With a cold snap in Virginia’s weather it is time to consider what it takes to keep our homes toasty warm. In my youth I holidayed at the “Pink Cottage” and even though it was July we’d still have a fire if we were lucky. This was the only open fireplace my brother and I could really tend and experience, and even though I know my Nan and Grandad were coal fueled until the mid-nineties but coal in a back boiler fireplace is not the same as an open log fire. I can remember the excitement of being on holiday, collecting logs from the log store/barn across the road, and then having fire in the house. My parents own attempt at a fire in their Georgian fireplace exposed a cracked flue and meant we slept like kippers (medium smoked) for a night or so. Fire in the home was not an every day experience in my youth.
Here in Virginia my home has two fireplaces, and a flue fro a wood burning stove in the master bedroom which will one day be fitted! These fireplaces may seem an extravagance in the modern world, but with woodland surrounding my neighbourhood, and regular and sensible policy of woodland management in place I don’t find it too difficult to keep the home fires burning on an irregular regular basis.
However, if you want to have the flame you must go through the pain. The pain is the effort you must expend in aching backs and groaning knees to chop, cut, split and stack that wonderful firewood. This weekend saw The Big G and I purchasing a new 20 inch chainsaw and attacking a recently felled local tree. G wore the saw-armor I’d bought him for Christmas, and I played my regular role of selector, carrier, and driver. In just three short hours we managed to shift an entire rack of wood from being tree logs and branches to being neatly stacked 18 inch sections ready to be split after a couple of months drying.
When all our hard work pays off the result looks something like this: