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Always Look on the Bright Side of Ike, Part 3: Free Wood!

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So long as a tree did not fall on your house, car, service drop or person, Ike’s effect on the trees on your property was more beneficial than not. Tree trimming costs a lot of money, and all of us got a free servicing from Mother Nature.

It’s possible that the price of barbecue could go down, as fuel for the pits lies all over town for the taking. As does free firewood for all of our fireplaces and backyard fire pits.

Some others of us have more ambitious plans. One such is local woodworker Jim Fuller, who has spent much of the wake of the storm driving around southwest Houston looking for the raw materials for his craft.

“I’m harvesting right now,” he says. “I’ve got six or seven different types of wood – live oak, white oak, some kind of cedar, a stewartia. I got a huge piece of sweetgum – it was about 36 inches around and it was kind of hollow in the middle so I was able to saw it into planks right there. I also got a big magnolia, and that’s something you don’t see very often.”

Fuller could be viewed as the exact opposite of a looter. Not only did he provide a service in hauling away deadwood, but he also offered a gift.

“If I got wood from people, I would offer to make them a box,” he said. (Boxes are his forte as a woodworker.) “Most of them have said yes, but a few told me they didn’t want them.”

Where most of us see all that downed foliage as a nuisance to be spirited away to a landfill as soon as possible, Fuller sees waste.

“All wood is going back into the ground one of these days,” he says. “You see a few antiques that are two- or three-hundred years old…Houston has a lot of trees for such an urban area, and even in normal storms we lose a lot of branches. You’d think there was a way we could salvage more of that without it going straight into the dump.”

John Nova Lomax

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