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Anyone ever burn elder?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by karri0n, Dec 10, 2008.

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  1. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    If so, did you survive?

    I ask because in almost every culture where elder trees grow, there's some kind of folk wisdom that says not to burn elder or make furniture out of it or you will be cursed. I believe in Ireland, it was only burned in funeral pyre and to burn it in your hearth would bring death into the home.

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Ah yes, it is said the Hag Goddess lives in that tree. I told my superstitious wife that story and she wanted to put all the Boxelder back. I've burned it for years, good shoulder season wood. Similar to soft maples.
  3. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    I'm not one to argue with folklore. The way I see it, there's plenty of oak available in my area.


    "elder be the lady's tree, burn it not or cursed you'll be"

    "Make a fire of Elder tree,
    Death within your house will be;"
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah it a weird looking gangly tree...I can see why the ancients told stories about them. We cut down quite a bit of it back in the day as an unwanted nuisance tree and burned it in the stove. Easy to spot... 1st tree that greens up in the spring.
  5. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I burned a bunch of boxelder this fall. I still have a little bit, saving what's left to burn coals down. I dries to a very lightweight wood and burns fast. Good heat, burns fast, low coals.

    I'm thinkin' boxelder ain't a true elder, so I figure I'm safe.
  6. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Um, Boxelder isn't an Elder, it's in the Maple family.
  7. Jersey Fire Bug

    Jersey Fire Bug New Member

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    Guy I know is doing life for burning his elders up in their bed while sleeping
  8. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    Is boxelder different from just elder??
  9. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    My paternal grandmother has several Boxelders growing around her house. They are the first to lose their leaves in the fall. They're also the first to shed limbs during any strong wind. They took some pretty heavy damage in an ice storm several years ago, and they're still shedding limbs from that event. I had to clean up several this week just to get up her driveway.
  10. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    It seems like everyone is talking about Boxelder aka Maple Ash or Boxelder Maple. Has anyone burned actual elder?
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I always thought Boxelder was "Elder"? Are you guys getting Elder confused with Alder?
  12. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Apparently no one has burned Elder and survived to tell the tale. Good to know.
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Elder is actually a large group of trees/plants. It's a more bush-like tree, and various parts are used for medicinal purposes of all sorts. It's not a boxelder.

    Never burned it, personally
  14. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    It's hypothesized that the reason for the folklore of the curse is due to these medicinal properties. Usually the wise person/healer/elder of the village would be the one to tell people about curses, etc, and wanted to prevent the elder trees from being clearcut for firewood or furniture, because it was very valuable for its medicinal properties.
  15. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    All from Wikipedia:

    "Sambucus (Elder or Elderberry) is a genus of between 5 and 30 species of shrubs or small trees (two species herbaceous), formerly treated in the honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae, but now shown by genetic evidence to be correctly classified in the moschatel family Adoxaceae."

    "The Elder Tree was supposed to ward off evil influence and give protection from witches, a popular belief held in widely-distant countries. If an elder tree was cut down, a spirit known as the Elder Mother would be released and take her revenge. The tree could only safely be cut while chanting a rhyme to the Elder Mother."

    So, clearly, all one has to do is chant a rhyme. But which rhyme? Something by Vanilla Ice, perhaps?
  16. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Nice find Pagey! Hadn't thought of trying wikipedia, as they don't usually have things about curses.
  17. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I know for a fact that boxelder is NOT elder, nor of the elder family, if it were, I'd be dead!
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I thought Boxelder was what you get when the morticians get done with elders that have died???? %-P

    Gooserider
  19. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    Good to hear boxelder is not elder because I have burned them , not great wood but like they say "non cursed wood is good wood "
    is it any wonder that our elders tell us not to burn the elder tree duh.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I believe repeating any rhyming lyrics by Vanilla Ice will actually make the curse more potent . . . plus your ears will begin to bleed and you will have an uncontrolled urge to bang your head repeatedly against the elder tree. ;) :)
  21. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Which would probably make it even more mad...
  22. Tony H

    Tony H New Member

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    I have the urge to hit HIS head on a tree any tree .....just to make it stop !
  23. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I laughed at your post, but don't understand why (well maybe more of a guttural chuckle).
    Could it be that I've exceeded my self prescribed dosage of Bourbon for this evening?
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