Plenty of lemons for lemonade in my sauna life

Neighborhood gentrification continues full kilter here in Portland, Oregon and it only seems to be picking up speed. The character of the neighborhood has changed. Off street parking has dried up--and along with it comes the incessant chirping and staccato honks of people locking their cars with their remotes. (Why, people?! Why?! It doesn't make you safer. It's just annoying.) 

The casualties mount: One of my favorite local groceries, Mercado Don Poncho, was pushed out for more up-scale retail. The Know, a cool pretty authentic punk venue will be leaving soon. Both places will probably be replaced by shoe stores or some such. Neighbors I know and care about have become financially stressed and/or are disenchanted and are moving on. 

One new characteristic of this growth is that there has been an uptick in new home construction. Older houses are getting torn down, replaced with bigger or multiple homes. Lots with big yards are being divided and long-vacant lots are being developed. We've heard a lot of hammering lately.

For me there has been one small recompense: free wood! I've been trolling the neighborhood with my pull wagon, bicycle (with bike buckets) and truck, scavenging scrap wood from the construction sites. Much I've burned in the sauna already but I do also have the beginnings of a proper wood pile.

Behold!



Many of these lumber pieces are 2X6s. The building code requires them for exterior walls. Maybe the ceiling of the second floors are a little shorter now or they had to use 10 footers? I'm not sure but there were a lot of short perfectly-cut-for-my-stove 18 inches 2X6s. Heaven! 

My new rule this summer for rooting through the scrap wood piles: pick up nothing that I have to cut--only short pieces. Skip the tiny scraps too. There's such an abundance of wood, why make work for myself? The vertical pieces in the foreground are me failing with this rule. Discipline, Dave! Discipline.

I love burning lumber. Yes, it lacks the concentrated BTUs of hardwood but fir and hemlock burns fast and hot which I think works best in an undampered sauna stove. Plus cut lumber stacks densely--Tetris style!