Getting Wood

It's safe to say since when we moved to our hillside that we have embraced wood. We forage wood, we spent Carol's redundancy on a wood heating system - that didn't go well but it hasn't stopped us from loving our wood stove in the front room. Even the ash comes in useful in the garden. It's that time of year where the pagan in all of us comes to the fore but those of us with wood stoves start to make sure that our winter store is ready. There is something wonderful about wood, not just in the burning of it but in the recycling of it and uses of it around growing food.

Collect your own fire wood

So, after each storm last year we went out, we foraged the wind fallen branches, cut them up, stacked them somewhere dry and left them there for twelve moths. There are very few trees you can burn straightaway without damaging your chimney, you can burn green ash but we would still be wary of this as a new chimney liner is more expensive than waiting for twelve months. When you get through that first year you can get into the rhythm of collecting your own wood, you'd be surprised what a cheeky request will get you when a neighbour is cutting down a tree. If they have no chimney they'll kiss you for taking away the wood. If they have a smoking chimney then they may have a few choice words for you. If you don't ask though you may see it on the back of van going to the tip or someone else's log burner, and then you will mutter some choice words to yourself.

Stack wood somewhere dry for winter

This year we have birch in the porch, birch in our wood basket ready to burn over winter. All the kindling is leftover pieces from building work on the house. We kept the best pieces to make a bench and table for the kitchen but the rest is for the fire. You'd be amazed at the amount of wood builders throw away each year, hardly any of it gets recycled and as long as it is a soft wood or hard wood, and not a composite or painted you can chop it up and put it in your log pile. There is something deeply satisfying knowing that your wood pile cost you only your time. When you've finished, you can put your feet up in front of your fire.


  1. We have our solid fuel Rayburn in the kitchen. Due to the mild weather we are having, all be it rainy and very windy at times, we are yet to light it. I can't wait to be honest! Our energy bill is less in the winter than in the summer as it heats the house, warms the water and cooks all our food. We have great access to wood from our own field and due to Jon working at the sawmill we are also very lucky to be able to take wood from there. If we ever see wood going spare we are never shy to ask! Being on the wintery weather, that's what I say!

    1. Yes, we barely have the central heating on in winter. We put it on for 1 hour in the morning and then the stove is lit. It heats all downstairs for us.