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Decoys and woodworms
A pile of weathered fence posts can be worth a fortune. All you’ve gotta do is carve them into high-dollar duck decoys.
Question: Does anybody really spend $100 on a stunning handcrafted duck to launch it onto a muddy farm pond? I’m thinking specifically of our tank where two ducks were swimming yesterday. At least they looked like ducks.
Decoys and duck hunting are outside my expertise. I did once broil a shotgun-blasted duck. Is there any other kind?
The feathers were so pretty I chose to pluck the duck and save them all. A tedious unpleasant task. I don’t even know what I did with those feathers. Next time (please don’t let there be a next time), I’ll skin the duck. Plucking is for the birds.
Back to fence posts. Our farm, like all farms, is blessed with a pile of old ones. Pre-Christmas, I thought about cutting up one of the fatter posts to carve one piece into a duck for a hard-to-shop-for family member. Then I remembered that her husband’s bout with COVID came after his Arkansas duck-hunting trip with a Coronavirus-infected buddy. A duck wouldn’t do. A rustic pen and pencil holder would be better. One with functional wormholes.
Old fence posts are all riddled with wormholes. Maybe you knew that. The proper term is probably larvae holes. Yuk.
LARVAE RESEARCH PAUSE.
Sure enough, a woodworm of the fence post variety is the larval stage of a beetle. Mama beetle lays eggs on suitable wood (meaning it has to have enough moisture to sustain the hatched larvae), and then the larvae live in the wood for years, munching along and thereby making tunnels. A boring life.
Eventually the larvae turn into pupae and finally real beetles. Along about then they have to munch their way out of the wood to make their own way in the world.
These exit holes are called “flight holes” – at least in the United Kingdom. All my knowledge on the subject of woodworms is secondhand from a piece on the Internet posted by a British woodworm expert. I’ve never met a live Texas woodworm-turned-beetle flying out of a fence post. Maybe someday.
Back to the pencil holder. It’s bois d’arc. Two of the holes are wormholes. I added two fake wormholes. It looks great, I think.
But what if I’d wanted to make a duck instead? Does bois d’arc float? Let’s see. I’ll put some water in the old bathtub we use to find tire leaks – enough water to try floating the pencil holder.
That piece of bois d’arc has had 100 years too dry out, and it barely floats! Bois d’arc is heavy, no matter how you slice it.
Yep, any desktop gift made from a substantial piece of bois d’arc is by nature dual-purpose – by any other name, a handy weapon that’s easier to reach than a gun in a drawer.
If you think you’re about to be clunked by a bois d’arc pencil holder, duck.