Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
  Burning dead trees
Its the edge of winter here again in the mountains, and that means the pellet stove is up and fired and I'm out scouting around for cheap sources of carbon and hydrogen. Actually this last week its been pretty warm which was nice because a few weeks back in what should have been the beginning of fall, it was darn cold. So cold in fact that I managed to burn nine bags of pellets to keep the wife from realizing/remembering how bad its going to be around February.

I did manage to pile very close to a ton of pellets in my Highlander for the week when Home Depot had lost its mind and was selling bags for $3.11. Unfortunately, by the time they had restocked, they had also come to their senses and raised the price to $4.39. Still cheaper than Walmart which has turned their entire garden center into a pellet storage facility where those pellets may live most of the winter if the price doesn't come down from $4.99. Still, I'm pondering how to keep my stock up for the winter. Based on last year's count, I need somewhere between three and four tons of pellets. Right now I'm sitting at about two (minus what's burning as we speak), so I'm going to need more, but I'd like to still be able to move around in the garage, and I had a vision of a large stack of pellets, sitting on the concrete next to the pit, exerting enough force to chip off a piece of the retaining wall and slide down into my underground pump room.

The second phase of my heating strategy is the same material, but in a rougher form: raw chunks of wood stuff. We have quite a pile of purchased wood sitting out back, but I like to start off the evening with sloppy pine mostly because I usually get it free or near free. The good stuff is $200 a cord, so its questionable how much we're saving burning that instead of other alternatives. Right around February we'll have every heat source possible running at 100% at the same time, just to keep us out of the ice age, so we need some of the good wood, but before then I'd rather be saving money (and spending it on ebay instead of on heating). So I try and get whatever pine I can. Last year we were finishing up a multi-year pile of dead trees delivered to our yard courtisy of a good friend, but this year I was wondering what I was going to do without much plan to resolve the situation on my own. Luckily God pitties me, and he knocked over a 80' tree right into a nice flat spot, and its even easy to get to with my car or truck. So over a couple of weeks, I went out and cut this enormous thing into slices 4-6 feet long and somehow managed to get each of them into the back of my dad's truck and dumped into my yard. Finally, when I though I could handle no more; he had someone else go and wipe out the last quarter in the space of an hour, so that I wouldn't worry about it any more. I also managed to get in on one week of the fire departments tree thinning and picked up a truckload of smaller stuff, but its completely green.

So starting off my log for the season:

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