Update for September 25, 2014
5 courthouse pecan trees removed, but wood to be preserved for later use
By Lewis H. Mathews
Five pecan trees on the Medina County Courthouse grounds, three on the south side and two on north, did not survive the long lasting drought conditions. The trees were cut down on July 23, with eight of the original pecans still standing.
Thankfully, a large portion of the wood will continue to serve the community, providing raw material for local artisans.
County staff made every effort to save the trees, while still fully complying with the strict watering restrictions that have been in force. Staff members volunteered to come in early at 6 a.m. to hand water, but even this could not save the trees under such extreme stress. They were removed as part of the drainage improvement and landscape replacement project currently underway.
Luckily for the residents of the county, WCW Mesquite’s Blake Wernette of Quihi, rescued a large quantity of pecan logs from the wood chipper for the future use of Medina County. He has also volunteered his facilities and expertise to prepare and store the wood for the county until it can be put to a good use.
Wernette stacked logs eight feet high on an 18-foot trailer to save as much as possible. “We’re not going to waste any of it,” he said.
Wernette will mill all the logs in his workshop, dip them in a solution to preserve their brightness, then stack the lumber under exacting conditions for six to eight months. He will then kiln dry and stabilize the wood. As a way to give back to the community, Wernette said, “I am happy to do all this free of charge for the county.”
After this process is complete, the pecan wood will then be ready for the county to allocate. Medina County Judge James E. Barden said, “We’ve got a couple of woodworkers in the community, and I want them to take (the wood) and make it into furniture we can keep in the courthouse.”
Wernette also suggested that even the smallest pieces of wood could be put to good use. As one idea, he suggested wood pens could be crafted and sold by the county to raise money for a good cause.
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