The Ant Has Been Grasshoppering

Last winter I had just the right amount of firewood. This is a miracle of predictive wisdom in a “just in time” warehousing economy. It’s “working without a net” in the redneck economy. Being righteously freaked out I’ve been meaning to cut a shitload of wood asap. Being a normal guy, I’m too overbooked to keep up with everything. So not only is the lawn only half mowed and the pig fence sagging but there’s less than a cord in the shed.

Today I picked up my chainsaw and headed out to rectify the situation. There’s a nearby dead tree that’s on my mental “kill list”. I hiked 50 yards… Scanned the sky… Damn it was hot… I was sweating my balls off just walking… It was humid. No breeze. I set the saw down and just stood there like an idiot.

Fuck it.

I turned around and headed back to the house. There will be other days to cut firewood.

Ned is right. Also, I'm doomed.

Ned is right. Also, I’m doomed.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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17 Responses to The Ant Has Been Grasshoppering

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Julie needs an onion sandwich. This time the loaders know what to do. Support venture capitalism!

  2. Joel says:

    Oh, I have so many chores like that. In my jungle the time to cut firewood is after it stops being so damned hot. Of course I get through my winter on maybe 20% of what you need, and I can cut through the winter because I don’t see a major percentage of the snow you probably do, but still. It’s not hard to get too damned hot to schlep a chainsaw.

    • Also, if it gets too damn hot and you force yourself to run a saw anyway you can get too tired. That’s when it gets dangerous. I think more than a few dead sawyers can be chalked up to the slow thinking of an overheated mind. Best to run them things when you’re in top form.

      Honestly I wish I could get a couple cords of bridge mats. That stuff was excellent.

      • Mark Matis says:

        So are you on their blacklist now? Or have they raised their prices? Or have they decided your neighborhood is no longer conducive to their primary business? Or???

        Inquiring minds want to know…

      • Last year they tried to screw me. They failed but why would I go back and give ’em a second shot at it?

      • Mark Matis says:

        1. They didn’t successfully screw you. And quite frankly, what they were doing was perfectly appropriate for any hive-dwellers who were looking for wood. None of them would have toys that could handle a full cord, so the amount they were normally providing was right for their normal customers. And their price wasn’t bad for that amount of firewood. You ended up with an excellent deal because you knew what a cord was, and were able to handle that amount with your rig.
        2. That stuff was excellent. As you said yourself. Or do you think they would be able to slip a load of crap past you if you went to them again this year?

      • I’m not sure I see it like that. You’re right that they didn’t screw me but they intended to. In business, if not life, the intention alone is not much better than the successful act. I take it as an indication of moral stature; or rather the lack of it.

        Also I asked and verified many times over that what they were selling and what I was buying was a cord as defined by 4′ x 4′ x 8′. On the phone, in person, on a receipt, on the check, written and oral verification with many repeats and many players. When multiple people look me in the eye and lie that’s not cool. There’s screwing the customer by accident and there’s a colluding den of lying weasels. I’m not sure Julie and onions is collusion or accidental. Hard to say.

        Yes, I’m splitting hairs and I’m not a fool who expects truth and unicorns; but why seek the company of miscreants? Also why support dipshits in a business where an honest day’s work is enough to make a living? Why not find someone honest and throw money at them? (Assuming there’s an honest guy out there.) Maybe there’s a nice guy out there who could use some cash.

        As for the quality… it was indeed excellent stuff. Extra prime! However, if they could slip me a load of crap they would. They’d pile dogshit and tell me it’s sunshine.

        Suppose they fake me out. I turn my back and they load up half a cord of compressed wet catshit when I paid for a full load of dry oak? I already knew they were underhanded, would it not be my own fault for dealing with them? Suppose they stole my wallet while I was noodling about with my trailer hitch? Hell, imagine they forged my check with a spare zero, keyed my truck, and fed onions to my dog… surely knowing who I’m dealing with means I’d have a partial role in stacked catshit, scratched trucks, and sad dogs? As a general rule I’m not going to deal with liars unless it becomes necessary… and its still summer.


