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pine cones

Started a fire in the fireplace this evening, since it's dropped into the 
I've been putting it off because firewood is scarcer and more expensive this
year than in the past.
Last year there were so many pine cones from our white pines that I picked
up bushels - gave away at least two garbage-bags full, used another two,
toasted another to use for decorations on Christmas wreaths, and still have
a couple of bags left.  This year there are almost no cones at all. I went 
to look for them before the leaf-clean-up crew came, and there were just 
almost none - I found about six.  Is this a result of the dry season? Or do
the trees have a cycle of reproduction?
I'm noticing that the dogwoods are full of buds for next year.  Their bloom 
was exceptionally poor this year.  I have heard that heavy bloom indicates
stressful conditions, and surely this drought year was stressful for them.  
We lost many dogwoods about 20 years ago when they were attacked by
a disease, but the remaining ones seem to have been stabilized in recent
years.  I hope we're not going into another spell of losing dogwoods.  This
is just about the Northern edge of their tolerance zone - not many just a 
miles north of here - but we used to have many and still have quite a few in
the wild.

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