November 4, 2013

Weather window

No, not for flying, which seems a distant prospect at the moment. After my experience the other day of dashing outside to get wood which was getting wetter and wetter in the rain despite being covered up (due to the useless covering material), I realised what a valuable resource wood is when you’re relying on it to heat your house and keep warm. Yesterday was dull for the whole day but it was dry, so it gave me an ideal opportunity to go outside and get myself organised for the bad weather to come as we approach the fag-end of the year.

The previous resident of my house left behind a lot of rubbish when they departed almost all of which I’ve disposed of. However, they also left various bits, pieces and lengths of wood which I was loathe to throw away, and I’m glad that I didn’t because I can now use all of it as fuel for my wood burner. But first I had to clear it all out from under the shelter at the end of my house, which, in any case, was a job that was well overdue.

The shelter is in two halves. I haven’t been making very good use of it up to now, mainly because of the rubbish that it contained that didn’t need to be there. I’ve been keeping my wooden outdoor table and chairs in there when the weather has been bad, my rotary clothes dryer, which I’ve only used about three times, and the Honda ‘motobineuse’ (rotavator) that I got hold of for when I start digging up my garden and which has been under there ever since I bought it. And that’s about it really. The cement mixer that I bought earlier this year for laying the path I have planned around my house has been standing out ever since I got it, covered by the same blue tarpaulin that has proven so useless for keeping my wood dry, so I thought it would be a good idea to move that under the shelter alongside the rotavator. I wanted to use one side of the shelter for all of those things, therefore, and the other side for wood, which meant clearing it out, shifting things around and cutting wood for storage, so it was ready for putting straight onto the stove. And I didn’t know how long I’d have to do it because of the vagaries of the weather, so I had to get going and not stop until I’d finished!

I didn’t do too badly either. I managed to get all of the remainder of the wood that I’d cut from the dead tree in my back garden dry before moving it indoors and stacking it next to the stove so I knew that I’d be OK for fuel for a day or so. I also moved all of the wood from when Christian lopped my ’tilleul’ (lime tree) from the front of the house round to the shelter and got most of it cut up into usable logs, some of which I also took indoors and stacked up next to the stove. I had to leave some larger pieces under the shelter until another time though, because of how long it would have taken to chop them up but at least I know that when I do, they’ll be dry. I also found some more very nice old wood left by the previous resident getting wet under a stack of what I had thought was just rubbishy old bits of tree, so I pulled some of that out to dry it off, cut it up and moved some of it indoors as well.

So all in all, it was a very successful day. We had rain and gusting high winds overnight and as I type this, the rain is still falling, so I’m very glad that I got done what I did yesterday. In the meantime, I’m finding that the stove is eating its way through the wood, though, and keeping it fed is becoming almost a full-time job. I think the next thing that I’ll have to do is learn the finer arts of wood burner regulation, and in quick time too with the speed at which it’s getting through the wood that I brought in yesterday. I don’t fancy the idea of having to go out of the warm, into the rain to get more in 😉