Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Heat on the Street

Every time a good wind storm blows through here, limbs fall off people's trees, and they dutifully pick them up and set them to the curb. Eventually, the garbage man will get around to collecting long as they meet the specific pick-up guidelines (no more than 3' long, and the pile is no more than 3' high, and there are no more than 3 piles).

There are still piles left on the side of the roads here from when Hurricane Ida blew through in early November. You'd think the homeowners would chop their wood to conform to garbage pick-up standards just to get it taken away, but no. The yard waste in large plastic see-through bags, yes, but not the limbs.

After getting permission from the homeowner(s) to go through their limb pile(s), we've managed to fill our carport about halfway with limbs to be chopped, limbs broken down into kindling, and limbs ready to burn.

What kills me is these homes had CHIMNEYS! The families inside are throwing heat away. They're also throwing away potential compost.

Along we come, like beggars for scraps--"Sir, may I have wood?" Even though I have a super-efficient HVAC system that works like a charm, there's something cozy and homey about a fire that brings the charm to winter's coming. The fire going cheers me up more than the ticky-tacky Christmas decorations people insist on nailing to their houses--from the stereotypical lights and trees, to the simple holiday-motif banners (no inflatables on my street yet). A couple of house still have pumpkins out from Halloween, and they're right under the wreaths or banners or whatever chosen Christmas stuff displayed.

How many of us are seeing/hearing ads about helping low-income people and seniors with their heating bills? Is anyone out collecting this wood for them, or are they going through their neighborhoods in search of the free heat source?

Am I the only one cleaning our neighborhood by collecting this wood and the fallen pine cones I find at my old apartment complex? Am I the only one who sees wood for what it is--HEAT--and not just tree junk, and am not afraid to go after it?

Not only did I clean out the neighborhood, but I also went to the nearby elementary school and community center parking lot, where I found a car trunk full of thick limbs and many more pine cones.

After the garbage man has collected the "regulation" limbs, and hauled them away to be chipped, does anyone think about calling the city to have a load of those chips delivered to their house for compost or mulch? I did this in Texas, and it made a lovely pine-smelling coating for my gravel-mud driveway. It would compost down into dirt every year, so I'd call and have another load delivered. Three years and three loads later, I had a driveway that was no longer mud, and trees that were much appreciative for the drought protection--free from the city.

Winter hasn't even arrived yet, but if it shapes up to be as bountiful as this fall has, I'm asking Santa for a pickup truck and chainsaw for the trees that will inevitably come down across roads somewhere nearby.


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