Monday, August 30, 2010

Pine cones.

Dave had to have blood sucked today, so I went off to collect pine cones while he was away.

We have a row of pines on the property, but along the roadside, so they act as an efficient wind break for the house, add a real ocean sound to a gale, and provide the most stunning sunsets. They are also well supplied with cones. We use the cones as fire lighters, cheap, natural, and very effective.

Last time I collected, I just picked up cones, and learned my first lesson, the closed cones are not nearly as good as the open, or partly open ones, at catching alight. This time I learned that the ones still attached to branches are the best. But we brought enough up to the house to start fires for the next month at least, so hopefully our wonderful house sitting lady will find them useful. I also stocked up the kindling pile, while Dave cut and split the last of the wood we had collected, so the house should be warm for a while at least.

I am at last starting to get into the 'con' vibe. I am looking forward to meeting lots of people, chatting a bit, catching up with old friends, and hopefully making some new ones. Crowds are not my favourite place to be, but I am sure there will be quiet corners as well.


  1. Keen eye, Barbs!

    I was taught that picking dead branches off of trees gave you better wood then that which lies on the ground. We called it squaw wood. The story being that Native American women would gather dead wood as they moved, picking that which burned best and easiest from the trees.

    The flip side being that they couldn't trust their men...who would just go out and gather the easiest wood to find. That being wet and moldy. And then griping about how long dinner was taking to make from a low, smoldering fire.

    The First Nation bands of British Columbia, where it is frequently damp, would look for the Black Cottonwood. Unlike most poplar species the BC truly gets ginourmous. Often 12 meters in circumference. Around that large tree would be, at about head level, a layer of new growth branches that caught the falling branches from above. Which tend to break off all season long.

    Nature's wood rack!

    Have a great time at the Con, though I suggest massive doses of Vitamin C before going to boost your immune system. That's the only time I take Vitamin C and it has served me well.

  2. Hi Barb
    I'm really looking forward to the Con. It's my first con ever, in Melbourne which I've never visited staying at a hostel which I've never done. Lots of firsts but I'm hoping the best first I do is get to meet up with you and Dave. Hope to see you there.

  3. Hi, Please tell me who you are when we meet!! I am so bad with putting names to faces.

    Tania, with so many firsts, some are bound to be good, I hope. Just be prepared for a LOT of people, many wearing odd clothes or costumes. No matter what you wear, you will fit right in.

    I am off to take a good Vitamin now, I had not thought of that, so thanks, I hope I can get Dave to take one too.

    I love the idea of a wood rack, these pines have a sort of one, but it is way way above head height, no good for me at all. A lot of the bottom branches would not take my weight for climbing either.

  4. Odd thought -- at the WorldCon in Japan, someone suggested that I take pictures of people with their name badges. The nice thing about that is that later you can go back on the computer and look at the name badge to get the name and the face together again. Might be worth trying?

  5. That is an awesome idea! I must add camera batteries to the shopping list also!

  6. I hope you guys have a great time! A nice trip I know of for pine cones is using them to make home-made bird feeders. You put peanut butter on them, then roll them in bird seed. :-)

  7. If I did that the dogs would eat it!! I know they shouldn't climb trees, but for food!!

    I am hoping to have a great time, we will be back on Monday.