The heft and feel of a well-worn handle,
The sight of shavings that curl from a blade;
The logs in the wood pile, the sentiment of huge beams in an old-fashioned house;
The smell of fresh cut timber and the pungent fragrance of burning leaves;
The crackle of kindling and the hiss of burning logs.
Abundant to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be
Without wood.

Everard Hinrichs, quoted by Eric Sloane in A Reverence for Wood


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Black Locust

Last year I had a chance to work with black locust, a wood that is fairly common here in the eastern U.S., but somewhat hard to find as lumber. A neighbor had four large trees removed, and I got the wood and split it all for firewood last winter. It burned hot and steady, and made a coal almost as nice as oak. The only downside to it is a rather pungent odor in combustion, and I wondered all winter whether one of my neighbors was going to say something to me about it. But they didn't, and I was blessed with a lot of heat from about three cords of locust.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Primal Urge to Burn Wood

It started with an innocent comment, but my man-senses jumped to alert.

"Barb says she used to burn firewood in a wood stove, but it was so dirty that she put in a gas stove." My wife seemed unaware of the challenge she had so nonchalantly thrown at me.

"Well, I guess burning wood is a little dirty, but the bark and dust are easily enough swept up every day. After all, who'd notice a little dirt in this house?"

Now she was rising to the duel, lasers shooting from her beautiful blue eyes. The battle was joined.