Well it’s a year on since we moved, and what a year! Of course I’d got plans for everything before we moved. Where the veg plots were going, renovating the old walled orchard, creating a herb and decorative garden being just three things.
Nothing ever goes to plan though. First of all we were hit by the worst winter in a hundred years. Being snowed in is fun for a couple of days but after a couple of weeks it gets wearing. Still we were lucky in getting the multi-fuel stove fitted before the snow arrived in force.
What we didn’t have was any fuel for the stove, so trudging up the track through the snow with bags of coal and sacks of logs was the order of the day. Didn’t need to light the fire after that, warm work!
This year I’m prepared, we’ve had a coal bunker that holds 250Kg of coal. The local coal merchant delivers so no more carting bags up the track (I hope!) Instead of buying individual sacks of logs, I’ve had a lorry load of hardwood logs. So now we’re prepared for the hard winter some are predicting is coming. Knowing my luck it’ll be the mildest on record after I’ve done all this.
One problem with the logs is where to keep them. I could stack them outside but even with a tarpaulin they’ll be pretty damp. I also want to keep them so the air can circulate and help dry the moisture out. The dryer the wood, the more energy comes out as heat rather than turning moisture into steam. It also reduces deposits in the chimney so it doesn’t need cleaning as often.
I looked in one of the big DIY sheds and they had a little log store for £150. Being me, I muttered like Victor Meldrew, “I don’t believe it!” So rang my local builders merchant and got some treated 3×2 wood. It’s the stuff used in roofing so fairly cheap as it’s a standard size.
I made a simple frame up with the 3×2 and then nailed on the pieces from some old pallets to make a slatted base and sides. Some 2×1 made up some bracing for the rear and cut up a sheet of plywood to make a shelf for the top and a box for the kindling wood and the job was a good ‘un.
So a purpose made 3×1 metre log rack and shelving unit for under £50 and a day playing in the shed. Not too shabby.
Eventually I’d like to grow all our own wood, but that’s at least 5 years away. I’ve got some hawthorn and some kindling from pruning the sycamores but that’s about it for now.
I suppose when I look back over the year we’ve accomplished an awful lot even if we didn’t do what we planned. The house is liveable and we’ve got the cowsheds renovated to a high standard.
The potting shed is up and the greenhouse base nearly finished so we’ll have a greenhouse for spring. I’ve realised the only realistic way to grow vegetables here is raised beds and hopefully we’ll have those ready for next season as well.
There have been a few times, usually when the cloud has come down like a thick fog or the wind makes it difficult to stand upright when I wonder if we did the right thing moving here. However, on a sunny day it’s a piece of heaven.