Scented FIr Balsam Pillows

A Fir Pillow for Baby
Probably many mothers have in their homes little pillows of fir-balsam. Let me suggest that Baby may enjoy a part of these pillows, and that the mothers will find this a helpful and healthful way of inducing long, restful naps. When our little daughter was about six weeks old I noticed her one day sniffing all around me, as if to discover the source of the fragrant odor. Suddenly she buried her little nose in the fir pillow on which it was resting, sniffed contentedly for a few minutes, then fell asleep. Several times after this I noticed her enjoying the odor; it brought comfort and sleepiness. We made a little pillow for her, filling it with the tender tips of the fir-balsam, and now she rests in her bassinet on a mattress of pine, hemlock, and fir, with the little pillow of balsam at her head. At night I take this same pillow to her crib, and she sleeps more sweetly than on her pillow of hair. She will go to sleep readily at her bed-time (six o'clock), and often does not
waken till midnight. When restless in her sleep a few sniffs of the pillow will often bring sound sleep again. G. M. C.
W. Box ford, Mass.
Babyhood: Devoted Exclusively to the Care of Infants and Young-1887

NOW that pillows made of the " spills " or foliage of the balsam fir tree, (abies balsamea) not only are considered fashionable, but highly beneficial in the treatment of many ailments, such as insomnia, nervousness, headache, catarrh, and lung diseases, etc., it may be well to know how best to prepare the green spills. The balsam fir or balm-of-gilead fir, from which is obtained the Canada balsam, should not be confounded with other species of the coniferse of like appearance—a mistake that is easily made, as the resinous perfume of the different spruce trees is almost as deliriously fragrant if not so lasting, or of so much value medicinally, as that of the balm fir. It is also rather difficult to distinguish the difference as to foliage, between the balm fir and the other spruce trees; the leaves of the former are in two rows on either side of the branchiate; those of the latter are scattered irregularly around the stems. The spills may be collected at any season.
In mid-summer, at ultra-fashionable Bar Harbor, and other Maine resorts, the modern belle, with an armful of fir branches is no unusual sight, while the fastidious beau may be seen, on a rainy or foggy afternoon, on the hotel or cottage piazza, smudging his delicate fingers with turpentine, as he helps some fair lady to "pull" fir balsam—" pulling parties" they are called 'way down in Maine. Again, in the autumn or winter, the "native" lad and lassie may be seen " lugging " home an evening's pulling of balm twigs, which, when nicely dried, will be sent to the city shops, or sold next summer to the "rusticator." The spills, and the entire tender green shoots at the ends of the twigs are plucked while fresh and crisp, from i in' stems; 'if they are allowed to dry on the branches much of their delicious fragrance is lost. They are spread to dry in a perfectly dry place. Care must be taken that no moisture collects on the balsam, as it would* ruin the delicate perfume. When the spills are thoroughly dried, they are ready for the pillow, which should be made of thin, stout material. The outside slip may be plain or ornamented, according to individual taste. tongee silk, linen, madras cloth, or any of the pretty stuffs now obtainable, may be used. A suitable decoration for a fir pillow is an emblematic motto, as: "Thy breath, Bweet balm, hath power to soothe the fevered brow." "I breathe the perfume of the pines." "The fragrance of the woods I bring," etc.
These mottoes may be embroidered in any suitable stitch. A very effective design fora pillow, is a branch of fir with several cones done in a dark green and brown chenille, on a lighter green or brown ground.—S. E. Booas, in Good Housekeeping.
Friends' Intelligencer United with the Friends' Journal, Volume 44-1887

