 338, 346
    Scotch pine                                           338, 339, 346
    white pine                                     (Fig.) 335, 336, 346
    black spruce                                          341, 342, 346
    Norway spruce                                  341, (Fig.) 342, 346
    red spruce                                                 342, 347
    white spruce                                               342, 346

  Corn, Indian                           397-407, 409-414, 485-488, 571

  Coreopsis                                                         383

  Corydalis,                                                        138

  Cowbird                                                      261, 262

  Crane-fly, see "Flies."

  Crayfish                                                          150

  Creek chub                                                        165

  Crickets                                                  59, 66, 543

  Crocus                                                  582, 583, 588

  Crow                                      197, 284, 287-290, 501, 502

  Cross-fertilization, see "Pollination."

  Currants                               305, 370, 373, (Fig.) 374, 375

  Currant-worms                                                      68

  Cuttings                                                      369-378

  Cutworms                                                288, 400, 501

  Cyanide bottle                                               216, 217

  Dace, black-nosed                                                 159

  Daffodils                                                     582-588

  Dahlia                                                            564

  Dairy products, value in N. Y. State,                             489

  Damping-off                                                  370, 371

  Damsel-flies                                                 136, 154

  Dandelion                                          362, 363, 481, 482

  Darter, Johnny                                                    163

  Delta                                              103, 131, 132, 133

  Dew                                                                83

  Dobson                                                       137, 138

  Dock                                                         362, 380

  Dodder                                                            360

  Dog-day harvest fly, see "Cicada."

  Domestic animals                                              70, 414
    See, also, "Horses," "Poultry."

  Doves                                                   254, 261, 264

  Dragon-flies                                       136, 154, 155, 222

  Ducks                                               522-524, 525, 526

  Duck-weed                                                         148

  Eel-grass                                                    147, 148

  Eggs, of ants                                                     246
    caterpillars                              210, 229, 230, (Fig.) 235
    cicada                                                     530, 534
    frogs                                                           188
    grasshoppers                                                    210
    lace-winged fly                                            539, 543
    mosquito                                                   238, 239
    domestic fowls                                             524, 525
    salamanders                                                     188
    spiders                                           181-183, 211, 288
    toads                                                  186-189, 200

  Egg-shell farms                                     456, 566, 573-576

  Electric-light bug, see "giant water bug" under "Bugs."

  Elm, American                 300, 303, (Fig.) 308, 309, 310-316, 330
    slippery                                  (Fig.) 299, 300, 301, 303
    struggle for existence                                          361

  Entomological supplies, dealers in                                226

  Evaporation                                                        82

  Evergreens                                                    333-347
    See special kinds.

  Fall web-worm, see "Caterpillars."

  Ferns                                                         76, 362

  Finch, grass, see "vesper sparrow" under "Sparrows."
    purple                                                261, 265, 266

  Fir, balsam                                                  343, 347

  Fireweed                                                          364

  Fish                                            69, 149, 150, 157-166
    See special fish.

  Flicker, see "Woodpeckers."

  Flies                                                         62, 224
    black                                                           139
    crane                                                    (Fig.) 223
    hellgrammite                                                    138
    horse                                                           210
    house                                                            63
    pomace                                                   (Fig.) 222

  Flood-plain                                                  104, 130

  Flowers, pistillate                                               400
    staminate                                                       400
    study of                                                     71, 72

  Fog                                                    83, 86, 88, 89

  Foods, value of various kinds                                411, 412
    bulletins on                                                    413

  Forestry                                                           75

  Fossils                                                           107

  Frog                                          150, 151, 188, 189, 501

  Frost                                                        426, 427

  Fruits                                                         71, 72

  Galls                                                              61
    pine-cone willow                                           135, 136

  Gardens, children's    36, 37, 40, 379-383, 559-566, 569-571, 573-576

  Geese                                               520-522, 525, 526

  Geraniums                                               370, 372, 419

  Giant water-bug, see "Bugs."

  Germination                                     560-562, 566, 573-576
    of bean                                                291, 460-466
    squash                                                      291-295

  Glacial scratches                      (Fig.) 104, 105, 108, 109, 110

  Glacier                                           (Fig.) 100, 104-113

  Gladiolus                                                         564

  Gold-fish                                                         150

  Gooseberries                                            305, 373, 375

  Grackle, bronzed                                        261, 262, 263

  Grafting                                                      374-378

  Grape                                  (Fig.) 363, 364, 370, 373, 375

  Grape hyacinth                                                    588

  Grass                                              362, 363, 364, 380

  Grasshoppers                        56, 59, 62, 63, 66, 210, 288, 524

  Guinea-pigs                                                        70

  Hail                                                           88, 89

  Hawthorn                                                          374

  Hay, value as crop in N. Y. State                                 489

  Hellgrammite fly, see "Flies."

