This December has been a bit of a struggle for us, it started out fine but then our heater went out and was out for a week. If any of you know me, you know that our rental house has a few issues. It’s an old house, and everything in it is old and temperamental. This wasn’t the first time it went out, but it was the longest time we went with out heat from the furnace.
When we moved in to this house a year and a half ago, I was very adamant about making sure we had wood for our fireplace and wood stove as a back up heat. One of the reasons was because I wasn’t sure how cold it would be up here (being new to the PacNW) but the other reason was that we had the fireplace and wood stove, so why not be prepared to use it? Everyone thought we were crazy for wanting to buy 3 cords of wood; 3 cords was the minimum I wanted, but it ended up being all we got because everyone just kept telling us we wouldn’t need it so we figured we should listen to those familiar with the area.
Last winter we used the fireplace and stove off and on and it even came in handy a few times when the furnace was acting up. This summer we had planned on restocking our wood pile but never did for various reasons (money, time, etc.), and besides we had used only about half of it over the past winter, so we thought we’d be good to go. Then December rolls around and BAM!, no heat for a week…
I wasn’t too stressed because I did have the wood and am pretty good at getting a fire started in the morning and keeping it going all day (even keeping coals going overnight), but by the third or fourth day we started getting worried… we were going through wood way too fast. By the seventh day, we had our fingers crossed that the heater repairmen would get the furnace running because we were down to 8 pieces of wood. That’s all we had left, and with the holidays we were very strapped for cash.
Thankfully the heater was repaired and we didn’t need to use those last 8 pieces; but I was still a little bothered. I no longer had a wood pile, I no longer had a back up; and we aren’t even halfway through winter.
So I got on facebook and asked if anyone had any cheap or free wood sources. I was a little unsure if I would get any response. After all it is the middle of the winter, the wet season, wood sources become scarce this time of year and those that do have wood, they like to keep a hold of what they have for the same reasons I wanted wood. However, I did get an offer of free wood. I would just have to come and cut up the downed trees on the property, some of it has been down for a few months while some of it is just recently down. This was awesome news, but then I had a new problem. How would my husband and I get it and bring it home? We have a trailer and a chainsaw, but we really need 2-3 cords worth (a cord of wood is the amount of wood that fits in a 4 foot by 4 foot by 8 foot space) and there is no way we could get that much wood in a short period of time on our own.
We thought about it a bit and decided to just throw it out there, on facebook, that we were looking for some help. There is a part of us that really didn’t want to ask for help, we have nothing to offer them other than a ‘Thank you’ and like most people we just didn’t want to admit that we were in need of help. We really didn’t expect the response, it was simply heart warming!
Four days after Christmas we had 8 people (not including my husband and I) out on the property that belonged to our 2 other friends (who were actually out sick from work, and both came out to talk to us and assist as much as they could) cutting up downed trees and cutting down trees for us; not to mention one very awesome friend who watched the kids for us at her home. We had 5 chainsaws, 3 trucks and our trailer. We worked from 10am to 5pm and were able to bring home 2.5 cords of wood!! It was an amazing show of support, we were blown away by the kindness and support our friends gave us.
The best part is, these friends were all military or retired military. Some of them we’ve known for years and some of them for only months (or even weeks and only met online, like the property owners!), yet they all stepped up when we asked for help. I only wish we are able to do the same for each of them when they are in need.
The day after we brought it all home and again today, one of our very good friends and my husband cut to size, split, and stacked ALL of that wood. Again the time and labor offered warms my heart!
With all that happens these days, sometimes I forget what community support looks like, but this month I witnessed it first hand when our friends stepped up to the plate and all came together to help out my family. I can’t express enough how it makes me feel!