She pulled a long branch of the balsam fir nearer as she spoke, and buried her nose in it. It was the first week in September, and she and Brie were sitting in the hill grove.
"I love this smell so," she said. "It is delicious. It makes me dream.
Brie broke off a bough.
"I shall hang it over your bed," she said, "and you will smell it all night.',
So the fir bough hung upon the wall until it gradually yellowed, and the needles began to drop.
"Why, they are as sweet as ever—sweeter." declared Brie, smelling a handful which she had swept from the floor. Then an idea came into her head.
She gathered a great fagot of the branches, and laid them to dry in the sun on the floor of a little used piazza. When partly dry.she stripped off the needles, stuffed with them a square cotton bag, and made for that a cover of soft sage-green silk, with an odd shot pattern over it. It was a piece of what had been her great grandmothers wedding gown.
 Do'you realize the situation, reader? Brie had made the first of all the many balsam pillows. It was meant for a good-bye gift to Miss Morgan.
"Your cushion is the joy of my life," wrote that lady to her a month after she went home. "Every one who sees it, falls in love with it. Half a dozen people have asked me how they could get one like it. And Brie, this has gi ven me an idea. Why should you not make them for sale? I will send you some pretty silk for the covers, and you might cross-stitch a little motto if you liked. I copy some for you. Two people have given me orders already. They will pay four dollars apiece if you like to try."
This suggestion was the small wedge of the new industry. Brie lost no time in making the the pillows, grandmother's gown fortunately holding out for their covers. Then came pretty red silk from Miss Morgan, with yellow fioselle for the mottos, and more orders. Brie worked busily that winter, for her balsam pillows had to be made in spare moments when other work permitted. The grove on the hill was her unfailing treasure of supply. The thick-set twigs bent them to her will; the upper branches seemed to her to rustle as with satisfaction at the aid they were giving. In the spring the old trees renewed their foliage with vigorous will, as if resolved not to balk her in her purpose,
The fir grove paid Beuben's wages that winter. Miss Morgan came back the following June, and by that time balsam pillows were established as articles of commerce, and Brie had a magnificent offer from a recently established Decorative Art Society for a supply of needles, at three dollars per pound, It was hard, dirty work to prepare such a quantity but she did not mind that.
As I said, this was some years since. Brie no longer fives in her old home. Her mother died the third year after Miss Morgan came to them, the farm is sold and Brie is married. She lives now on a ranch in Colorado, but she has never forgotten the fir grove, and the memory of it is a help often in the desponding moments that come at times to all lives.
"I could not be worse off than I was then," she says to herself. "There seemed no help or hope anywhere. I felt as if God didn't care and didn't hear my prayer, and yet, all the time, there was dear Miss Morgan coming to help us, and there were the trees, great beautiful things, nodding their heads, and trying to show me what could be made out of them. No, I never will be faithless again; nor let myself doubt, however dark things may look, but remember my balsam pillows, and trust in God.
The Eastern Star, Volume 2-1889

The Bringing of the Balsam
JOSEPH LEE, President, War Camp Community Service
Some are born in the woods, some go to the woods on their vacation, and some have the woods brought to them.
This last experience comes in balsam fir pillows from one’s friends.
To put your head on balsam fir is to dream of moose and moonlight on the lake. To go into a room where there is a scent of balsam is to know the little pointed spruces are outside the window and feel the happy fatigue of a day on the mountain or along the brook.
Many in the community have earned a vacation, and if they cannot take one, we must bring it to them.
So tell your lucky friends in the land of Heart’s desire to bring the woods back with them to your community club.
Recreation, Volume 14-1920

I generally established my headquarters near long-needled pines, cedars, tamaracks, hemlocks, balsam firs and other trees whose neighborhoods are apt to be dry; and in my selection of balsam-fir halting-places, I had a double object in view. While keeping a faithful watch on my birds I was able to gather large supplies of the tender, fragrant tips for cushions and pillows. (The newest growth, distinguishable always by its strongly contrasting light green, is the only one available for the purpose.) One can fancy how, afterwards, in shut-in days when a heavy mantle of snow lay over all the woodland paths and weighed down even the strongest of the great branches, my balsam pillow spoke to me of forest calm and harmony, of song and color and fragrance and of all the dear delights that had been mine in the gathering. But far better than this, these pillows of fragrant balsam often found their way to rooms where suffering reigned; rooms to whose inmates forest voices could come only through such channels as these. I remember particularly, in one instance where the windows were darkened and neither sun nor stars had appeared to the sufferer for many days, the touching gratitude of the recipient when I presented her with one of my balsam-fir pillows. Yet I had only given her of my abundance, my forest wealth! If you have never made the experiment of thus sharing your summer joys with one Who, through illness or some other hindering agency, has been deprived of them, I can assure you that it is a thousand-fold paying investment.
Mr. Chupes and Miss Jenny: the life story of two robins
 By Mrs. Effie Molt Bignell-1901
IT is probably on account of the interesting psychological fact of the curious association of the sense of smell with the memory of former experiences that the Balsam Fir holds a unique position among the evergreens in the minds of most people who have lived for a time in the region where it grows. The delightful odor of the leaves is sure to recall to these fortunate ones, experiences of outings in the forests or of balsam pillows carried to village or city homes. The odor certainly is one of the most refreshing fragrances in Nature's pharmacy, and it seems fitting that the tree should also furnish, through the unique reservoirs that stand out on the bark of the trunk and larger branches, an abundant supply of one of the most potent medicines for the ills of throat and lungs. This clear balsam is often used as medicine directly from the tree in the regions where it grows. It is also largely used in preserving microscopic preparations and for various other purposes. 
Our Trees, how to Know Them
 By Clarence Moores Weed-1918
Fashion is such a curious dame in the influence she exercises upon the actions of women. Those who know the tonic and soothing virtue of balsam-fir pillows still use them, though it is more than a decade since the craze for them was an epidemic which swept over the entire land, spreading rapidly in whole villages and towns. It may be said to have started the couch-cushion cult; but it disappeared itself as quickly as it came, and it is rare that one finds the refreshing spicy cushions now. They need renewing, of course, every two or three years; but there is no pleasanter work to do in the mountains than to prepare the filling for such a pillow, and no more acceptable cushion can be placed under an aching, throbbing head.
The Woman Beautiful By Ella Adelia Fletcher