Love your articles because they're not always just about plants, but about people and their relationship to you. This article threw me, though. Sharon says the wood is soft?? As a woodcarver, that hadn't been my experience with it. She must mean "soft" in the sense that it's not a commercially viable wood...a softwood. I lived on a farm near Smiths Grove KY for many years and we cut hackberry for firewood. (Excellent for that, I must say!) I was always on the lookout for a promising piece of wood for whittling, and in one load of firewood there was a chunk of seasoned wormy hackberry that I couldn't resist. Talk about tough. It was, but it yielded clean, crisp cuts. The bear in this picture was carved from it. I put a finish on the carving and set it on a shelf. A couple of weeks later I happened to look at it. Huh? Excuse me?! What is all that dust surrounding the bear? Oh... Seemed the larvae were still feeding on the wood. I took the chance of cracking the carving by microwaving it just long enough to make the wood very warm to the touch and that took care of the problem.
Again, thanks for the many articles you share with us. They are appreciated.
I guess it all depends on what we need the wood to do, then one experience leads to another and then another.
Keep carving. Next time I wind my way back to the mountains, I'll take a little detour to Berea. I haven't been there in several years, the last time was when I stayed wayyyy too long at Bybee pottery nearby.