Today is wood-stacking day — again. And that's a good thing, even if it is hard work.Yesterday I called the local firewood vendor we found out about a few weeks ago while shopping for a new wood-burning stove for our living room. He's located in the town of Vallières-les-Grandes, near Amboise, about 20 miles from Saint-Aignan.
This wood is a mix of chêne (oak) and charme (an excellent firewood sometimes called ironwood in the U.S.).
A woman answered the phone when I called the number at about 10:00 a.m. She was very helpful, taking my order for 3 stères (or cubic meters) of firewood cut into logs 33 centimeters long (that's 13 inches). I asked her if 3 stères was a big enough order for them to be willing to fill. It's not quite a full cord. We needed the wood delivered to the house. She said fine, no problem. My husband is out on a delivery now, and he will call you as soon as he can. I gave her our address and phone number.
Callie had to come outside and sniff the wood to make sure it was okay.
In the past, we've always bought 1-meter-long logs, and Walt has spent many days cutting them into three pieces during August, September, and October so that we'd be ready for the heating season. Last year the man we bought wood from didn't deliver it until October, after promising to have it here in July. One year we got a delivery of 14.5 stères (4 cords), enough for three winters' burning, at a bargain price. Other years, we've ordered between 3.5 and 5 stères each time. Last winter was a mild one so we have some wood left over for next winter to supplement this load as needed.
Campanules (bellflowers) growing by the front door
This time, no cutting will be required. The logs are already the right size to fit into our old wood stove, if we decide to keep it, or into any new one we might have installed this summer. Most people here do heat at least partially with wood, as we do. It's a lot less expensive that heating with gas, fuel oil, or electricity alone, and wood is a sustainable resource in France. The government encourages heating with wood by giving people a 30% tax credit when they buy a new wood-burner.
I was surprised yesterday when the man who sells firewood called us back just before noon. He said one of his customers had canceled a delivery, so he could bring us our wood in the afternoon. Great, I said. We'll be here. Two young men with a truck full of wood arrived mid-afternoon and dumped the logs next to our carport. The cost was about 200 euros, but that's a bargain when you think that last year we paid 150 euros for the same amount of wood, not to mention 75 to 100 euros in chainsaw maintenance and gasoline.