National Geographic : 1904 Dec
GEOGRAPHIC It is found that a change of diet is oc casionally required, and native flour, which is coarser and goes a much longer way than foreign flour, is from time to time taken as a substitute for millet. A Chinese friend of mine has five servants, and he supplies them monthly with 240 pounds of millet, 16 pounds of native flour-sufficient for two days-and on two days of the month with meat. The dates on which flour and meat are given are fixed, and the intervals between them are, as near as possible, equal. But the grains are not the only useful part of the tall millet; the stalks play a very im portant r61e in Manchuria. The outer leaf layers are woven into mats, which are so much required in the trade of the country for inclosing ricks and packing loads of grain and beans, and for fenc ing, bridging, and house-building, and where wood and coal are unobtainable or dear they are used for fuel. In spring, too, the roots are plowed up and collected for fuel. It is estimated that from 4,000 to 5,000 carts laden with bundles of millet stalks come into the port of Niuchwang every winter from a radius of 10 to 12 miles to supply a population of about 70,000." Manchuria is an ideal wheat field, and both barley and wheat are grown in considerable quantities. They are sown in drills in March and harvested in June, wheat ripening ten days ear lier than barley. Wheat especially is cultivated on both banks of the Sun gari, within the Hei-lung-chaing and Kirin provinces, and is exported in junks to the Russian province of the Primorsk. It is difficult to disassociate the culti vation of rice from a constant and abun dant water supply, but in Manchuria rice is grown on dry land like other cereals, and, unlike them, the crop is not ruined by a superabundance of rain. As, however, it is twice the price of tall millet, the staple food of the people, it is not extensively grown. The cultiva tion of this dry-grown rice deserves the LITERATURE 505 attention of countries like India, where a failure or deficiency of the rainfall means famine or dearth. Mr Hosie devotes one chapter to an interesting account of the manufacture of bean-cake and bean oil and to the manufacture of salt from sea water. By far the most important branch of the skin and fur trade of Manchuria consists of the skins of the domesticated animals-the dog and the goat. Many thousands of these skins are annually exported from Niuchwang and Tien tsin, and ultimately find their way prin cipally to the United States. There are thousands of small dog and goat farms scattered over the north ern districts of Manchuria and Mongo lia, where from ten to hundreds of ani mals are reared yearly. When a girl is married she receives perhaps six dogs as her dowry, and it can easily be un derstood that this comparatively small beginning may be the foundation of a large fortune, seeing that the reproduc tion of ten per annum would in a few years give an enormous total. A dog matures in from six to eight months, and the fur is at its best during the winter ; so that the animal must be de stroyed before the thaw sets in. Na ture has provided a magnificent protec tion to withstand the cold of these northern latitudes, where the thermom eter (Fahrenheit) goes down to 250 below zero-i. e., 57° of frost-and it is doubtful if the dog skins in any other part of the world are to be compared with those that come from Manchuria or Mongolia, either in size, length of hair, or quality. The question of food for so many animals naturally presents itself. If they had to be kept entirely by their masters, the industry could not be a paying one. The coarsest grain-millet that is not good enough for horses-mixed with the ordure and rubbish of the farm is always ready for them when by foraging outside they are unable to satisfy the pangs of hun ger.