Some Firewood Nostalgia

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!




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9 responses to “Some Firewood Nostalgia

  1. Joan

    Yay! He’s back!!! Well, I need not ask how your ribs are if you have been hacking away at a Hackberry tree. They must be much better.

    I have cut down a huge huge Juniper, which was nice, and smelled like Cedar, but I cannot tell a lie, I have never felled a Hackberry tree. I found many many many links to Hackberry trees thanks to Google’s new instant speed linkage, but am hesitant to even bother posting them. One link says the wood is rather soft and prone to rot. Another link is selling Hackberry wood and shows pics of cross sections. Who to believe?

    Well…Dale is burning it, so he does not need to worry about the grain. Larry, did you heat your home entirely with wood cut from your property or did you supplement it? How did that work for the upstairs bedrooms?

    Again. Great to know you are still perking along.

  2. Linda

    what happened to your ribs larry!? Remember, you promised to do better keeping in touch with your family!

  3. Virginia

    Hello Larry, What a pleasant picture you painted gathering wood on a sunny afternoon. We had a tree episode also this week, but not quite as placid. A tree crew efficiently removed six large trees from our back yard. We have an old yard with large trees and some are getting dangerous. We had purposely kept old wood because the woodpeckers love it with its buggy potential. One tree was dead, and others were partially gone so in one noisy day they disappeared with only ground stump material left in the holes where roots were. The other trees seem to have expanded limbs to cover some of the void and birds and squirrels are returning. One birdhouse mysteriously disappeared too.

    I was interested in your hackberry and wondered what, if anything, ate the berries. I found a reference that said the brush foot butterfly likes them. Most are edible, but dry. The “most” bothered me. What are the exceptions if I should ever decide to sample a hackberry?

  4. Darrell

    Welcome back Larry

  5. Nice to see your words again, Larry. I have a lot of hackberries in my forest, and you’re right, they are an easily overlooked tree. I don’t think I’ve ever cut one though.

  6. Joan

    Fire and Water Poem
    (Hope is eternal but we are getting older)

    We’ve had Firewood nostalgia and Fireball view ways.
    We have fired up old tubes here on Radio Daze.
    We have learned about guns in our Civil War phase
    And have narrowly skirted a fierier craze
    On political views, yet we can’t light the fuse
    That engenders some new words from Larry.
    It would just take a smidgen. Wee drop from a pigeon
    Would start up a topic anew.
    We need input from Larry. In order to parry
    Ideas from a fresh point of view.
    Please Larry, touch down so I won’t have to hound
    You in verses the others must read.
    We are all quite afloat. Lest you rejoin your boat
    We might never get back up to speed.
    I doubt you’re enjoying my constant employing
    Of scattered and mixed metaphors
    But if your wish to stem them and empty my pen then
    You’d better row back to our shores.

  7. Leslie

    glad you’re back, Larry! A writer writes, right?

  8. Glad to see you back writing again, Larry. I have been on vacation from my own blogs, but I’ll get back in the groove after my daughter’s wedding later this month.

    Regarding the hackberry: in my part of Kentucky, they tend to have a fairly smooth bark with warty patches. Image.

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