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Cosy fireside

Heavy snow, freezing temperatures and a fierce north wind whipping against the house means we didn’t go outside all day yesterday – except to fill the log basket. It’s good for the soul to have days like this occasionally. There’s nothing like playing boardgames in front of the fire, baking biscuits for tea and toasting your toes when it’s wild outside.

When we moved into this house one of our first jobs was to remove the gas fire, unblock the chimney and get it checked out. Finances (lack of) prevented the installation of a woodburner but things weren’t in bad shape and so we made do with a pot of fire cement to effect some repairs and a new fire basket.

Wood fires were new to me. The range and open fires I grew up with  were strictly coal fed but watching my mother and grandmother wiping every surface free of a greasy black film every day was enough to put me off that idea. Wood is entirely a different beast and I had a lot to learn. To me logs were logs but over time and with help from ‘woody’ friends I have learnt which woods burn best, how to store them and where to find the best quality. Ash is good for its heat and flame but I lke the scent of apple and walnut.

In a week or so we’ll need to collect another load of logs. We don’t have room to store many  but we have found a woodsource not too far away where we can spend an hour loading up the car boot with seasoned wood. The rest of the day involves unloading, splitting and stacking the logs for use on days like these. It’s a job for the whole family and one I’d recommend to anyone.