I love trees. Especially intact trees that have not been cut down. Lumber trucks loaded with freshly cut tree trunks make me cringe. I avoid the use of new lumber, paper, and other tree products as much as possible for this reason. One thing I can get from a tree without guilt is a stick. Sticks normally fall from trees for a variety of natural reasons, and can be found anywhere trees are. Sticks are useful for many things.
My first son was playing with sticks by the time he was nine months old. He has been a stick connoisseur ever since. His younger brother has learned the value of a good stick from him, and many a scuffle has been born over ownership rights to found sticks. These include one particularly memorable stick conflict that took place at the very edge of a 300 foot precipice at Pinnacles National Park, as the condors circled hopefully overhead. My husband terminated this one by snatching each party up and away from certain death by the scruff of the neck and proclaiming them “Idiots!!” . . . . Well, it was a good stick.
Because good sticks are so abundant in our area and because I love sticks, I use them for lots of things around my house and out in the field. Curtain rods, towel racks, wall hangings, garden stakes, bird perches, decoration, furniture, hiking sticks, mushroom hunting sticks, etc. I know a lady who once fought off a mountain lion with her mushroom hunting stick. Yes, a good stick can save your life as well as help put food on the table.
This year I decided to make a stick fence to keep our chickens and ducks out of my new fairy garden. In this way I could honor my appreciation of trees instead of contributing to their demise, however small the gesture. The fence works well, looks quaint, and cost about seven dollars for two rolls of eighteen gauge wire to attach the sticks to the boards, which came from a discarded trellis. It took several months to attach all the sticks, but I was never lacking for a steady supply. Every walk or hike we took in the woods yielded at least a couple of good sticks for the fairy garden, and our backyard trees contributed regularly. My boys were great help in this endeavor. Of course, they always kept the really good sticks for themselves. And to this day they still fight over the best ones, precipice or no.