Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fire Wood

This weekend turned out to be far busier than I had planned for. I picked a half bushel of ripe and semi ripe tomatoes after work Friday. The plan had been to get up early Saturday and begin making salsa, tomato sauce, and the like. Unfortunately, the firewood showed up late Friday afternoon too.

We don't own a wood lot so we have to buy our firewood from other people. We've bought wood from five different people in the last three years and of the five only one returned out call earlier this month. He was our favourite supplier as his wood was always clean, dry, and a really good mix of hardwoods. But, this year he broke his hip and wasn't able to deliver wood. Since none of the other suppliers called back we had to start looking in the newspapers for another supplier.

We finally found one who returned our call and ordered eight face cords. A face cord is a stack of split wood that measures 8 ft. x 4 ft. by the length of the cut usually 12-16 inches. Over the average winter we will use six face cords. Last year was mild so we only used four face cords. We always order eight so that if it is colder than average, or if the power fails for more than a day or two, we know we have enough wood to carry us through the winter.

Friday around 8:00pm the new supplier calls and says he is on his way with the wood. This is unusual as most people who deliver firewood only do it during the day. He arrived driving a huge dump truck, the kind you see at construction sites, and it is loaded with what looks like good wood. He dumps the wood, we pay him, and he goes on his merry way.

Saturday morning dawned hot and humid. It has been cooler than average for the last three weeks, but Saturday was miserable. Regardless, we started the process of filling the wheel barrow and garden cart with wood and hauling it to the back of our lot for storage. As we made progress into the wood pile we find that it is a mix of everything from pine to red oak, freshly cut to rotten. To make matters worse it looks like the lower half of the load has been sitting in the mud for the last few months. We worked until it was to hot to breath, somewhere around noon.

This morning was cooler, so we went to work early again. Unfortunately, the cooler temperature only lasted as long as it was cloudy and the wind was blowing. By lunchtime it was hot and humid and time to stop. Most of the pile of wood has been moved now and it will only take a couple of hours after work this week to finish moving and stacking.

However, where the wood pile now stands there will be a huge pile of bark, clay, and mud that was stuck to the wood when it was delivered. Something will have to be done with the leftovers. Some of it will find its way into the compost bin but I suspect the rest will be raked and shovelled into the wheel barrow and dumped in one of the many low spots around the yard.

We hope to get a wood lot of our own some day but until then we try to see the positive in everything, even if it is a pile of gunk left over from a sorry excuse for fire wood. But since the wood showed up this weekend, that means I will be free next weekend to get my tomatoes processed. I just hope the weather cooperates and is cooler and drier than it was this weekend.

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