An open fire in The Cottage means that there is an insatiable thirst for new wood, especially outside of the summer months, when there is not enough sun to be had in the day to take off any chill in the evening.
There is plenty of wood to be had. Trees grow quick and tall and need to be cut back on a regular basis and if they are not cut back there they run the risk that the wind will take them down.
Last summer the wood shed was running on empty and we had to pick away at whatever could be turned up from its corners. There was some benefit to this as last summer I found under the last pile of logs an old boat’s rudder. It must have been put in there years ago and left until someone had the time to chop it up. I firmly believe that it has a home in Birkenhead and with luck I will be able to fit into the car this time.
Over the course of the last few months the woodshed has been filled back up with the wood that has come down over the winter. But a lot of it has been great thick logs too big for the fire so there has been a need to chop some of it down to size.
We have been doing that this afternoon using a heavy axe and grenade. The grenade is a hard lump of metal in the shape of an arrowhead. This is knocked into the log until in place and is then taken to with the flat end of the axe until the log is split. The older logs go quickly and are split in two or three blows. The new green wood is far harder and can be unyielding as I try to drive the spike of metal through.
No matter how unyielding all the logs go until the last which is almost two foot wide. The spike goes in an inch and then moves no more. I drag Galen out to have a go at it and we can feel the metal heat up as all the energy we put into each blast on the top tries to find somewhere to go. It is clear the spike is not going to split the wood and so we try tease it out, tapping it out at an angle, until it is slowly released.
We are left with a pile of logs to go back into the woodshed. No doubt they will be burnt out by the time we are back next summer.