I wish this shot had come out better, but this photo opportunity came near the end of Pablo’s nearly fatal walk on the recent solo visit. I’m a little surprised that the photo is this good since so much of the world wasn’t holding still at this point.
This plant is called Gray Dogwood (Conrus racemosa) and it is common enuf through most of Missouri. We have it in all of the likely spots at Roundrock — mostly in the ravines and central valleys — though a map provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation shows that it does not grow in my county. (Maybe I just hallucinated this plant being here, and this photo is just part of the hallucination.)
Anyway, the long, straight, narrow growing habit of this plant makes it perfect for weenie sticks. Weenies are, of course, another name for hot dogs, and the kids just had to have a weenie roast whenever we went out to the woods. I cut a batch of these the last time the whole gang was out to the woods so everyone had a personal weenie stick. We affixed special metal forks to the end of the sticks for applying the weenie, and the kids could hold them over the flames whilst keeping their exposed flesh several feet away. (The youngest in this pack — the twins — were 19 years old at the time.)
We later used the weenie sticks for toasting the marshmallows that went into the ‘smores that the kids also had to have. Sadly, I think the days of the family cookouts are gone. One child is a continent away. Another is two hemispheres away. The remaining two are involved with college and girlfriends. Sigh.
Anyway, I cut the weenie sticks two years ago, and they are still in good shape. I know that flowering dogwood is prized by wood carvers, so maybe gray dogwood also produces a durable bit of lumber. I get wistful when I see the stack of weenie sticks by the shelter tarp. Now that cooler weather is coming, L and I will probably have more campfires to cook our lunches, so we will press the sticks back into service.
Someday, when we’ve developed Roundrock a little more, I plan to have all of you out for a great weekend. We’ll have a weenie roast then!