Picking Up Sticks


Big sticks.

Little sticks.

Silly sticks.

Cow-herding sticks.

This is the time to pick up sticks. People with wood stoves are 200 percent happier than people who don’t have wood stoves because they take walks in the woods every day to pick up sticks. (I made that statistic up, but don’t you think it’s true?) I walk past BP with my empty stick bucket and she is disappointed in me because I’m not carrying food. I walk to the old oil derrick, out past our “orchard” (in italics because, well, we haven’t seen any fruit yet, the trees are very young), and out into the hinterlands of Beulah Petunia Land. I like to walk out there and tell myself, “All this land belongs to me!!!!” I’ve never had bigger than a suburban back yard before. Forty acres, while small in some ways, feel vast. A kingdom all my own! FULL OF STICKS.

I fill my stick bucket and walk back to the house.

A full bucket of sticks look just fine next to a stack of split wood.

I look back at the woods. I see sticks. Winter, come on. I HAVE STICKS.

P.S. Dearest Winter, feel free to stay where you are. That was just a literary turn.

P.P.S. Dear, dear Winter, I mean it. You look beautiful, darling, just where you are. In the past.

P.P.P.S. OH WHATEVER. I know you’re coming.


P.P.P.P.P.S. Dear Winter, I’m very very very very very sorry for that outburst.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. OR NOT!!!!!


  1. bonita says:

    seems you’re having trouble telling winter to ‘stick it!’

  2. Nona says:

    Good one Bonita! I was thinking you need many many more sticks just in case its the winter I have heard it will be!
    Keep warm and keep posting for us city folk we love it!! :cowsleep:

  3. Glenda says:

    I know just what you mean about owning all that land.

    When I take my morning tour, I call it “surveying my kingdom”.

    Sticks are a good thing….kindling just laying there waiting for you.

    I think winter is supposed to be mild this year.

  4. Rose H says:

    I can survey all of my kingdom from the window 😥
    I do miss our open fire though, I keep mulling over should we open it up again and get a wood burner?
    I hope when winter hits it’s not as cold for you as last year.
    Oh! by the way, love the litchen on that ‘silly’ stick 🙂

  5. Miss Judy says:

    I like snow…I don’t like to pick up sticks. However, we live in town only 5 minutes from my work. DH is 1 hour from his work, he doesn’t like snow. He doesn’t like to pick up sticks either. That’s one reason we don’t have a woodburning stove. I would pick up sticks if I could have 40 acres! I liked the silly stick too!

  6. Prairie Mother says:

    I grew up with a wood stove and always complained about all the work it took to cut and carry wood. But now I’d give anything to get to walk in the woods everyday like you do! Enjoy your sticks!

  7. texwisgirl says:

    Oh I love going out to pick up kindling! I can be very quick about it and just pick up cast offs from the oak tree right off our front patio area or I can get serious and meander around the pond or into the woods that skirt the back pasture. By then, though, I’d have better brought something bigger than a bucket (like my little wheeled hand cart) or I’ll surely be dropping them all on the way back to the house! The dogs love to come along and help. It’s a wonderful “chore”. 🙂

  8. Deb says:

    I only have 8 acres of woods, but I still have alot of sticks! Today is supposed to get to 60 degrees (in November!), so the dog and the cats and I will take our little cart and go on a stick hunt.

  9. Ramona says:

    You’re funny. Looks like you will have lots of sticks.

  10. Drucillajoy says:

    I burned wood for about 15 years & miss it so much…it is the warmest heat there is. Some winter nights the house was so warm we had to open a window, especially if I’d been home all day feeding the fire & cooking. I still have my stove, just not a suitable hookup for it right now…hopefully again someday.

