Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sticking with tried and true gifts...

Obviously a bunch of you are sticking with the ol' reliables for Christmas this year. Jewelry, appliances, frankincense...

Turns out we may be endangering frankincense trees in the Horn of Africa. (You didn't even know it came from a tree, didja?)

The trees on the Somali coast grow, without soil, out of polished marble rocks, to which they are attached by a thick oval mass of substances resembling a mixture of lime and mortar. The young trees furnish the most valuable gum, the older yielding merely a clear, glutinous fluid, resembling coral varnish.

To obtain the Frankincense, a deep, longitudinal incision is made in the trunk of the tree and below it a narrow strip of bark 5 inches in length is peeled off. When the milk-like juice which exudes has hardened by exposure to the air, the incision is deepened. In about three months the resin has attained the required degree of consistency, hardening into yellowish 'tears.' The large, clear globules are scraped off into baskets and the inferior quality that has run down the tree is collected separately. The season for gathering lasts from May till the middle of September, when the first shower of rain puts a close to the gathering for that year. [More]

So do the "green" thing and give your special someone some myhrr, instead.

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