New Mexico Woodpile

wood pile scene in Taos, New Mexico

Cow shoulder blade voodoo thing in background

Believe it or not, there are two cords in there. The pile is twice as long as it is high, and you’re looking at it from the end. “Mixed wood,” $180 a load, mostly red fir and just a little green. That’s five dollars less than I was paying for naturally dry five hundred year old piñon from my mystical wood guy last year. Hard to believe I was paying that little, but I was. He’s had health issues and couldn’t make it work this fall, which had me scrambling for a supplier and I’m lucky that I found one. A friend told me where I could buy “super-dry” red fir rounds and who to call to split them, but by then we’d already gotten another inside tip from someone my wife knows and ran with that.

It’s all about who you know around here. I don’t mean in the sense of special favors, I mean for doing anything at all. You’ll find a few firewood sellers in the yellow pages, for example—if you can find the yellow pages—but the infrastructure isn’t there and Google doesn’t know these guys. Our latest savior starts his wood truck with an old T-handle screwdriver, but his name is Tom and he has roots. His grandfather built “the first house in Talpa, down by the river.” That would be the Rio Grande del Rancho. On a quiet night in a wet spring, I can hear it running in the valley below.

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