Saturday, February 25, 2012


It's been the strangest of winters 'round here -- no snow to speak of, lots of rain and temps climbing past 50°F once or twice a week. A cold front came through yesterday, bringing only a trace of the white stuff but steady 30mph winds gusting to (reportedly) 60mph.

Last night one of those gusts took down a long-dead 35-foot pine just east of our property. I've no idea what killed the tree or when, but it was dead and bare of needles when we moved in two years ago.
I strolled out back this morning to survey this casualty of the wind, snapped off a foot or so above the ground. As I approached it I noticed the glow of heartwood at the center of the bug-eaten pine.

I suspected that this golden core, which measures about four inches in diameter, might be what I described in an early installment of "Urban Resources" -- fatwood.

Sure enough, I now have a resiny reservoir of natural firestarter, aromatic and hard as a rock, within a hundred feet of my back door. I expect I'll harvest as much of it as I can, practically speaking, if only to hone the skills required to do so. Stay tuned.