Our neighbors down the street still cook with wood, and, we suspect, heat their home with it as well. Their chimney tells the tale, no matter how warm the day. Even this week, with temperatures at 37 C, brushing 100 F, the mid-day smoke has appeared.
We don’t know these neighbors, but every now and then we see them. She is elderly and plump and wears long skirts and a wary expression. He motors ever so slowly up and down the hill in his aged ape, frequently carrying precariously balanced fruit boxes with him, fuel for the stove. Where does he get them? I wish I could ask him, but they seem wary of strangers, and to them I suspect we are the strangest of the strange.
Other neighbors farther down the street seem to be laying in a good store of wood for the winter ahead. At least we are unable to think of any other reason for this massive collection of wooden pallets.
I can’t imagine having to struggle up the narrow stone stairs on the left to carry fuel to my home (if, in fact, the collector lives up there). In fact, I can’t imagine cooking and heating using fruit boxes and wooden pallets for fuel. But our neighbors do it, and I admire them for it – no doubt it’s the way people cooked for years, using whatever fuel was readily at hand. What a great way to recycle what otherwise might end up in the dump.