I was walking my dog, Bonnie, through the local park the other morning and we went past a stand of large pine trees. My eyes lit up when scattered underneath were some ripe pinecones, dry and open, perfect for winter fires. Growing up in a small rural town and spending a lot (I mean a lot–sorry, ma) of time on my grandparent’s farm came racing back. These small precious gifts from the pine tree were just part and parcel of farm life, as we were sent out in the summer with sacks to gather as many as we could, like little squirrels. Storing up pinecones or chopping firewood for winter was just part of the mindset when living off the land, along with baling hay for animals, or preserving fruit for dessert. So seizing the opportunity, I raced back home to grab a sack and then Bonnie and I returned to fill it up; the pinecones are now stored in the woodshed out the back.
Being a city dweller as a grown-up, I miss these rituals and the accomplishment you feel that you have prepared for winter, or the other seasons. I’ve tried in a small way to do this with some bottling but can’t say I’m 100% successful as it’s a tricky process, in my opinion. So, this winter when I light the fire, I’m going to look at those pinecones and pat myself on the back for being prepared and using nature’s gifts.
Have a great day,