26 February 2008

Running out of Firewood

Something is happening this year that has only happened to us one other time in all the years we’ve lived in Maine. We’re about to run out of firewood.

Each spring we buy about 3 cords of firewood and have it delivered to our home. It sits all summer in a big pile on the side of our garage, waiting to be stacked neatly under the trees next to the house.

Chipmunks and very large spiders make their homes in that initial pile, because we take so long to get it stacked. My husband says it’s because we’re leaving it out in the summer sun so it can dry out and become properly seasoned. But the reality is that none of us likes to stack wood, especially among spiders, black flies, and summer humidity.

By the time school starts and the weather is right for stacking wood, we’re too busy with studies, soccer, and whatever else it is we do. Besides, by then, all the grass around the area has grown up around the pile, and nobody wants to hack through it to get to the wood. Just imagine the spiders!

Somehow we always get it stacked before the first snow, and then we start the process of UN-stacking it and bringing it first into the garage, and then into the house. We keep a large stack along one wall in the garage, and a smaller amount in a bin in the basement, next to the wood stove.

Last spring, we had wood leftover from the winter – more than half a cord – so we decided not to order as much. We were pretty smug about the fact that we used wood to heat our home, thus saving money; and then we had wood left over and didn’t have to buy as much, thus saving MORE money.

Now the joke’s on us. We probably have half a cord of wood left and it’s not even March yet. We have a rule in our home that we always keep about a half a cord aside for emergencies, in case there’s an ice storm or some other cause for a power outage on a grand scale. Now, in the last week of February, we’ve reached that last half a cord. Here’s a yucky photo of the wood we have left (covered by a tarp) – and if you look closely, you’ll see our little brown dog running by at just the right time.

Today I had my kids bring in a few more armloads for the snow tonight (I like to have it in the house in case we lose power overnight). And after we use that, we’re back to using the oil that costs a pretty penny and doesn’t heat the home nearly as well. Don’t these lovely teen-agers look happy? (Don’t be fooled – you’ll see the truth in a minute).

It isn’t like we’re going to freeze or not have heat, it’s just that now it’s going to cost more. In fact, it’s going to cost more now, in the form of oil, and again in the spring when we buy even more firewood than we really need for next winter. I suppose if we get really cold, I can break up those chairs I bought yesterday and use THEM for firewood. :)

Oh well, such is life amidst the seasons in Maine.

Oh, and here is the first picture, before I forced them to smile…

See the snow falling all around them? I ask you - how could that NOT be fun?

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes

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