Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/86

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PSM V72 D086 A little oasis in a lava field.png
A Little Oasis in a Lava Field.

in contact with each other, three with wooden fronts, and one with glass windows, the rest with doors entering dim vault-like chambers between immensely thick walls of stone, interleaved with turf. Behind the central wooden house, with the windows, was a high rick-like roof composed of turf and green with grass surmounted by a small square chimney, and this roof covered a crypt-like kitchen. This extraordinary troglodytal abode was entered over a stone pavement which, rising slightly, conducted the sightless visitor to the penetralia of gloom and cooking. Inside of this semi-subterranean passage, forming its walls, was a formidable structure of stone and turf. Turf and stone houses for sheep and cows and horses were scattered about. The walls of these buildings are five or six feet thick, and, once sealed in them, it seems likely that the heat of the imprisoned animals would maintain a very comfortable temperature, even in the dreadfully severe winters.

One peculiar feature of these farm colonies is the enclosure, like a wall, which marks them. In the farm I visited, this wall at one point was twelve feet thick. Within it the farm houses, a kitchen garden.