A grueling but enjoyable annual tradition: I carried two tons of wood pellets this morning. We bought a pellet stove for the library several years ago and run it all winter (plus part of fall and spring). The stove burns pellets that look like rabbit feed. We go through a couple of tons during the heating season, and you get a better deal if you order in early summer.
The pellet delivery satisfies me in a forward-thinking, squirrel-burying-nuts kind of way. Since we pay for the pellets now, that’s hundreds of dollars of heating bills that won’t be hitting us around Christmas. Receiving a full supply in warm weather also prevents my having to stock back up in frigid weather, a mistake I made in the first year when I under-ordered and had to carry the extra ton on a slushy cold January day.
Most people ordering pellets have a driveway. The deliveryman drives up and leaves the order wherever you like, maybe right in the back of your garage where the pellets can stay all winter as you burn them one bag at a time. We have neither a driveway nor a garage, so our delivery is left on the street in front of our house. Where I need them is the back corner of the basement. This takes some work.
The pellets arrive on two separate pallets. Each pallet holds fifty bags weighing 40 lbs each for a rand total of 4,000 lbs.
Our house is higher than the road, with two small hills that don’t look like much until you’re walking up and down them, fully loaded, 100 times.
It’d be easy for someone to steal a bunch of bags in the middle of the night, so I have to get them off the road pronto. And so I do, carrying one bag at time up the double-hill and down the length of the house, where I pile everything up near the rear basement window.
My regular exercise must be paying off because I was able to carry 2,000 lbs. without resting; I wasn’t able to do that two years ago. After the first ton was moved, I came inside, ate a piece of chicken, drank water and juice, watched an episode of Breaking Bad, and went back out to haul the second ton.
Bones was fascinated. He watched me from the front window and ran to meet me at the back window forty times before he finally got tired. (When I carried the second batch, he wised up and watched from the front window only.)
Now that everything’s off the road, Phase 2 will be getting the pellets into the basement. What we do is place a plastic slide from my son’s old swingset so it runs from the ground-level window down to the basement floor. My wife and son slide the bags in–this way they don’t break or grown misshapen–while I receive them inside and pile them up into nice neat stacks. The finished piles are immensely pleasing.
It’s also a hell of a workout. My heart rate was over 150 throughout the two solid hours it took me to move it all. I determined my heart rate using an iPhone app, aptly named Instant Heart Rate, that really works even though it seems like it shouldn’t.