Our heating runs mainly on wood. We do have an oil boiler as backup, but we prefer to use the wood burner which also acts as a central heating boiler. However, it has taken me a couple of years to work out how much wood we need and more importantly, when to have it cut by. Too late and it hasn’t dried out properly. Burning wet wood is not a good idea! So, basically, we need next winter’s wood in the sheds by the end of May!
With that in mind, I have been out gathering wood for what seems like months now. The winter storms had taken down a few trees which was one source. One of Nicole’s gardening client kindly offered us the remnants of a fallen ash tree. It was by the side of the road on a blind corner which made recovery a wee bit tricky, but we handled that by being out at dawn on a Sunday morning when few people were about.
Also, a neighbour wanted his woodland coppiced, so myself and our neighbours have been sorting that out (we share the wood as payment). That was quite a lot of work as it’s one thing bringing a tree down and another extracting the wood. We more or less carried the wood out by hand.
I also coppiced our willow woodland. Like Hazel, willow really benefits from coppicing and we are expecting an explosion of new growth now. Many trees had fallen and so I took out all the fallen trees and dodgy branches. Those too were all carried out by hand.
The final source of firewood is a lorry load of tree trunks (larch) that we and two neighbours bought together a while back. We have a sort of community scheme for sawing that up which kind of works, and sometimes kind of doesn’t.
Anyway, the net result of all this activity is a huge pile of tree trunks awaiting processing plus what seemed like a huge pile of logs waiting to be chopped to size and stored for firewood. Thankfully, we (neighbours) also share a log splitter and the above picture is the pile after most had been split and some stored. I still use an axe from time to time, especially with the hardwood – I quite like chopping wood the old fashioned way. But, it’s a lot of wood to chop! It is one of those things, a huge pile of logs on the ground seems to melt into a tiny space in the shed, yet when burnt they disappear so quickly.
Nevertheless, I think we now have enough wood stored for next winter. So, now on with sourcing the following winter’s wood – it’s never ending….