How People Live and What They Are Doing
C AN you think of anything used in building houses that does not come from the earth?
Do all people have large, fine houses of brick or stone to live in? What is a tent?
A wigwam? Who live in huts? Did you ever hear of people who live in snow houses?
In some places houses are built of bamboo. Bamboo is a kind of cane that grows in warm countries.
What building is now going up in this place? Tell the use of stone, brick, mortar, iron, tin, lead, and glass in building the house. Where and how are they obtained?
We could not live without food. We must also have clothes to wear and houses to live in. Besides these, we need schools, books, and churches, which make us wiser and better. Now, if you think a little, you can name many other things which we need to make our homes beautiful. To supply us with all of these things, men must do many different kinds of work.
Where does the food we eat come from? We get most of it from plants. Wheat, corn, peas, and beans are seeds of plants. Almost all our bread is made from wheat. Beets, turnips, and radishes are roots of plants. Lettuce and cabbage are the leaves of plants.
Apples, peaches, pears, and other fruits grow on plants. All these we use for food.
Plants also supply us with material for clothing. Some clothes are made from cotton; cotton grows in the pod of a plant. Some clothes are made from linen; linen comes from flax, which is a plant. Hats are made from straw; straw is the stem or stalk of plants.
Now, these plants, which supply us with so much of our food and clothing, do not grow of themselves.
The ground must be plowed, the seeds planted and taken care of while growing. So, outside the city, you may see a great many people at work raising grain, vegetables, and other plants. This occupation we call agriculture or farming; the people we call farmers.
Animals, as well as plants, furnish much of our food. All meat comes from animals. We get milk from cows. From milk we make butter and cheese.
Animals also supply us with clothing. Many articles of dress are made of wool. Wool, you know, grows on the sheep. Shoes and kid gloves are made of leather. Leather is made from the hides of cows, sheep, oxen, and goats.
But animals could not live and grow if people did not carefully raise them. In the country, you may see flocks of sheep and herds of cows and oxen feeding on the fresh sweet grass of the pastures. Those animals are called stock. The business of those who raise them is called stock-raising.
Most farmers raise cows, horses, and other animals. Which land does the farmer use for pasture? What is a pasture? What is a meadow?
Grazing means feeding on grass. What animals have you seen grazing? Does a dog graze? A cow?
Mountains, so rough and rocky, are not good for farms and gardens. But many of them contain coal, on which millions of people depend for heat and light. In mountains, too, we find iron, which is more useful to us than gold and silver.
To get these, thousands of men are at work in places called mines. A mine is like a great cavern. There is neither sun nor sky. Torches and lamps give the only light the miners have to see by. The air is damp and close. I suppose you would not like to work in such a place. Yet great numbers of persons are employed in mining.
How is coal taken out of a mine? What are the dangers of coal-mining? Try to find answers to these questions for yourself. If necessary, your teacher will help you.
In some parts of the country are forests of pine, oak, and other trees. Some of these forests are so large we might travel for days or weeks through them. From trees we get lumber. Lumber is needed for building houses and ships, and for furniture. So a great many men are employed in cutting down trees and preparing the wood for use. This is called lumbering.
The lumbermen go into the woods in winter, and build themselves little huts to live in. All through the winter months they work in the woods from sunrise to sunset, felling the best trees and cutting them into logs. Then they haul them over the snow-covered ground to the frozen streams, and pile them upon the banks.
Here the logs must rest till the snow and ice have melted and the streams are full. Then they are floated down to the great saw-mills, and cut up into boards, laths, shingles, and other kinds of lumber.
What is a forest? Name some forest trees that grow near your home.
The sea yields much that we eat. Some parts abound in codfish, mackerel, and herring. Sardines, the little fish that come in boxes, are also found in the sea. It is the business of thousands of people who live near the ocean to catch fish, salt them, and pack them, to send to those who want them for food.
Have you ever seen the ocean, or eaten any of its fish?
Name some fishes found in fresh water.
Name some kinds of fishes found in waters near where you live. How may they be caught?