A. V. Walters


Just a quick update to Snobs–we’ve run out of almond! Even with beautiful days, our cold nights have completely drawn down our store of seasoned firewood. It’s not that we’re wasteful; we keep the house at about 62 degrees. I’ve reached the point where I find a normal home’s (say 68 degrees) stifling.

I called my supplier and he couldn’t help us. Apparently the almond growers have been lured out of the firewood market by guaranteed sales to the biomass buyers. When they pull an orchard for rotation, these new buyers will immediately grind the entire lot for the co-generation of electric power. The growers recover a little less, but they don’t have to store the wood for seasoning. They can almost immediately re-plant with new trees. That is, after all, their business. They’re almond growers and the focus is on the nuts, not firewood.

However, my supplier did slyly indicate that he’d scored some manzanita–hot burning, dense, with as many BTUs as our favorite, almond. It’s a rare opportunity; he’s never seen it before in  quantity. I checked it out on the net and, sure enough, manzanita has the same BTU rating as almond. And it is beautiful wood. The interior looks like cherry. The smooth bark ranges from rust to burgundy. And it is heavy. We got a sample–a third of a cord to carry us until it warms up at night. So, this evening we’re sampling our new, exotic firewood. It’s lovely and it’s hot! The listings on the internet warned us not to overload the wood stove and they weren’t kidding. So, for those who thought we were firewood snobs before, eat your hearts out! We’ll finish out the season with manzanita and do next year with a blend of Walnut and what manzanita we have leftover from this season. Hopefully, beyond that, we’ll be able to get more almond.