Moosewood whistles

When I was a kid the cub scout handbook had directions for making a willow whistle. The idea is that the bark will slip right off a willow stick, and from there you can go on to make a whistle. I never met a willow tree that I could cut a branch from, and never made a willow whistle, but I’ve wanted to.

Last year I found that it doesn’t have to be willow. Moosewood, or Striped Maple, also has branches that you can slip the bark from, the web article said. We have plenty more Moosewood than we want in Casco. In fact, it’s considered a weed tree in many circles; it never grows big enough to use for lumber but will fill in clearings, take over, and crowd out trees which do grow big. So I’ve been cutting down a branch every weekend for a month and trying to get the bark off, with no success until two weekends ago. It’s a seasonal thing; the bark will only come off when the sap is running well, which is when the leaves are starting to grow.

So, here are two Striped Maple whistles that worked, out of five I tried to make:

I need more practice. I hope the trees will cooperate, next time I get a chance.

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