Got Nuts?
October 16, 2017, 10:16 pm
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October 16,2017

Chris Pidcock asked me, “You got any big hickory nuts up by you?” I said, “yes, we have one real nice tree. The nuts are good sized and very sweet.” He told me that he would give me some nuts from a tree that his grandfather had planted, if I wanted any. Then he showed them to me. Holy Crap!!! I don’t have anything like these at home!

I made my way home from Nelsonville, Ohio with a bag of these babies on the floor of my truck. I smiled all the way to Akron! I have just the spot to plant a “Pidcock Hickory orchard” on the farm. I don’t know if I will live to eat from those trees, but hopefully my grandchildren will.

These hickory nuts are almost the size of walnuts. The meat inside is light and sweet. The hull opens easy and the nuts are pretty easy to crack, especially for a hickory nut. My son’s great grandfather on their mother’s side, used to sit and crack hickory nuts much of the winter. His wife would make sweet, yummy, hickory nut cake. I so wish I could have shared some of these awesome nuts with him.

I will be stomping these nuts into the mud over the next few days. I will however, map out a sort of grid pattern, spacing them evenly. They will not all come up. The deer will eat a few I bet. If any squirrels hear about these wonder nuts…they will be hitchhiking in from Pittsburgh just to steal some! So, I will space them carefully, but mother nature will put them how she wants them anyway. That sort of “cracks me up”!



Old Hickory
July 6, 2016, 3:12 pm
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July 6, 2016

This old hickory tree has been standing in my pasture for a very long time. When I came to this place, only her crown could be seen above the brush and thorns. Once I had tackled the dense underbrush, I discovered that this tree had been the corner post for a very old fence. I cleaned the fence post, broken steel rods, wire and a host of trash from around this awesome tree.

Every year she sheds a whole bunch of hickory nuts. The hogs love them. The nuts are hard but very sweet. We get some too,but the hogs seem to know when they are falling and gobble them up quickly. The sows crunch through the hard shells with their powerful jaws, enjoying the sweet nutmeat inside. We have many of these trees on the farm, so the hogs eating these, still leaves plenty for us.

I also strip the shaggy bark of these trees to be used as fuel for the smokehouse. It is nice to add one more layer of comfort on a slab of bacon. What I mean is this; farm raised pork, butchered, cut and cured in our slaughterhouse, tastes just a bit better when smoked with wood grown here….all part of the bounty of our farm.

This wood has gained favor in recent years for its unique beauty in furniture and cabinets. It has many imperfections that look beautiful when opened, sanded and finished. It is a hardwood, stringy in nature. It is very tough and dense. It was used for single trees and evener blanks for the horses to pull equipment with in days of old. It has the highest BTUs of any of our native hardwoods, almost equaling that of coal.

One more awesome thing about a tree such as this is the amount of shade it provides. The ground is cool underneath her branches. A cool breeze will almost always be found whispering near her trunk. I like to sit now an then, pausing to enjoy the shade and listen to the soft woodsong drifting on the breeze.

Raising Up
October 11, 2015, 10:18 am
Filed under: October 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
David and Margret's House going up

David and Margaret’s House going up

October 10,2015

Yesterday, I spent the day watching and helping, as my friend’s David and Margaret’s Timber Framed house was raised. I have seen many things in my life so far, but this experience was a stand out. It will remain in my memory forever. David is a timber framer. He finally got the time and “where-with-all”, to build his family’s home. He selected each tree and each branch, that would become his home.

David and Margaret purchased their land with the same goals in mind. They would become stewards of the forest and guardians of the trees. Yes, they would harvest them, but only when the trees are biologically mature. In other words, they would only harvest the dead and dying ones. Once those trees were selected, they would be utilized to the utmost. From lumber to firewood, the entire tree would be used.

David has been perfecting his craft for twenty years or so. He is an artist who can see great beauty in the standing tree or the fallen log. The wood almost speaks to him as he fashions mortise and tenon joints. The craftsmanship is remarkable. David selects crooked and curved logs that other’s would discard. In those misfits he finds beauty like no other. The character in those logs are like the inner beauty of a person, A person who has been beaten down, but survived life’s hard knocks and finds good, in every breath they take.

The curved wood, when cut into slabs of lumber reveal grain and color that is breathtaking. A curly cherry arch forms the doorway of the homes main entrance. The highlights of the home are curved cherry archways that hold the home’s ridge. They rise up in one area from the first floor, all the way to the second story ceiling. The beauty of the wood and the perfect joinery is a sight to behold. It is a classic case where form is functional. David’s workmanship is as fine as cabinetry, like the beauty found on old ships. His attention to detail is astounding.



There were many pieces that had to be joined. Only a few were assembled in the shop before the build yesterday. I stood in amazement as each piece fit into place with it’s corresponding mate, one after the other. Each joint fit like a hand in a glove. I only saw two adjustments made, and those were made with a plane and a chisel. The small amount of wood removed were merely chips and sawdust. My hat is off to David Yasenchack and his family for a wonderful day of fun, food and amazement. You can see more pictures of David’s work by checking out his website.  WWW.dytimberframing.com

Twelve hours of work.

Twelve hours of work.

The last touch is to nail a green tree branch to the top of the structure. It shows respect to the trees that made the whole work possible. I found it to be fitting touch to end an awesome day.