At the beginning of winter, I take a long look at the wood ranks waiting to heat the house. The oil-burning furnace gets used about one hour every day, and then only until the wood fire is brought back up in the morning. Come February, I’ll gaze out over the snow-covered streets in my neighborhood and pity my neighbors getting their second oil delivery of the month. Meeting in the street my fellow wood burners and I can enjoy a brief moment of comradely fellowship due to our wise choice of fuel.
Normally you wouldn’t suspect that there’d be avarice driving deep splitting wedges among wood burners, but there is. My wood is better than your wood. My wood seller is more reliable than yours. Even I have more wood than you do.
These last two years, it’s been especially bad for my woodburning friends. My long rows are of ash, cherry, red oak, and hickory. Theirs are of birch poplar and maple. Their claims that the wood in their rows is as good as that in mine ring hollow.
There have been attempts to pirate my supplier, but he claims he can’t supply more than he already does.
On New Year’s Eve, we’ll invite these friends over for a party. I’ll coyly watch their expressions as I feed the stove with hunks of cherry, a bit of hickory, and a slab of ash.
Then in the glow of the fire, I’ll wish them health, wealth, and better wood in the coming new year.