Wood That I Could…

Here’s another one from the archives…it was originally published March 29, 2010 in the first week of my blog.  It’s almost firewood delivery time again…enjoy!

I’m not bragging when I say that we live in a BIG old house (it’s a good thing with seven people in the family).  Instead of building a new one when the family got bigger, they just added on.  Consequently, we have two kitchens, two living rooms, a dining room, a laundry room, five bedrooms, two full baths, and two half baths!  With a house this size and the price of electricity, we appreciate our ability to use our wood furnace for heat.

When we found the house in late October, 2008, there was no firewood left in the basement.  Jim’s parents, and sister and brother-in-law donated some downed trees/brush from their yards to get us started, but I spent the next two months calling every place I could find trying to get wood.  After an exceptionally wet spring and summer (and the death/retirement of a couple of suppliers), firewood was in short supply.  Finally, in late January, I found someone in St. Stephen (an hour-and-a-half away) who had dry wood.  I paid an arm and a leg, plus delivery charges, for two cords.  I asked them to bring it around the back to the basement door, so we could stack it inside.

We came home from work to find that the load had been delivered…however, it was dumped in our driveway (right in front of where we normally park the car).  When I called the supplier, he explained that they had tried to get to the basement, but had gotten stuck in the snow.

That weekend, we rounded up all four kids, my dad, a couple of wheelbarrows (one of which had a wonky wheel), and even a snow scoop, and began the task of transferring the wood from the driveway to the basement.  Each trip was down a hill and around a corner in snow about eight inches deep – countless times, the load would fall off on the way down.  After retrieving the fallen cargo, the wheelbarrow would be taken down a ramp and dumped in the basement for someone to stack.  On more than one occasion, taller people forgot to duck going in, and clocked themselves on low-hanging beams.  It was cold, too!  Getting the wood in took several days.

We were, however, very happy to see the drop in our power bill from January to February – it went from over $700 to less than half of that!

When spring came, we resolved not to be caught without wood again…we called a supplier in Sussex who advertised in the newspaper, and arranged a delivery of five cords in July.  The price per cord was better, and there wasn’t an extra delivery charge!  I repeated my instructions to bring the wood to the back of the house, and told him I would leave a cheque in the mailbox for him.

We arrived home from work on delivery day to find…you guessed it: five cords of wood in the middle of our driveway!  I almost cried!  Deep ruts in the yard indicated where the wood truck had gotten stuck in the mud trying to get to the basement.  “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I had to get another truck to pull me out!” Wally the wood guy told me afterwards.

About 3/4 of the woodpile where it was dumped, completely blocking our "roundabout" driveway...

Jim and I, and my dad, worked away at the pile over the next few weeks (the kids were too busy bouncing on the trampoline/playing on their computers to help!).  At least it was summer, and we didn’t have to haul it through the snow this time!  We enjoyed working together, although we soon found out how out of shape we were!  We ate ibuprofen like M & M’s!

This is me right after I lost my balance and fell into the woodpile...

The wood was good, but it was also infested with earwigs, which I found in the most unsuitable places in my house for weeks after the wood arrived!  Someone left a Brita water pitcher out on the counter…we found an earwig between the insert and the pitcher…ewww!

One of the pesky critters which were all over the house...

Since the wood was a bit wet, Jim used his technical skills to rig up an ingenious drying system using a dehumidifier and a fan placed strategically in the basement.  It was successful, and the wood burned well when it came time to start the furnace up again in October.

Jim and I stacking wood in the basement...

Wally the wood guy called me last month to set up delivery for this year.  We decided he would come with another five cords in July…we both hope he doesn’t get stuck again!


Filed under family, memories

17 responses to “Wood That I Could…

  1. planejaner

    ok–that was a great post–I loved the frustration with and the futility of your best laid plans/guidelines for your suppliers.
    but, the picture of the earwig…made me throw up in my mouth a little. ICK!


    • Thanks, Jane…it’s hard to know sometimes what to put in and what to leave out! I’ll tell the story of Jim and his chainsaw sometime, if he’ll let me!


      • planejaner

        oh–it’s all good (as my kids say) I was laughing when I got to the pic of the earwig…
        if you tell the story of the chainsaw, just make sure to give a warning if there are pics that could…startle. 🙂

  2. Loved this story Wendy. I miss our old woodstove at our last home. Wood heat is so cozy. I obviously don’t miss the loading and hauling the wood but the lower heating bills would definitely be welcome. Thanks for reposting!

  3. OMGoodness…5 cords is a lot of wood. Your driveway looks like the huge oak stretched across the back pavers leading to our back door for one week in the 80’s. It was taken out by a tornado. Neighbors and family brought chain saws to saw it all up one afternoon. The good news is yours was already cut up and you too, had hands to store it away. These are the moments that make up “Family Life.” Great story!!!

  4. Auuugh earwigs…I hate those things. I dont guess they do any harm beyond creeping me out, but sometimes that’s enough.

    So happy to see someone else goes to the archives now and again.

  5. I’m blinking away the tears as this post reminded me of my grandpap (he recently passed). He heated their entire home during the winter with a wood burner as as a result was always on the hunt for wood. He took a tree or two of ours that had been hit by lightening. He would’ve done a gig to see that much wood in one place!! That’s A LOT – and A LOT of work!

  6. Wally the wood guy. I enjoyed that.

    We heated our house with wood when I was younger. A semi would come and dump it in our drive, but it was still in tree lengths. Then we’d cut it and split it. Definitely better to do in summer than winter. Pretty good memories with my dad, actually.

    Didn’t know those were called earwigs. We have those things all over the place.

    Have a great Sunday, Wendy.

    • Wow, Chase…you guys are troopers! I can’t imagine having to cut and split it too! Glad I could teach the teacher something… Working on a new post for this morning…trying to get one written each week while I’m doing my new job… Hope you have a nice, quiet Sunday…oh wait, I must have you confused with someone else… Wendy

  7. Goodness me!! I love the cold, but I preferred never to think of all the practical stuff like the work it takes to stay snug during winter! That’s a lot of work even for those in shape!! The thought of you guys eating Ibuprofen like M & M’s had me in splits though! I do that too…although not from hauling wood 😉

    Hugs H.

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