It’s that time of year: Winning at wood

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The guy I hired to block the wood down in the Slightly Unenchanted Forest is, well, listening to the beat of a different drummer.

A nice guy, full of stories, an elegant British accent and a slick-salesman style but lacking in the most important of skills: eyeballing what a foot looks like.

I now have a full range of blocked wood: Itty-bitty to caber-tossing size. The foot-length is perfect for my stove and easy to split and stack. When you hire someone you can tell them what you need, what you want, and hope they “get it.” This isn’t the first time my instructions have been ignored by a contractor.

This poor guy struggled to get almost 2 cords blocked all the while his wife was calling and texting him asking where he was. It was Sunday and “family time.” He had to come back twice and had to be paid twice. The job was two hours at most but took nearly six.

I told him twice that a foot length was perfect but his wife’s voice rang loud throughout the Slightly Unenchanted Forest.

Now I truly don’t care what size goes in my woodstove. Pieces that are too large are get split then hand sawed and used as kindling. The occasional small piece usually ends up as kindling, too, but I’ve got a quarter cord of 8-inch long logs.

Those shorties mean I spend more time splitting and it takes longer because the splitter can handle a 20-inch log. I means I need to use a second log to help act as a shortener and that’s dangerous. I had two logs explode when they both split at the same time.

I’ve got 50-60 logs that are thick and long and they’re still pretty wet. I’d thought that being stacked to dry would mean they were ready to split, but no, they’re wet and heavy and resist subjugation in the splitter. My hands and arms are tired tonight.

One piece of aspen that came from Peggy’s house stuck in the splitter and I nearly fell getting it out. That damn aspen wood has been a problem to split and burn so I’m going to give it to Matt and Jill and their outdoor fire pit. Thick Aspen is shit wood. Oh, it burns hotter and cleans out the pipe but it’s still shit wood when it’s the trunk and defies the splitter.

What isn’t shit are the new pallets because the old ones have been worn out by the last six years of use. Matt got them from work and Jason brought them up to the Bar B. One set of pallets will be a new walkway between the front porch and the woodpile. Each pallet needs a few extra slats but that’s OK, it’ll make the journey easier during deep snow.

Normally I’m proud of my stacks; they’re perfect, linear and solid. This year it’s a big mess. Oh, the front looks good but I’ve had to allow for more space because the variation in sizes. This hurts my pride.

It’s slow going but I’ve got my rhythm down and it’ll get done.

The problem is the roof guys are coming and guess where the wood pile is?

As for Mr. I’m In America Now, his delivered wood was perfect and sort of reasonable. $100 for a half-cord delivered. I had to stack that and the lengths were almost exactly a foot.

Apparently his wife owns his ruler.

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