Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Talking Wood Again

Okay, if you've been following along, this blog hasn't been much about writing lately.  Today's not going to be about writing either.  Yep, I'm talking about wood again.  Maybe someday I'll have a character who chops wood.  

One of the curious things about owning a stretch of wooded land is wondering what, in fact, these trees are.  This bring out the researcher in me.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I mean, I do have a guide to tree identification, but it only gets me close to what I might be looking at and it's not as comprehensive as I'd like.  So, off to the internet...

We have a tree up near the front of our property, stuffed in amongst the other trees, that has really gnarly bark.  This morning, I went hunting and discovered it's a hackberry.  Or I should say it WAS a hackberry.  I think it's dead.  I'm surprised it lived as long as it did with its trunk right up against another tree and its leaves not getting much, if any, sun.  Unfortunately, I also learned they don't burn well and they rot fast.  This one will not be going into the woodpile.

The other day I mentioned a couple big limbs with REALLY red heartwood that were not cedar.  Cedar has a very distinct odor and recognizable bark.  This stuff had neither.  It's black cherry.  We have a few of those around, so I'm not surprised.  Which tree these limbs came off of?  No clue.  We threw them into the wood piles years ago.  

By the way, black cherry trees are not like most other cherry trees and the black cherries you tend to see in ice cream are not these cherries.  These are small and mostly pit.  They have been used for medicinal purposes, so cough syrup flavor.  Bleh.  The deer and the squirrels love them, so they can have them.  Also, black cherry trees can get some height going on there.  We have one off the back that's easily 40-45 feet.  The old cherry tree we had when I was growing up would've never reached that tall.  The wood is awesome, though, and we've set it aside for perhaps turning into flooring or selling to a woodcarver.  (Or maybe I'll get a wild hair and learn to do woodcarving.  In my spare time.)

We're getting to the point in our cutting now that we can identify wood more easily.  We have loads of oak.  The black walnut is easy to identify, even if it's hard to cut.  American elm is prolific here and the bark's easy to spot.  We also have hickories, which you can sometimes identify by the smell of it when you're sawing it.  It smells like BBQ.  Heh.

The thing about oak... There are so many different kinds of oak.  We know it's oak, but what kind of oak?  No clue.  Black oak has darker bark.  White oak has lighter bark.  But once the bark has fallen off, oak looks like oak.  If we get a chance to see the leaves, we have a better chance of telling whether it's a pin oak or a swamp oak.  White oak varieties have leaves with rounded lobes and black oak varieties have pointed lobes.  

Over the weekend, we noticed a tall tree that had bark unlike any other tree.  And it has balls hanging in the upper branches.  But it's not a sycamore.  Sycamores have VERY distinctive bark.  This was more like the black cherry's bark, but not quite.  Into the internet for research again, and I think it's a persimmon tree.  So far, the only permissions I've seen were short.  Who knew they could get up to 70' high?  Not me, that's for sure.  Hubs still didn't think it's a permission, because there was no fruit laying around.  I reminded him that everything eats persimmon, deer especially, so even if the fruit made it to the ground, something would eat it up quick.  Unless a fruit falls while we're standing right there, we'll probably never see one.  

In case you haven't figured it out, I love trees.  Always have.  Used to hug them.  For real.  (Note: you can't, nor should you try to, hug a locust tree.  Spiky buggers, they are.)  If you're interested, here's a neat site I found that helps with identification.  It's out of Iowa, but sometimes trees are trees.  They have a pic of the locust tree that will give you an idea of how ouchy those things can be.  We have a few of those around here, too.  I've whacked the spikes off as high as I can reach so we don't skewer ourselves accidentally.

Anyway, it's not a writing post, but hey, paper is made from trees, so there's that.  


  1. We have golden oaks here--named for the golden yellow pollen shed in the spring and they produce prolific amounts of acorns.

    On your non-ID tree: Are the balls round or do they have little nubs? It might be a sweetgum tree. Persimmons normally don't get too tall. Sweetgums get huge. I should go out and take a pic of ours to send you. Sweetgum. Not persimmon. LOL

    I like trees too. We have a huge one in the back that I haven't ID'd yet, along with Carolina lindens, a cedar, 3 pine trees, the golden oaks and the sweetgums. We also have some that spill "seeds" that are sort of like propellers but with sharp points on one end. They get into the dogs' fur and it's a pain--literally--to dig them out.

    Gonna be warm today so a good time to chuck wood, you woodchucker you. 😉

  2. I love trees, even the hackberries. Around here they're called "trash trees." We have thousands of them. I didn't know they burned poorly, but they do lose limbs frequently.

    I'm guessing you couldn't get into many sites this morning too, since I don't see a blog post yet.

    I found a quote you might like:
    A good friend will help you move, but a true friend will help you move a body.
    Steven J. Daniels, Weeds in The Garden of Love