Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Long Leaf Pine

Last weekend, Florida neighbor Denny invited me to a guy weekend at the National Guard post Camp Blanding.  Joining us were Jesse and "Poor Boy".  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew it would be a good time.

I've never served in the military.  I tried to enlist in the Army in 1971 but was turned down because of my extreme nearsightedness.  I am unfamiliar with all things military.

After each of us presented photo IDs, and because Denny is a retired Army guy, we were permitted on the base.  We checked into our cottage and then took off to look for lighter logs and walking sticks.   I'll explain.

First, we drove past live ammunition shooting by guard troops.  Just past them, Denny pulled off the road.  Everyone but Denny, a retired Army Sargent who spent decades here training troops, was a bit nervous about which way they were shooting.

We hiked into the woods and Denny found a lighter log.  A lighter log, or lighter wood, is a long leaf pine that was struck by lightning.  This supposedly drives and traps the resin in the wood.  Long leaf pine is very dense and very slow growing, and very heavy.  Denny asked Poor Boy to drive his truck in to get it.   Don't worry about scratches.  Tas can fix it.

This was a great find, according to Denny.  Lighter wood is used to start fires.  It ignites easily and burns very hot.  Only very small pieces are used.   The piece below can start a hundred fires.

On the way out of the woods, I passed a latrine.  Not much privacy.  There is also no men's and women's latrines.  The new ones probably do, though.  I hope anyway.

Jesse cuts the log into more manageable pieces.

The pic below is a long leaf pine.  Amazingly long needles.

We also looked for trees with "knots", which looks to be some kind of disease or malformation.  

Denny looked for just the right length and size, and cut them with his machete.

This collection will be made into walking sticks and given to friends as presents.  Denny gave me one.   The bark is stripped off and I've started sanding it.  It will be stained and polyurethaned. 

We found an entire lighter wood log!  We cut it up and brought it to Denny's.  Since only a small piece is needed to start a fire,  This should be a lifetime's worth.

And finally, a beautiful sunset.  In Bleecker, we're blocked to the west by a mountain, and in Florida by tall trees.  I miss these low country sunsets.

No comments:

Post a Comment