Thursday, July 31, 2014

Burning Brush

Burning brush is one of the less glamorous jobs around the place.  Last winter's ice storms left me with much brush to burn.

Burning brush is a good time to drink a few beers and to think deep thoughts.

The Nearing's book, The Good Life, speaks much of burning wood.  One of their discussions involves the utilization of "small" wood.  They propose binding them into faggots, a rather unfortunate name given the later evolution of the word.

A "faggot" in wood burning lexicon is a tightly bound bundle of slender twigs, such that they are compacted and burn more slowly and evenly than if left in their natural state.  Even the largest of oak trees, once felled, has a prodigious percentage of its biomass in twigs.  As long as the ashes are returned to the forest there is only a modest environmental toll.

A careful reading of The Good Life reveals that the Nearings had a nearly inexhaustible source of free labor.  Young people would pilgrimage to the Nearing's to pad their socialists resume.  They worked for free.  Scott Nearing bragged about feeding them so little that the "excess flesh" melted off of them and they left "more fit" than when they arrived.

Perhaps my home would be more of a show place if more youth would volunteer to work for free.

Then, perhaps, I will bundle faggots to burn as fuel to heat my house.  But today I burned brush gratis;  wood freely given, calories freely returned.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, that's called paying it forward... And you really have to get those faggots tight! The biggest problem I had was a binding that lasted more than a minute before burning through...