Funny thing– you start publicizing that you “heat” your house with wood, and people start giving it to you. This never happened when I burned oil, or propane. It’s kind of fun.
First, early in the summer, my friends K. & A. decided to move to San Diego (I know! Whacky, right? They’ll be sorry when January gets here and they have no snow! Ha ha!) Anyway, they figured that they had no further use for the remnants of fireplace-wood in their garage. They called me to come fetch it. This wood was rated grade A-. It’s a bit dusty, and some pieces are too long, but it’s delightfully dry. Thanks guys! Here it is in my garage, waiting for winter:
Soon after, friend N. emailed. He has a wood stove, but doesn’t use it much, and is thinking of ripping it out. He offered me the remnants of his woodpile, too. Sadly, though, this wood had been outdoors for a long while. A few of the top pieces were salvageable, but much of it was rotting, fungus-covered, or ant-infested. This wood was was rated C- (sorry, N.) I debated, standing in front of the pile, whether it was more ethical to take what I could burn and leave what I couldn’t, or just leave it all. I settled on the former, but regret that I wasn’t much help to N.’s wood-disposal project. But thanks man!
Next, I heard from S. & S., friends through N. They had recently felled an oak tree in their yard. It was already bucked into just-liftable logs. I borrowed a pickup and S. helped me load up. (I unloaded them myself– stupid stupid. Wound up with four chiropractor appointments, which cost a winter’s worth of firewood.) Anyway, this wood is rated B+. It’s lovely, straight, and fresh. It needs to be split, though I take off no points for that, and seasoned, which will mean some delay in burning it. Thanks S. & S.! Here’s the wood, guarded by Max:
Lastly, my brother called. He lives in Florida but owns a tiny condo in Massachusetts, which he’s been renting out for many years. It has a little fireplace, in which he used to have occasional fires. For that purpose he had obtained a small supply of wood, and stashed it down in his storage locker. A few weekends ago, we cleaned out the locker. Using sophisticated dendro-dating techniques (using other objects found in the locker, such as LP albums, newspapers, yearbooks, love letters from long-ex-girlfriends, etc) I dated this wood to circa 1998. Possibly older. It is believed, in fact, that the wood originated from our grandfather’s wood pile, and may have been split by dearly-departed grandpa himself. It may, indeed, be truly heirloom wood. This wood is tinder-dry, clean, cut to size, and has priceless provenance. It is rated A++, and may be too nice to burn. I brought it home anyway. Thanks bro, and grandpa!