This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
As we look on these trees generally in our gardens, or even in our forests, we have little idea of its great use of the birch Ionian. A lumber paper tells us that the birch is a true hardy mountaineer, loving the rugged mountain side and luxuriating in the wild savage glens of the cold North. It is the last tree seen on approaching that hitherto inaccessible spot, the North Pole, disappearing entirely at the 70th parallel. The ancient Caledonians made canoes of birch branches and bark, covering the outside with skins. From birch they made every imaginable kind of implement and vessel. The writer has seen, in the remote part of the Highlands, cottages in which every utensil was made of birch, all being cut out of the solid timber in the most primitive fashion. Fancy, if ye can, ye elite of the modern tea-drinking world, your cups and saucers composed of wood. Yet such was once the fashion, and our glorious ancestors"punchy bowl" and"bicker" were made of such primitive material. It is recorded, that during the years 272, 300 and 310, years of great famine, the; inhabitants of Britain were compelled to eat birch-bark. In Sweden, it has been used to mix. with corn for food.
In Russia and Poland, this tree enters largely into constructive arts, from the fittings and furnishings of the palace to the manufacture of the tobacco pipe.