The Quest for Mountain Mahogany: Part 2

Mountain Mahogany

Mountain Mahogany

With my recent interest in making uilleann bagpipes, I have become aware of the importance of rainforest wood conservation.  I have been searching for a North American wood that is a suitable alternative to woods like ebony, cocobolo and lignum vitae.  In my research, I determined the wood I seek must be very dense, suitable for turning, and in such abundance where harvesting would have a negligible impact.  Mountain mahogany interests me greatly because the density is very comparable to ebony, has a wonderful color and figure, turns well, and is an abundant shrub.

The aim of my research is to find specific locations where the shrub could be found of sufficient diameters for my purpose.  Failing this, I hope to find a commercial source, but usually these options wind up being a little pricey.  I have made phone calls to Forest Service offices and the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming, and was able to determine a few areas to look.  I spoke with a field officer at the BLM Field Office in Casper, WY, and had a very nice conversation.  The field officer was helpful and indicated there were specific stands that she could personally show me if I ever came out in that direction, though the shrubs were small and may or may not suit my purposes, but she hasn’t personally measured them.

Regarding specific locations, I am redacting the information discussed to avoid the potential problem of people going out into the countryside and harvesting this shrub which is critical to the survival of deer, elk and other fauna in the area.  It literally is the number one food source for these animals during the winter months.  My hope is to find stuff that requires management, such as the mahogany that is burned in control burns to avoid problems of forest fires, or “high line” situations such as described by this biologist:

I am publishing specific locations in a private entry for my own documentation.


Letter to Angry Mother at School

Dear angry mother dropping your kid off behind me,

I pulled forward in the drop-off lane far enough to give you enough space so as to give your child the closest route to the door on this cold morning.  I am sorry I didn’t have the additional foresight to know that you would pull your front bumper right up to my rear bumper.  Because of I left my crystal ball at home, you proceeded to honk at me because I was in your way.  I wasn’t sure if you putting your front bumper right up to mine was completely my fault, but when I looked at my Magic 8 Ball, it said “Outlook not so good.”  I then proceeded to pull forward further to give you ample space to pull out of the lane.  After giving you the space you required, I must have realized that for you, this space was not enough, at which point you proceeded to blast your horn at me again.  I did not possess that realization at the time, so again the fault is mine.  When you were finally able to pull out after making a scene with your impressionable teenager in the passenger seat, you then demonstrated to your child how to deal with anger and lack of logic by flipping me off.  I should have realized that you don’t know how to park or handle your own emotions and logic.  For this I offer my sincerest apologies for not accommodating you in every fashion so that you wouldn’t have to subject yourself to becoming a bad parent.

As reparation, I offer this advice:

1.  The space in front of your car is your responsibility and only you have control over that, not the person in front of you.  You do not have control over the person behind you.  If you needed space in front of you to pull out, then Miss Miss, you should have used your noodle to give yourself that space.  Bad parent!  You get time out!  Set an example for your teen, who will be learning to drive in a couple years.  Most driving instructors would advise that you allow yourself enough space in the front of your car so that you are able to pull out.  Perhaps this useful guide will help you (in cartoon form, so as to make this really simple):

2.  I would also suggest getting yourself into anger management counseling.  This may help with your troubles setting an example for your teenager, who is likely to mirror your techniques right back to you when he is in his hormone-induced ragefests.  Bad parent!  You get time out!  Use your noodle instead of your middle finger to deal with issues.

Peace to you,


P.S. — In case you haven’t noticed the past two years I have been pulling forward after dropping off my autistic son, who requires my wife escort him safely to the door, while I wait for my wife to return.  But then again, who am I to say you should be considerate?