pine cone season
Thursday, March 2 2006
Compared to our springlike January, it's been brutally cold for the past week or more, with temperatures frequently dropping into and staying in the teens. The Ashokan Reservoir, which usually freezes over on or around New Year's Day, didn't freeze over this winter until about a week ago. This morning it snowed, putting what (for this winter) has been an unfamiliar dusting over the surfaces of the outdoors. Before more than a trace had accumulated I had the foresight to collect a bucket of pine cones from the yard. Evidently this is pine cones season, at least for White Pines, and there were several buckets' worth in the yard. I've found that pine cones make a very good kindling, and good kindling is what makes the difference bettween an easy fire lighting and a very difficult one, particularly when the wood is damp (ours has been damp this year because most of it has been scrounged as opposed to purchased). There are two reasons pine cones are such good kindling. One is that air circulates through them easily. The other is that they are flecked with large amounts of pine sap, which burns like a fossil fuel, the kind that comes from a country where folks still get their heads chopped off. If we're really at peak oil, I can see pine sap becoming a very useful resource, but only for those (like us) who have pine trees.
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