  11. B. Ruth says:

    You need a big “kindling box”….’cause according to the “wooly worm” we are going to need a lot of dry sticks…I’d rather use sticks than chop little pieces of kindling..
    When we kept a woodstove when we were younger…that was my favorite chore…walking around in the woods picking up dry, brittle sticks…I would wedge the bigger ones between a fork of a tree and snap it into smaller pieces to carry…back then I kept old used brown paper store bags and stuff it full and keep a few in the dry under the porch…when needed I just put the whole poke full of sticks in the stove and lit the poke…instant fire!
    Sometimes even when I had plenty of pokes stuffed..I still enjoyed walking and picking up sticks..its not so fun when the sticks are wet from rain or snow….

  12. alyce shane says:

    My kids go out for sticks every day, now that its cold. My dog thinks they are collecting toys for him, though. Each night the good kids pile sticks on the porch, and each morning the bad dog has taken them out to the yard to play.

  13. IowaCowgirl says:

    I LOVE GETTING KINDLING. I also pick up huge pieces of bark. I find myself staring at dead trees that are not my own. I think I have a problem.

    And I’ve been saving dryer lint for a year to make the egg carton/lint/wax firestarters. I know I have a problem.

  14. Linda Segerson says:

    I have lots and lots of sticks also, my hubby burns wood in his BIG shop, we want to convert to wood in the house but we are having a few problems. We have a pre-fab fireplace, was in the house when we bought it 14 yrs ago, we put ventless gas logs in it the year we moved in, gas is too high now and we want to go back to burning wood. It is not recommended to use a wood burning stove in this type of fireplace and can’t afford to have it changed to a brick fireplace. We are still trying to figure out how to fix this problem, any suggestions are welcome. Please email me at [email protected]
    Thanks :snoopy:

  15. Jim in Colorado says:

    YAY, for sticks. My parents had 120 acres in Arkansas, with 80 of it in woods. I Remember helping my Dad cut cord after cord of wood, when I was there for a visit.
    Also had a friend that use to collect cow pies, for his heater in his old cabin in the woods. If they were not completely dry. He would spread them out in his barn, on a rack to dry. Course, I never was in his place when it was cold. He said that they make a real hot fire.
    Any way. hope that you have enough wood for the winter. And about how much wood do you all burn in a winter?

  16. Barbee' says:

    Good to gather them in; once covered with snow they will be impossible to find. Too bad the dogs won’t help you by picking up sticks and dropping them into the bucket.

  17. Kim says:

    We have a wood stove but not a single tree on our property. Instead we go to a local cabinet door maker and get scrap pieces. Like little Paul Bunyans, our boys love to split it and they work great for fire starters.

  18. Diane says:

    I like to pick up my sticks before hunting season starts. There are a lot of old boys with guns out in those woods by now, and while I am sure they are very careful what they aim at, well, I always feel like I need to keep my head down. So, I already have a nice pile of sticks up by the house, and according to a survey I conducted, six out of six housecats prefer woodstoves. They especially like woodstoves that have little kitty snuggle baskets lined up close.

  19. Linda Goble says:

    I would go out and collect sticks for kindling. We have a lot of old pines and they drop a lot of branches. When they are to big to break over my knee I just swing them up against a good hardy tree and they break.

  20. Dee says:

    I pick up sticks as well although I only have over an acre. I sure do love my fireplace!

  21. janice Jewett says:

    We only have wood for heat so now before the snow flys i love to pick up sticks I can collect enough to burn all day, and I figure right now it saves on the fire wood for when we really need it

  22. Box Call says:

    Yesh….stick picking is a hobby of mine also. Plus you don’t fall down as much going down hill with a stick in your hand. Have you also noticed that a stick picker has to bend over while stick picking which is cross training while walking?

  23. Granny Mountain says:

    I like your theory that country people may be happier because of they take walks for sticks. You may be onto something that could earn you a nobel peace prize…just sayin’

  24. sandra kelly says:

    I just happened upon one of your videos and was so glad I did. From there I found your blog and am truly enjoying it. I live on about 2 acres that I dearly love walking on. I’m loving every minute of your country life. Thanks for your simplicity. It is inspiring me to be what I know I’ve always been despite my faithful husband who doesn’t understand why I want chickens and such. Keep on posting…I’m reading.

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