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Last Tuesday was the last nice day. Seriously. It's Friday now and we haven't seen the sun since then. Tomorrows craft show was put off a day because of forecast rain and may be canceled altogether.
So, I took advantage of the one nice day, took my tools in hand, and went to the woods! Thankfully I didn't have to go very far. I live on 16 wooded acres so I visited the hardwood stand closest to my front door.
There's red maple, white oak, sweet gum and holly, as well as white cedar and white pine. Today I spotted the sweet gum saplings first. Climbing through the cat briars is never much fun!
Last year, when I did my first cutting, I went earlier to the woods when the sap was just rising. The leaves hadn't come out so I wasn't really sure what I was cutting. I ended up with mostly sweet gum, as well as oak and some sassafras. This year I waited a little longer so I could identify what I was cutting.
This is the look of exhausted satisfaction!
Lesson learned: a hand saw works better than loppers.
I cut 6 saplings, which provided me with 9 hiking sticks. After I'd recovered from my climb through the briars I sat in the sun on my back stoop, cut off the little side branches and peeled the bark. Now they sit and season. They should be ready to paint in about 4 months.
I figure that 4 more trips to the woods will provide me with a total of 50 hiking sticks to paint (enough to get me through the Christmas season!) and will also meet the profit requirement for my farm tax assessment.
Judy Goddard creates beautiful walking sticks.