        Now I’ll get off my high horse and leave some wiggle room. If I fail to cut wood in time and get desperate I might have a different attitude. As I said the wood was superlative, and if I get hosed for an extra 20% and my moral fiber takes a kick in the nads? Perhaps that’s a price I’d be willing to pay. Who knows. It’s still way too damn hot for cutting firewood. Ask me again in November.

  3. ILTim says:

    On that note, do you use the back blade on your tractor for snowplowing? I inherited two (2!) Self propelled multi stage snowblowers with my new house, and a broken snow shovel. It’s all in sorry shape (was the demise of the previous owner?) and I am tickled by the idea of using a low cost antique tractor in place of it.

    An old farmall or allis chalmers with back blade is a cheap option, the fancier frontal plows, throwers, and loaders are not.

    • An antique tractor is a great idea! Buy two or three of ’em right away!

      I use a back blade when 1.) the tractor is running and 2.) the snow isn’t too deep. In those circumstances it’s fine.

      They used to make snowplows for tractors… I haven’t found one but if I ever find one I’ll buy it.

      I used a front end loader and that sorta’ sucked. You’d think loaders would be great but I didn’t like it.

      I also used a cheap battered three point snowthrower that I bought for junk prices. It did an awesome job until it sucked up a rock and became junk. It was the kind where you can face forward while snowblowing. Someday I’ll fix it.

      The snow thrower was better in deep snow and sucked rocks in shallow snow; as opposed to the back blade which shines in shallow snow. The tractor must drive through the snow before the back blade can do its work, so the snow must not be so deep that the tractor has limited traction. I’ve been meaning to buy chains, I expect that helps a lot.

      One note: the back blade just takes snow from location A and pushes it to the left or right one blade width. It is is awesome for clearing a long straight path (like a road/driveway) but it’s terrible at clearing a squarish area (like the space in front of a garage). Many situations are optimized for a “push the snow” approach. In these situations I use an ATV.

      One more thing. Your tractor will be cheap, useful, and fun to drive. It’ll also break down a bunch of times and periodically break your heart. That’s (in my experience) just part of the deal with really old stuff.

  4. DennisinIowa says:

    I’m still cutting wood, But the price of LP is around a buck I might take a year off of wood and stockpile wood for future use.

    • Brilliant! LP is cheap so enjoy it. You’re a one man economic lesson for the world! Its a textbook example: Having two sources of heat gives you options. The most efficient method isn’t always wood and it isn’t always LP but rather some changing ratio of the two. You wisely adjusted the ratio.

      Cheap fuel hasn’t escaped my attention either. Fuel oil (akin to diesel) is relatively cheap right now; hovering in the $2.25 range (fuel oil is taxed less). I will likely use more now than when it was flirting with $4 a gallon. I don’t care what urban handwringers say, life is hard enough and I’m damn glad when fuel is cheap. I’d like to give a huge “thank you” to North Dakota and the clever technologies that are shouldering some of me and my chainsaw’s burden and keeping the pipes thawed.

      I also use fuel oil to “gain a breather” when life’s other duties take precedent; such as illness or working overtime. When you’ve got the flu or racked up a zillion hours work that week it’s nice to use the thermostat instead of schlepping out into the snow; regardless of price.

  5. Paul Bonneau says:

    My philosophy is, “You won’t need firewood if you are dead from a heart attack.”

    I’ve got several standing dead madrones in the area. I figure I will wait until it cools off and the rains come, then get one or two of these under shelter before they end up soaked through. There is no better firewood than dead madrone.

  6. Pingback: Woodpile Report: Round #1 | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

  7. Pingback: Woodpile Report: Round #2 | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

  8. Pingback: Woodpile Report: Round #3 | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

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