Thursday, December 9, 2010

more thoughts on coppicing

I picked up a copy of Eric Sloane's America at our local used bookstore the other day. What becomes apparent if you read even a little of the book is the prodigious amount of wood consumed by the early European settlers.  There were so many trees to cut that they didn't have to bother with twigs.  As Kilii points out in a comment, native dwellers did coppice, most likely because given the tools they had, it was easier to collect twigs than to cut down whole trees and split them. And Kiliii and his crew are keeping up the tradition.  So I am happy to hear that somebody beside myself collects twigs for boat building. 
And finally, here is a picture of pollarded willows.
The picture is from the back cover of a book I had read as a kid.  It shows a medieval German landscape.  Willows grow here and there next to the road.  But they are entirely lacking in branches.  Every winter, the thin shoots are cut for basketry and brooms and whatnot and every spring, the willows put out new shoots with enough leaves to nourish the tree and keep it alive for another year. 

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