3/31/2009

Tonkin Scared Straight


Anyone who keeps a lot of bamboo around knows that things do go bump in the night. At first you may think somebody is trying to break into your shop or house repeatedly, instead you find more often than not it’s your culm co-habitants. Loud pops, snaps, and bangs in the middle of the night not only set off alarms systems but scare your visitors to death. Essentially the culms are checking, meaning they are naturally splitting because of temperature change, moisture content, and age. After a new shipment arrives the Winchester comes out because I can never tell if somebody is breaking in or it’s my Tonkin bundles having a party. Either way ADT knows exactly when I get a new shipment. There really is no way to stop bamboo from doing it’s thing until you decide to split it yourself. They will having their little gatherings and chatter away until they “check out”, which is my way of saying they’ve decided to go silent. When the “get to know you period” is over and they have acclimated to the environment, they stick around for a while, approximately 3-5 years. This is how long I keep them in tact before splitting them to make into a fly rod. Like the ritual of opening a bottle of wine, I usually stare at the culm and site down it for a while before splitting it, a kind of mental visualization. Every culm has it’s own personality, like kids, some are easy to handle while others are a constant uphill battle. Inevitably they all become rods and get straightened out, like it or not. The day you bring in a new bundle till the day you set them free you are merely a host, a foster parent, and eventually a parole officer keeping them on the straight and narrow.