Thursday, October 7, 2010

Woodchucks Chucking

I have a very nice wood fireplace in my living room, and with my schedule I spend a LOT of time in front of it through the fall, winter, and wet spring, watching movies, smoking cigars, and reading.

My friend, let's call her Donna, has a little farm plot and a nice little farmhouse that she heats with a frikking awesomely-huge wood stove.

She's been clearing her land since she bought the place, and has split, stacked, and burned more wood than I've ever heard of through our long midWestern winters; from time to time she's brought me pickup trucks full of ratty pine for me to burn in my little suburban outdoor fire pit.

This last spring she came into work with a problem: Almost all of the takeable trees on her property were down and cut and stacked, and she was down to maybe 2 seasons of wood for her stove. Since I go through so much wood myself, was I interested in going in with her on any deals she could scrape up?

"Why sure," I said. "Seasoned wood delivered to 1st-ring-suburbia around Minneapolis isn't cheap, and I go through about a real cord or so a season, depending on how long and how wet it is."

"Don't get your hopes up," she warns me. None of her regular contacts have anything. So I leave my hopes down.

Following week she comes in, announces that she found a guy, and she can get ten cords of aged dry oak for $500. Another $150 to saw it off the truck, she can split it all herself, or I can help.

"Gee," I say, "it'ud be swell if I could glom onto some of that."

"Yeah, I figured you for half," she says.


"Sure. Want it?"

"5 cords? For $325? I pay more than that for ONE cord delivered. Hell yes, I'll take whatever you can spare, and help split and stack."

"Okay, I'll set it up."

The following week she comes in, wry grin in place.

"He had more, so I doubled the order. Do you still want half?"

"Excuse me? Ten cords?"


"For $600?"

"Yes. $750 if you want it sawn, which I recommend. We can split it ourselves, I have a good splitter."

"I can barely think of where I was going to put 5, let alone 10."

"You can leave it at my place, I have plenty of room."

And she ended up getting an extra ten for herself, some mixed stuff they had - cherry, elm, more oak.

So 30 cords. 10 are mine. I have a cord+ of it split & stacked by my garage right now. Turns out that if you stuff it to the gills a Jeep Grand Cherokee can hold about a half cord. And running a big splitter is FUN.

I'll never have to buy wood again. Ever. Of course, at those prices I might anyway, just in case.


doubletrouble said...

Such a deal!
The big splitters, while I dunno about "fun", can do the job fast.
I process about 4 cord a year (felled & bucked on my land) with a splitter in about 3 easy days work.
I'm getting too old & cranky to continue to split by hand, & it took a LOT longer than 3 days...

Atom Smasher said...

There are approximately 22 cords of wood on her property either stacked, still in rounds, or split & piled high waiting for stacking.

And about 8-9 cords worth of 30-foot logs still waiting for next year.

Plus her old stuff plus the scrap pine and oak and ironwood boards. That's a LOT of wood.

Did I mention the size of the burn pile we set off? You could probably see it from space.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...


I really need to look into what I would need to do to put in a wood stove. I've seen a couple the right size at Lowe's for $600-$700, I just need to see what I would have to do (and pay) to tap into the old chimney from the living room (the original connection is in the crawlspace, where the old coal furnace was).

It would make a great supplement to the electric baseboard heat I've got right now.

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