............THE FOREST






“Everything You Always Wanted
To Know About Forestry –
But Were Afraid To Ask”

The letters keep pouring in by the
twos and threes each year and I find I am behind in my answers to some vital questions put to me by kind readers. So let’s ‘ave a go at it, Barney!
....Dear Bill Moore: Where can I order my Georgia Fatwood from – and what is it?
...................Signed, Curious
....Dear Curious:
....Georgia Fatwood is splittings from the huge ancient stumps of virgin Georgia pine. In other words, Curious, it is sticky, pitchy kindling wood. I quote the ad in a recent New Yorker magazine (we keep in touch) “an interesting and attractive bundle of about 225 sticks by 8 inches long, with rope handles. Exciting extremely useful gift for only $14.75. Send Visa or Mastercard number to Orvis Co., Manchester, Vermont, 15254. U.S.A.
....Who said the mountain can’t go to Mohammed!
....Dear “Out of the bight”:
....Someone once told me there were square trees grown somewhere. I mean like not round ones, where the thing comes out of the ground, but square, like a square thing.
....Dear Confused:
....The square thing you probably refer to in your confused letter is possibly the trunk of a tree. Trunks of trees have a habit of growing sort of round in shape. Why – I don’t know, but it may be so that people can tell the trees from the forest. Or vice versa.
....Anyway, before I put your letter in my usual filing place, I consulted a good forester friend of mine as to whether or not square tree trunks are indeed a fact


Pushing his Boston clam chowder aside and removing a small cracker crumb from his cheek (we were dining in the charming Timber Club of the Vancouver Hotel at the time) he astounded me by saying – “Yes, Bill, I have seen square trunked trees – square trunked bamboo trees!”
....I removed my thumb from the butter and tried to ignore the glare of the maitre de, as I listened to his story.
....Bamboo has one year of growth and in that year can grow as high as nine feet. Properly cultivated it will take on six inches in diameter.
....The Japanese who tend this wood actually feel out the underground shoots and build sturdy molds for the shoots to grow up and into. These chaps feel the shoots with their bare feet.
....At the end of a year the square moulds produce a bamboo tree four to six inches square. The trunks are used for beams and structural use in Japanese homes.
....I was delighted to know of the square bamboo tree trunk and thanked my friend. He said – as he tested his 6 oz. Medium rare filet – “Ha, ha, Bill, that is not all there is to the square tree trunk caper.”
....I looked aghast – to think there could still be more to this tantalizing tale was nearly too much for me. “What else is there?” I mumbled.
....“I was telling some forestry friends in China of these marvelous trained square bamboos, when they smiled and took me to a bamboo growth nearby. To my utter astonishment there grew real square bamboo trees. Not trained and molded, but grown like any other tree!”
....While this story may sound a bit far


fetched – it is true – take it from a friend.
....I thanked the fine chap, but did feel a bit embarrassed as we bid farewell with a handshake. You see, I unknowingly had a chocolate mint in my palm! Oh well!
....Dear Old Bill:
....Where is the most northern sawmill in the world?
.....................T. Cutter
....Dear Mr. Cutter:
....I’m glad you asked, and by happenstance, I visited the site of what I believe is the world’s most northern sawmill – in fact two of them – both circular mills.
....They are in Inari, Lapland, in northern Finland, and they cut local pine trees into lumber.
....Inari is actually not far below Pt. Barrow – Alaska’s most northern tip. It’s climate is unique because of the Gulf current that brings warm air up into northern Finland and allows trees to grow at a latitude where they could not grow in other countries.
....There is a great deal of muskeg and water in this flat northern area, but still I saw many small areas of pine forest. The trees are quite stunted – about 40 to 50 feet high – and because of their age (150 – 200 yrs) they have trunks up to 24 inches in diameter.
....It is beautiful country around Inari. The ground cover abounds in berries and flowers in the summer. The Laplanders, who live there, are a short jolly people, who often dress in their bright, colorful traditional costumes.
....Traveling in this extreme northern part of the world is done on first class blacktop roads and transportation is by excellent new tour buses. The accommodations are very good with


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many small Inns. As in the rest of Finland, English is spoken everywhere.
The two mills are relatively simple circular sawmills. One is called Nuk-kumajoen Saha (the sawmill of the sleeping river) and the other Pera-vuonon Saha (reindeer bay sawmill).
....I was advised that the Russians could have a mill or mills a bit further north, but this might put them in the heart of the worlds largest concen-tration of missile silos – aimed at you-know-who! I therefore felt that forestry facts must bow to the armed might of the Big Bear! Alas!!
....Dear Logger Bill:
....My uncle and I got in an argument last night about the oldest and biggest trees in the world. Could you please help, as my uncle has to catch a train to Saskatoon?
....Dear Nephew:
....Before your uncle staggers onto the train, yell at him that the tallest tree in the world is called the Howard Libby Redwood of Humboldt Country in northern California (362 ft). The oldest living things on earth are believed to be the bristlecone pines in the Inyo National Forest, also in California. They are estimated to be 4,600 years old. That’s really getting up there, Nephew.
....Dear Mr. Moore
....How many trees are there in Egypt?
...................A. Spinks
....Dear A. Spinks:
....This is an interesting question and it has nothing to do with the old joke about all the trees being cut from the Sahara!
....A forester friend of mine (I have several – well, two) told me on his return from some studies in that country that every tree in Egypt is registered and known by the Forestry and Agriculture authorities. It is obvious how important trees are to the land in a country so hot and so narrowly fertile along the Nile.
....There are just over eight million trees in Egypt and the location of each one is mapped. I thought you ought to know.
....Well, I think I’m out of letters and I trust your forestry knowledge is enhanced by the startling facts contained herein.
....As James Fitzpatrick used to close his charming Traveltalks – “As the setting sun fades into the hills, we take our leave of beautiful –“

Do keep out of the bight

Bill Moore