Hey, It’s Legal In Washington…

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Just kidding. This is a jar full of Douglas fir tips, for tea, after a trip through the dehydrator. I tried drying them on the table top, but it’s been so cool and wet, there was almost no change after three days. So I popped them in the dehydrator and let it run until they were thoroughly dry. Now they’ll last for as long as we want, although I have to admit we’ll probably go through this jar before long. Another bonus is that, at least to my taste, tea made from the dried version tastes even better than fresh. It seems to mellow the Christmas tree scent and amplify the citrus flavors. The kids like it with a little honey.

I think we’ll need to go pick another batch or two to make sure we have enough for ourselves, and if we have time, maybe more to give as winter gifts. Gotta hurry, though, the tips are growing out rapidly. I can already feel the acceleration of time that always starts as the days get longer. Seems like we should have more time now, but as always, the longest days of the year pass fastest. Enjoy ’em.


Firewood Bailout

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After a remarkably calm and temperate winter, the drawbacks of good weather have become apparent. No wind equals no blowdowns. Which means no firewood for next year. Which means a kind of mild panic hovered over me all spring. Of course, it’s not like we’d freeze to death or anything; we’d just have to run the heater more…and take another mortgage on the house to pay for it. And then there’s the small matter of pride to consider as well. But I digress.

You know those people who walked around outside Grateful Dead shows holding up a finger and “looking for a miracle?” Neither do I. But that’s what I felt like, and my hopes (growing thinner by the day) were answered last week, courtesy of our friends Rob and Nina. They brought four trees down to make space for a new shed, and called to see if I was interested. Interested? Me? I had to be restrained from running out the door before I hung up the phone.

But the process of actually moving said trees to our yard kicked my ass. The rounds from the base of one enormous fir weighed between 200 and 300 pounds each, and they had the twisted, fibrous grain that makes them almost impossible to split. Chainsaws, wedges, sledges, mauls, blood, sweat and tears all came into play. After a couple afternoons of destroying my body alone, I had to call for reinforcement. Then my buddy Steve and I beat ourselves to a pulp last Friday getting it all out of there. That night, I could barely walk, but I felt a huge relief every time I looked out the window at this pile of wood.

Yeah, it still needs to be split and stacked, but it’s here, and I’m grateful to have it. If Weston and I get on it soon, and the weather’s decent this summer, it might be ready to burn by January or February.

Thanks Rob and Nina for saving our bacon, and thanks Steve, for sharing the pain. I’m stoked!