Winter fuel

The reason for planting 1,000 baby ash trees in 1991 was so that we would have a fuel source for the house at Ty Canol.  With the lodge as well as the main house, we need to ensure there is a good stock prior to the winter. Et voila: the last couple of Saturdays were spent getting the wood shed stocked and wonderful it looks to now that it is getting full. We will be able to start cutting next winters trees once the leaves have fallen. The aim this winter will be to take down around 100 trees to coppice level, where they can begin the sprouting cycles again next spring. A coppice is a wonderful thing to behold!


3 Responses to “Winter fuel”

  1. Mike Simmons says:

    As it has transpired, we have now spent quite a bit of time taking out a long row of conifers from one of the boundaries with our neighbours. These will need to dry for the next year in the other half of the woodshed. As a result, we have stopped cutting the ash for now as we clearly do not need a lot of wood standing in the open, better to get it cut and under cover. Once the soft wood has been cut, we can reasses how much additional ash we will need for next winter. As I write this, the rain is coming down in buckets and snow on the road when driving to work this morning all makes me feel we will need this years supply”

  2. Barbara says:

    Mike, I’ve read with interest, that you’ve planted a stand of Paulownia tomentosa trees. A friend of ours, had an interest in a plantation of them on the north coast of NSW. They are a glorious sight to see, in full bloom, aren’t they?
    My sister and I went for a drive, towards Barrington Tops, about 60 kms from where she lives; and found plantations of them, growing like ‘Topsy’, in areas where they regularly have snow every winter. We saw them flowering at their peak, with huge flower-heads – possibly 2-3 feet in length, each bearing dozens of gorgeous pale-lavender blooms with brownish-purple markings. Some of the leaves would be 2 feet or more, in length.
    When I first saw your ‘Winter-fuel’, until I read your story, I thought from it’s pale colour, you may be using the Paulownia because of it’s extremely quick growth and ease of harvest. Great quantities are grown here, for making matches and the longer candle-lighters. Have you tried using the timber for say, carving or other craft-work?
    Most of the pre-stretched canvases, available here these days, are produced using paulownia, mostly coming from China!
    I guess your wood-pile is getting a real workout, at present! Nothing like a roaring log fire, in the snows of winter, for atmosphere!!

    • Mike Simmons says:

      That’s absolutely fascinating. I thought Paulownia was mainly an American species, had no idea it was so prolific worldwide. Mine are grown essentially as part of the decorative garden. Our primary timber for fuel is Ash – known in the UK as the queen of firewoods as it can be burnt green if necessary, without having to dry for a year. This is because it has the lowest natural water content of any growing wood (20%), which is where you need to dry most of the other timbers down to. Most other hardwoods, I believe are up to 40%.

      I guess I had better do some more stories about the other parts of the garden and look out my photos of the Paulownia.

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