Yesterday afternoon I helped my friend Dale cut a load of firewood. Rain was in the forecast and Dale wanted to get some dry poles piled up near the house.
We hitched an old rusting pick-up bed trailer to Dale’s Explorer. We first headed for a burn-pile where we off-loaded some brush and an old sofa, then turned down a tree-lined a gravel road. It was a pleasant fall afternoon; the sun was shining and the wood-gathering expedition reminded me of the many years I heated with wood.
The tree we worked up was half of a double hackberry tree which had blown over in a thunderstorm. The tree was probably about sixty years old. The top branches of the tree had disintegrated upon impact when the massive trunk went down. It was easy firewood, just lying there waiting for some provident people to cut it up and haul it away. The branches were conveniently right alongside the road.
Hackberry (Celtus occidentalis) is a tree species of which many people are unaware. It’s sort of an anonymous species; it’s related to the elms and has leaves rather like those of a nettle. The fruit is an inconspicous berry. Its most noticeable feature is the curiously channeled and canyoned bark with its flaky stratified layers. Hackberry wood is pale and featureless, but it’s a hardwood and has a certain subtle appeal.
Hey, folks, it’s good to be back writing again!