Countryfile: 6. Wood

Men love having wood. Men love chopping wood and men love burning wood.

It's a just a man thing. Any man that doesn't like having, chopping or burning wood isn't really a man. Either that and/or was born after the 1980's. 

Top of our list when choosing a house was a large fireplace. Wood fires in the evenings are a must in our house. Especially during this last year and a half of lockdowns. There isn't anything more hygge than a log fire, a glass of red wine, a good film and snuggling on the sofa. Although the real truth is, I just like burning things and playing with fire. 

Since moving to the "sticks" I have sourced a number of wood merchants already and have found out the following: Kiln dried wood burns like the clappers and is easily the best burners on the market however they are also the most expensive as they have the lowest moisture content (around 15-20%).

You can burn softwood or hardwood. Seasoned hardwood such as oak, birch or ash has a higher density and burns longer. Softwood such as cedar, pine and larch is lower in density, ignites faster but produces more smoke.  

Chopping wood is the manliest thing you can do. Even more manly than burning wood. Ideally done topless, sweat running down your back. 

Once you've got the wood splitting down like a Canadian lumberjack, it's time to get the wood storage sorted. Pretty early on I bought/built two wood storage shelters at the bottom of the garden to house our fire wood. There are a number of different, proven techniques to store fire wood, depending on the layout you have and whether you have a storage shelter or not. Key is to allow for some ventilation from the bottom, so do not lay the wood straight on the ground/soil. 

Studies have shown that splitting wood increases testosterone levels in the blood, more so even than playing competitive sport. Next stop, the Lumberjack Games...


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