In the Greater Daglan Area, judging when to buy firewood, how much to buy, and where to buy it, is just slightly less complex than the Japanese system of just-in-time inventory management for making cars.
Lately we’ve been busy juggling firewood and wondering how long we could make our supplies last before a cool-and-rainy April turned into a gloriously-sunny-and-warm May.
The issue starts with the fact that we have a house that’s several centuries old, with thick walls of limestone. The key to comfort is making sure that the house never gets too cold or too hot, because otherwise the stone walls prolong the misery. So for the past several weeks, we’ve been starting up our fire in the salle à vivre in the afternoon, and letting it burn all night, so that the house stays reasonably warm through our cool (and often rainy) nights.
In the last few days, we had pretty much given up hope that we could make our pitiful supply of firewood last until warm weather is solidly here. So we decided we simply had to order more wood.
To begin, my wife Jan left a voicemail message with the fellow who delivers our bois de chauffage. No response. A day or so later, Jan called once more. Again, no response.
Finally, last night we got a phone call from a woman who said she doesn’t deliver firewood, and she’s not sure who does. In other words, Jan had called the wrong number. After some frantic phoning around, she eventually found the right guy — who said he’d be delighted to deliver four stères (a stère is a cubic metre) of oak, cut to 40 centimetres. But we would have to wait until next Monday or Tuesday.
That still left five or so cool nights to survive, without much wood left on the floor of our garage. Here’s the garage floor with its pitiful supply of wood this morning:
To make do, Jan sent an email to friends who have a holiday home a couple of kilometres from us, and asked if we could borrow from their supply — to be repaid once we got our regular delivery. They were happy to help, so we headed off to their place and loaded up the car with wood. And here it is:
When we arrived home, we unloaded the wood, and then wound up needing to cut up most of it with my chainsaw, because the pieces were too long for our poêle or firebox. Nevertheless, we got it all done, and were pleased with the result. Have a look:
Will this last until our big delivery arrives? Or will we have to make another trip to our friends’ house and borrow more wood? This is just the kind of nerve-wracking tension that adds spice to one’s life.