We are late in starting the Annual Festival of Wood. Here it is the first full day of Autumn, and all I’ve done is shift a fifth of a cord of ash closer to the side porch for easy access during winter storms. But soon, four cords will be gracing my driveway, and I’ll be stacking.
Yes, I know that woodpiles, species, burning abilities, good vendors, or bad doesn’t make for sparkling repartee in many circles. However, put two strangers from disparate ends of a political or economic spectrum together and watch what happens when they discover that they are both wood burners.
The Republican, Democrat, Communist, or Libertarian distinctions give way to frank and open discourse about preferred species, wood sellers’ admirable and disreputable nature. Then they both sneer at the boutique end of the trade – those who sell kiln-dried, debarked wood for a premium price. “And talking about price, how much a cord did you pay this year?”
The conversation then verges into talk about stoves, their good, bad and ugly. This is an integral part of the conversation because your stove, stovepipe, or chimney can be the lethal end of the whole affair with wood. You are now into the nitty-gritty about chimney sweeping – do it yourself or have a sweep come? “By the way, how much do you pay, and do they do a good inspection?”
By now, spouses have wandered away in dismay, and other party-goers begin to avoid the two crusty types snapping suspenders and looking for a spittoon. Finally, any remaining vestige of the current century flees in dismay as the two begin to discourse on creating quality, stable stacks that aerate the wood.
Flee while you can before they attempt to convert you to their belief system.