Unfortunately, I am still dealing with a family member’s health situation.   This is consuming most of my day and much of my attention, but I continue to write these posts as they help me recenter.

During a quiet moment as I sat in the hospital room, I discovered an intriguing collection of journals on the Project Gutenberg website.  Gutenberg offers a collection of copyright-free materials.  

When you have a chance, check out the assortment of Birds and All Nature.   Volumes span 1898 to 1902.  The journal compiles short blog-like posts about various topics.  

Here is a sample from the June 1899 edition:

CURIOUS TREES.

  1. In Malabar, a tree called “the tallow tree” grows; from the seeds of it, when boiled, is procured a firm tallow which makes excellent candles.

2. The “butter tree” was discovered by Park in the central part of Africa; from its kernel is produced a nice butter which will keep a year.

3. The palo de vaca, or “cow tree,” grows on rocks in Venezuela, South America. It has dry and leathery leaves, and from incisions made in its trunk a kind of milk oozes out, which is tolerably thick and of an agreeable balmy smell. At sunrise, the natives may be seen hastening from all quarters furnished with large bowls to receive the milk.

4. A tree of Madagascar, called the “traveler’s tree,” yields a copious supply of fresh water from its leaves, very grateful to the traveler. It grows in the most arid countries, and is another proof of the tender care of our Heavenly Father in supplying all His creatures’ wants. Even in the driest weather a quart of water can be obtained by piercing a hole at the bottom of the leaf stalk, and the liquid is pure and pleasant to the taste. The leaves are of enormous size, varying from ten to fifteen feet in length.

5. The date tree is a species of palm, and almost every part of it is valuable. Its fruit is delicious and it is also esteemed for the palm wine drawn from its trunk. Its leaves are made into hats, baskets, fans, and many other articles, and the fibres of the leaf stems are made into cord and twine. A department store might almost be furnished from this tree.

6. The “sorrowful tree” is found on the island of Goa, near Bombay. It is so called because it flourishes in the night. At sunset no flowers are to be seen, but soon after it is covered with them. They close up or drop off as the sun rises. It has a fragrant odor, and blossoms at night the year round.

7. There is a tree in Jamaica called the “life tree,” whose leaves grow even when severed from the plant. It is impossible to kill it save by fire.—Normal Instructor.

Seems like people have always been interested in the unique and the exotic.  You will certainly find such in Birds and All Nature.

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