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Bill the Kid Walnut Table by Sherry Barrow

Billy the Kid Walnut Table

Billy the Kid Walnut Table
Qty in Basket: None
Code: 121SBTBL4
Price: $2,000.00


Next to the Rio Hondo stood a gnarled walnut tree carrying a century-old story fondly told by locals, “This tree was the favorite tree of Billy the Kid, and it was under the shade of this very tree that Billy wooed Maria Maes.” Among the many tales of Billy the Kid, local lore maintains a heartfelt, uncompromising faith that the infamous gunslinger has been misunderstood. The tree long stood as evidence of Billy's softer side, and helped to carry his story forward. In 2006, the tree was removed from the banks of the Rio Hondo as part of a riparian restoration project. The Coe Ranch manager understood that wood with such a special story must not be destroyed. Today, small burls pop from the confines of the sapwood all around the table. The legs are repurposed teak from a 1940's stool. When the morning sun beams brush its surface, the dark wood catches the many chocolate shades of walnut burnished to a fine sheen. We think Billy would approve of our little memorial to his love for the beautiful Maria through this lovely piece made from wood with his story.

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My husband and I stopped to rest on a fallen log adjacent to the steep path. The forest had become integral to our relationship, It was spring, and the rains had come, and we saw life as good here in the Lincoln National Forest in the Southern mountains of New Mexico. At 9000 feet, the crisp air is pure and sweet, and we listened to the birds and small mammals rustling about their work, and watched a deer sip from the brook. Nonetheless, as we took in its beauty, we knew that our friend, the forest, was in jeopardy, for we had barely escaped another fire season. “Somebody really ought to try and figure out what can be done to improve this.” Well, yes, they should. For a while, there on that log next to the brook, our discussion focused outwardly, charging “someone” with responsibilities that screamed for attention. “They’d have to have the best science so they’d know how to improve ecosystem function.” “They’d have to recognize the inter-dependence within the forest. The animals all need each other in some way… the birds, squirrels, rabbits, bears, deer, elk, even the big cats.” “They’d have to consider the plants, trees and grasses, and the challenges of a forest service program that culls the sick and dying trees, then burns the slash without acknowledging the carbon impact.” “What if someone could make something out of the woody biomass so it wasn’t burned? Someone could make something that expresses the natural cycle of our forest!” “Wood with a story, done in a sustainable way, with real heart!” Something shifted, and we realized that WE WERE that “someone” who needed to do “something.” “It will be a huge commitment” Glen said, smiling. “Yes. It will.” I smiled too, and in that moment together, we accepted stewardship of something larger than ourselves. As our southwestern Ponderosa Pine forests tangle into dog-haired thickets, catastrophic wild fires ravage our lands. Yet federal and state land managers at last have begun to recognize the impact of decades of preventing the natural fire regime from doing its work. They now realize the necessity of thinning the forested lands in an effort to restore ecosystem function, much like thinning plants growing too closely in a garden. Yet, the carbon emissions of thinned biomass too often piled and burned, compounding the effects of global warming. This was the environment within which Glen and I formed a forest restoration company. We became the “someone” utilizing the woody biomass for sustainable products rather than sending the CO2 up in smoke. Today, our purpose is to find the best use for each size class and species of wood targeted for removal by the Forest Service.

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