We live out in the woods, not the sticks(sticks are small) of New York near the Catskills, and every winter I covet other people’s wood piles. Often I drive by homes with neatly stacked rows of beautifully cut hardwood. The land we have is not great for cut wood. It’s mostly pine, which is good for starting a fire, but burns too hot and because of the creosote gases inside, is often blamed for chimney fires.
For some time now I’ve had fantasies of other people’s wood piles.
Because we like to burn fires in the fireplace, I ordered my first cord of wood, ever. Cords of wood are hard to find right now. Last year’s winter was so bad many loggers sold out or are behind this year. I’m a city and suburb kid. So buying a cord of wood is quite foreign and exciting.
The cord is $225 but should last a few months. It took me a while to find this logger with split dry wood.
Update: My wife was on her way to the kid’s school when she called with urgency.
“Doug there is a sign with free wood. Free wood!” She shouted into the phone. “Beautiful big rounds stacked up. Free wood honey. You dreams are coming true.”
I sat dumbfounded as the words went around my cerebral cortex. “Free?” Better words were never uttered. “Free wood, honey?”
“I had to call or you would’ve killed me if I didn’t.” We hung up as I sat in my home office surrounded by work and piles of paper.
Twenty minutes earlier I’d gotten off the phone with my boss and knew he wouldn’t be reaching out to me again today or at least for a few hours. I contemplated the pile of work on my desk and imagined having to fight others off for the free pile of wood, fighting them off with a stick. To the death!
Hmm, free wood. I will no longer have to covet other’s piles. A whole tree had been cut down, cut up, and is waiting for an anonymous taker. That taker could be me.
Plus the cord, we will be burning as many fires this winter as we like.
I grabbed my work phone and grabbed the keys to our big truck, and burned rubber ten minutes to get over there.
The sign said in big bold letters FREE WOOD with an arrow pointing down a small grass hill to a large field. At the far end of this field sat the untouched pile towering like a small wood pyramid. No one was there to fight off. No Egyptian warriors were defending this sacred ground. Large wood rounds sat glistening, each one two feet long, waiting and inviting. Wood fuel. Wood fires in the large living-room fireplace will crackle and heat as the snow flies and cold chills.
I drove the truck fast across the grass field and loaded up the back quickly, while looking from side to side. I got almost all of it.
I brought the chunky rounds home, laid out a tarp, and stacked ‘em up. I stared proudly. I’ll let them dry a few weeks in the sun then split them using a log splitter. Others may now covet my wood pile. But sorry folks, it’s all mine. There will be no signs of free offerings.
Update: I just spoke with another wood guy, $180 a cord. Even better. This was a tip from a friend. Get in line people. But sorry, I can’t give you his phone number. I’m loading up this winter and selfish.