Pursuing the Wild Pine Cone

Mary Steinhoff w pine cones 09-14-2014The temps in Cape have gotten low enough for enough days that the concrete basement walls are starting to radiate cold. Mother lit the first fire of the season this morning.

I was editing photos all day, so I didn’t know that it had eventually gotten nice outside. The temperatures were mild and there was no wind. I told Mother is was a perfect time to replenish her pine cone supply. (I mentioned last winter how well pine cones work as fire starters.

When we cruised by Jackson City Park earlier in the week, we saw a couple of our regular trees were dropping cones, but they were a lot smaller than last year.

Like an Easter egg hunt

Mary Steinhoff w pine cones 09-14-2014We found a tree down near the river that filled two five-gallon buckets in about 20 minutes. Then, we went looking for a park Brother Mark thought might have some trees. We pulled into a parking spot and hit the mother lode. I started filling my bucket again when I noticed Mother wasn’t in the van.

She didn’t want to be left out of the fun, so she had snatched a bag and a grabber and started working the tree on the other side of the parking spot.

The grabber she’s using is similar to this one on Amazon, but available locally for not much more.

Two 13-gallon bags full

Mary Steinhoff w pine cones 09-14-2014In not more than 20 or 30 minutes of actual picking, we managed to fill two 13-gallon trash bags with fire starters. Based on the number of cones high up in the trees, it looks like there will plenty to last the winter.

I was using a new grabber. I was in Ace Hardware to pick up some odds and ends when I saw a bright yellow whatsit that looked interesting until I saw an $18.99 price tag on it. Then I looked again and it was marked down to either $3.99 or $4.99. The one Mother is using has rubber grippers that would make it better for picking up things off top shelves and doesn’t require as much force to use.

My fancy yellow one would pick up two or three cones at a time and has magnets in the end (which didn’t help with pine cones). It also had an annoying squeak that silicone spray should fix.

10 Replies to “Pursuing the Wild Pine Cone”

  1. How is it that you can make the simplest things in life seem so enchanting and endearing? You really uncover the beauty of life. I start many of my days with a warm smile. Life is good. Thanks.

    1. The funny thing about it was that I didn’t think to document our outing until we were just about ready to leave. I never thought so many people would be interested in something as mundane as picking up pine cones.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Hunting pine cones? Who would have thought of that? Mrs. Steinhoff, that’s who. A simple task to make her life easier, better and more full of pleasure. Thanks for letting us share this little piece of Americana.

  3. Ken, I agree with Margaret and Terry…..100%. Your blog did put a smile on my face this morning…… Well, must admit actually a chuckle or two as well. I might need to see if Ace Hardware has any more of those fancy yellow things……@ that under $5 price. I think I could use one but don’t think I will be picking pine cones with it……..apples would be more to my liking!

  4. Mrs. Steinhoff is my hero (heroine?). I aspire to be as interested in things and as energetic as she is when I,hopefully, attain her age (in a decade plus) !,, Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories and photographs.

  5. Mary & I used pine cones as kindling, but more often when we lived in St. Louis we used the balls from our Sweet Gum tree. There were so many that we also shredded them and used it as mulch. Those balls were a pain in the yard – a pain to the feet and a grass-killer! A beautiful tree in the Fall, but we’ll never have one again..

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