Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Black Locust, Liftgates that Squeak and Kids who Listen

Twigs on a glove for size reference
Twig on left from a clone with aggressive thorns.  Twig on right from a clone with less aggressive thorns.
I have about twenty clones of Black Locust on my property.  There is a HUGE amount of variation in how thorny the various clones are.  Naturally, I prefer working with the less thorny clones.

To that end, I am cutting down the thorniest clones.  One quirk of Black Locust is that the tips of the thorns break off below skin level and fester.  I don't know if it some toxin that is inherent to Black Locust or if it is bacteria.

In spite of the blood letting, I like having Black Locust as part of my "forest".  It fixes nitrogen.  According to the mavens of Management Intensive Grazing, the most productive (and profitable) pastures are pastures where between 20% and 50% of the light is intercepted by "nitrogen fixing plants".  In pastures, that is most likely to be White Clover.  In a mid-Western woodlot, that is most likely to be Black Locust.
You need to take reports of "native range" with a grain of salt.

Five minutes into cutting the Black Locust my chainsaw threw its chain.  I used loppers for the smaller stuff and called it a day.

Squeaky liftgates
The liftgate of the minivan has been squeaking.  It drives me nuts.

I tried to increase the compression by shimming out the liftgate inner with rubber.  It worked for a little while but started itching again with the colder weather.

I decided to try out a trick I heard about from my metal stamping friends.  If you absolutely have to stamp out a piece that is splitting due to excessive friction, put the metal blank in TWO plastic trash bags and spray lube between the two bags.  Nothing is slicker than greased plastic.

So far, so good.

Kids who listen

I told Kubota he needed to start locking up his tools.  Do you suppose he is messing with me?


  1. We have both black locust and honey locust in Louisiana. Alternatively referred to by farmers as "*&^% locust-thorn" when the thorns rip the sidewall out of a tractor tire.

    1. That is about right. Honey Locust is by far the more dangerous of the two. According to assorted sources, some people say it fixes a little bit of nitrogen. Others say it does not. Most researchers agree that Black Locust fixes much nitrogen.