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Ready for chilly nights and firelight

Life seemed a delightfully simple adventure when we moved here in the early ’80s. Our home sat on a flank of the Rogue River in Trail, a reclamation from the 1964 flood. My uncle purchased it and went to work alongside my cousins turning it into cozy living quarters.

Moving there from the desert Southwest, I found myself staring out the windows at an astounding amount of water flowing past. At long last I had returned to my Pacific Northwest homeland.

There were a few major culture changes and a rural living learning curve. One pioneer lesson involved chopping and gathering firewood for our small Lopi woodstove, which radiated enough warmth for all 700 square feet of our living quarters. These were pre-pellet days. I enjoyed splitting kindling with an ax, a tool foreign to most desert dwellers. Heat from a woodstove is different from electrically heated air — warmer, more penetrating, organic. Plus it pops and crackles.

Now I have two efficient heat pumps, one upstairs and one down. I set the thermostat and forget it. No stoking, tending, ash scooping or chopping. No atmosphere. However, a brick fireplace stands ready for the nights I get homesick for the flicker or when a lack of power renders my big daddy units mute.

Recently I went in search of firewood, not wanting to get caught shivering with my heat down this coming winter season when a cold wind doth blow. I struggled through the uncertainty of ill-preparedness the past several years, but this time, I would lay in a store for chilled nights and dancing firelight shadows on the walls.

I found Josh and Mikaela Mclaughlin of Mclaughlin Firewood on Facebook Marketplace. I arranged for a half cord of mixed seasoned madrone and fir delivered from Butte Falls to Eagle Point and stacked for $135. I considered it a fabulous buy. They offer a full 128-cubic-foot cord of madrone for $250, fir $200, or mixed for $230. A cord is a stack 4-by-4-by-8 feet. Delivery and stacking are optional for a fee. Those older than 55 qualify for a delivery discount and free stacking.

Yesterday they came with my load. The wood is beautiful, dry and cut into perfect sizes for my fireplace, but it was all madrone. Josh said because the order was wrong, he would give me the better wood for the same price plus bring a load of fir for starter fuel at no extra charge. He knows how to make things right and win over customers.

Because of my woodpile location, it took him over an hour to unload and stack the wood as neat as a pin, so I offered extra green. They’re a young couple just starting a new business. They reminded me of another young couple more than 35 years ago starting out on an entrepreneurial life toward riches. I was the secretary, too, handling phone calls, sending out and paying invoices, and walking neighborhoods hanging fliers on doorknobs to announce our service. There was no internet or Facebook, just young legs and strong backs.

So, I have the prettiest stack of dry madrone you ever saw. I can face winter power outages with confidence and not worry my head about having to call the hotel to see whether they welcome cats. And Josh will bring the fir, because I have his word and his hand on it. His number is 541-621-4835.

My next call will be for a chimney sweep to come prepare the way for future flame-gazing and marshmallow roasts. Stay warm, everybody, and happy Halloween.

Reach freelance writer Peggy Dover at pcdover@hotmail.com.