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.