Kev Quirk

Getting Ready for Winter

22 Jun 2023 | ~3 minute read

Even though it's currently summer, we're already preparing ourselves for the long Welsh winter ahead.

Even though it's the middle of summer, we had 2 tonnes of fire wood delivered yesterday. We're obviously not using our fire at the moment, but when it comes to the long, harsh Welsh winters, you need all the firewood you can get.

When I was in the Army, we had a saying called "the 7 P's". Which where:

Prior planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance.

The 7 P's

We recently cut some trees down on our land, but they're going to need some time to dry out - probably 6-12 months, I should think. Unfortunately, the previous owner (understandably) didn't leave us with a wood cache, so we're having to build our own.

Wood I still need to chop & dry out
Wood I still need to chop & dry out

Now, we could buy wood as winter hits, when demand is at it's highest, or we could buy a load of wood now, in the summer, when demand is at it's lowest. Supply and demand, folks - it's always gonna be cheaper when demand is at it's lowest.

So we called up the local farmer and asked him to drop off 2 tonnes of chopped and dried firewood. Problem is, he couldn't get his trailer around the corner of our house to where we intend to store the wood, so he had to drop it on the drive. Which in turn meant I had to cart it up the hill to our stables. 🤦‍♂️

2 tonnes of wood on the drive
2 tonnes of wood on the drive

Doesn't look like much in the picture, does it? But look at the buckets to the right. They're full-size builders buckets, so that should give you an idea of scale.

We were due to get a thunderstorm that evening, so I had to get the wood inside ASAP. It was already 8pm and I'd had a full day at work too. The joys of owning a smallholding. 🙃

We have a Husqvarna 4x4 mower with a small trailer, so I decided to fire her up and use that to shift the logs. Still took me a good 15 trips though.

Fire wood on trailer

Full stack (wood) developer

After an hour and a half, lots of sweat and some grazed shins (thanks to stray blocks falling off my stacks and right onto my shins), I was done.

It was hard work, as with many things on our little plot, but I really enjoy the work. I put some music on and just chug along. Plus, it's good exercise.

Fire wood in the wood store

I still don't think this is going to be enough to see us through an entire winter, let alone multiple winters. So next I need to get the felled trees chopped up and add them to the store. Then, as autumn and winter hits, and the birds stop nesting, we can cut down other trees and continue the cycle.

I'd like to get to the point where we're pretty much self-sufficient with fire food and have enough in our store to allow at least a year for the wood to dry out properly.

We shall see...

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