Fire Wood is Free at WOOD RESCUE
Fire wood is essential if you're going to stay warm with a wood-fired heating appliance. You can cut and haul wood yourself from a national forest, buy it and have it delivered, or you can get it free like I do.
Free firewood to heat your home? You bet!
What better way to save money than by eliminating your heating bill? In norther climates, it's probably your largest utility bill.
Free fuel to heat your home. Now that's what I call cozy frugal living.
There is an abundance of free firewood for those who take the time to harvest it - and you don't have to go far to do it. There is no end to the wood one can collect if you are really focused on getting it at no cost.
Let me tell you how I do it, and you'll be amazed at how simple it is to get wood at no cost. You can save money if you simply do something similar.
As background, I should let you know that I used to look in the local trading paper for people that were getting rid of fire wood. I would call at 7am the day the paper came out, and there would already be someone loading it up.
I was trying to get free fire wood, and the market was relatively competitive. Seems like there were many others who were interested in free wood to heat their homes. And, why not? I'm not the only frugal living fellow in this neck of the woods.
I had plenty of experience collecting pallets from home improvement stores and the like, but I wanted wood that was easier to process. And, I wanted no competition.
Like others, I wanted free fire wood, so I put my mind to work thinking of a way to get it at little or no cost. And, how would I get it without all those o'dark thirty in the morning competitors?
I'll Rescue the Fire Wood!
A light bulb went on in my head one day. It convinced me to put an ad in the local trading paper offering to pick up the wood at no charge. That would be a great way to beat the competition. People would call me and let me know of their unwanted wood - only I would know, and these wood donors wouldn't need to put an ad in the paper.
I called myself Wood Rescue, offering free scrap wood pickup. It was a joke based on the many dog rescue programs that you are probably familiar with. Well, it was a big hit with many residents.
Within a couple days, I was getting calls from homeowners all across town that had scrap wood to get rid of. Whether it was a couple pieces of wood or a great big pile, I went with my pickup truck and trailer and got free fire wood from about 30 places that were very happy to get rid of it.
Sometimes the wood was from tree trunks and branches, but most often it was scrap wood of some sort. The overwhelming majority of it was untreated scraps and sheeting. I picked up fire wood for about 4 weeks. Let me tell you of four places that were special bonanzas with respect to firewood.
- First there was a man who wanted his yard cleaned up. When I arrived to get the first load, the homeowner came out and helped me. When the trailer got up to the rail, he thought we were finished with the loading. Instead we continued loading it to about 5 feet above the rail and then strapped it down tight.
He had offered to pay me for taking the wood off of his hands, but I declined. A deal is a deal - free scrap wood removal. I knew the value of what I was getting. After he stood back and looked at the huge pile of wood strapped to my trailer, he knew it too. He remarked "That's a lot of wood."
And, three and a half trailer loads later, I had it all transported back to my place where it could be cut and stacked to heat my house over the winter.
- The second special place was a yard with neatly piled plywood sheets and cut fire wood from limbs and branches. The city required the wood to be removed as a fire hazard or an "eye sore". It wasn't either of those, but I nevertheless hauled it away. Later when the wooden fence was replaced, I hauled that away too.
In the pile of wood were several items of iron. One nice long and large steel I-beam, and several heavy duty I-beams of smaller dimension. The owner wanted them to go as well, so they became my reward for helping with the cleanup.
- The third place was a residence where I got nice wood logs and scrap wood, and a free wood stove. If you're going to have wood heat, you might as well have a wood stove too. In the homeowners joy of getting his yard cleaned up, he tossed in the wood stove just for good measure.
- The last special place was a ranch out west of town. Here was the motherlode of all fire wood. The ranch had been in business for many years, and there was perhaps 80 years accumulation of power poles, fencing, construction material and the like.
I cherry picked the best of the wood, including cutting off the treated butts of the poles and hauling away just the untreated wood. It made for nice fire wood my first season heating the house. The ranch was a fantastic win-win. Their place was clean - mine was heated.
In addition to firewood, the ranch owner gave me several useful items, including an overhead pickup truck rack, a homemade camper shell (that is now a chicken house) and a 300 gallon fuel tank with stand. Not a bad haul - all as my reward for helping clean up the fire wood.
At one of my Wood Rescue locations, the owner was acquainted with a man that ran a pallet yard in town. It was common knowledge that he had lots of scrap wood from rebuilding pallets. After a few phone calls and a little negotiating, I had my trailer parked in the pallet yard where they filled it up instead of me. All I did was cart the stuff back home and unload.
After I had unloaded my first couple of trailers full of fire wood, I got smart and started lining the trailer bed with cables that allowed me to unload much easier. When I arrived home with a big trailer load, I would lace a heavy chain into the cables and use my backhoe to lift the whole mess off the trailer.
With my focus now being pallet wood, that meant I didn't load it, nor did I unload it. My only work was to cut and stack.
So, the lesson here is that you can get all the fire wood you want if you advertise a free service like my Wood Rescue. All you need is time, a way to haul all this stuff, and a place to put it.
Now, I have about 10 years of wood piled up around the place, and there is no need to get any more. My job now is simply cutting and stacking.
One note: with our dry climate here in Wyoming, this is all possible to do without fear of the wood rotting away. This isn't necessarily true in other parts of the country. It may be necessary to protect wood from rain and pests that help deteriorate it rather quickly.
Good luck with your own Wood Rescue, should you choose to go this route. It's a sure fire way to practice frugal living - the wood is free and so is the heat you get from it.
Done with Fire Wood, take me back to Heating with Wood