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- Farmers of Forty Centuries - 40/48 -


Edward C. Parker, writing from Mukden for the Review of Reviews, stated: "The bean cake shipments from Newchwang, Dalny and Antung in 1908 amounted to 515,198 tons; beans, 239,298 tons; bean oil, 1930 tons; having a total value of $15,016,649 (U. S. gold)". According to the composition of soy beans as indicated in Hopkins' table of analyses, these shipments of beans and bean cake would remove an aggregate of 6171 tons of phosphorus, 10,097 tons of potassium, and 47,812 tons of nitrogen from Manchurian soils as the result of export for that year. Could such a rate have been maintained during two thousand years there would have been sold from these soils 20,194,000 tons of potassium; 12,342,000 tons of phosphorus and 95,624,000 tons of nitrogen; and the phosphorus, were it thus exported, would have exceeded more than threefold all thus far produced in the United States; it would have exceeded the world's output in 1906 more than eighteen times, even assuming that all phosphate rock mined was seventy-five per cent pure.

The choice of the millets and the sorghums as the staple bread crops of northern China and Manchuria has been quite as remarkable as the selection of rice for the more southern latitudes, and the two together have played a most important part in determining the high maintenance efficiency of these people. In nutritive value these grains rank well with wheat; the stems of the larger varieties are extensively used for both fuel and building material and the smaller forms make excellent forage and have been used directly for maintaining the organic content of the soil. Their rapid development and their high endurance of drought adapt them admirably to the climate of north China and Manchuria where the rains begin only after late June and where weather too cold for growth comes earlier in the fall. The quick maturity of these crops also permits them to be used to great advantage even throughout the south, in their systems of multiple cropping so generally adopted, while their great resistance to drought, being able to remain at a standstill for a long time when the soil is too dry for growth and yet be able to push ahead rapidly when favorable rains come, permits them to be used on the higher lands generally where water is not available for irrigation.

In the Shantung province the large millet, sorghum or kaoliang, yields as high as 2000 to 3000 pounds of seed per acre, and 5600 to 6000 pounds of air-dry stems, equal in weight to 1.6 to 1.7 cords of dry oak wood. In the region of Mukden, Manchuria, its average yield of seed is placed at thirty-five bushels of sixty pounds weight per acre, and with this comes one and a half tons of fuel or of building material. Hosie states that, the kaoliang is the staple food of the population of Manchuria and the principal grain food of the work animals. The grain is first washed in cold water and then poured into a kettle with four times its volume of boiling water and cooked for an hour, without salt, as with rice. It is eaten with chopsticks with boiled or salted vegetables. He states that an ordinary servant requires about two pounds of this grain per day, and that a workman at heavy labor will take double the amount. A Chinese friend of his, keeping five servants, supplied them with 240 pounds of millet per month, together with 16 pounds of native flour, regarded as sufficient for two days, and meat for two days, the amount not being stated. Two of the small millets (Setaria italica, and Panicum milliaceum), wheat, maize and buckwheat are other grains which are used as food but chiefly to give variety and change of diet.

Very large quantities of matting and wrappings are also made from the leaves of the large millet, which serve many purposes corresponding with the rice mattings and bags of Japan and southern China.

The small millets, in Shantung, yield as high as 2700 pounds of seed and 4800 pounds of straw per acre. In Japan, in the year 1906, there were grown 737,719 acres of foxtail, barnyard and proso millet, yielding 17,084,000 bushels of seed or an average of twenty-three bushels per acre. In addition to the millets, Japan grew, the same year, 5,964,300 bushels of buckwheat on 394,523 acres, or an average of fifteen bushels per acre. The next engraving, Fig. 205, shows a crop of millet already six inches high planted between rows of windsor beans which had matured about the middle of June. The leaves had dropped, the beans had been picked from the stems, and a little later, when the roots had had time to decay the bean stems would be pulled and tied in bundles for use as fuel or for fertilizer.

We had reached Mukden thoroughly tired after a long day of continuous close observation and writing. The Astor House, where we were to stop, was three miles from the station and the only conveyance to meet the train was a four-seated springless, open, semi-baggage carryall and it was a full hour lumbering its way to our hotel. But here as everywhere in the Orient the foreigner meets scenes and phases of life competent to divert his attention from almost any discomfort. Nothing could be more striking than the peculiar mode the Manchu ladies have of dressing their hair, seen in Fig. 206, many instances of which were passed on the streets during this early evening ride. It was fearfully and wonderfully done, laid in the smoothest, glossiest black, with nearly the lateral spread of the tail of a turkey cock and much of the backward curve of that of the rooster; far less attractive than the plainer, refined, modest, yet highly artistic style adopted by either Chinese or Japanese ladies.

