For One Maine Family, Change to Fake Logs Brings Pain

AROSTOOK, Maine.  Lowell Bader has been in the lumber business in the Maine North Woods for over forty years, and his roots extend back two generations further to his grandfather Asa.  “Everything I need is right here,” he says as he surveys the family’s timberland.  “Everything except high-speed internet connections, frozen lattes and a video store that stocks something besides Chuck Norris films.”

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Maine North Woods

But that simple way of life is changing, and Bader says he’s resigned to the fact that his children may not be able to eke out a hardscrabble existence from the rolling hills of beech and pine that rise to the sky.  “Times have changed,” he says, shaking his head slowly from side to side, like the plastic dachsund on the rear window deck of his 2002 Toyota Camry.  “People used to buy a cord of wood to get them through the winter,” he says bitterly.  “Now they get their logs at the grocery store.”

Bumper crop of Duraflames

Across State Highway HH, his neighbor Clell Furnell doesn’t share Bader’s pessismism.  “This will be my biggest year ever,” he says with a smile as he wipes the sweat from his brow with a stereotypical red bandana.  “Lowell’s problem is he’s not up-to-date.”

And indeed, the difference between the two men and their stands of trees is immediately apparent, since Furnell plowed up his natural woods several years ago and planted Duraflame and Java-Log seedlings, which have matured into a bumper crop of single-serving fire logs that can be sold at high margins.

Much better

“Your typical housewife trying to achieve a Martha Stewart moment has learned that you can’t leave a roaring fire to a clutzy husband,” says interior decorator Marci Wilbur.  “Just as you’re about to sit down for brie, green apples and white wine around the coffee table, Nature Boy is balling up newspapers and stinking up the room with a sulfur match.  It ruins the mood.”

Oates:  “I’ll be there in a minute.  I just have to finish two novels and a short story collection.”


Fire logs have rapidly displaced natural wood since they were first introduced in 1960’s as a use for recycled Joyce Carol Oates novels.  “Lumber mills and literary critics found that they were paying so much to haul the stuff away they couldn’t make any money,” says Mark Harbaugh, editor of Lumber Industry News.  “Ms. Oates was averaging two books a year, and the stuff was piling up out back of the literary quarterlies.”

King:  “Maybe if I just sit here in the dark I can stop myself from writing.”

Bader claims he appreciates the role that fire logs play in reducing the strain on the nation’s book shelves, but says prolific authors such as Maine’s Stephen King shouldn’t ride to the bank on the backs of family farmers.  “I don’t know why I should suffer just because he’s got logorrhea,” he says.  “After ‘Pet Sematary’ the plot’s been pretty much the same.”

Views: 31

Comment by Con Chapman on January 31, 2017 at 8:59am

Sounds nice.  One thing about vacationing up there--the water's too cold for sharks (and most people).

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 31, 2017 at 11:52am


& Holly Hop Scotch !  Thought there was more to do up here in Stillwater & have you ever & a day been considered for whatchamacallit Push-Cart a-wards?

G keeps opening the door to perk her erogenous zone(s) and thank all things holy for M milk, perfecto --- potentially the closest to pink coral the next generation will ever imagine.  We're bound for the Mall o' America even though we're way down to Centrum Multi-Minty Viatamins (blue) and some ladybug-red-sized Ferrous Sulfate (bright as a flashing red Stoplights) and Glory's going on and on asking why her GI would option another 'look see' by swallowing a camera. "I've got a telephone in my bossom!" she's yelling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr.Uber's gone to McDonald's and an oil change he said at first light and I'm going it takes so long I know.Factor at Hopper-Whitman will be keeping an astute eye out --- anticipating your witty reply --- and IT MEANS BIG YANKEE FRANKLINs ...  to me if you would be so kind to honor us with a sharp (but unsnotty) HIDDY HI, Con.



}Mostly Norwegian}

Comment by Con Chapman on January 31, 2017 at 11:55am

When you put it that way, it makes perfect sense.

Comment by J.P. Hart on January 31, 2017 at 12:06pm

Hamlin Garland! Have we forgotten Hamlin Garland?!

Comment by Con Chapman on January 31, 2017 at 12:25pm

Sonny Tufts?


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