Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Cindy Lou Who Moment

Early this morning I was standing in my living room, and I heard the sound of a chainsaw in my front yard. We're getting low on wood, and while we do have a back-up plan for dry firewood that won't cost us anything, we're still a little concerned about the fact that we didn't put up quite enough for the whole season (and, perhaps, were a bit wasteful early on when it was still a bit warmer, and we could have done without such a nice fire inside - lesson learned, right?).

So, I hear this chainsaw in the front yard, and I'm thinking, "What the ...? I look outside and there's this guy out there hacking branches off my maple tree.

I whip open the front door and exclaim, "Why, Mr. Chainsaw Guy? Why? Why are you cutting my maple tree?"

Okay, I didn't call him "Mr. Chainsaw Guy", but I did ask, in my best Cindy Lou Who impression, "Why are cutting my tree?"

He tells me that he's from the town, and they're cutting anything that hangs over the road so that it doesn't get in the way of their equipment. I guess with this latest storm that's moving toward our area, they're concerned about heavy, snow-laden branches either snapping and landing in the road (or on power lines) and impeding their ability to do their jobs.

Then, he tells me it's an "invasive species." Apparently, it's a Norway Maple. I tell him that we tap it every year for maple syrup, and as I'm talking with him, I'm hoping that his cutting doesn't damage the tree and prevent us from tapping it, because we're nearly out of syrup, too. Plus, it's the one that my clothesline is attached to, and I kind of need that tree.

This whole time he's looking at me warily ... and then, I ask if he could leave my branches.

"You want the branches?!?" he asks, increduously. He can't imagine why on earth ... and then, a little bulb goes off, and he asks, "For burning?"

I kind of shrug, yes, but really, I'm just thinking, they're mine, from my tree, and if we're going to cut down branches, then we should recycle them on the land where the tree lives, but, okay, I'll burn them.

Then, he asks if I want more branches, because he has a bunch of trees left on my road to trim, PLUS several more streets.

More? And the little bulb goes off in my head. FREE FIREWOOD, the neon light in my brain blinks.

"Yes, please," I reply.

He finishes up in the front of the house, and as he's walking down the road, I'm stepping outside to tend my animals, and I note that there's a broken branch on one of our trees that's way too high for us to reach, and we've been looking at that hanging branch for a year or two, and I ask him if he could get it ...

"I know it's not hanging in the road, but ...."

And he does!

A little later, another truck with two other guys pull up. They're the ones who clean up the branches, and they get the word that I want the branches. Not only do they make sure that my branches stay in my yard, but they make sure they are all the way in my yard (which is no easy feat given the amount of snow that's also in the yard right now, and they also trim any really long branches into smaller, more manageable pieces. So nice.

When they're finishing up and leaving, I walk out to ask if they'd like some coffee or hot chocolate. They decline, but the guy driving the clean-up truck asks me if we heat with wood, and I tell him we do. He says, "We'll take care of you."

So incredible! A reminder of how very much I have to be grateful for.

Looks like we're starting on next year's supply of firewood ;).


  1. Way to go! Shows that just asking (and being friendly!) can get you nothing less than a "No" and in your case, as much as a bunch of firewood for next year!

  2. Excellent score on the wood.

    Good thing you when out there when you did. If the crews up there are anything like they are down here, anything cut down goes immediately into a chipper so not only are you left with a butchered tree but no firewood either.


  3. Wow, great score!

    I bet you're saving them a bundle on tipping fees!

  4. Cool beans! What nice guys. Time to get a bag of chocolate chip cookies ready to hand over next time they show up. (If you're not sure when that will be, just put 'em in the freezer.)

    I was just thinking about you this morning when I read about the storm system in the Midwest and fears of power outages. I thought, you know, the smart people that have a wood stove like Wendy will be perfectly fine even with the power out...

  5. What an amazingly wonderful thing to have happen! I know you must be thrilled... Heck I'm thrilled FOR you! Isn't life full of amazing and awesome surprises!

  6. Living the way you and Deus Ex Machina do, I'm sure you are very aware of how the universe provides for us, when we are aware and remain open :D Just last Friday, I was taking a few boxes of things to our local Salvation Army thrift shop, when I met a woman who had a large donation of macrame supplies. The store employee told her that, unfortunately, they would probably not be able to sell it, and therefore, refused to take it. I waited until the employee left, then told the woman, if she wanted, I could take it from her. A young girl who works for us, just a few weeks ago, told me that she would love to learn how to macrame - even on her tight budget. When I came back to the farm with the large garbage bag, I placed it in front of her and said "Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday" When she looked in the bag, she squealed with delight and was over the moon happy....

    Being in the right place at the right time is fabulous when it benefits you, but in my case, I was just as happy to see it benefit someone who could really use it, too! Glad that you're set with some firewood for a while ;)

    The storm you're getting is supposed to hit us after midnight and tomorrow, but nowhere near the snow you'll be getting, I imagine. Stay safe - I know you'll be warm ;)

  7. Ooooh, I'm jealous! I've been thinking lately about how to score free firewood from trees cut down for utilitarian purposes. Nice work!

    If you end up needing dry, burnable fuel this winter, I can recommend BioBricks. I've been burning them for years at about 3/4 firewood and 1/4 BioBricks and they're great. A little more expensive than firewood, but not more than dry firewood right now.

    I'm not so excited about this current storm. I'm the Wednesday crew for my HOA's snow team. Argggh.

  8. Scoooooooooooore!!!!

    We're running low on firewood at FAR Manor, too. Even with the long cold spell we had, I did a pretty good job of estimating how much we would need — but I didn't factor in various people calling in favors and scarfing nearly a third of our stash. Oh well, they're helping us replace it as best they can (we have a splitter on long-term loan from one of them) and there's some trees down that just need cutting up. It's supposed to be nice this weekend too, so maybe I'll be able to replenish some of it.

    Maybe I should see if the road or power line crews would toss me a bone, I mean some branches…

  9. Reading this story just made me happy, there's no other word. I have no doubt that they will be true to thier word and bring you all the branches you could ever want. I love the good, decent side of human nature!

    And I agree with Chile, having a small gift on hand for when you run in to them again would be fabulous.

  10. You just made my day (or night as I am on the graveyard shift). Thanks for the story, and keep up the good work.