The journey from Mukden to Antung required two days, the train stopping for the night at Tsaohokow. Our route lay most of the way through mountainous or steep hilly country and our train was made up of diminutive coaches drawn by a tiny engine over a three-foot two-inch narrow gauge track of light rails laid by the Japanese during the war with Russia, for the purpose of moving their armies and supplies to the hotly contested fields in the Liao and Sungari plains. Many of the grades were steep, the curves sharp, and in several places it was necessary to divide the short train to enable the engines to negotiate them.

To the southward over the Liao plain the crops were almost exclusively millet and soy beans, with a little barley, wheat, and a few oats. Between Mukden and the first station across the Hun river we had passed twenty-four good sized fields of soy beans on one side of the river and twenty-two on the other, and before reaching the hilly country, after travelling a distance of possibly fifteen miles, we had passed 309 other and similar fields close along the track. In this distance also we had passed two of the monuments erected by the Japanese, marking sites of their memorable battles. These fields were everywhere flat, lying from sixteen to twenty feet above the beds of the nearly dry streams, and the cultivation was mostly being done with horses or cattle.

After leaving the plains country the railway traversed a narrow winding valley less than a mile wide, with gradient so steep that our train was divided. Fully sixty per cent of the hill slopes were cultivated nearly to the summit and yet rising apparently more than one in three to five feet, and the uncultivated slopes were closely wooded with young trees, few more than twenty to thirty feet high, but in blocks evidently of different ages. Beyond the pass many of the cultivated slopes have walled terraces. We crossed a large stream where railway ties were being rafted down the river. Just beyond this river the train was again divided to ascend a gradient of one in thirty, reaching the summit by five times switching back, and matched on the other side of the pass by a down grade of one in forty.

At many of the farm houses in the narrow valleys along the way large rectangular, flat topped compost piles were passed, thirty to forty inches high and twenty, thirty, forty and even in one case as much as sixty feet square on the ground. More and more it became evident that these mountain and hill lands were originally heavily wooded and that the new growth springs up quickly, developing rapidly. It was clear also that the custom of cutting over these wooded areas at frequent intervals is very old, not always in the same stage of growth but usually when the trees are quite small. Considerable quantities of cordwood were piled at the stations along the railway and were being loaded on the cars. This was always either round wood or sticks split but once; and much charcoal, made mostly from round wood or sticks split but once, was being shipped in sacks shaped like those used for rice, seen in Fig. 180. Some strips of the forest growth had been allowed to stand undisturbed apparently for twenty or more years, but most areas have been cut at more frequent intervals, often apparently once in three to five, or perhaps ten, years.

At several places on the rapid streams crossed, prototypes of the modern turbine water-wheel were installed, doing duty grinding beans or grain. As with native machinery everywhere in China, these wheels were reduced to the lowest terms and the principle put to work almost unclothed. These turbines were of the downward discharge type, much resembling our modern windmills, ten to sixteen feet in diameter, set horizontally on a vertical axis rising through the floor of the mill, with the vanes surrounded by a rim, the water dropping through the wheel, reacting when reflected from the obliquely set vanes. American engineers and mechanics would pronounce these very crude, primitive and inefficient. A truer view would regard them as examples of a masterful grasp of principle by some, man who long ago saw the unused energy of the stream and succeeded thus in turning it to account.

Both days of our journey had been bright and very warm and, although we took the train early in the morning at Mukden, a young Japanese anticipated the heat, entering the train clad only in his kimono and sandals, carrying a suitcase and another bundle. He rode all day, the most comfortably, if immodestly, clad man on the train, and the next morning took his seat in front of us clad in the same garb, but before the train reached Antung he took down his suitcase and then and there, deliberately attired himself in a good foreign suit, folding his kimono and packing it away with his sandals.

From Antung we crossed the Yalu on the ferry to New Wiju at 6:30 A. M., June 22, and were then in quite a different country and among a very different people, although all of the railway officials, employes, police and guards were Japanese, as they had been from Mukden. At Antung and New Wiju the Yalu is a very broad slow stream resembling an arm of the sea more than a river, reminding one of the St. Johns at Jacksonville, Florida.

June 22nd proved to be one of the national festival days in Korea, called "Swing day", and throughout our entire ride to Seoul the fields were nearly all deserted and throngs of people, arrayed in gala dress, appeared all along the line of the railway, sometimes congregating in bodies of two to three thousand or more, as seen in Fig. 207. Many swings had been hung and were being enjoyed by the young people. Boys and men were bathing in all sorts of "swimming holes" and places. So too, there were many large open air gatherings being addressed by public speakers, one of which is seen in Fig. 208.

Nearly everyone was dressed in white outer garments made from some fabric which although not mosquito netting was nearly as open and possessed of a remarkable stiffness which seemed to take and retain every dent with astonishing effect and which was sufficiently


Farmers of Forty Centuries - 40/48

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