Saturday 31 October 2009

The joy of a full wood shed

If you think that there is a hint of smugness about this post then you are right – because, this year, I actually got all the wood chopped whilst it was dry and the wood shed is full! Bring on those frosts! Of course there are lots of other jobs that should have been done but we will pass quickly on ...

Most people find a wood stove to be a great comfort on a cold night – the cat certainly does ( if it is not yet lit, he sits in front of it and glares at us). I get even greater comfort if I have obtained the wood for free and so far have managed to get free wood for the last 30 years. It has not been hard to find and much of that wood would just have been burnt on bonfires had I not asked for it – a lot of wood has even arrived by wheelbarrow from neighbours.

Of course, burning scrap wood does require a lot of storage space and a suitable chimney - so is not practical for everyone, but flats can be served by communal wood chip boilers. I have helped with scrub clearance and coppicing at two nature reserves this year and piles of useful wood is just being burnt in the open. It seems to me that there is huge potential for growing wood locally for fuel, it is a carbon sink, home for wildlife and provides local resilience and employment. In the 19th century the gathering of firewood from hedgerows was an important privilege, it is about time we started coppicing all those trees planted alongside most new roads, instead of just chipping the trimmings.

I currently have two wood burners and have owned one previously, plus a multi fuel boiler, I’m happy to pass on advice to anyone thinking of getting one.


  1. Dear John’s Cat.

    Peak oil, donchya hate it! I mean once we could just spend all winter in one of those Fleecy Things by the radiator. Now you’d be lucky if one is turned on at all. At least you get a fire! (our wood pile is seriously low). My human seems to spend all her time staring and tapping away at that black box, instead of foraging for wood in the lane. Sometimes I just have to climb inside that sleeping bag with her.

    Heard you got bit by a rat the other day. Well, that’s Climate Change for you. We Transition Cats have got our paws full with those critters profilerating in these mild winters. I can get them pretty smartish, but they are not nice to eat. Gleaning is all very well, but a girl has her limits.

    Oh, for the days when we could dine on Go-Cat without a conscience!

    Resilently yours,

    Charlotte’s Cat.

  2. Loved your post; you've inspired us to book someone to come and check our chimney so that we can use the wood-burning stove that's been sitting unused for the last couple of years. In fact we're also thinking about getting another one for the dining room! If you know and good installers...