  Hemlock                                                  343-345, 347

  Hepatica                                            391-393, 477, 478

  Hibernation, of butterflies                                   61, 238
    mosquitoes                                                      238
    toad                                                       199, 200
    "woolly-bear"                                                   539

  Hickory, buds                                         329, (Fig.) 330
    small-fruited shagbark                              (Fig.) 298, 300
    pignut                                              (Fig.) 298, 300

  High-hole, see "flicker" under "Woodpeckers."

  Horse-chestnut                                             (Fig.) 474

  Horse-fly, see "Flies."

  Horses                                                        589-594
    See, also, "Domestic Animals."

  Horticulture                                                       75

  House-fly, see "Flies."

  Hyacinth                                           582, 583, 586, 588

  Ichneumon flies                                                   210

  Imperial moth, see "Moths."

  Indian turnip, see "Jack-in-the-Pulpit."

  Insects, cage for                                     539, (Fig.) 540
    how to collect and preserve                                 213-226
    of a brook                                                  135-140
    suggestions for study                                         58-69

  Isabella moth, see "Moths."

  Jack-in-the-Pulpit                                 395, 396, 479, 480

  Johnny Darters, see "Darter."

  June bug, see "Bugs."

  Katydid                                                            66

  Kingfisher                                                   261, 266

  Knotweed                                                          262

  Lace-winged fly                                    539, 540, 543, 544

  Lady-bugs, see "Bugs."

  Leaf-miners                                                        60

  Leaf-rollers                                                       60
    basswood                                                 (Fig.) 224

  Leaf-scars                                                        474
    of evergreens                                                   334

  Leaves, autumn colors                               71, 426, 427, 483
    fall of                                                         427
    functions of                                     424, 425, 426, 483

  Lenses                                                            228

  Lettuce                                                      563, 564

  Lightning                                                      89, 91

  Lilac                                                             305

  Lime                                                              118

  Lobster                                                            50

  Locusts, mouth parts                                              530
    seventeen-year, see "Cicada."

  Lucerne, see "Alfalfa."

  Luna moths, see "Moths."

  Maple, black                                                      428
    box elder                                                       428
    goose-foot, see striped.
    mountain                                            427, (Fig.) 429
    Norway                                                     329, 428
    planting of                                                     446
    red                                     428, (Fig.) 429, (Fig.) 473
    silver                                                          428
    striped                                             427, (Fig.) 428
    sugar                                          73, 74, 329, 423-430
    swamp, see red.

  Maple sugar                                                   431-434

  Maps, construction of                                         202-205

  Martins                                                           254

  May-flies                                                    138, 139

  Meadow-lark                                        261, 263, 264, 274

  Medics                                                       350, 351
    black                                                           355
    hop, see black
    toothed                                                         355
    spotted                                                         355
    See, also, "Alfalfa."

  Melilots                                                     350, 351
    white sweet clover                                              356
    yellow sweet clover                                             356
    Bokhara clover                                                  356

  Mice                                                               69

  Milkweed butterfly, see "Butterflies."

  Mineral matter, in seeds                                     410, 411
    in soils                                                        100

  Minnows                                                      149, 165

  Monarch butterfly, see "Butterflies."

  Moraine                                                           110

  Mosquitoes                         58, 59, 62, 153, 154, 237-241, 272

  Moths, how to collect                                             222
    how to distinguish from butterflies                             224
    life cycle                                                      169
    basswood leaf-roller                                     (Fig.) 224
    cecropia                                                   167, 168
    clothes                                                          68
    codlin                                             68, 468-471, 508
    imperial                                                 (Fig.) 225
    Isabella tiger                                      539, (Fig.) 542
    luna                                                     (Fig.) 226
    promethea                                             167, 168, 169
    scallop-shell                                                    61
    tussock                                                          68
    underwing                                                (Fig.) 225

  Moulting, of caterpillars                                         232
    cicada                                                          531
    snake                                                           198
    toad                                                       198, 199

  Mudwasps, see "Wasps."

