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I love that dead time between Christmas and New Year when nothing much is happening. I like to take stock before launching into the New Year. Not that I ever make resolutions. I don’t have the temperament.  But it’s good to look back on the highs and lows of the previous year and plan a bit for the next one. So what have we been doing on the plot before the apprentices get back to school?

  • browsing the seed catalogues and deciding what we’ll be growing this year
  • filling in our new diaries and toasting crumpets in front of the fire
  • booking our first proper holiday for a few years for the Summer…and finding someone to look after the chickens while we’re away. The South Downs are calling……
  • starting a new compost heap
  • collecting a load of logs, chopping and storing them and gathering kindling on our walks in the woods. One of the apprentices found this poem about which wood burns best so we thought we’d share it with you.

Logs to burn! Logs to burn!
Logs to save the coal a turn!
Here’s a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodsman’s cries.

Beech wood fires burn bright and clear,
Hornbeam blazes too’
If the logs are kept a year
To season through and through.

Oak logs will warm you well
If they are old and dry.
Larch logs of the pine smell
But the sparks will fly.

Pine is good and so is Yew
For warmth through winter days,
But poplar and the willow too
Take long to dry or blaze.

Birch logs will burn too fast,
Alder scarce at all,
Chestnut logs are good to last
If cut in the fall

Holly logs will burn like wax –
You should burn them green.
Elm logs like a smouldering flax,
No flames to be seen.

Pear logs and Apple logs
They will scent a room,
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom.

But Ash logs all smooth and grey,
Burn them green or old,
Buy up all that come your way
They’re worth their weight in Gold!

Have a very happy 2010. I’m off to bake cakes as our hens are laying prolifically and then to finish sketching out a plan for the plot this year.