My neighbor at the end of the block took down a pretty good sized piñon tree that was blocking the view around the corner. He also took out a juniper tree. I saw my chance, gave him a call got the blessings to go wood scavenging. I got two really heavy loads of piñon and juniper and I am pooped. Piñon is the heaviest and sappiest wood I have ever worked with, it burns hot and long and completely cruds up your chimney, but it is a NM staple. This tree was half dead and probably predated the manhattan project, but at least it will keep me warm this winter.
I did grab a few piñon nuts from a cone to see if I can get them to grow. The birds and squirrels are amazingly good at eating all the good ones. I opened a few, but they were all shriveled. I have a seedling growing in my yard that I planted a few years back. It is doing pretty well. Most of the piñon below 7000 feet in the area have died off in the last 15 years due to prolonged drought, but the few that are in town here seem fine.
The ride was less than a quarter mile to get the wood. the first load was a bit tough, the second one was half piñon and half juniper and it was a cakewalk. I probably will just walk up there with a wheelbarrow and trim the remaining branches with an axe to get some good sappy kindling.
I was able to score a small haul of cottonwood earlier this summer. Cottonwood and aspen are the anti-piñon, they burn hot and fast and clean. I think wood hauling is my favorite use for the big dummy thus far.
Including a big batch of elm that the tree owner would not let me haul off on the bike (he insisted on delivering it to my house via pickup), I probably have scored a cord or so of free wood from the neighborhood over the past few years. Good stuff.