  Mulching, of soil                             120, 121, 122, 380, 381

  Mullein                                                      362, 579

  Museum pests                                                 219, 220

  Mushrooms                                                          74

  Narcissus                                               582, 583, 588
    oriental                                                   585, 586

  Nature-study, outline of movement                               21-29
    suggestions for (graded course and bibliography)              55-79
    what it is                                                    11-20

  Nettles                                                           364

  N. Y. Teachers, An appeal to                                    31-43

  N. Y. State Teachers' Library                                     148

  Nitella                                               (Fig.) 148, 149

  Nitrogen                                                     350, 360

  Note-taking                                455-457, 458, 459, 460-466

  Nuthatch, white-breasted                                      283-286
    red-breasted                                                    285

  Nutmeg                                                            409

  Oaks, grafting of                                                 374
    scarlet                                                         300
    swamp white                                                     300

  Oil, in seeds                                           398, 405, 410

  Oriole                                                       515, 516

  Parsley                                                           363

  Parsnips                                                          257

  Parrot's feather                                      (Fig.) 148, 149

  Peaches                                                 328, 375, 377

  Pear                                                         374, 375

  Pepperidge                                         300, 301, 304, 309

  Petunias                                                          383

  Phlox                                                             383

  Phoebe                                                  280, 361, 363

  Pigeons                                                           254

  Pigweeds                                                     362, 367

  Pines, Austrian                             338, 339, (Fig.) 340, 346
    pitch                                                  336-338, 346
    Scotch                                                338, 339, 346

  Pitchforks                                                        362

  Plantain                                                          362

  Plants, breeding of                            389, 390, 405-407, 411
    planting of                                                367, 368
    physiology of                              72, 73, 74, 142, 424-427
    societies of                                                361-365

  Plums                                                        375, 377

  Plum curculio, see "Beetles."

  Pokeweed                                                          364

  Pollination                                             351, 352, 400

  Polliwogs, see "Tadpoles."

  Pomace flies, see "Flies."

  Ponies                                                       593, 594

  Pop-corn                                                          488

  Poplar, Carolina                                                  444
    cutting of                                                      373
    Lombardy                                       301, (Fig.) 303, 304

  Poppies                                                           383

  Potatoes                                       370, 374, 385-390, 407

  Pot-holes                                                         133

  Poultry                                                       517-527
    See, also, "Domestic Animals."

  Predaceous diving beetles, see "Beetles."

  Promethea moth, see "Moths."

  Protective coloration                                          62, 63

  Protein                                                      398, 405

  Pruning                                        417-421, 444, 475, 476

  Pumpkin                                                           401

  Pupa, of ants                                           244, 245, 246
    butterflies, see "Chrysalids."
    mosquitoes                                                 239, 240
    moths, see "Chrysalids."

  Quince                                                            374

  Rabbit                                                         56, 70

  Radish                                                       563, 564

  Ragweed                                                      362, 579

  Raindrops                                              86, 88, 89, 90

  Rainfall                                                     119, 123

  Raspberry                                                    305, 375

  Robin                                              238, 261, 499, 500

  Rock flour                                                        110

  Roots, growing point of                                      293, 294

  Rose                                                       (Fig.) 371

  Rust, on asters                                              381, 382

  Salamanders                                    188, 197, 501, 539-544

  Sand                                                         117, 120

  Sapsucker, see "Woodpeckers."

  Sassafras                                        301, (Fig.) 302, 309

  Scale insects                                                      68

  Scallop-shell moth, see "Moths."

  School grounds, improvement of  35, 38-41, 437-447, 566-568, 571, 572

  Schoolroom, The                                                     9

  Scion, see "Cion."

  Seed, dispersal of                                                 72
    dormant                                                    409, 410
    uses of stored food                                         409-414
    See, also, "Germination."

  Shiner                                                       162, 165

  Shower, A Summer                                                81-91

  Silage                                                            403

  Siphon                                                            144

  Skipper, silver spotted                                            61

  Sleep, of flowers                                                  72

  Slug                                                              149

  Smartweed                                                    362, 380

  Snakes                                                  197, 198, 501

  Snails                                                  143, 148, 149

  Snow                                          84, 85, 93-97, 453, 454

  Snowball bush                                                     305

  Snowdrops                                               582, 583, 588

  Snowflakes                                                        588

  Soil                                                           99-114
    value of various kinds                                      115-124
    in school gardens                      560, 570, 571, 574, 579, 581

  Sparrows, fox                                                264, 265
    song                                                       261, 265
    tree                                                            265
    white-crowned                                                   265
    white-throated                                             261, 265
    vesper                                                          265

  Spiders                        65, 66, 68, 69, 171-183, 211, 249, 288

  Spraying                                                       68, 69

  Springs                                                           126

  Spruce, black                                            341-343, 346
    Norway                                     339-341, (Fig.) 342, 346
    red                                                   342, 343, 347

  Squash                                                   291-295, 407

  Squill                                                            588

  Squirrel, red                                                435, 436
    black                                                           435
    how to study                                                     69

  Starch                              331, 386, 387, 398, 405, 410, 483

  Stems, growing point of                                           295

  Stickleback                                                       163

  Stink-bugs, see "Bugs."

