Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. When we last looked at my pile of 2 x 4s the readings from my moisture meter ranged from 10 percent to 18 percent. My reason for using this stuff was price , a “precut” (almost 8′ long piece) cost $2.38 at our local home center. Good price, but if I tried to work with it in that condition, my finished benches would have twisted as the wood reached equilibrium with our shop environment. Cutting them to rough length and putting stickers in between helped to speed the process. Late last week I was getting consistent readings of 9-10% at the middle and the ends of my boards and decided it was time to proceed.
Without a meter, you’re left to guess about how wet the stuff is. One way to judge is by weight; drier pieces are lighter. Wet material will also feel cold and damp to the touch. Comparing new lumber to some that has been around for a year or so will also help you judge.