One of the more unique places I meet interesting people is at the City of Tulsa Green Waste Site. This is where people go to dump trees that have been cut down or yard waste. I have two fireplaces – one large and one small. I had the larger one converted to gas logs since it’s in the living room and I’m not spending much time in there. The smaller one burns wood and I love a good wood fire. But, it’s small, so regular logs are sometimes a problem.

A few years ago, I discovered the Green Waste site where I could go and pick up small pieces of wood for free. It’s about 15 minutes from home and, on a pretty day, it’s kind of fun to go out and pick around the wood pile. There used to be a huge area that I could dig around, looking for scraps and small logs. There are also huge piles of brush and wood being ground into mulch, which is also free. Plus, you get a nice drive a little way into the country.


Almost always, while walking around picking up small logs, people start conversations with me. I’ve never met anyone who isn’t nice at the wood yard, which is great considering many of them are wielding axes and chainsaws. Some of the people are getting wood to re-sell, others are just chopping their own wood. We talk about the different kinds of trees and, usually, someone will hack off some little pieces for me when they know what I’m doing. I’ve had people start helping me find what I need. I’ve met young and old alike out there. I’m sure they think they’re taking pity on this poor old woman picking through the wood. They don’t realize I consider it kind of a fun thing, plus I bend over a lot more than I would if I were told to do it for exercise.

This year, it’s all changed. There is less wood because people know about it and clean it out pretty quickly. Mostly big hunks, so I try to find someone with a chainsaw who is kicking out scraps. We’re also not allowed to scavenge from the big piles, maybe for safety reasons. Bummer. I need to write someone about that – I’m not the only one looking for small pieces.


Today, I found some pretty good wood and met some interesting people. There was an African American guy with dreadlocks in an old pickup who might look kind of dangerous somewhere else, but we talked at the wood yard. There was another older man waiting for someone to meet him to help split logs who followed me around talking the good old boy talk. I found some wood with wood worms and showed him for more conversation. They were pretty interesting, really.



There’s just no pretense at the wood yard. None whatsoever. I always feel good when I get back, mainly because it restores my faith in the basic goodness in human beings. And I have nice fires on chilly nights.