Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/201

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THE REMEDIES OF NATURE.

opossums; but the products of the vegetable kingdom are cheap, and diversified enough to make up a tolerable menu. Sweet-potatoes at twelve cents a peck, string-beans fifteen, green peas twenty-five; strawberries ten cents a quart, roasting-ears a cent a piece, brown beans actually a bushel for one dollar—Dalton (Georgia) market-prices. "Semi-annual" comestibles in proportion: eggs eight cents a dozen, butter twenty cents a pound in mid-winter, and ten cents in summer. Milk is a drug in the market; a good milch-cow can be hired for a dollar a month, a cow-boy for two dollars and his board. Whortleberries are sold at five cents a quart, but the pleasure of picking them is worth a great deal more. The lamest and weakest can join in that sport, for the shrub attains a height of three feet, and thus saves one the trouble of stooping.

About an hour after breakfast the colony (or family) should muster for out-door exercise. The choice between the various opportunities for entertaining work is the only difficulty, for Nature has provided them in embarrassing profusion. Expert bee-hunters can find four or five hive-trees in a single day. The chestnut-forests of the upper ridges are full of squirrels, and with a dog, a sack, and a good axe, it is not difficult to catch one alive, and turn it over to the quartermaster of the pet-department. Climbing trees is an exercise that brings into action nearly every muscle of the human body, and, like the mal de monte, the shudder that seizes the traveler at the brink of Alpine precipices, the dizziness that takes away the breath, returns it with interest and is a mechanical asthma-cure. Entomologists may combine the gratification of their mania with useful exercise by rolling logs in quest of big-horn beetles. Log-rolling and tumbling rocks from the tops of projecting cliffs is the spice of life in the engineering enterprises which a campful of male North Americans are sure to set afloat—as enlarging the entrance of a cave, constructing a graded trail to the next spring, to the next wagon-road, or to a favorite lookout point. Enterprises of that sort involve a good deal of grubbing and chopping, but also many interesting discoveries—geological specimens, an unknown chrysalis, new varieties of ferns and mosses. As the work progresses it becomes a pastime rather than a task, and novices feel inclined to agree with engineer Spangenberg, that "with a little management a first-class railroad can be built to any point of the continent earth." There is no cliff that can not be circumvented or terraced. With a slight curve in the road an apparent obstacle can be utilized as a bulwark. In fallen trees the removal of a few side branches develops revolving faculties. A pickaxe makes a whole wilderness plastic.

The summer air of the highlands makes out-door life a luxury, but the chief advantage of the plan is this: The stimulus of a pleasant pastime enables a man to beguile himself into about ten times as much exercise as he could stand in the Turner-hall. The visitors of a hygi-