With all the wood burners, especially new, struggling to find inexpensive sources of fire wood, seasoned fire wood, wondering what kind of wood to get, and hoping to make it through this heating season with the crumbs left us in the economy melt-down, the old adage "If you don't have a plan, any road will get your there," comes to mind -- if you don't mind where you end up. There is no wrong time to have a plan, and there is no time too late to have a plan. Maybe the plan will be for next year or the year after. But make the plan now, outline the action steps to achieve it, put a time line on each action step achievement, and next year or the year after you will be relaxed and enjoying wood heat comfort during a cold winter. Any wood is good firewood. Some just has more heat energy per pound when dry than other wood. This link shows you which wood packs more heat energy per dry pound. http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/heating_value_wood When buying wood, compare price based on heat (btu) value per pound. Often the more expensive wood per cord is less expensive based on heat value. And sometimes the opposite is true. Wet wood does not burn. If wood is wet, the heat from a fire or other source has to dry out the wood before it burns, so wet wood consumes lots of heat energy, if you try to burn it. Very inefficient and expensive. "Seasoned" can mean almost anything; what you want is "seasoned" wood that is dry. Dry is moisture content of about 25% or less, and the "or less" the better. Moisture content is not easy to check in a load of wood, and some pieces may be much drier than others. A dry surface does not mean a dry interior. A moisture meter can help (pin type or surface type), but drying (seasoning) wood is not rocket science, so do a little advance planning and forget about the science. Most wood cut, split, and stacked in the open air with good air circulation over one summer (4 months) will be dry enough to burn that fall and winter, but it is far better to give the wood two summers to dry. And some very dense woods take a minimum of two summers with three being much better. I haven't found any wood that takes longer than three summers. The key to drying is good air circulation. Stack the wood off the ground (8" is good), don't make the stacks too wide (maximum of 4' wide or 3 rows wide), and leave space between stacks. A windy site is better than less windy; sunny is better than less sunny. Covering can help if the cover is not tight to the top of the stack - make sure that there is good air circulation across the top of the stack. Many people successfully dry wood with no cover. A tight cover, like from a tarp that hangs over the sides, really impedes air circulation and increases condensation that drip back on the wood -- not good. Experience will tell you how much wood you need to have on hand. For most people with ordinary inside wood stoves, average sized homes, and wood heat much of the time, 3-6 cords per year is enough. Having too much is better than too little. Wood unburned this year is even better burning next year. As mentioned above, any wood is good firewood - if it is dry. No wet wood is good firewood. Wet wood almost always equals creosote. Dry wood, burned in a relatively hot fire, almost always means no or very little creosote. Creosote is the result of a too cool fire, which often results from wet wood, or letting your fire smolder. The chemistry of wood burning requires a relatively hot fire to achieve relatively complete combustion. If combustion is not complete, you are sending unburned wood gases ($$$) up the chimney. Your buck, not mine. Although this may vary by stove, and by catalytic or not, actual burn temperature of about 600-1100 is the range of efficient burning for most wood stoves. Some may be hotter, I don't think any are cooler. In my experience this usually translates to exterior flue temperature 18" above the top of the wood stove in the range of 300-400 for efficient burns. With my stove 350 is the sweet spot. Interior flue temperatures are about twice this. Obviously, you can burn hotter, but the result is more heat being thrown away up the chimney. Most double wall, insulated, Class A chimney are rated at about 2000 continuously, so you have plenty of safety factor unless you are burning really, really hot, or you have a chimney (creosote) fire. CORRECTION: Class A chimneys are rated at 1000F continuous and the 2000F is only for short duration. See following posts. If you need 4 cords of fire wood for an average winter, a good plan might be, if adopted today: On October 1, 2009, I have 9 cords of cut, split and stacked fire wood on hand that has dried for at least 4 months; with 4 cords for burning winter 2009-2010, and 4 cords the following winter. The extra cord is for that really cold winter. Then add 4 cords each summer so you always are burning wood dried two summers. Enough said; time to sip a cup of coffee by the warmth of my wood stove burning wood dried 3 full summers.