Thursday, April 24, 2014


On of the most satisfying jobs on the land is gathering our own firewood. We have used fallen trees, gorse, the neighbour's felled pines. This year we gathered wood from a fallen tānekaha, dead tagasaste trees, a self-sown pine that we felled as it was too close to the driveway, some chestnut prunings and the remains of a large dead pine that we had felled a couple of years ago.
The tree was next to the drive and we were a bit worried that it would block the driveway, so I parked the car on the gate side of the tree.
But Mac felled it perfectly, with room to drive past if we needed to.
Of course the success was all due to supervision by Bob The Dog.
I did some de-limbing but I really need to do some muscle building - I seem to have lost a lot of strength since the previous summer.
Mac did most of the hard work.....
....while I dragged the waste wood and piled it to decompose.
The creatures living in the tree were not impressed at the disruption, poor things.
The old tree that we've been using for a couple of years now, has so much gum, you don't need anything but a log and a bit of crumpled newspaper to ignite it - it's really amazing.

I gathered flax stalks to dry and use as fire-starters - the outside 'bark' catches alight easily, while the pith inside smoulders for ages.

This is the first year we have had a wood shed to keep it in - our old leaky water tank. Mac cut a door in it, and sealed up the holes. It leaks a bit but the wood will still be drier there than stacked under the eves of the house, as in past years. And it's big enough to store new wood to dry for next winter.

There's still a fair bit to split yet, but there's enough to keep us warm for this year and some of next year. It's very satisfying work, but I'm glad we don't live somewhere that has harsh snowy winters - like my friends in Fairbanks, Alaska - the firewood gathering would be a much bigger job.

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