My father preferred seasoned post oak, although we would also use pecan, black jack, live oak or mesquite. Elm and hackberry were left in the pasture because it burned so poorly. We would drag large limbs and fallen trees to the side of the house where we’d chop or saw them into suitable size. Small sticks and the chips were saved for kindling.
Large trunks of trees were sawed with a cross cut saw and split with wedges or an axe. The easiest wood to split came from high on a hill, never in the river or creek bottoms. Smaller limbs were cut with an axe. We also had a large belt-driven circle saw that was powered by a stationary tractor. In the days before chain saws, this was a lifesaver. After a day of swinging an axe or pulling on a cross cut saw, no one ever had trouble falling to sleep, even on a hot August night.
We kids may have missed out on a lot of fun of playing video games or texting on our iPhones, but it was a lot of fun to sail a woodchip at an unsuspecting older brother.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to email@example.com.