Hints & Tips
There’s something deeply gratifying about being friends with the head Greenkeeper at my local golf club. It’s not the golf. The only time I ever tried it I hooked a big shot and nearly killed the local councillor who was walking his dog in the nearby wood.
Having said that, the club is very beautiful and there are many secluded corners where I love to spend the odd hour or two, sinking a couple of good ones…
No. The actual golf doesn’t do it for me. I’m with Mark Twain on this, but my friend the groundsman, we’ll call him Dave, for that is his name, is a very dedicated and talented chap who also happens to give me free wood, because whenever they do any tree clearance, he knows I’ll take it away for him.
He does have to chainsaw it into “bite-size” pieces so they’ll fit in the back of the estate but I’ll then get the log splitter out (or the axe if I’m feeling energetic) and cut them down to a useable size. Whenever they do any tree clearance, he knows I’ll take it away for him.
The cold we’ve had over the last month or so has meant my log-pile is disappearing quicker than the average X-factor winner’s recording career so I think it’s high time to meander up to the course, possibly calling in at the Frog and Trumpet for a swift one on the way, and see when he’s next got a tree coming down.
Now. A question I often get asked is about stacking logs. Do you put the bark up or the bark down? Admittedly this isn’t a question I’m asked as much when I go back to visit the Herefordshire branch of the Hardys as they are all horny handed sons of the soil who know about such things, but quite of few of my allotment friends have open fires and a bit of space in the garden to stack and season logs – and they ask often.
In fact, this burning question (sorry) caused a heated debate (still sorry) a couple of years ago when a Norwegian TV programme about firewood (insert your own Norwegian joke here, I’m not risking it) claimed it should be one way and a host of viewers texted in and said it should be another way. Personally, bearing in mind that the programme was 12 hours long and a chunk of it was taken up by broadcasting one log-fire burning… for 8 hours solid, I think they are all barking (not at all sorry so there).
However, for those who get out more, it really seems to be a matter of choice and depends on where and when you are stacking the logs. It makes sense to many people, especially living in a fairly rainy, often damp climate, to stack logs bark-up to keep them drier, stopping moisture settling in the nooks and crannies of the cut wood.
For me, the most important thing is where you stack them. If wet, you want the rain off them, but you need ventilation. If you just put a sheet or tarpaulin over them they may stay wet and will not season as well. For my money… and believe me it doesn’t have to cost a lot …build a shelter out of old wood or corrugated iron with a waterproof, sloping roof and only two side walls. That way you keep the rain off but let the draughts and wind through. And for the record. I stack with the bark up!
A contributor to the New York Times, writing about the afore mentioned Norwegian TV log-a-thon and the ensuing debate, apparently said that you can tell a lot about a person from looking at his firewood stack. Well from looking at mine I can tell I’m going to be flipping freezing soon if I don’t get up to the golf course pronto and get some wood. So cheerio and, as always, enjoy your garden.
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