TALL COTTON

Though Winter has retreated, early Spring evenings still put a chill in the air. We’re steadfast fans of the fireplace flame until the season renders it quite unnecessary.

So, last evening while “dozing and grumbling o’er pipe and mug”, my eye scanned over the pile of firewood that awaited the hearth . Normally there are any one of six species of oak in that pile.

Or Ash. The baseball bat wood is native to the farm, as much as oak.

In fact, the species that contribute to our fire wood supply are varied. There’s Maple or Beech, Shagbark Hickory , Cedar and Elm, Even an occasional Ironwood.

For the record, Poplar is also prevalent but it burns too much like tissue paper.

Do note, my dear tree huggers, we only burn the fallen trees or those that are hopelessly leaning.

Last evening, however, an anomaly was below the mantle. There in the pile were several pieces of Black Walnut, bone dry and ready to burn.

Wait a minute. Who burns Black Walnut in their fireplace ? It is prized furniture wood . Expensive material for the fussy cabinetmaker . The reference to tall cotton , the title for today’s blog, infers a luxurious state of things. Abundance. Superfluidity. Maybe even reckless abandon if one’s firewood is Black Walnut !

He’s peeing in tall cotton when his hearth is loaded with that stuff !

But then the fire popped a loud crackle, as fires will do. It rendered me a bolt of absolution. There’s a reason that particular timber became firewood. I remembered chain sawing it years ago. It had grown exactly on the farm’s boundary before it had fallen.

It was thus pre-ordained a fence post , riddled with fencing staples where decades of stretched barbed wire had undignified its lustrous fibers. That had, at least, precluded it as a viable saw log.

Surely the sawyer wishes not to run barbed wire through his blade !

I could now relax, absolved of any suggested guilt attached to tossing Black Walnut into the roaring fire. I just briefly paused for a luxuriant moment.

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