Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/798

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

by localizing the work successively in limited muscular groups, effect very intense muscular efforts without any fear as to their reaction upon the organism or upon the circulation of the blood. The floor exercises of the Swedish gymnastics exactly fulfill the conditions needed to obtain suppleness of the joints; similar exercises, according to the French method, would be well fitted for the object of preserving or increasing the local muscular development.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.

 

LIFE ON AN OSTRICH FARM.

THERE is an air of delightful unrestraint about Mrs. Martin's story of her Home Life on an Ostrich Farm.[1] She addresses her reader from her book as she would gossip to a confidential friend about her adventures, and describes them all with photographic vividness. We receive, as if to the very life, her first impressions of Cape Town, the Veldt, the Karroo district m which her home was situated; the farm itself, with its peculiar vegetation, birds, beasts, and reptiles; her own and her husband's trouble at not being able to realize the house of Algerian architecture which they had dreamed of; the long drought and the flood, indoors as well as out, by which it was so rudely broken; and the incidents, the humors and pleasures, mishaps and sorrows, of ostrich-raising.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin having removed to South Africa to go into the ostrich-raising business, settled on a tract of twelve thousand acres in a long valley so hedged in by steep mountains that little inclosure was necessary. It was in the part of the Karroo called the Zwart Ruggens, or black, rugged country, from the appearance it presents in the long droughts, when the vegetation turns to a forbidding black and is seemingly all dried up. But the sticks, when broken, are found all green and succulent inside, and full of a nourishing saline juice; and thus, even in long droughts, which sometimes last more than a year, this country is able to support stock in a most marvelous manner.

The little karroo plant, from which the district takes its name, is one of the best kinds of bush for ostriches as well as for sheep and goats. It grows in small compact, round tufts not more than seven or eight inches high, and, though very valuable to farmers, is unpretending in appearance, having tiny, narrow leaves, and a little, round, bright-yellow flower, "exactly resembling the center of an English daisy after its oracle has been consulted and its

  1. Home Life on an Ostrich Farm. By Annie Martin. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 283.