  Stock, for grafting                                               374

  Stone-flies                                                  138, 140

  Storms, snow                                          93-97, 453, 454
    thunder                                                  86, 87, 90

  Stratification                                                    133

  Stream-cutting                                           127-129, 133

  Stream deposition                                       104, 130, 133

  Struggle for existence                          74, 75, 361, 410, 418

  Sumac                                                   431, 433, 466

  Sunfish                                                           161

  Sweet clover, see "Melilots."

  Sweet-peas                                               379-383, 564

  Swallow, tree                                                     254

  Tadpoles                                                 135, 189-193

  Tape-grass                                                   147, 148

  Terrarium                                            207-212, 537-544

  Thistle                                                      364, 579

  Thunder                                                            89

  Thorn-apple                                      301, (Fig.) 303, 309

  Tillage                                                      570, 571

  Tomato                                                            374

  Trees, winter aspect of                                       297-305
    how to draw                                                 307-316
    how to plant                                                444-446
    see special kinds.

  Tree-toads                                              188, 189, 210

  Tussock moth, see "Moths."

  Underwing moth, see "Moths."

  Virginia creeper                                                  444

  Vireo                                                             515

  Verbena                                                           372

  Vegetables                                                         71

  Viceroy butterfly, see "Butterflies."

  Walking-sticks                                                     63

  Warm-blooded                                                      199

  Wasps                                              62, 63, (Fig.) 224
    mud                                                             136

  Water                                                        120, 126

  Water boatmen, see "Bugs."

  Watercress                                                        148

  Waterfalls                                                   129, 133

  Water-milfoil                                         (Fig.) 148, 149

  Water-purslane                                        (Fig.) 148, 149

  Water-scavenger beetle, see "Beetle."

  Water-scorpion, see "Bugs."

  Water-strider, see "Bugs."

  Water-tiger                                                       152

  Weeds                                                              74

  Wheat                                                             411

  Whirligig beetle, see "Beetles."

  Willows                                            305, 373, 443, 446
    pussy                                                           330

  Wire-grass                                                        362

  Wire-worms                                                        400

  Woodpeckers                                          269-277, 505-513
    downy                                   269, 270, 271, 284, 507-510
    flicker                                           274-277, 512, 513
    golden-winged, see flicker.
    hairy                                            269, 270, 271, 284
    red-head                                               272, 505-507
    sapsucker                                    270, 271, 272, 510-512

  Wrens                                                             254

  Yarup, see "flicker" under "Woodpeckers."

  Yellow-hammer, see "flicker" under "Woodpeckers."

  Zinnias                                                           383

[Transcriber's Note:

Alternative spelling retained.

Punctuation normalized without comment.

Spelling change

Page 108, "moivng" was changed to read "moving"

Page 155, "caddice-warm" was changed to read "caddice-worm."

Page 178, "entangeled" was changed to read "entangled."

Page 190, "grow a a great" was changed to read "grow a great."

Page 223, "Snappping beetle" was changed to read "Snapping beetle."

Page 274, "Ornothology" was changed to read "Ornithology."

Page 284, "I pounded on the widow" was changed to read "I pounded on the

Page 285, "Audobon" was changed to read "Audubon."

Page 288, "omniverous" was changed to read "omnivorous."

Page 321, "histery" was changed to read "history."

Page 363, "open ones eyes" was changed to read "open one's eyes."

Page 383, "motherworth and Virginia creeper" was changed to read
"motherwort and Virginia creeper."

Page 396, "Is is pleasant" was changed to read "Is it pleasant."

Page 530, "thousand liliputian" was changed to read "thousand

Page 510, "once that it it is" was changed to read "once that it is."

Page 592, "Is you should" was changed to read "If you should."]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets - Being a selection, with revision, from the teachers' - leaflets, home nature-study lessons, junior naturalist - monthlies and other publications from the College of - Agriculture, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., 1896-1904" ***

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