Monday, January 4, 2021

tree top. with more American Robins. And betulin.

There are many fewer robins on this tree, of course, than when I started wiggling around inside my thick jacket trying to find my iPhone - but this certainly gives the sense of clear cold wintry sky, and bare branches.  I didn't know until a couple of weeks ago - working on bark - that the white sheen on birch tree bark is caused by the presence of a substance called betulin - which makes the bark waterproof, and highly resistant to decay, and which has all kinds of potential medicinal uses - like decreasing the production of cholesterol, and helping the body regulate insulin production, and reducing the size of fatty deposits in blood vessels (so we should all be out there chewing birch bark?).  I've been wanting to show off my new-found knowledge of betulin ever since I learned the word - and wish, in retrospect, that I'd found a more interesting piece of bark to photograph.  I'll keep looking around us - there's none on our property ...


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