Hot house

Just came back from the gym, all sweaty, to find that someone had lit a fire earlier in the evening!  Now it is a stifling 65º in the kitchen…  might have to go take a cold shower.  I guess it has begun.

Meanwhile, we are playing a bit of a game of chicken with the firewood situation.  We have only about 1/3 cord left in the garage from past years.  My plan for this winter was to buy a cord of “kiln dried” wood and put it in the cellar, which is much more convenient than the garage.  Our first year here, it was no problem to buy kiln-dried in November.  This year, though, I started calling around in July, and was shocked that the first two outfits I called said they couldn’t help.

Yep, hard to believe, considering we have way more trees than people, but evidently Maine has a firewood shortage.  That, and the fact that we are basically lousy customers (we have bought two cords in five years, while the average household buys 3-5 cords PER year) led to a problem.  By upping my order to two cords, I was finally able to find someone who promised me a delivery in mid-October.  When we called to check in early October, though, the date got pushed back to early November.  And I will not be terribly shocked if we just don’t get any at all… which will really be a problem…


4 Responses to “Hot house”

  1. gyrfalcon7 Says:

    Jeez, guy, don’t you read the local papers? There’s a firewood shortage all over the northeast and upper midwest. Not only has everybody been stocking up because of last year’s brutal winter, but paper mills are going great guns in most places again and the demand for pellets is way up. Plus, the ranks of the loggers are aging and not being replaced much even in rural states like Maine and Vermont.

    Get to know your local firewood guys. I heard about this back in June just from chit-chatting with some of the guys I ran into at the coffee shop, and immediately called my (kiln-dried) supplier to make sure I got my order in.

    • coldhousejournal Says:

      “Get to know your local firewood guys.”

      Ha ha– yeah, well, my local firewood “guy” was actually a woman. She was great with our last purchase (2009…) but we don’t burn much, then we cut a few of our own trees, and so she didn’t hear from us for several years, and at this point we aren’t exactly favored customers anymore I think. I was only a few weeks behind you in getting on the horn to someone else, though, so hopefully we’ll get what we were promised. Anyway, if there is a real shortage, I think there should be rationing! We can get by on one cord… but we really need that one cord.

      • gyrfalcon7 Says:

        I’m not suggesting getting to know your supplier, although that’s always good, so much as getting chatty with the local guys who cut firewood, if you see my difference. I guess I’m really just talking about knowing the folks in your community well enough to pass the time of day and hear the gossip. “Hey, how are ya? How’s business?”

        Have you considered buying a couple years’ worth of green and getting it stacked so it’s ready when winter comes around? There’s a lot more guys (not so many gals) who cut a few extra cord from their own woodlot to sell to local people than there are kiln-dried suppliers!

        I sure wish you luck. What are you going to do if this guy doesn’t come through, or more likely, it isn’t dry enough to burn in your EPA stove?

        And just curiously, what have you been paying for that kiln-dried stuff? Around here, it ranges from a whopping $400 a cord for gourmet deluxe firewood from the lumber mill 30 miles north of here to the $235 I pay to a small operation a couple towns away.

      • coldhousejournal Says:

        “Have you considered buying a couple years’ worth of green and getting it stacked so it’s ready when winter comes around?”
        Yep, that’s what I did for the past several years– had about a year’s worth of blow-downs from friends, then two year’s worth from our own back yard. But we don’t have a great place to store it outdoors, so I was trying to get away from that.

        Kiln-dried from our (I hope) supplier is $350. Five years ago it was $300. In percentage terms, yeah, it’s a lot more than green, or “field-dried”. But in absolute terms, it’s maybe an extra $100 – $150 a winter for us, which is worth it for the several advantages: no bugs, no dirt, easier to light, probably slightly more efficient, etc.

        “What are you going to do if… it isn’t dry enough to burn in your EPA stove?” If I buy “kiln-dried” wood that’s too wet to burn, I’m going to say I got seriously bilked! And figure out who to report that to… I do have a moisture meter : )

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