Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ape Dookie

Black locust, for some reason, is a tree that tends to rot and fall down easily. But then something amazing happens: it turns to granite, or a granite-like hardness of wood that's nearly -- nearly -- impervious to rot, bugs, and other bad stuff.

The trees rot inside but the wood is good, good, good! This is the sort of thing I get excited about, and here's why. Locust is such a dense wood that when you cut through it's polished, like cutting into a bar of soap. Most wood is porous, like a sponge, but locust just shines because it's so dense.

That makes it heavy and rot-resistant. And that makes it great for boatbuilding or firewood.

(Boatbuilding and firewood go together. Where do you think mistakes end up?)

So when our firewood guy asked if I wanted locust logs, I jumped at the chance. But another odd thing about locust is that it smells when it's cut. It smells odd. It smells, in fact, exactly like the Great Ape House at the Washington Zoo.

And since it ain't bananas and tire swings and oranges, when I stacked the freshly cut wood in my garage, and inhaled, there was only one conclusion to reach:

My garage smells like ape dookie.

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