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.
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!
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!
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.
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!