My tree service told me that Pecan trees are "self pruning," which I guess just means that it isn't necessary during pruning to remove every dead branch with a saw. And I must say, judging from the amount of branches and twigs that fall into my yard on a daily basis year 'round, he seems to be right. Greta thinks it's great, because she would much rather chase a stick then a ball, and I do have an endless supply!
Since I have a wood burning fireplace and last year I never seemed to have enough kindling, I've been saving twigs and branches as they fall into my yard. And when I had the alley fence put in, there were a lot of scrub trees that were taken out. We spent a great deal of time cutting them into 12 inch pieces to have for kindling this winter. (And if I may, I'm just going say here that preparing for winter when it's 100+ degrees outside is a great display of OPTIMISM. Yes, it could also be called a display of demented behaviour, but I choose to call it OPTIMISM. :::grin:::: )
That is all fine and well but it does become a storage issue. I looked everywhere for a small kindling rack for the backyard, but didn't like any that I found. They were too wide for my sized pieces, or the rack was too tiny for the volume I have, or it was simply too expensive. I found a company that sells metal braces that hold the ends of 2"x4"s to help you build any type of rack that you want -- $20. I ordered them, and they've been languishing in my shed for weeks. I finally got the project done this weekend.
It's not the most asthestically pleasing thing I've ever seen, but it's very functional. The top half holds sticks that are longer, and not straight, and the bottom is for the nice and tidy cut 12 inch pieces. Also up on the top shelf I have the big pieces of tree bark from my two stumps. I've never burned those before, but doesn't it seem like they would be great firestarters? Regardless, I'm quite pleased to check this off of my To Do List. (Greta is certain that I've just built her a toy chest.)
I still have a couple of buckets of twigs left over. I have some natural twine, and I'm going to bundle those for fire starters that I can just toss into the fire for a quick start. Some day soon you'll see me on my porch... a ball of twine and a bucket of twigs... I'm sure the neighbors will be entertained with my antics.