Firewood, that is. A lot of it. Been really busy these last few weeks collecting firewood from around the area, bringing it home in the wife’s little SUV, cutting it, splitting it, stacking it. I have about a cord of wood laid in now. A full cord, that is. Three face cords. If you’re counting, that’s about two tons of wood. Not all of it is prime hardwood; about a third of it is cottonwood and there’s about half a face cord of elm. Wood snobs will sneer, and you wouldn’t want to try to heat your home with those, but for firepit and fireplace it’ll be fine.
Craigslist is great for this; people cut down a tree and post the firewood in the free section. But Craigslist is a mixed bag, especially the free stuff. People have weird ideas about what’s acceptable. For example, the first ad we answered was placed by the guy cutting down the tree, not the homeowner, and apparently after we took what we wanted he just bailed and left the homeowner stuck with the big pieces. Now I feel like an accomplice. There was one ad for “free wood” that turned out to be someone trying to con people into tearing down a giant deck. Demolition services cost money, and this guy was apparently hoping to get someone to do the work in exchange for this cracked worn-out decking, suggesting they use it for paneling. (A bad idea; pressure treated lumber contains arsenic.) I’m sure the woman I got all this cottonwood from thinks she pulled the wool over my eyes. “It’s great firewood!” Nah; it’s acceptable firewood, but it happens to suit what I’m using it for.
This leads me into complaining about Craigslist free ads in general. I don’t know if this is a complaint about Craigslist or about the people who use it, really, but here is a public service announcement to people considering posting: nobody wants your old tube TV. Nobody. Wants. It. It’s useless, and everybody knows the only reason you’re trying to give it away is that it costs money to throw it away. Man up and pay the electronics disposal fee at the recycling yard. Nobody wants your 10-year-old computer, either. Or your ramshackle old piano that needs thousands of dollars in repair. When you post these things, you’re trying to fob your problems off on other people.
Here’s another thing. If you post an ad, people are going to want to respond to it. That’s part of the deal, so be contactable, or at least maintain your ad. I found one ad showing an inviting pile of wood at the end of a driveway, saying “come take it.” No address, no phone number, no email link. I clicked the craigslist link to notify the owner that he had no contact information; nothing ever happened. It’s probably still there and the guy’s wondering why no one answered the ad. Similarly, if you’re going to put something out on the curb, that’s fine, but take the ad down or mark it GONE or something when it’s been taken. And people get bent out of shape if you text them when they’re sleeping. How the hell am I supposed to know when you don’t want to be texted, if you didn’t put it in the ad? Why didn’t you turn off your alert?
I seem to have strayed from the point. In fact, I’m not sure I had one. I guess I shouldn’t complain, because free is free, but people using the service this way are eventually going to ruin it for all of us.