This time of year, when the sap is down in the roots and the bugs are asleep, we go stick gathering for Shawn's broom making. We have to cut the 1,000 plus broom handles he'll need for the whole year in late January or February, when the conditions are right. So we spend any available daylight hours either in our back wood lot or up in the National Forest. Shawn gets a permit that says exactly what he can cut in the forest. It helps to keep the undergrowth down and improves the health of the mid-sized trees when he clears out the saplings for broom handles.
Of course, this gathering is not as easy as it sounds. Our back wood lot is very over grown. This honeysuckle patch will make you swoon with its sweetness in summer and sigh with frustration as you try to navigate it to get into the woods in winter. Honeysuckle creates the highly sought after twisted stick broom handles. So we plow through.
But it's the cat briar, honey locust and wild rose that are the real terrors. Shawn wears leather in the woods and I suit up in a nice slick nylon jacket. Lena likes to wear a tshirt and bears the battle scars.
They cut and I pile the sticks in "easy to find" locations to come back to - we hope.
A weekend's worth of stick gathering, and one cool rock Lena found.