Friday, January 15, 2016

Firewood that snap, crackles and pops

One of my coffee drinking buddies is in his mid-70s and he heats with wood that he cuts himself.  He goes back in his swamp, drops the trees, bucks them up, pitches them into his truck and then cuts them into stovewood.  He never runs very far ahead.  His swamp is filled with dead, standing elm and ash.  He might have a couple of weeks of bucked up logs and a week's worth of stovewood stacked near the porch, tops.

You might think this is inefficient, but it is not.  It limits the amount of wood that some local, low-life scum can steal.  Yes, somebody steals his firewood.  And it happened again this week.

He was fuming.  He knows the yahoo will be back because the yahoo did not steal enough wood to last very long.  He would press charges but his wife is a fine, charitable woman who assumes that the folks stealing the wood need it more than they do.  Not everybody has a fine, 15 acre swamp to cut wood in.  Of course, she has yet to volunteer to go with her husband and recut it.

So, my coffee drinking buddy is about to cut down a live cottonwood cut it into stovewood sized chunks.  You might as well try to burn ice cubes as burn green cottonwood.

I suggested a slightly different species; Blackpowderous snappicus. 

As a completely tangential observation, 12 grains (0.8 grams) of fffg black powder handily fits in a 9mm casing with plenty of room to glue a paper patch over the top.  That is about 1/4 of an M-80.  It should be enough to rattle the rivets.

Yes, I am aware that the case could come flying out of the stove like a rocket should it detonate while the miscreant had the door open...say while loading wood into the stove.  I also want to point out that cutting firewood in a swamp is also hazardous work, especially when the guy doing it is 74.  Chainsaws, trip hazards, trees falling on you, heart attacks, falling through the ice, sticks lancing eyeballs....the list is endless.  It should be pretty clear that my sympathies lie with the 74 year old woodsman and not the 45 year old, theiving lard-ass.

---Edited to add---
My coffee drinking buddy politely declined the squibs He figured he would forget and toss it into his own stove, then he might have some 'splaining to do.  The thought did make him smile. Probably a good thing he declined.  Making them was not the wisest thing I ever did (but it is also not the dumbest). 


  1. A game camera, if you can make sure THAT doesn't get stolen?

    1. There are somethings I refuse to reveal in the body of essays but am willing to discuss in the comments.

      Two of my regular coffee drinking buddies are paupers. One lives in a travel trailer parked in the barn that he deeded over to his son. Another lives in a rotting out ranch house and he is not sure where his next tank of gas will come from.

      I would trust either of these gentlemen with my life, my fortune or my family.

      One of my regular coffee drinking buddies has a regular pension, Social Security and $200K in the bank. He is a bit squirrelly. I might let him watch my dogs over the weekend.

      Two of my coffee drinking buddies might be millionaires, on paper. These are men of integrity although they rarely carry more than $2 on their person. Like my paupers, I would trust them with my life, fortune or family.

      My friend who is having his firewood filched is one of the paupers. He heats with wood because it is the cheapest way to heat. This is a guy who stops and picks up TVs and microwaves beside the road because he can part them out and get $2 for scrap...enough for three days worth of coffee.

      He has a pretty good idea that the thief is a shirt-tail cousin (on his wife's side).

      Under other circumstances your suggestion would make a lot of sense. Even if the camera (which he cannot afford) confirmed what he knew, it would not open any options that are not already available to him.

      This is a circumstance where the consequences have to seem natural and logical without the added expenses of bringing a middleman into play.


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