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MOTHER LODE!!! Or why I love scrounging

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Badfish740, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,510
    I don't have a stove yet as I'm waiting for the sales to purchase one in the spring. Our house (bought in June) came with just over half a tank of oil that they surprisingly didn't make us pay for at closing, so we've been stretching that as far as possible and I'm in no hurry to fill since the price of fuel oil is still dropping here in New Jersey. I've been picking up free wood here and there via Craigslist and just happening across it and I've managed to accumulate just over a cord in this way plus I just scored a steady supply of nice hardwood pallets from a place 15 minutes from my job. Anyway, on one of the country roads I take to work a tree fell across the road which was cut up by the county and just pushed off to the side in 6-8' sections. I would eye it up on my way to and from work but never stopped to ask about it because the house was not visible from the road and I just didn't feel right pulling into someone's driveway and knocking on the door like that. Then one day I just decided to send a letter-here is the format in case you'd like to cut and paste:

    Head of Household
    123 Any Road
    Anytown, USA

    Dear Sir or Madame,

    My name is __________ and I pass by your property everyday during my commute to __________. Recently I noticed a sizable downed tree that had been cut up and moved to the side of the road near your driveway. I heat my home with wood and would be happy to remove this wood for you free of charge with your permission of course. I would also gladly remove any other downed trees that have fallen on your property if you wish. If you would like this wood removed, please call me at __________ (Cell), or email me at __________ Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely,




    __________

    Not only did this guy call me back, he asked me to come out and look at FOUR OTHER TREES! He had them taken down last summer and they've just been laying there. They're mostly already limbed and are ready to be bucked into rounds. He's an older guy who can't really do the work himself and he's glad to get rid of it. He's also going to ask his neighbors on either side who both have large lots if they have any downed trees they'd like removed. This place could end up heating my house for a LOOOOONG time. So keep your eyes peeled going down the road-get an address and for a mere $0.42 you may just find yourself a pretty good honey hole.

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  2. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,026
    Loc:
    Western CT
    Nice work - don't ask don't get.

    This reminded me to restart my scrounging efforts for sure. Only about 2 cords split for next year and another cord or so to split so I had better get to work.
  3. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,510
    That also reminds me, once I get this stuff cut up I need to post some pictures-I'm pretty sure there's one ash and one oak, but not too sure about the others. It's all hardwood though.
  4. Scrounger

    Scrounger Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    133
    Loc:
    Rockford, MI

    Try knocking on the door. It's easy. Just knock or ring the door bell and stand back so when they come to the door they don't feel threatened. Say, "I'm really sorry to bother you but do you have a use for that wood laying in the ditch?" They either say no, take it, or they say yes, my brother heats with wood and is coming to get it. It's that easy, takes all of two or three minutes. Sometimes they even come out and help you load it up.
  5. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,510
    I hear ya-normally I would do just that, I just felt weird about pulling into such a long driveway uninvited-it's one thing if I could just park the truck on the street and walk to the door. You never know how people are. In any event, this method worked pretty well and I won't have a need to do any more scrounging for a while-this will keep me busy through the winter!
  6. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    887
    Loc:
    Northern Kentucky
    I think the letter is the best way to go. If a stranger knocks on my door I feel like I'm being imposed upon.
    Everybody's different, but I think it's best to take the least imposing method.
    This is a great idea BTW.
  7. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    412
    Loc:
    Va.
    Great idea sending them a letter, and all it cost is $.42. I have stopped if I see someone outside and then ask them. I may try that with the letter. Jeff
  8. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
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    3,585
    Loc:
    SE Mass
    I'd rather find a nutjob on the other side of a door via USPS vs a knock on the door any day.
    (nothing like turning around when no one answers and finding a drooling Cujo)
  9. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    The notes are good. I've had limited success but people usually call me back. I also would add something to the effect that you will NOT be harassing them. One note is all I'll leave because I don't want people to think I'm pushy or chasing them. If they read it and are interested they'll call...if hey don't then move on.
  10. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    924
    Loc:
    Dutchess Cty, NY
    I montior Craigs list every day, search on "firewood". In the past 4 weeks I have seen 5 listings for free wood buried in all the ads for people selling cords. One was an old barn that was taken down and broken up - I got a pickup truck load that I broke up for kindling and its great. 3 of the listings were taken up before I contacted the person. Then on Monday I see a list that read something like this "free fire wood, we have 30+ trees down on the property and would like someone to cut them up and remove" ... and it was within a mile of my house! I called immediately, met the lady a 1/2 hour later. Turns out I coached her step son in baseball about 10 years ago. Set up my first work session for tomorrow. And get this, she says to me, once these get cleaned up my husband wants to cut a bunch more down in the spring. I get home after meeting her and check Craigslist again, she removed her listing - SWEET!
    Talk about MOTHER LOAD!!!

    Keep an eye on Craigslist and respond quickly when you see a freebie!
  11. CT-Mike

    CT-Mike Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    499
    Loc:
    New England
    I found a similar sweet deal on Craigslist. A local farn owner has 90 acres and needs some property cleared so that he can quarry some ledgestone, and get firewood for himself. He doesn't have the time to do it, so I am cutting 10-12 cords for him, 10-12 cords for me. He is cleaning up all the brush and dragging the sticks to the landing with his excavator. All I have to do for him is to buck them into 2' rounds that he feeds into his OWB. For my share, I am hiring a grapple truck to deliver the sticks to my house so that I can buck and split as I have the time.
  12. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    Around here the wood would be snapped up even before you finished licking the envelope. For my last score through Craigslist, the guy said he got 20 inquiries following my phone call.
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