Friday, 10 April 2015

The burning of the wood

In an effort to reduce the untidyness of our place we have started burning the huge pile of wood just outside the back courtyard gates, a pile which was started by the builders when they cleared the house of all its debris, (2008) then another set of builders came along and encouraged the pile to grow when they added the old roof timbers from the barns (2009).Over time more wood has been added, including some tree trunks which were rescued from the river, which has encouraged the pile to spread out.

During the lifetime of the pile several people have wanted to take away the wood to use on their own fires, but we have refused because, for us, that pile of wood meant that we no longer be cold during the winter, and yes, for two winters Lester cut some of the wood up to use on our fire in the sitting room, which was the only place in the house which was 'habitable', although had a tarpaulin for the ceiling and a tarpaulin of the floor and walls which continually shed themselves everywhere.

And then we shifted our lodgings into the half barn, which is the other side of the kitchen to the house, and the fire became retired because there is no chimney in the barn, so no wood was cut....

Wood pile 2011

And then we shifted our lodgings into the half barn, which is the other side of the kitchen to the house, and the fire became retired because there is no chimney in the barn, so no more wood needed to be cut, and the wood pile was left to being its own self.

Time passed. Years went by. Rain fell. The sun shone. Nature went to work. So the pile became covered over with a vigorous vine which intertwined itself in and amongst the wood, as did some slower growing bramble shoots, as did a bed of nettles, and all became a joyous tangle of vegetation so that most of the wood became hidden, becoming damp under the leafy greenery, which promoted the cycle of life within the stored wood so that some of it started breaking down, preparing to make a return into the earth which once gave the tree from which the wood came, life.

In a nutshell.....the whole pile was covered over with stinging nettles, prickly brambles, and a vine whose shoots made everything into a tangle. The wood is now mostly rotten, and what isn't has things growing on and in it, and really, well..........I have a nice kitchen for the first time in seven years, and do I want rotten wood burnt in the Rayburn stove (when it is connected and working of course, which it isn't at the moment, but hopefully will be by the end of the summer), no I do not.

Wood pile 2012, and vegetation growing

....and growing....

....until now, 2015

...with all the front of the pile totally covered over,
and only the back pile to be seen....

Soooooo, bonfire time! For three days we have had a bonfire after having to hack away at the green stuff to get to the buried wood. Today we did not, though, because we needed to dispatch a couple of lambs. Having eighteen lambs plus twelve ewes plus one ram is making our fields sparse with grass at a time when the grass should be showing quite a good rate of growth. We prefer to let the lambs grow to almost a year old before we put them into the freezer, but this year we have had to take action if we are to have any grass left on our fields at all. So, the two we did this morning are to go to our builder (they are about 20 -25 kgs each), we are doing two tomorrow which will go to the couple who sold us our two rottweiller girls, then we are doing another one for Sarah down the road, then another one for our band friends. We sold three live lambs to a French lady the other day. We think that should leave us with nine lambs. We hope we shall be able to manage with the grazing.  We only need five ewes and a ram. We shall continue getting the numbers down over next winter. Meanwhile, I am becoming adept at  finding ways to cook lamb/mutton so that it does not get monotonous. So far, I have managed.

Back to the bonfire.......... got up this morning at daylight. Took the dogs out back. Saw that the bonfire was still red at its heart. Couldn't resist seeing if I could get it going again, which I did. Went back indoors to get dressed, thinking that perhaps feeding a bonfire in my purple dressing gown might be going just that bit too far for the passing cars. Went back outside to have a look at the fire, but saw that the smoke was making a serious effort at getting over to Claudine's house, who is our nearest neighbour. Therefore, regrettably, I let the fire go out. But I cut some brambles, nettles, and vine down so we could get to the buried wood.

And it is as if the burning of the wood has come to reflect on how far we have come. That the burning of the wood signifies a new start for us and the house, a new chapter soon to begin perhaps, as work continues indoors and we continue on our work outside, but minus any veggie growing, just cleaning things up, finishing things off, getting ready for what is to come.

and the fire pit, now asleep and resting,

and the geese, who, for some reason known only to themselves,
took it upon themselves to fly at full speed into the fire pit.
Fortunately the fire was out, 
although the embers were hot enough to singe the feet of the foremost goose,
as could be seen by the speed at which he vacated the pit. 
Not to worry, that was yesterday, and today he looks alright.

Been a bright and sunny day here. I am glad that Claudine (our neighbour) could open her windows today without fear of getting her house full of smoke, and that my washing on the washing line will not have the faint whiff of smoke either. And I am glad that we are getting the wood pile sorted out because it reminds us of how the house looked during the first stage of its renovation, and of how we used to worry in case the house would fall down before we could get her mended. She was a very wounded house when we arrived. By the burning of the wood pile, it feels that we have finally got her patched up. Tomorrow we shall on that wood pile again!

Bye for now,



Rhodesia said...

Have a great weekend in this beautiful bit of weather we are having. Diane

the Goodwife said...

I just adore reading your blog and am happy for the progress you are making! Once again I could just hug your neck for bringing that lovely old house back to it's glory....not enough of that goes on 'round here.

Kirsty Udall said...

Oh Vera, What I wouldn't do for all that wood in my woodshed!!! Wish I was a bit closer :-)

Vera said...

Diane, bless you, and wishing you a good weekend as well....super weather we are having at the moment!

the Goodwife, oh you are such a lovely person, and I could give you a hug right back for putting up such encouraging blogs.

Kirsty, we do seem to have a lot of wood, don't we! But it is rotten so a lot of it is falling to pieces as we try to get it off the wood pile, and what is left is full of nails and might still have the wood eating insects in it, so perhaps best to let us burn it!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i love a good burn pile! yay!

Vera said...

OFG, me too!

Mizumatte said...

sometimes life is good and for moments even better.take good care of you and yours.Jaana

Vera said...

Jaana, we feel very blessed with our life here...hard work but very rewarding.