Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Keeping Warm

Thermal vests at the ready - winter is about to begin!  

Max placed an order for some extra logs to top up the wood store.

Here's my old map of Parsonage Cottage and gardens.  (I drew it for Hector and Merry, a couple of years ago)     The bottom right corner is where the log store is located...very convenient for the wood we cull from Owl Wood, but as far away from the entrance to the gardens as it is possible to get (large X marks the spot)...Hmmmmn!

Oh, well, it provided us with an opportunity to work off some of those Christmas calories as we ferried almost 30 wheelbarrow loads from spot X to the log store.    We had to use that long route because the terracing and retaining walls to the front of the house make the shorter route an obstacle course, especially with wheelbarrows.

This is approximately one third of the load of logs.

Max got them sorted and stacked and they looked like this - trust me, if I had done it they would look a lot messier.   These logs are all ash, they will burn hotly whether seasoned or not.*

One project for the forthcoming year is to build an open-fronted garage and log store down in the front parking area.   It's about time we started making life a little easier as we enter our dotage.

The poly tunnel has a big stack of apple logs for the wood burner - they are far too special to put in the Rayburn.   The old woodcutter's poem says that apple logs scent the room and that really is the truth.   We also use them for the open fire in our master bedroom - a real winter treat on a cold and frosty night.

The Firewood Poem

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnut's only good they say,
If for logs 'tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
*But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold

Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winter's cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by

Words by Lady Celia Congreve

courtesy of

There are lots of poems like this - useful guides.

Young Hector came home from school, tucked into a big pasta meal, then settled down to watch a couple of episodes of his favourite programme while he waited for his mum and dad to come home.   I nipped outside to take these photographs of Parsonage Cottage at tea time...

...and here is the rarely seen far side.    It is a very long house, originally the cow shed/stables/cart shed for the Old Parsonage.     


  1. It's snow on the Berwyns and batten down the hatches here as well. So thankful to our fantastic nephew for bringing us a huge trailer load of logs a couple of months ago. Love my Rayburn.

    1. Hello Molly - They really are little workhorses; the cats and dog all jostle for prime position by the Rayburn. I hope you are both keeping warm and snug during this cold spell - which is when our Rayburn's really come into their own!x

  2. i love that you illustrate the house and garden in a drawing for the children. you sure do draw well.

    1. Hello Sol, The grandchildren don't pay much attention right now, but I hope they will really enjoy seeing them in years to come and remember all the fun which we have around this place. I hope you are keeping warm.


Lovely to hear from you!