My Whit’s End Book Club–The Education of Little Tree–Shadows on a Cabin Wall 3

You will need a bit of history and Shakspere to help you laugh through this chapter.  If your mind is a bit rusty, don’t worry, I have added some links to help you re-remember.

“When Granma read about Macbeth, I could see the castle and the witches taking shape in the shadows, alive on the cabin walls, and I’d edge closer to Granpa’s rocker.  He’d stop rocking when Granma got to the stabbings and the blood and all.  Granpa said none of it would come about if Lady Macbeth had minded doing what a woman was supposed to do and kept her nose out of the business that tightly ought to have been done by Mr. Macbeth, and besides, she wasn’t much of a lady, and he couldn’t figure out why she was called such, anyhow. . .”–HAH!!!  I love his take on Shakespeare!
p.  13:  lighter knots – Here is a definition of a lighter knot.  From this site.
Undoubtedly pronounced as a contraction of “lighter wood”. Also known as “fat lighter”, it is the knotty remnant of a particularly resinous variety of conifer, the longleaf pine. Also known as “fat pine”, or “heart pine”, the longleaf pine is prized for its strength and resistance to insects and rot. It is found in abundancethroughout the southern United States.The lighter’d knot is best known as an excellent source of fuel, mainly utilized as kindlin’ wood for fires. Most Southerners prefer to cook and heat with hardwood such as oak, which is notoriously difficult to ignite. The lighter’d knot solves this problem, as it contains a tremendous amount of flammable resin. One relatively small piece of lighter’d can be lit easily with a match and used to start a very large pile of even green oak. It may also be used as an excellent torch.The knots have traditionally been gathered in old-growth forests, usually found lying under the canopy of younger trees. The best source of lighter’d knots is from a tree that has been struck by lightning or otherwise killed in the winter when its sap is down. Not only do these yield the relatively modest lighter’d knots, but massive lighter’d stumpsas well.These stumps have become an important source of a certain nitrate compound that is used in the production of dynamite and other high explosives. This is not surprising to anyone who has ever witnessed the jet engine-roar of a few good knots in the fireplace.The lighter’d knot burns with a very hot but sooty flame, due to its high hydrocarbon content. This phenomenon has given rise to the maritime phrase “looks like she’s runnin’ on lighter’d knots”, in reference to the black exhaust of a poorly-tuned dieselengine.Here is a site with excellent photos of lighter knots and also more information. long ago a “fellow member” asked how to specifically I.D. “Fat Lighter Stumps”.(not lighter logs)
So, while on my property “chopping & fire building”, I decided to take a few pictures of “Mississippi Lighter Knot Stumps!”
These where almost “dripping”, very ripe & red.Locating tips,
1. Lighter Knot Stumps are very common around the old fencepost/property lines of our Great Grandparents where they where chopped or sawed.
2. Lighter logs more common down here in wild or heart of yhw woods where they fell naturally.Very plentiful down here, never have to work to find them, but of course Mississippi is full of Pine! Hope this helps, GOD Bless!
 p. 15:  Macbeth – Here is a link to Wikipedia if you want a refresher course on Macbeth. 15:  Julius Caesar – Here is a link to Wikipedia to refresh your knowledge of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. 17:  The Whiskey Tax– from Wikipedia. The Whiskey Rebellion, or Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States in the 1790s, during the presidency of George Washington. Farmers who sold their corn in the form of whiskey had to pay a new tax which they strongly resented. The tax was a part of treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton‘s program to pay off the national debt.On the western frontier, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville. Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to suppress the violence. With 15,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned. The issue fueled support for the new opposition Democratic Republican Party, which repealed the tax when it came to power in Washington in 1801.The Whiskey Rebellion demonstrated that the new national government had the willingness and ability to suppress violent resistance to its laws. The whiskey excise remained difficult to collect, however. The events contributed to the formation of political parties in the United States, a process already underway. The whiskey tax was repealed after Thomas Jefferson‘s Republican Party, which opposed Hamilton’s Federalist Party, came to power in 1800.p.  17:  “that’s where Scotch whiskey got its burnt taste. . .” – Here is a site that gives all the particulars on Scotch whiskey and its taste.  I couldn’t find anything about “a burnt taste.” is another website on Scotch whiskey.  I think based on both sites, that the “burnt taste” to which the author is describing is more due to the peat moss flavored water and in some cases the fire also. The Excise Act of 1823 reduced taxes on Scotch whisky to a tolerable degree. This act coincided with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and entrepreneurs were soon building new, state-of-the-art distilleries. The local moonshiners (called smugglers) did not go quietly. Some of the first licensed distillers in rural locations were threatened by their illicit peers, but in the end production efficiencies and the rule of law won out. The whisky that came from these distilleries was made primarily from malted barley that had been kiln-dried over peat fires. The smoke from these peat fires gave the malt a distinctive tang that made the Scottish product instantly identifiable by whisky drinkers all over the world.
Until tomor-ree,
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2 Responses to My Whit’s End Book Club–The Education of Little Tree–Shadows on a Cabin Wall 3

  1. Bel McCoy says:

    Can almost see a sparkling fire started from the red sap pictures!! Where ever are trees like that to be found when out in the woods and needing to start a fire in the rain?? Can’t drum up much interest in Macbeth or whiskey. 😦


  2. Brooke says:

    Love, love, loved his take on Lady Macbeth. Laughed until I’d cried and wished some of my profs at UW could have had The Education of Little Tree handy to discuss during Macbeth discussions : )


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