Friday, 17 January 2020

And Yet More Firewood

I tracked down the phone number of the tree-cutting couple and contacted them about taking down a few trees and branches. D popped round to see what needed doing and then rang the next day to say they had a cancellation and had a free day. So that job is done already.....much sooner than I thought .............just waiting for the bill!

They cut down two thin poplars and branches off the sides off all the big poplars where they were overhanging the meadow and footpath. Then logged everything up and chipped the small bits. Now I have a big job to move and stack all the cut logs into one heap - I can use the ride on mower and trailer to help. They can sit and season for a year until BiL returns with the log-splitter next year.

There's an Ash tree in the back garden boundary hedge with a branch over-hanging next door neighbour's hot tub (brrrrrrr!, never actually heard them in it!) and D had a look at it and say's it really needs pollarding as it's showing signs of Ash tree die-back disease. That will have to be done after the field at the back is harvested. It will be sad to see it disappearing but better done now than when the disease sets in and makes it difficult to fell safely. Next door neighbours have offered to chip in with the cost of it's removal although then I'll feel obliged to let them have some of the wood, now that they too have a wood-burner and I'd quite like to keep it as Ash is much better for burning!

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.

This version is by  Celia Congreve, believed to be first published in THE TIMES newspaper on March 2nd 1930. Although that's disputed because there are many versions and given how important wood for burning was long before this date, I think it's probably a much older rhyme.

I prefer this poem which covers more types  of wood

                                                        Logs to burn, logs to burn
                                                        logs to save the coal a turn
                                                     here's a word to make you wise
                                                 when you hear the woodsman's cries
                                                          never heed his usual tale
                                                     that he has good logs for sale
                                               but read these lines and really learn
                                                        the proper kind of logs to burn
                                                  Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
                                                             Hornbeam blazes too
                                                          if the logs are kept a year
                                                  and seasoned through and through
                                                            Oak logs will warm you well
                                                                if they're old and dry
                                                        larch logs of pinewood smell
                                                                but the sparks will fly
                                                              Pine is good and so is Yew
                                                         for warmth through wintry days
                                                             but Poplar and willow too
                                                             take long to dry and blaze
                                                             Birch logs will burn too fast
                                                                   Alder scarce at all
                                                            Chestnut logs are good to last
                                                                        if cut in the fall
                                                                Holly logs burn like wax
                                                              you should burn them green
                                                            Elm logs like smouldering flax
                                                                      no flame to be seen
                                                                 Pear logs and Apple logs
                                                                 they will scent your room
                                                               Cherry logs across the dogs
                                                                smell like flowers in bloom
                                                         But Ash logs all smooth and grey
                                                                burn them green or old
                                                         burn up all that come your way
                                                       they're worth their weight in gold.

BiL is very dismissive of the lightweight quick burning  Poplar I have as the wood he cuts and sells is more likely Oak and Ash, but as I said "beggars can't be choosers".

Back Tomorrow


  1. I love the poems and that you have such a good supply of wood to keep you warm for the future.
    I suppose you don't HAVE to take them up on the offer of chipping (sorry) in with the cost, do you?

    1. I'll be a good neighbour, share the cost and the wood. Not sure when it will be done. The farmer who owns the field is a grumpy bloke and they'll need to get into the field to get the branches down

    2. Do they not have right of access for that sort of thing, I wonder?

  2. Love the poems Sue. David's father always used to say never burn larch - it warms you four times. 1. Cutting down the tree, 2. Sawing the logs up. 3. Stacking the logs and then carrying them in for the fire. 4. Dashing about the room stamping out the sparks once you are burning.

    1. The joy of a woodburner = no holes in the carpet!

  3. Maybe for the sake of goodwill I'd be inclined to let the neighbours chip in and let them have some of the wood too. In any case, I fear once the chalara is present there is no stopping it, and you'll have some more to burn.

    1. Yes I'll be sharing the cost and the wood, it makes life easier that way

  4. We have some Ash logs at the cottage - well hidden we hope so they don't get pinched. Someone felled and took a tree from our wood at the cottage one winter while we were not here. It was Birch - I think maybe they did wood turning and did not want it for burning as there are other logs stacked they could have taken. Cheek of it though!

  5. The mind boggles with all this useful information about the merits of different woods!

    A layman (me) just sees wood when looking at trees with different shaped leaves, telling one tree from another. I say this all the time, but once more won't hurt, "Nature is truly amazing, catering for every eventuality"!

    1. So many years with a woodburner and multi-fuel Rayburn has got me used to different sorts of wood. I can't always tell what it is when cut though

  6. Love the poems, but am truly a dimwit as to names of trees. As for hot tubs, there are two in our small village, can't get my head round bathing in the garden though!

    1. Sitting in a hot tub outside sounds like a very daft thing to do in English weather!
      I've got plans to do lots of blog posts about trees later this year - watch this space

  7. You always have wonderful tidbits to share with us.

    Lots of firewood for you to keep warm with next year.

    God bless.

    1. I'm sure there is enough wood now for winters 2020/21 and 21/22 and maybe even 2022/23.

  8. I enjoyed the poems, thank you for sharing. It must be a good feeling to know you are well stocked for future winters.

  9. We have an open fire, any donated wood is gratefully received when locals are chopping trees down. I love your poems.

  10. I love those poems, Sue. The house I grew up in had an open fire and on Christmas Day we always had apple wood on the fire. I remember the wonderful smell still :)

  11. Delightful poems!