Dude, you got any green?

Winter woes
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 23, 2008

I heat my house with two wood stoves, and have for the past seven years, since I moved from Spring Street to the wilds of Gray (yes, it’s in Maine). Now, thanks to you yahoos who had all your eggs in the oil-heat basket and decided to diversify into wood this year, I’m officially screwed.

I feel like I’m back in college, trying to score some decent weed. Despite what the commercials with the frying pan might imply, I’ve never found it particularly easy to get a good bag of kind bud (that’s what us hippie types called “marijuana” — don’t ask).

When you finally tracked down someone who was selling weed, here’s what you needed to consider: What’s the quality? If it’s commercial grade, you might as well take off your socks and smoke those. How much is available? It’s no good buying a dime bag if you know you’re going to have to go through the same search again tomorrow. How many middlemen? That affects the price. Is it dry? Wet weed weighs more but smokes less and gets you ripped off. When can you get it? If it’s after the Phish show on Friday, we don’t want it.

Trust me, we spent countless hours trying to get just the right balance of great weed at a cheap price, on demand. There was an art to it, really, and I wasn’t particularly good at it. I didn’t have the dedication. Luckily, my roommate didn’t seem to care about much else, so I was pretty much always set.

I wish I had that roommate around now.

Prior to this year, I never had to worry about any of those factors in getting wood. I called up a guy named Brad Terrell and he came and delivered my wood. Sure, the price went up from $110 a cord (seasoned, meaning dry and burnable right away) in 2001 to $165 a cord in 2007, but it was still way cheaper than oil, so I was okay with that. Then Terrell died of cancer, oil prices went crazy, and I found myself getting texts like this one:

“Yo, my friend knows a dude with some firewood. Put in a call 4 details. Ur still looking, right?”

Seriously. That’s a real text still on my phone. It’s that bad. Last week, after seeing a panic-laden article on the cover of the daily rag about how wood’s getting scarce, I called every single wood seller who came up on Google. Most of them outright laughed at me. A few sympathized with me and gave me other numbers to call. A couple said they had green wood available, but couldn’t get it to me until November. Remember what I said about burning socks? After the Phish show?

So I went underground, using my old weed-buying skills. “You better take a look at it first,” I heard when someone recommended a guy who had a few cords to get rid of. “I think it’s kind of punky.” You mean too wet? Won’t smoke good?

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