Tuesday, 8 January 2008

In search of sapient pearwood

There is an old saying that firewood warms you three times, when you cut it, when you carry it, and when you burn it. Today I got a taste of the first third of the saying. I’ve not been brave enough to start on my chainsaw yet but took Ann up on an offer to help her collect the burnable wood from Regis’s plum tree pruning. Suitable clad in wellies as after the previous days rain the ground here is rather squelchy and muddy we started down the orchard and spent nearly 3 hours sorting through the prunings. Sadly I didn’t come across any sapient pearwood so my dreams of owning ‘The Luggage’* will remain just that, dreams. I did however end up with a new must have.

The billhook in the foreground was brilliant at clearing off the side branches. I had remembered reading about using a billhook in the coppice management book I’ve got. It’s very good advice was to only hack off the branches that are the other side of the piece of wood from you. A blow from one of those doesn’t bear thinking about.

* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Luggage is a fictional object that appears in several of the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. It is a large chest made of sapient pearwood (a magical, intelligent plant which is nearly extinct, impervious to magic, and only grows in a few places outside the Agatean Empire, generally on sites of very old magic). It can produce hundreds of little legs protruding from its underside and can move very fast if the need arises. It has been described as "half suitcase, half homicidal maniac".

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